Symmes Memorial









(Title page of “The Symmes Memorial” by John Adams Vinton, printed by David Clapp & Son, Boston 1873)Introduction to the Internet edition

Few copies remain of the printed version of Mr Vinton’s excellent biography of the early SYMMES family, covering the period from 1599 to 1873, and those copies are zealously guarded by their fortunate owners. Due to the poor condition of the only original available to us, the Webmaster has chosen to transcribe – rather than to scan – the Memorial where appropriate.

This transcription respects the vocabulary and syntax of Mr Vinton’s text, but not the fonts or format used in the printed book.

The Webmaster claims no erudite contributions of his own to Mr Vinton’s findings, least of all regarding the religious views and comments expressed in the printed work. We have merely transcribed The Symmes Memorial as found, for the benefit of any living descendants of Zechariah Symmes interested in their ancestry, in the sure hope that they can access the Internet. 

[This Internet version excludes Mr Vinton’s “Autobiography of the Compiler”, his “Introduction” and his “Explanations”, which occupy the first 16 pages of the printed book.] 

After the end of the Memorial, section Beyond the Memorial contains pages based on data supplied to the Webmaster by worldwide Symmes people alive in the 21st Century [ see SYMMES TODAY under CONTENTS ].


First Generation

Rev. ZECHARIAH SYMMES was the ancestor of most of those who bear the name in America, so far as is known. He was born in England of most respectable and worthy parents, who had been steadfast in the faith of the gospel, even in the worst of times.

His grandfather, WILLIAM SYMMES, was a truly religious man, and a firm protestant, in the reign of the bloody Queen Mary, from 1553 to 1558. His wife was like-minded. Their son:-

Rev. WILLIAM SYMMES, was ordained to the ministry of the gospel in that famous year 1588. He exercised his office faithfully, at a time when it exposed him to great suffering. Queen Elizabeth was afraid of carrying the Reformation too far. She had set up a standard of her own in things ecclesiastical, retaining many of the old Popish rites, and she determined that all her subjects should conform to it. She inherited the stern, unrelenting spirit of her father, and was fond of the old ceremonies in which she had been educated. The year after her accession, the parliament made her the supreme head of the Church of England, and conferred on her the right of regulating all its affairs. Her authority was thus made to supersede the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the power thus conferred she was not slow to exert. She was in effect the Pope of England.

She claimed, and pretended to exercise, supreme authority in matters of faith, to determine what every man between the four seas should believe, in what manner he should worship God, and what should be the terms of his acceptance with his Maker. To enforce these high claims a court was erected, called the Court of High Commission, which was little else than the Spanish Inquisition in disguise. If any persons did not conform precisely to the orders and decrees of this tribunal, the court were authorized to punish them by fine or imprisonment, at their discretion. This power was exercised with the most unrelenting severity. Many of the best people in England, both ministers and laymen, were fined far beyond their ability, and to their utter ruin; others were shut up in prison without a trial, and kept there for months and even years, none of their friends, not even their wives, being allowed to speak to them except in the presence of the jailor, and twenty or more excellent ministers perished in jail. Many hundreds of faithful ministers, whose only offence was that they chose to obey God rather than man, were turned out of their parishes, and their families left to starve. Some, of whom the world was not worthy, were executed as felons.*

* Henry Barrow, a lawyer, John Greenwood and John Penry, clergymen, to gratify the spite of an angry prelate, were executed without any legal authority, and by the mere sentence of the High Commission, in 1593, after being kept three years in prison. 

Such things rendered the condition of upright, conscientious men in England intolerable. To escape the sufferings which awaited them there, great numbers went over to Holland, and thousands at length sought refuge beyond the stormy Atlantic. It was such a state of affairs which, in the reign of the weak and bigoted Charles Stuart, compelled ZECHARIAH SYMMES and his family to emigrate to America.

Amid all these dangers our Symmes ancestors stood firm. Cotton Mather relates that Rev. William Symmes charged his sons Zechariah and William never to defile themselves with any idolatry or superstition, but to derive their religion from God’s holy word, and to worship God as he himself has directed, and not after the devices and traditions of men. He says, in a passage preserved by Cotton Mather: “I went to Sandwich in Kent to preach, the first or second year after I was ordained a minister, in 1587 or 1588, and preached in St. Mary’s, where Mr. Rawson, an ancient godly preacher, was minister, who knew my parents well, and me too at school.” How long he remained at Sandwich we do not know.

He had at least two sons, ZECHARIAH and William. It is uncertain whether William came to America. *

* Could he have been the father of Miss Sarah Simes, who died in Cambridge, near Boston, June 11, 1653 ? 

There is no evidence that he did come, as we have found his name in no early record, save his brother’s will. He was living in 1664, as we learn from the document just mentioned. From that document we infer that he possessed some property, some of which had been used for the relief of the suffering brother and his family.

Rev. ZECHARIAH SYMMES, son of Rev. William, and grandson of Mr. William Symmes, already mentioned, was born at Canterbury, in England, April 5, 1599. He gave evidence of piety at an early age. He was educated at Emmanuel College, in the University of Cambridge, where he was graduated in 1620. The next year he was chosen lecturer at St. Anthony, or Antholine’s, in the city of London. Being frequently harassed by prosecutions in the Bishop’s courts *

* The execrable William Land was then Bishop of London, a fit instrument of arbitrary power. He was archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 to 1644. He was beheaded on Tower Hill for his agency in subverting the liberties of England, Jan.10, 1644-5. 

for his nonconformity, he removed to Dunstable in Bedfordshire, thirty-four miles N.W. from London, in 1625 where, as rector, he continued for eight years his labors in the gospel. Still annoyed by prosecutions of this nature, he at length determined to remove to America.

He arrived in Boston, with his wife and seven children, in the ship Griffin , September 18, 1634. This ship brought over about two hundred emigrants, among whom were William and Anne Hutchinson and Rev. John Lothrop. Mr Lothrop, after preaching in Scituate, settled in Barnstaple in 1639. This emigration, and others that took place in the six years following, were greatly promoted by an apprehension now entertained by godly people in England, that there “was a special providence of God in raising this plantation, which generally stirred their hearts to come over” . Mr Lothrop, for instance, was accompanied in his voyage by about thirty of his former charge in London. 

Mr. Symmes, and his wife Sarah – of whom more in the sequel – were admitted to the church in Charlestown, December 6, 1634. On the 22nd of the same month, on a fast-day appointed for the occasion, he was elected and ordained their teacher.

There is no reason to doubt that Mr. Symmes was set apart to the ministry of the gospel by the church in Charlestown themselves, on the very day of his election. He had received Episcopal ordination in England; but our fathers, on their arrival in this country, threw off entirely the yoke of bishops, which had set so uneasily on their necks. The churches of New England, in the early times, claimed and exercised the power of ordaining their own officers – pastors and teachers, as well as deacons and ruling elders. Rev. John Wilson, the first minister in Boston, was set apart to his office, August 27, 1630, by imposition of the hands of the church. “This was done” , says Gov. Winthrop, “only as a sign of election and confirmation, not of any intent that Mr. Wilson should renounce his ministry received in England.” Rev. John Cotton was chosen teacher of the church in Boston, October 10, 1633, and on the same day, immediately after, the pastor, Mr. Wilson, and two ruling elders, laid their hands on him, in behalf of the church, solemnly designating him to his holy office. Rev. Thomas Carter, the first minister of Woburn, was ordained by the laying on of hands of two private members of the church, one of whom probably was Edward Johnson, the author of the “Wonder-Working Providence” . The transaction, which took place December 2, 1642, is minutely related both in the town records and by Johnson in the Wonder-Working Providence . 

Nine ministers were present, one of whom was Mr. Symmes, the nearest minister, yet none of them took part in the ordination. Mr. Carter himself preached and prayed. Other instances of this sort might be mentioned, all of which show that such was the prevailing, as it was the primitive practice. *

* It was held, and such is the theory at the present time, that by the appointment of Christ himself, all church power, under Christ, resides in the church itself; i.e.: in the body of church members. Every church, therefore, has the right of choosing its own officers; a right which no man can take from it. But the power of election implies and includes the power of ordination. For, as the Cambridge Platform says, “Ordination is nothing else but the solemn putting a man into his place and office in the church, whereunto he had right before by election. Ordination is to follow election. Ordination doth not constitute an officer, nor give him the essentials of his office….. In churches where there are elders, imposition of hands in ordination is to be performed by those elders….. For if the people may elect officers, which is the greater, they may much more impose hands on ordination, which is less.”

To this practice the churches of New England seem to have adhered for many years. The earliest instance of departure which has been observed, was at the ordination of Rev. Moses Fisk, of Braintree (now Quincy), September 21, 1672, when Rev. Mr. Oxenbridge of Boston and the deacons joined in the laying of hands. This is Mr. Fisk’s own account.

At length, near the close of that century, ministers began to claim the power of imposition of hands in ordination as their exclusive right, and the churches by courtesy yielded it to them. Still, to the present day it is held that ministers, in ordination, act only in behalf of the church as their agents, by their appointment, and not by any right in the ministry itself.

The First Church, Boston, was originally formed in Charlestown, July 30, 1630. *

* For some time they met for worship under the shadow of a great oak, “where”, says one, “I heard Mr. Wilson and Mr. Phillips [afterwards of Watertown] preach many a good sermon”. This tree was alive and flourishing nearly a century after. 

But it being found difficult to cross the river, especially in winter, the church was removed to Boston, where a majority of its members resided, and a new church, consisting of sixteen men and their wives, and three unmarried men living on the north side of the river, organized in Charlestown, November 2, 1632. Of this new church, Rev. Thomas James, who arrived in Boston with Rev. Stephen Batchelor and Rev. Thomas Welde, June 5, 1632, was chosen the first pastor. It being customary for each church to enjoy the labors of two ministers, Mr. Symmes, in December, 1634, was ordained as colleague with Mr. James, taking on him the work of teacher, while Mr. James confined himself to pastoral labors. Difficulties soon arose between the two ministers, a majority of the people adhering to Mr. Symmes, which occasioned the calling of an ecclesiastical council. This council, on the 11th of March, 1636, advised Mr. James to ask a dismission, which was accordingly done. He went to Providence in 1637, and thence to New Haven, where he engaged in teaching. In October, 1642, he accompanied Rev. Messrs. Knowles of Watertown and Tompson of Braintree, in their unsuccessful mission to Virginia, returning with them in June of the following year. Not long after this, he returned to England; was resettled at Needham in Suffolk; was deprived of his parish for non-conformity, and died about 1678, aged 86. In all his trials he approved himself as a faithful servant of Christ, and appears to have been a truly good man. [Felt’s Eccl. Hist. of New England]. 

The Rev. John Harvard, who, with Anna his wife, came over in 1637, was with her admitted a member of the Charlestown church, November 6 in that year. He graduated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1631, and took his second degree there in 1635. He must have been, therefore, at this time, a young man. He has usually been reckoned one of the ministers of Charlestown, and a colleague* with Mr. Symmes.

* Eliot, in his biography, calls him “pastor of the church in Charlestown.” In a list of its ministers, drawn up in modern times, and inserted in the second volume of the church records, Mr. Harvard is numbered among them. But all this appears to be founded in mistake.

But though a resident in Charlestown, and a member of that church, it is next to certain, says Rev. Samuel Sewall, that he never was called to office in that church. The only notice to be found of him in the church records is of his admission as a member, at the date already mentioned. [See American Quarterly Register, vol. xi.p.49]. He died of consumption, September 14, 1638; and this fact appears, not from the church records, but from Danforth’s Almanack for 1649, printed at Cambridge. But his generous bequest* to the college, which has long borne his name, has insured to him a perpetual remembrance. The legacy amounted to £779 17s 2d – a large sum for those days, and one half of his property. Johnson speaks of him as an earnest Christian and as an impressive preacher.

* As early as May, 1636, measures had been put in train for a college in Massachusetts. Salem was first proposed; but in November, 1637, the legislature resolved on the erection of a college in Cambridge, then a part of Newton, for the purpose of which it was agreed to give four hundred pounds, whereof two hundred pounds to be paid the first year, and two hundred pounds when the work was finished. – [Felt’s Eccl. Hist. N.E., vol.i.pp254, 263,326] 

Rev. Thomas Allen was admitted a member of the church in Charlestown, December 22, 1639 [old system], answering to January 1, 1640 [new system], and soon after, if not at the same time, became the colleague of Mr. Symmes. He was the teacher, whereas Mr. Symmes, from the time of the dismission of Mr. James, 1636, was the pastor. Mr. Allen was born in Norwich, England, 1608; graduated at Caius College, Cambridge, 1627; was minister of St. Edmund’s Church in his native city, but was deprived for nonconformity, 1636, and came with his wife Anne to New England in 1638. It is supposed that she soon died, and that he married the widow of John Harvard. *

* The General Court, June 6, 1639, granted to Rev. Thomas Allen five hundred acres of land, “in regard to Mr. Harvard’s gift.” – [Felt’s Eccl. Hist. N.E., vol i.p.377] 

In 1651 Mr. Allen visited England, spent the rest of his life there, and published several books. In 1659, he was again minister in Norwich. He was again ejected, as were two thousand other faithful ministers, in 1662, but still preached to his people, as opportunity offered, till his death in that city, September 21, 1673, aged 65. [Am.Quar.Reg.vol xi., pp. 46, 49; vol. xiii.p44]. He was called “a holy man of God and faithful servant of Christ.” 

Mr. Symmes had one other colleague, in the person of Rev. Thomas Shepard, born in London, England, April 5, 1635, eldest son of eminent Thomas Shepard, of our Cambridge; grad. H.C. 1653; was ordained teacher of the church in Charlestown, April 13, 1659. The imposition of hands was by Mr. Symmes, Rev. John Wilson of Boston, and Rev. Richard Mather of Dorchester, at the express desire of the church, and acting in their behalf. [Ibid, vol. xii. p.244]. He died suddenly, of smallpox, caught while visiting one of his flock, December 22, 1677. President Oakes, in a Latin oration, pronounced at the Commencement after his death, extolled him “as holding the first rank among the ministers of his day.” 

Mr. Symmes was admitted freeman of the colony, May 6, 1635. 

Not long after his settlement in Charlestown he became involved in the celebrated controversy with Mrs. Ann Hutchinson * and the Antinomians.

* She was the daughter of Rev. Francis Marbury, of Lincolnshire, and was baptized at Alford, July 20, 1591. At the age of twenty she was married to William Hutchinson, a prosperous merchant of that place. At the time of the controversy spoken of in the text, she was forty-five years of age, and had several children already come to maturity. She was an exceedingly capable and resolute woman. After her banishment from Massachusetts, she and her husband went to Rhode Island, where he died in 1642. She then went to reside under the Dutch jurisdiction at Pelham Neck, near New Rochelle, New York, where she was killed by the Indians, with most of her family, in September of the following year. Some of her children and grandchildren arose to wealth and distinction in Massachusetts. Thomas Hutchinson, her great-great-grandson, was governor of that providence, 1771-74.

The following is the testimony given by Mr. Symmes on the trial of Mrs. Hutchinson before the court at Newtown (now Cambridge) in 1637. We find it in Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts, published in 1767.

“For my own part, being called to speak in this case, to discharge the relation wherein I stand to the Commonwealth, and that wherein I stand to God, I shall speak briefly.

“For my acquaintance with this person, I had none in our native country, only I had occasion to be in her company once or twice before I came, where I did perceive that she did slight the ministers of the word of God. But I came along with her in the ship, and it so fell out that we were in the great cabin together, and therein did agree with the labours of Mr. Lathrop and myself, only there was a secret opposition to things delivered. The main thing that was then in hand was about evidencing of a good estate, and among the rest about that place in John concerning the love of the brethren. That which I took notice of was the corruptness and narrowness of her opinions; which I doubt not I may call them so; but she said, when she came to Boston there would be something seen…

“And being come, and she desiring to be admitted a member, I was desired to be there, and then Mr. Cotton did give me full satisfaction in the things in question.

“And for things which have been here spoken, as far as I can remember, they are the truth: and when I asked her what she thought of me, she said, Alas! you know my mind long ago. Yet I do not think myself disparaged by her testimony; and I would not trouble the court, only this one thing I shall put in, that Mr. Dudley and Mr. Haines were not wanting in the cause, after I had given notice of her.”

Thomas Dudley came to New England with Winthrop in 1630; was deputy governor of Massachusetts, 1630-1633; governor, 1634 and 1640; died July 31, 1653. John Haynes came with John Cotton in 1633; was governor, 1635; governor of Connecticut many years; died March 1, 1654.

As already observed, he was a fellow-passenger, 1634, with Mrs. Hutchinson in the voyage from England. Mrs. Hutchinson had startled him and other passengers by some eccentricities and speculations of her own in matters of religion, and especially by “revelations” which she professed to have received. According to her statement, revelations from heaven were with her matters of frequent occurrence. After his arrival, Mr. Symmes felt it his duty to inform Boston church of what he had heard her say during the passage. This caused some delay in her admission to that church, which, however, took place in November.

Soon after her arrival, she began to hold meetings once or twice a week, at first for women only, afterwards meetings at which men as well as women were present. Sixty or eighty or even one hundred women attended these meetings, some of them from the principal families of the town. On these occasions she urged her peculiar opinions with great earnestness, and with no small measure of success. Among them were such sentiments as these:- That the outward life is not a sure test of character; that the evidence of our acceptance with God, need not, any part of it, be exhibited to the view of others; that the evidence of a man’s piety is and must be shut up in one;s own breast, and cannot be increased by any outward manifestation. She insisted very strongly on an inward witness of the Spirit, amounting to an immediate revelation from God, that the person is in a state of favor and acceptance with him. Of course, if I have a promise coming immediately and specially from God that I shall be saved, what need of further evidence?

The ministers of the colony, who held that the evidence of a man’s piety must, partly at least, be furnished by a holy life, and must therefore be patent, thus far, to the eyes of others; that a man must be a good man outwardly in order to be a true Christian – she denounced, in no measured terms, as holding a “covenant of works,” and therefore as preaching no gospel at all. As she made herself very prominent in this affair, she was of course opposed by the ministers whom she thus misrepresented, and by none more decidedly that by Mr. Symmes.

The promulgation of Mrs. Hutchinson’s views, in the manner and style which she chose to adopt, soon raised a prodigious ferment. The whole colony was shaken to its centre. Her teachings were regarded by the most judicious and sober-minded persons as not only dangerous to the souls of men, but as tending to revolution in the state. If, as she claimed, revelations from God were to be expected, and were actually enjoyed by her, not only in the affair of our salvation, but in reference to the more important concerns of life, these revelations having equal authority with the Scriptures, who could tell how far they might extend, what direction they might take, or what line of conduct they might prescribe for her followers? Suppose Mrs. Hutchinson to have a revelation requiring her followers to take the sword; what then?

Serious apprehension existed, therefore, that the whole fabric, civil and religious, for the erection of which our fathers had left their native land and incurred all the toils and perils of the wilderness, might be overthrown. The followers of this able and daring woman appeared likely to carry the controversy, thus awakened, to the most dangerous extremes. It became necessary, therefore, to resort to extreme measures. The General Court, impressed with the belief that the peace of the civil community and of the churches demanded a decisive course, found Mrs. Hutchinson and a large number of her adherents guilty of sedition, and proceeded to disarm, disfranchise and banish from the colony seventy-five of the more prominent men, and banished Mrs. Hutchinson herself. If this measure was a stretch of power, it at least saved the country from ruin. Mr. Symmes took part in these proceedings.

Mr. Symmes appears to have been held in esteem by his contemporaries, and when we remember who they were, this is no small praise. In regard to literary attainment, he appears to have been respectable. He had for those times a good library, containing the works of the able divines of his day. But so far as we can now discover, he was more distinguished for practical talent and general usefulness than for intellectual eminence. He must have been a man of no small ability to retain a firm hold of such a parish for so many years. He wrote his sermons, and left a large number of manuscript, most of them bound up in volumes. “He knew his Bible well”, says Cotton Mather, “and he was a preacher of what he knew, and a sufferer for what he preached.”

Of his wife, Edward Johnson, in the Wonder-Working Providence, writes as follows: “Among all the godly women that came through the perilous seas to war their warfare, the wife of this zealous teacher, Mrs. Sarah Symmes, shall not be omitted. This virtuous woman, endued by Christ with grace fit for a wilderness condition, her courage exceeding her stature, with much cheerfulness did undergo all the difficulties of those times of straits, her God through faith in Christ supplying all wants, with great industry nurturing up her young children in the fear of the Lord; their number being ten [We have the names of twelve, of whom ten were then living], both sons and daughters; a certain sign of the Lord’s intent to people this vast wilderness. God grant they may be as valiant in fight against sin, Satan, and all the enemies of Christ’s kingdom, following the example of their father and grandfather, who have both suffered for the same; in remembrance of whom these following lines are penned:

"Come Zachary, thou must re-edify
 Christ's churches in this desert-land of his,
 With Moses' zeal, stamped unto dust, defy
 All crooked ways that Christ's true worship miss.
 With Spirit's sword and armour girt about,
 Thou layedest on proud prelate's crown to crack,
 And wilt not suffer wolves thy flock to rout,
 Though close they creep, with sheep-skins on their back.
 Thy father's spirit doubled is upon thee, Symmes !
 Then war: thy father fighting died.
 In prayer then prove thou a like champion !
 Hold out till death, and Christ will crown provide."

If these lines have little poetic merit, they aptly express the spirit and life of the Charlestown pastor.

Woburn was settled from Charlestown in 1641. The first settlers had been members of Mr. Symmes’s church and congregation. The first sermon ever preached in Woburn was by Mr. Symmes, November 21, 1641, from the text Jeremiah 4:3 “Thus saith the Lord, break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.” Very appropriate, certainly, to the occasion. Mr. Symmes was present at the formation of the church, August 24, 1642. On that occasion he “continued in prayer and preaching about a space of four or five hours.” [Johnson’s Wonder-Working Providence; Sewall’s Hist. of Woburn] He was also present at the ordination of Mr. Thomas Carter, the first minister, December 2,following. 

He preached the Election Sermon in 1648.

In July 1656, the Quakers first came to Boston. The sect then bearing that name were not the peaceable, order-loving citizens now known to us under that designation. They were people who, professing to have revelations and impulses directly from heaven, made it their special business to disquiet all who differed from them, to the utmost of their power. In England John Fox and others travelled through the land, declaiming against the ministers and churches, interrupting public worship, and refusing any respect the civil magistrate. Some of them, even females, went into meetings for public worship stark naked. Many opened their shops on the Lord’s day, in defiance of the laws. Others went about the streets of London denouncing the judgments of God against the government. [Neal’s Hist. of the Puritans, vol. iv. pp.175,176.]

The advent of these people to New England was dreaded as among the worst of evils. But in 1656, two Quaker women came from Barbados to Boston, as they expressly stated, to propagate their contempt of the ministry and of the civil power. A month later, several other Quakers arrived with similar intent. They continued to come. They would not have been molested, if they had been quiet and peaceable. But they were not peaceable. On Martha’s Vineyard they tried to induce the Indians not to hear Mr. Mayhew, and not to read the scriptures. [Felt’s Eccl. Hist. of N.E., vol. ii. p.162] In other places their conduct was in the highest degree riotous, turbulent and provoking. They were continually disturbing congregations assembled for public worship. Margaret Brewster went into a meeting-house with her face smeared over with black paint. Deborah Wilson went through the streets of Salem naked, as a sign to the people. Lydia Wardwell went into a meeting-house in Newbury, as naked as she was born. The Quakers in those days were not so much a religious sect as a band of miscreants. Bishop Burnet, whose opinion is worthy of respect, says they were dangerous to the peace of the community.

The General Court of Massachusetts passed an act against the Quakers, imposing heavy fines, sentencing offenders to prison and banishing them from the colony. Some of them, after being sent away, returned a second or third time, notwithstanding that the penalty of death was denounced upon them in case of their return. [Ibid, vol.ii. 211, et seq.; Palfrey, ii. 464, &c.]

The government were very reluctant to proceed to extremities. But exercising the right which every householder has to clear his house of disorderly persons, and finding that these wretches, after being sent away, would still return, and, as some of them avowed, for the express purpose of defying and trampling upon the laws of the land, the executive authority made use of the last resort: they hanged four of these Quakers. [Felt’s Eccl. Hist. N.E., ii.pp. 208, 211 et seq. 254; Palfrey, ii. 464 et seq.] But they were not hanged for being Quakers; they were not thus dealt with, nor were they fined, imprisoned or banished, for opinion’s sake, but for riot and sedition, for endeavoring the overthrow of the civil authority, and for disturbing the public peace.

While some of these Quakers were in prison, Mr. Symmes visited them for religious conversation suited to their need. For this and similar efforts he was grievously reviled by the Quakers.

The latter part of the life of Mr. Symmes was embittered by the conduct of some of the members of his church, who were among the founders of the First Baptist Church in Boston. This church was originally gathered in Charlestown, about the year 1665. Thomas Gould, a member of Mr. Symmes’s church, had a child born to him in 1655, which he withheld from baptism. For this, and for absenting himself from the worship and ordinances of that church, in disregard of covenant vows, he was repeatedly admonished, and at length, with some others, excommunicated. They were also prosecuted in the civil courts. The Baptist historians blame Mr. Symmes for the part he took in these proceedings. But he, in common with his brethren, honestly regarded Mr. Gould and his associates as disturbers of the public peace. They remembered the disturbances and murders caused by the Anabaptists in Germany the century previous. They feared the influence of the principles now held by the Baptists in common with those incendiaries. Mr. Symmes and those who acted with him are not to be blamed for not possessing the light we now enjoy. Moreover, the Congregationalists of that day supposed that as they had, at the cost of much labor, expense and suffering, procured on those shores an asylum for themselves and their brethren of like faith, it was a grievous wrong for persons of a different faith and maintaining other forms of worship, to intrude among them, when there was room enough elsewhere. They considered themselves as acting in self-defence. These considerations should shield them from the charge of persecution. The charge is utterly groundless. [Felt’s Eccl. Hist. N.E., ii. 138, 151, 341, 362, 371, 513; Palfrey, iii. 89, 90.]

In 1648, and about that time, the salary of Mr. Symmes was ninety pounds sterling. Only one other minister in the colony, the eloquent and eminent John Cotton, of Boston, had as much. Thomas Weld of Roxbury, John Knowles of Watertown, and Ezekiel Rogers of Rowley, had eighty pounds each. Others had from seventy pounds each down to twenty pounds. Thomas Allen, the colleague of Mr. Symmes, had sixty pounds. These salaries and public taxes generally, were paid, for the most part, not in cash, but in the produce of the farm. [Felt’s Eccl. Hist. N.E., ii, 3; Palfrey, ii. 57; Sewall’s Hist. of Woburn, p.50. Silver was scarce; the most that had been brought over, was sent back to England for supplies.]

The church of Charlestown was gathered November 2, 1632, and the records, still in existence, and in good preservation, begin at that time. From that date till 1677, it appears that five hundred and twenty persons were admitted to full communion in this church, of whom two hundred were males. Of this period of forty-five years, thirty-seven years belonged to the ministry of Mr. Symmes. It is probable, therefore, that during his ministry more than four hundred persons were added to his church.

A synod, assembled in Boston in 1662, introduced into New England churches what has long been known as the “half-way covenant”, whereby persons baptized in infancy, on coming to maturity and owning the covenant made by their parents at their baptism, were entitled to have their children baptized, without themselves coming to the communion. This new practice was strenuously resisted by many, while others, among whom was Mr. Symmes, were its zealous advocates. The practice was immediately introduced into his church. In this affair, as in others, he acted in concurrence with such men as Richard, Eleazar and Increase Mather, Thomas Shepard, John Wilson, John Allin, Samuel Whiting, Thomas Cobbett, John Higginson and John Ward. *

* The compiler hopes that in this instance, as in others, he will be understood simply as acting the part of the faithful historian, in stating the facts as they were. He does not undertake any justification of the practice.

The town of Charlestown gave Mr. Symmes a tract of three hundred acres of land, extending from the north end of Mystic Pond to the borders of Woburn. In his will he calls it “my farm near Woburn”. It continued for a long time within the limits of Charlestown, but is now included within the town of Winchester. A more particular description is reserved for the notice of his eldest son William, who owned it after his father’s death. Part of it, fifty or sixty acres, remains in the possession and occupancy of his descendants to this day.

The town of Charlestown also granted to Mr. Symmes three hundred acres in the “Land of Nod”, the history of which is as follows:

The town of Woburn was separated from Charlestown in 1642, but the divisional line between the two towns was not established till eight years after. There had been some misunderstanding about the line, which was at length quieted by an arrangement entered into July 29, 1650, by a committee mutually chosen. By this arrangement Charlestown relinquished to Woburn five hundred acres of land, beginning at the east corner of Edward Convers’s farm, which was in Woburn, and running north to Charlestown Head Line; in exchange for which Woburn ceded to Charlestown three thousand acres lying further north.

Edward Convers lived near where the Orthodox church in Winchester now stands. His farm, of course, was in the neighborhood of his house, including what was long known as Convers’s Mill, on the Mystic River, in the present village of Winchester, and now in the occupation of Joel Whitney, or very near it. Mr. Symmes’s farm lay immediately west of the farm of Convers. The arrangement now entered into gave to Woburn the farms and lots on “Richardson’s Row”, now Washington Street, in Winchester, respecting a part of which there had been some dispute. But Woburn relinquished to Charlestown three thousand acres of land, of which the rights of property were to be vested in Charlestown, though considered to be within the bounds of Woburn. When Woburn was incorporated, October 1642, it was four miles square, and the three thousand acres lay at its northern extremity, within the limits of the present town of Wilmington. It was long known as the “Land of Nod”, and is so called by many at the present day. [A mill at that vicinity is still called “Nod’s Mill”]. This name was probably suggested by its forlorn condition, so far from church ordinances, which seemed to justify a comparison with that distant region to which Cain banished himself when he went from the presence of the Lord [Genesis 4:16]. This tract of land lay for many years in a neglected, uncultivated state. It was divided by Charlestown, in 1643, among twelve of her prominent citizens, of whom Mr. Symmes was one. The share given to him was three hundred acres; none had more that this, some had less. But the lots were not surveyed nor staked out till 1718, and were still considered of so little value, that several of the gentlemen resigned their grants to the town again. [Sewall’s Hist. Woburn, pp. 8, 23, 29, 540, 541.] In 1671, Mr. Symmes’s three hundred acres were valued at only five pounds.

Mr. Symmes continued to be pastor of the church in Charlestown till his death, which took place February 4, 1670-1 * at the age of 71 years and ten months.

* A different date is given in the New England General Register, vol. xiii. 207, viz.: February 24, 1671. But Mather, in his Magnalia, says Mr. Symmes died February 4, 1670, which of course is Old Style. Ten days must be added to make it conform to the New Style, and the true date, according to our present mode of reckoning, is February 14, 1671. This also corresponds with the date as given in Hobart’s Journal and in Judge Sewall’s interleaved almanac. (See Geneal. Reg., vii. 206). Moreover, the inventory is dated February 15, 1670-1.

His wife Sarah survived him, dying in 1676. Mather says his epitaph [It is to be regretted that this epitaph now exists only in the Magnalia]represents him as having lived with his wife forty-nine years and seven months, and as having had by her five sons and eight daughters. According to this statement he must have been married to her as early as July, 1621, the year after he graduated at college. He resided in London from 1621 to 1625, and his two eldest children seem to have been born there. We have the names of twelve children, none of whom were born previous to 1625.

He was honorably interred at the expense of the town. His grave was “covered and set comelie” by a stone-work laid in lime, together with a tomb-stone, procured by the selectmen of the town. The epitaph, which has been wholly effaced by the ravages of time, contained the following lines:


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His will is dated January 20, 1664-5; it was proved March 31, 1671, and is recorded Midd. Prob. 3, 234. I have carefully examined the original document, written with his own hand, which I shall here quote exact and entire.

Click HERE to read The Last Will of Zechariah Symmes

The Last Will of Zechariah Symmes

The twentieth day of January 1664, I Zechariah Symmes of Charlestown, New England, being at present through God’s mercy in some competent measure of health, yet daily wayting for my change, have revised the last former draught of my will, but revoking it, do establish this following as my last will and testament, and do hereby appoint my dear and faithful wife Mrs. Sarah Symmes sole executrix thereof. 

First, I commit and commend what I am and have into the hands of my most loving Father and Gracious God in Christ Jesus : my soul immediately upon my death to be received into those heavenly mansions which my blessed Saviour hath prepared for me ; my body to be for a time, in a comely, but not over costly manner, interred, in assured faith and hope that my Saviour will in his time raise up my vile body and make it like his glorious body, and, uniting it to my soul, will continue them forever with himself in perfect blessedness and glore. 

For my temporal estate wherewith the Lord hath blessed me, it is already in good parte disposed of by reason of the mariage of my eldest sonne William, and of six of my daughters, viz., Sarah, Marye, Elizabeth, Huldah, Rebeckah, Deborah. To each of these seven I have already given such a portion, as our own necessities would permit, and that without any partialitie farther than a legacy given to my daughter Brock, and daughter Savage did equity require ; therefore my earnest desire and will is that none of them grudge at any of the other, or trouble their mother in the least wise any further demand, or motion about what is already disposed of. 

For Ruth, my wife hath already set by for her a portion as with a very small enlargement (which I leave to my widow’s discretion) may equal her portion with her sisters. 

For my two sonnes Zechariah and Timothy, to the former upon his going to Rehoboth I gave some books, with some household stuff, and to make up his first dividend, I assign unto him all my library, except what is after mentioned, and provided that soone after my death he oblige himself in a bonde of eighty pounds, together with his heirs and assigns, to pay unto his brother Timothie fourty pounds sterling in money, or merchantable goods at money price, within one year after my decease, or in case his brother Timothy dye before the year expired, then to pay it to my other children surviving, in equal portions, reserving a double portion to my eldest sonne William. 

Other legacies doe some of my dear friends deserve, and therefore may probably expect, but considering my dear widos probable necesseties, and that farr most of our estate came by her, I trust they will take it well though I do dispose of the remainder of my estate in the manner following. 

First, my debts being discharged (which are none that I know of but what my wife is privye unto) and one legacy of five pounds to my dear brother Mr. William Symmes, to which I know my wife will be as willing as myself, it being but a small remembrance of his very great love and costs to us and ours, I then give and bequeath to my faithful and dearly beloved wife, the whole use and benefit of all my temporal estate, consisting in lands, houses, cattell, moneye, plate, with all other goods and moveables which the Lord hath given, to her own proper use, to have, hold and enjoy during the whole time of her widowhood. In case she shall see good to marry, which I suppose she will never do without good advice, then I take it for granted that it will be with one that may bring some comfortable outward estate with him, and therefore in case she shall marry I give a third part of my whole estate to be equally divided among my children then living, only a double part to my eldest sonne, and at her death the other two thirds to be alike divided, only I give her liberty and power at her decease to dispose of fifty pounds sterling to any of her children or any other of her relatives or friends as she shall see mete. Further, out of my books and papers, I give her that large English Bible wch was her mothers, also such books as I have of Doc Sibs or Doc Prestons, also a book of Baynes letters, and about comfortable walking with God. Also all my notes and sermons, one book in octavo upon 16th Matthew 24 and 17 cap of John, 2 small books of my latter sermons, one in decimo sexto, the other hath yet but a few sermons. Also I give to my eldest sonne Fulke on Rhem. Test. with 4 books in quarto of Mr. Bolton’s works, as also a fourth part of such manuscripts either mine owne or my father’s sermons, as are in papers or stitch, but not bound up. All my written books besides I give to Zech: with the rest of the manuscripts, yet so as upon their requests not to deny the lending of them for a small time to any of their brethren or sisters to peruse for their owne private use only, for I never intended or prepared anything of mine to be put in print. 

Item. At my wives death I give my farm neere Woburne and land at Nottimos to my eldest sonne, provided that he bynde it over to pay onto the rest of my children a hundred pounds in equall portions in two years time : 50 pounds per annum. 

Item. I give to all my sonnes in law, at the death of my wife, to each of them thirty shillings for a ring, or any other meanes of remembering my love to them ; and to each of my grandchildren, by nature or by law, thirteen shillings four pence for a spoone.

Witnesses. Francis Norton, Joshua Teed [Tidd].


The following is, with some slight omissions, the will of Mrs. Sarah Symmes, as found on record in the Suffolk Registry, vol. vi. fol. 145. It was proved December 28, 1676.

THE WILL OF SARAH SIMMS, relict of Zechariah Simmes, late of Charlestown.

I do freely give and resigne my soul into the hands of my blessed Creator and Redeemer, desiring for the merit of Christ alone to be accepted, and desire with thankfulness to acknowledge his grace for that measure of assurance thereof which hee hath vouchsafed unto mee. And for that temporall Estate which I have which is onely ffifty pound, which my husband in his last will and Testament gave me liberty to dispose of as I saw good, I do dispose and give as followeth

  • I do give unto my son Zachary Simms fifteen pounds.
  • I do give to my grandchild Margaret Prout ten pounds.
  • I give to my son Timothy Simms seven pounds.
  • I give unto my grandchild Margaret Davis five pounds.
  • I give to my grandchild Hannah Davis five pounds.

The remaining eight pounds I give to my son William Simms, to my son John Broke and to his wife, to my son Zachary Simms and to his wife, to my son Timothy Simms and to his wife, to my son Timothy Prout and to his wife, to my son Humphrey Booth, to my son Edward Willies and his wife, to each an equal part for to buy each of them a Ring, which I desire them to accept as a token of my love, I not having farther to give unto them. 

Thomas Savage and Edward Willis were Executors.

Mr. Symmes had by his wife Sarah, according to Cotton Mather, thirteen children, five sons and eight daughters. We find but ten mentioned in the foregoing will ; the same number assigned to him by Johnson – this being the number living in 1652, the date of the “Wonder-Working Providence”. Eight were born in England, of whom seven accompanied him to this country. Five were born afterwards.


Second Generation

The Children of ZECHARIAH and SARAH

Born in London, England

  • [2] A son, born about 1623. This must be supposed, to make out the number assigned to him by Mather. Died early.
  • [3] SARAH, born about 1625; married first Rev. Samuel Haugh; married second Rev. John Brock, both of Reading.

Born in Dunstable, England

  • [4] WILLIAM, baptized 10 January 1626-7; married first Sarah (?) ….; second Mary ….
  • [5] MARY, baptized 16 April 1628; married Thomas Savage.
  • [6] ELIZABETH, baptized 1 January 1629-30; married Hezekiah Usher.
  • [7] HULDA, baptized 18 March 1630-1; married William Davis.
  • [8] HANNAH, baptized 22 August 1632; unmarried; died early.
  • [9] REBECCA, baptized 12 February 1633-4; married Humphrey Booth.

Born in Charlestown, New England

  • [10] RUTH, born 18 October 1635; married Edward Willis, 15 June 1668.
  • [11] ZECHARIAH, born 9 January 1637-8; married first Susannah Graves; married second Mehitable Dalton.
  • [12] TIMOTHY, born 7 May 1640; died 25 September 1641.
  • [13] DEBORAH, born 28 August 1642; married Timothy Prout, 13 December 1664, his second wife; his first wife’s name was Margaret. 
  • [14] TIMOTHY, born 1643; married first Mary Nichols; married second Elizabeth Norton.

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

  • It extended from the north end of Mystic Pond to the confines of Woburn.
  • It had Mystic Pond on the south-west.
  • The Gardiner farm, originally granted to Increase Nowell of Charlestown, afterwards owned by Samuel Gardiner, and recently by Hon. Edward Everett, was on the west.
  • On the north it extended to what was from 1753 till 1850 the boundary line between Medford and Woburn.
  • It lay on both sides of the Aberjona (by some called Mystic, often called Symmes’s) River.
  • It had on its west border the road which is now known as Church Street.
  • Most of it, nearly all, lay west of what is now Main Street, in Winchester.
  • On the north-west lay the farm originally granted to Dea. Edward Convers, and long occupied by his descendants.
  • The main body of the farm, on which the houses stood, was found on the survey to contain 279 acres and 64 poles.
  • The meadow called Bare Meadow, which appears to have been in the south part of what is now Stoneham, contained 11 acres and 126 poles.
  • And the salt marsh * at Menotomy, 9 acres and 15 poles.

* [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:

  • various articles of household furniture to her eldest son, William [3] Symmes of Charlestown;
  • idem to her son Timothy Symmes, of Scituate;
  • idem to her daughter Mary Torrey, to whom she gives all her wearing apparel;
  • to her daughter Elizabeth Torrey a ticking bed and feathers, lying in the best chamber;
  • her son Nathaniel Symmes she makes her executor and residuary legatee.

From all which we gather that the children of Captain William Symmes were – by his first wife:

  • +15. SARAH [3], born 1652; married Rev. Moses Fiske of Braintree.

By second wife MARY, afterwards Mrs. Torrey:

  • 16. MARY [3], born 1676; married (one of the) Torrey brothers.
  • +17. WILLIAM [3], born 1678; married Ruth Convers.
  • +18. TIMOTHY [3], born 1683; married Elizabeth (Collamore) Rose.
  • 19. ELIZABETH [3], married (the other) Torrey brother.
  • +20. ZECHARIAH [3].
  • +21. NATHANIEL [3].

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:-

  • To wife Mary Savage the use of his new house at Hog Island, with the new garden and orchard, forty acres of marsh, five cows, two oxen, eight swine and seventy sheep, divers articles of house-keeping goods, sheets, beds, &c., also a Negro maid.
  • To his daughter Hannah Gillam, £180, and £50 to each of her three children.
  • To his daughter Mary Thacher, £150, and £50 to each of her four children.
  • To his grandson Thomas Savage, son of testator’s son Ephraim Savage, deceased, £150, and £50 to each of his three children.
  • To the testator’s daughter Higginson, all his land in Salem Town, or £200, whichever she may choose.
  • To her daughter Mary Higginson, £50.
  • To the testator’s daughter Dinnice (Dionysia), £100.
  • To his son Ebenezer, £300.
  • To his son Benjamin, £300.
  • To his son Perez, £300.

Total, £2830, besides the house, farm, &c. 

The children of THOMAS and MARY (SYMMES) SAVAGE were:

  • +22. SARAH (Savage), born 25 June 1653; married Hon. John Higginson.
  • 23. ZECHARIAH (Savage), born 26 December 1654; died 23 August 1656.

Probably also:

  • 24. EBENEZER (Savage).
  • 25. BENJAMIN (Savage).

[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:-

  • 27. SUSANNA [3], born 11 October 1670; married John Chickering, of Charlestown; second, Benjamin Stevens, 18 October 1715.
  • 28. SARAH [3], born 20 May 1672; married Joshua Scottow, 25 May 1697.
  • +29. ZECHARIAH [3], born 13 March 1674; married Dorcas Brackenbury.
  • 30. CATHARINE [3], born 29 March 1676.
  • +31. THOMAS [3], born 1 February 1677-8; married first, Elizabeth Blowers; second, Hannah Pike; third, Eleanor (Thompson) Moody.
  • 32. WILLIAM [3], born 7 January 1679-80; married Eliza Langdon, Boston, 13 June 1706.
  • 33. REBECCA [3], born 20 July 1681; married Ebenezer Osgood [4] of Andover, 20 December 1710. He was born in Andover 16 March 1685, son of John [3] born 1654, son of John [2] born 1631 in Old England, who came with his father John [1] Osgood and settled in Andover 1644 or 5. The children of Ebenezer and Rebecca (Symmes) Osgood were:- Ebenezer, Rebecca, Susanna, Ruth.

[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:

  • 35. TIMOTHY [3], born 18 November 1672.
  • 36. ELIZABETH [3], born 24 JuIy 1674; married James Herrick 19 January 1708-9. 
  • 37. SARAH [3], born 6 August 1676.



(Click on any UPPER CASE name within these Trees to view the known details)

The grandchildren of Rev. Zechariah via Captain William:

[1] Rev Zechariah
[4] Captain William

The grandchildren of Rev. Zechariah via his son Zechariah:

[1] Rev Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[27] Susanna[28] Sarah[29 ] ZECHARIAH[30] Catherine[31] THOMAS[32] WILLIAM[33] Rebecca

The grandchildren of Rev. Zechariah via his son Timothy:

[1] Rev Zechariah
[14] Timothy
[34] Timothy[35] Timothy[36] Elizabeth[37] Sarah

[15] SARAH SYMMES, daughter of Capt. William Symmes of Charlestown; born 1652; married 7 November 1672 Rev. Moses Fiske, pastor of the church in Braintree, then including the present town of Quincy. 

Moses Fiske was born in Wenham, 1643; graduated Harvard College 1662 in the class with the renowned Solomon Stoddard, of Northampton; was ordained at Braintree, now Quincy, 11 September 1672, being the third minister of that place; and was pastor there thirty-six years, till his death 20 August 1708, aged 66. 

He appears to have enjoyed and retained the affections of his flock. The following testimony to his worth is given in the Diary of John Marshall, who sat under his ministry and knew him well: 

“This excellent person was ordained pastor of the church in Braintree in September 1672, in which sacred employment he continued till his dying day, a diligent, faithful laborer in the harvest of Jesus Christ; studious in the Holy Scriptures, having an extraordinary gift in prayer above many good men; and in preaching equal to the most, inferior to few; zealously diligent for God and the good of men; one who thought no labor, cost or suffering too dear a price for the good of his people. His public preaching was attended with convincing light and clearness, and powerful, affectionate application; and his private oversight was performed with humility and unwearied diligence. He lived till he was near sixty-five years of age, beloved and honored of the most that knew him. On the 18th of July, being the Lord’s day, he preached all day in public, but was not well. The distemper continued and proved a malignant fever. Small hope of his recovery being entertained, his church assembled together and earnestly besought the Great Shepherd of the sheep, that they might not be deprived of him. But Heaven had otherwise determined, for on Tuesday, August 10 [equivalent to August 21, New System], he died about one in the afternoon and was with suitable solemnity and great lamentation interred in Braintree, in his own tomb, the 12th day.”

The town of Braintree voted June 18, 1672, to give Mr. Fiske, by a town tax, the sum of sixty pounds in money as a yearly salary, with the use of a house to be kept in good repair by the town, and six acres of land to be fenced by them. In 1674 his salary for that year was increased to eighty pounds. During his ministry one hundred and forty-seven members were added to the church. The baptisms were seven hundred and seventy-nine. 

Mrs. Sarah (Symmes) Fiske, his first wife, died 2 December 1692 having borne him fourteen children. His second wife, to whom he was married January 7, 1700-1, was Ann (Shepard) Quincy, born 1663, daughter of Rev. Thomas Shepard who has been already mentioned as a colleague of Rev. Zechariah Symmes, of Charlestown. She was the widow of Daniel Quincy, born 1681, son of the second Edmund Quincy, of Braintree. She died July 24, 1708, aged 45, less that three weeks before his own decease.

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[17] WILLIAM SYMMES, eldest son of Captain William and Mary Symmes, of Charlestown; born 1678; married Ruth Convers 7 December 1704. She was born in Woburn 28 May 1686 and was the eldest daughter of Captain Josiah and Ruth (Marshall) Convers, of that place. Though living in two separate towns, the two families were near neighbors. 

Mr. Symmes was a clothier by trade, as we learn from some old papers. He had the whole of his father’s large landed property. Some of it came by inheritance, and some by purchase from the other heirs. Until 1754 it was regarded as being in Charlstown; but in that year it was annexed to Medford and is now in Winchester. 

The town of Medford had long been straitened for room. Several attempts had been made for an enlargement of its territory. At length a petition, dated 13 December 1753, was signed by a committee of the town appointed for the purpose, asking that a certain tract in Charlestown, lying south of Medford, might be annexed to Medford. The petition says:

“The northerly tract is bounded on the south by the north line of Medford and the southerly bounds of Mr. Symmes’s farm, west by the line that divides Mr. Symmes’s from Mr. Gardiner’s farm, north by the line of Woburn and Stoneham, east by Malden line”.

The reasons assigned were the contracted limits of Medford, containing only about two thousand acres, surrounded almost wholly by Charlestown, and the fact that the inhabitants of the northerly tract [ the Symmes family, &c. ] were but two miles from the Medford meeting-house where they attended meeting without paying for the privilege; while they were obliged to go seven miles to attend town meetings, training &c., in Charlestown. 

The petition was presented to the General Court and granted 17 April 1754. After that date, Mr. Symmes’s farm was in Medford till 1850, when it became part of the new town of Winchester. [Brooks’s History of Medford, pp. 107-109.] 

Tradition reports that the land included in the Symmes farm was formerly the abode of a portion of the tribe of Indians called by the euphonious name of Aberginians. It is said that it contained twenty-seven wigwams. The story is likely to be true, for here were Mystic Pond and the Aberjona River [here known as “Symmes’s River”], both very convenient for fishing. Nanepashemit, the sachem of the larger tribe called the Pawtuckets, whose sway extended to the Merrimack River, and who was killed in 1619 in an attack upon his tribe by the Tarratines from the Penobscot River, lived in the near vicinity, somewhere on Mystic or Aberjona River. It was his son, Sagamore John, of Mystic [Medford], who, before his death at Medford on 5 December 1633, wished to go to the God of the Christian people. The widow of Nanepashemit, in 1639, sold to the town of Charlestown all the land on the west of Mystic Pond, bounded north by Increase Nowell’s lot (the Gardiner farm), west by Cambridge Common, south by the land of Mr. Cooke. This seems to have included the Symmes farm, for after her death it was claimed on 25 March 1662 by William Symmes, son of Rev. Zechariah. Or rather, the claim was for the land at the upper end of the Pond, which the squaw-sachem had reserved for her use and the use of the Indians, to plant and hunt upon, “and the weare above the Pond for the Indians to use in fishing”, during her life. This “weare” must have been in the Symmes farm. [Brook’s History of Medford, p. 72 et seq.] It is where the Aberjona River enters the Pond, and we are sure that this river at that place and for some distance north divided the Symmes farm from the lot of Increase Nowell. 

Mr.Symmes built a clothing mill on the Aberjona River, near where the railroad bridge now crosses that stream. It was a little north of the spot where, not long ago, Mr. Robert Bacon’s dam stood. A little island in the small pond near the railroad bridge shows where the waste-way was. His house was on the left bank, or eastern side of the river, nearly opposite the house of Mr. John Bacon, son of Robert Bacon. He afterwards built a large house on the spot where John Bacon’s house now stands. This was on the west side of the river; it was occupied by his sons Timothy and John after him. His grandson John Symmes was born there. The first house built on the farm, where Captain William Symmes probably once lived, was further north on the west side of the river and very near the old line between Charlestown and Woburn. 

William Symmes of Charlestown, gentleman, was surety on 24 March 1726 with John Richardson of Medford, for Elizabeth Richardson, widow of Captain James Richardson, late of Woburn. 

His papers, still in existence, show him to have been a man of business and of influence. His farm had been reduced to eighty acres at the time of his death. This was caused by his having conveyed portions of it to his sons during his life-time, the deeds not having effect till after his death. 

He died May 24, 1764, aged 86. His wife Ruth died March 16, 1758. The gravestones of both are standing in the old cemetery in Woburn. 

His will is dated 27 November 1761; proved 16 April 1766; recorded Midd. Prob. Records, xxix. 192. He calls himself William Symmes, of Medford, yeoman. He leaves legacies to his sons Zechariah, Josiah, Timothy, John and William, and his daughter Mary Munroe. To his sons Zechariah, Josiah, Timothy and John he gives his dwelling=house, barn, the mill, and about eighty acres of land; the land to be equally divided among these four sons. The portion of each is particularly described and cannot conveniently be noted here. To his son William he gives the whole expense he, the father, had incurred for his education at school and at college, and £13 6s 8d besides — equivalent to forty dollars. 

Inventory of his estate — Real, £490 3s 4d; Personal, £33 16s 1d.

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[18] TIMOTHY SYMMES, brother of the preceding and second son of Captain William Symmes, of Charlestown; born about 1683; married Elizabeth (Collamore) Rose, July 31, 1710, widow of Jeremiah Rose and daughter of Captain Anthony Collamore, of Scituate. 

Weymouth, which was the home of his mother and his home for many years, is but a few miles from Scituate. We are not surprised, therefore, at finding him there in 1707, nor at the fact that he spent the remainder of his life there. 

I have before me a letter from him to his brother William, dated Scituate 28 June 1707. He sympathizes with him on the loss they had lately sustained (the death of their step-father, Rev. Samuel Torrey of Weymouth, who died 21 April 1707) and proceeds: “My heart’s desire and prayer to God is that he would make us sensible of our sins against him, which provoke him to …. remove him who was so eminently serviceable for Christ and his kingdom. We all have great cause to say, ‘Against Thee, Thee only have we sinned’, &c. Let us fly to Christ for mercy and pardon. He has promised that he will hearken to our cries and pardon our iniquities, though great”. He then reverts to his temporal affairs, speaks of working at a trade, and of his master as exceedingly kind, and loth to part with him, but as not wishing to hinder him in any plans he may make for his own advantage. “For reasonable terms”, he says, “I shall depart”. He then proposes that his brother meet him on the ensuing Wednesday, to talk over his plans for the future. He thinks of going to Woburn to settle in three or four weeks. At the close he says: “Give my duty unto uncle and aunt, and my kind salutations to the lady of my best affections, Miss R.B.” 

The uncle and aunt probably were his mother’s brother and sister. The “Miss R.B.” he did not marry, as it seems. 

He at length settled on a farm near the centre of South Scituate, Mass., on the Boston road, where his grandson John Cleves Symmes visited him in 1762. He died in 1765, aged 82.

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[20] ZECHARIAH SYMMES, brother of the preceding and third son of Captain William Symmes of Charlestown; born 168… Unmarried. 

About all we know of him is derived from a letter written by him to his brother William Symmes and wife, dated 21 January 1706 which is Old Style and is equivalent to 1 February 1707, New Style. From this letter it appears that about three weeks previously he had sailed from Boston in a vessel commanded by Captain Mears, with a cargo of farm produce, such as onions, cranberries, &c., suited to a West India market. The vessel could not have been of large size, since he mentions as officers only Captain Mears and a mate, a brother of the captain. Some days after sailing, a conspiracy was discovered to take possession of the vessel after first taking the lives of Captain Mears, his brother, and young Symmes. There were, he says, three blood-thirsty men who had this design, two of them Frenchmen and the third a runaway, a deserter from the navy. The design having been discovered, Captain Mears, his brother and young Symmes armed themselves, took possession of all the ammunition, drove the conspirators below, and kept them prisoners under the hatches eight or nine days, until they came under the guns of a fort in Jamaica, when they delivered them to a British man-of-war, receiving better men in their room. He ascribes his deliverance to the mercy of God. The letter breathes the language of ardent affection for his brothers and sisters, and for his “honoured parents”, who at this time were Mr. and Mrs. Torrey of Weymouth. He says nothing about a wife, and it is probable he had none. 

His home was in Boston. He died, either during this voyage or soon after his return , 19 June 1707. His brother William was administrator, cum testamento annexo, and rendered an inventory on 28 October 1708. Among the items are money received which was due from the two-thirds of their father’s estate, £47 3s 9d; money in reversion expected from one-third of the father’s estate upon the death of Mary Torrey, widow (the mother), £23 11s 10d; “Mem. Logwood in the Bay of Campeachy, belonging to the deceased, not received”. [Suff. Prob., xvi. 48]

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[21] NATHANIEL SYMMES, brother of the preceding and youngest son of Captain William Symmes; born about 1690. His mother, in a petition to the Probate Court in March 1692-3, prays that she may be appointed guardian to her youngest child, Nathaniel, in order that she may have legal power to improve the mill stream given to said child, by making lease of the same till said child becomes of age. The mill privilege seems, however, never to have come into his immediate possession. His brother William bought it. 

He became of age about 1710 or 1711. We infer this from some receipts before us of money paid by William Symmes in November 1712 to Israel Walker and Oliver Noyes, who had supplied Nathaniel with goods out of their stores in Boston. 

He was a cordwainer in Boston and was living in 1720 when his mother, Mrs. Mary Torrey, in her will made him her executor and residuary legatee. We have no further information respecting him. It is not known whether he had a family.

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[29] ZECHARIAH SYMMES, eldest son of [11] Rev. Zechariah Symmes of Bradford, and grandson of [1] Rev. Zechariah Symmes of Charlestown; born in Bradford 13 March 1674; married Dorcas Brackenbury 28 November 1700. 

He was of Charlestown and died between 1709 and 1713. His widow Dorcas signed a deed on 4 March 1712-13. [Brief details of their son [71] Zechariah appear under “Fourth Generation”. Their other children were [72] Dorcas, [73] John Brackenbury, and [74] William]. 

It is altogether probable that there are, or have been, descendants of this family. I have not found them, except they be found in the following schedule, which I make out from the Malden records, as copied in the New England Genealogical Register, vol. xi. pp. 129, 130, 211, 213. 

[Probable Fifth Generation] Children of John Brackenbury Symmes and Elizabeth …, born in Malden:

  • [75] Elizabeth, born 22 May 1721
  • [76] John, born 13 August 1722
  • [77] Mary, born 16 August 1724
  • [78] Sarah, born 11 March 1727-8

I am fully persuaded that ‘John Simms’ of Malden, the father of these children, is identical with John Brackenbury Symmes, second son of [29] Zechariah Symmes and Dorcas Brackenbury.

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[31] Rev. THOMAS SYMMES, brother of the preceding and second son of [29] Zechariah Symmes of Bradford; born there 1 February 1677-8; married first Elizabeth Blowers of Cambridge, a sister of the Rev. Thomas Blowers of Beverly. She died 6 April 1714. He married second, Hannah Pike 28 March 1715, daughter of Rev. John Pike of Dover, N.H. She died in childbed 1 February 1718-19. He married third, Eleanor (Thompson) Moody, 19 January 1720-1. She was born 9 November 1679 and was daughter of Benjamin Thompson, and granddaughter of Rev. William Thompson, first minister of Braintree, and widow of Eleazar Moody of Dedham. She survived her second husband. 

He was instructed in the rudiments of the Latin language by his father. His preparation for college was completed at Charlestown under the able tuition of Mr. Emerson, a distinguished teacher. He was admitted to Harvard College in 1694 and graduated there in 1698, decidedly the first scholar in his class. He remained two years longer at Cambridge to perfect his education, through aid received from Mr. Brattle and other benefactors. He was ordained 30 December 1702, the first minister of Boxford. During his pastorate there of only six years, seventy-two persons were added to that church. He met with difficulties, however, the nature of which is not known; but they greatly tried his patience and led him in 1706 to think of a removal. 

By the death of his father, March 1707-8, the way was opened for his resettlement in Bradford, a town joining Boxford, and he was installed there December 1708. His salary was one hundred pounds, paid in a depreciated currency. The smallness of his salary subjected him to great embarrassments, so that he could not bring up any of his sons to college as he wished, though they possessed promising talents. 

He was a minister at Bradford nearly seventeen years and during that time two hundred and thirty persons were added to that church. At one time, 11 June 1723, two hundred and thirty-four persons united in the communion. In the year 1720, fifty-nine persons were admitted, forty-six of them in three months and twenty-five in one day. At the time of his death there were but one hundred and twenty families in the town. 

He was a man of earnest piety. His walk was close with God, as appears from documents now in existence. He was very conscientious and punctual in the duty of secret prayer – considering this, with the daily reading of the Bible, an eminent means of security from temptations. In all his difficulties and straits he had recourse to a prayer-hearing God. He had faith in the covenant of grace. In one place he says: “I found much comfort and encouragement in pleading the covenant with God, urging the prayers laid up for me in heaven, offered by my godly ancestors. My dear children! if you ever see this, remember that you are children of many prayers. But trust not to that: pray for yourselves”. May his posterity remember this! With prayer he united fasting, observing sometimes stated and sometimes occasional seasons for seeking the divine direction and blessing. 

In sacred music he took great delight and was himself a good singer. To this exercise he attended in his own family, on the morning and evening of every Sabbath; and in the latter part of his life, every day. He did what he could to reform the practice of singing in public worship, which had been very low. He introduced many new tunes and preached on the subject. He published, in 1722, a “Joco-Serious Dialogue concerning Regular Singing”. It is full of wit and sarcasm and was designed to ridicule the opposers of what he calls “regular singing”, that is, singing by rule or “singing by note” which he strongly advocated in preference to the old method of “lining out the hymns” and singing by impulse. It is a tract of sixty or more pages, and he informs us that he wrote it in a single day, adding a few quotations afterward. 

He also printed a sermon entitled “The Brave Lovewell Lamented”, prefixed to which is an account of the “Fight at Pigwacket” which is said to be the most authentic record of that sanguinary affair. *

* The fight took place in the present town of Fryeburg, Maine, 8 May 1725 Old Style, answering to 19 May New Style. Captain John Lovewell, with thirty-three men, encountered a much superior force of Indians under the noted Paugus. The Indians took them in front and rear. The action lasted from ten A.M. till sunset, or about ten hours. Notwithstanding the great disparity of force the Indians had the worst of it and retired from the field soon after sunset. Of our thirty-three men only twelve lived to return home. Captain Lovewell and twelve of his men lay dead on the field. –[Symmes’s Memoir; Sewall’s History of Woburn].

His other published works were:

  • “A Legacy of Advice to the Church of Bradford”
  • “A Monitor for Delaying Sinners”
  • “An Artillery Election Sermon, 1720”
  • “A Sermon at the Ordination of Rev. Joseph Emerson at Malden, 1721”
  • “A Funeral Sermon for Rev. Thomas Barnard, 1718”
  • “Against Prejudice

He was a man of much intellectual ability, diligently cultivated by close study. His library contained many of the books of his father and grandfather, and for those days was somewhat large. He usually reviewed his classical studies once a year. In his family he sometimes fluently rendered the Hebrew Bible into English. 

In religious sentiment he was thoroughly Calvinistic. He was diligent in visiting his people, especially the sick – always aiming to give the conversation a religious direction. He loved to preach and embraced every opportunity for performing this service. In the pulpit his manner was animated and impressive. 

His constitution was naturally vigorous and he seemed to enjoy almost perfect health till his last sickness, which lasted only ten days. He often expressed a desire that he might not live to be old, nor outlive his usefulness. His wish was granted. He preached the last Sabbath but one before he died, though in much weakness and suffering. He died of bleeding profusely at the nose, which rapidly reduced his strength. He fell asleep in Jesus, October 6, 1725, in the 48th year of his age.* 

* This account is largely derived from a memoir of Mr. Symmes by his nearest neighbor, Rev. John Brown of Haverhill, printed in 1726, re-printed 1816.

“He was a public blessing, highly esteemed in his life, much lamented at his death”. [Boston News Letter, October 1725] 

“The name of Mr. Symmes”, says Rev. James T McCollom, pastor in Bradford from 1845 to 1865, now pastor in Medford near Boston, who succeeded him in the ministry, “is fragrant to this day in this vicinity. Perhaps no one in the region was more useful in the ministry”. He was much beloved by his people. [Details of his children [80] Thomas, [81] Andrew, [82] John, [84] Elizabeth and [85] Zechariah appear under “Fourth Generation”]. 

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[32] WILLIAM SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born in Bradford 7 January 1679-80; married Elizabeth Langdon of Boston 13 June 1706. They lived in Boston and had [88] Elizabeth born 20 March 1706-7.



(Click on any UPPER CASE name within these Trees to view the known details)

The great-grandchildren of Rev. Zechariah via [17] William:

[1] Rev Zechariah
[4] Captain William
[17] William

The great-grandchildren of Rev. Zechariah via [18] Timothy:

[1] Rev Zechariah
[4] Captain William
[18] Timothy

The great-grandchildren of Rev. Zechariah via [20] Zechariah:

[1] Rev Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[20] Zechariah

The great-grandchildren of Rev. Zechariah via [21] Thomas:

[1] Rev Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas

[54] ZECHARIAH SYMMES, son of [17] William and Ruth (Convers) Symmes; born in what was then Charlestown, now the southern part of Winchester, 1 September 1707; married, 1741, Judith Eames born in Woburn 22 March 1718, eldest child of Dea. Samuel and Judith (Simonds) Eames of Woburn. The name is of late spelled Ames, as pronounced. Dea. Eamos, born in 1692, was son of Samuel born in 1664, who was a son of Robert Eames who was of Charlestown in 1651 but removed to Woburn before 1666. 

He was a farmer and dwelt in the last house in what was then Woburn on the road to Boston. It was opposite the Black Horse Tavern, which is still standing. The house stood on the spot where now stands the dwelling-house of Mrs. Hutchinson. It was a part of the farm of his father, Mr William Symmes, and his grandfather Captain William Symmes. [The line between Woburn and Medford ran between his house and barn, his house being in Woburn, the barn in Medford]. He died there on 19 April 1793 aged 84. 

His will is dated 24 January 1791; proved June 1793. He and his wife Judith, who joins in the will [I have examined perhaps hundreds of wills. In no other instance have I found a wife joining her husband in a will] bequeath to their sons Zechariah, Samuel and William, land in Tewksbury, Woburn (the Wood-Hill lot), Medford and elsewhere, “which we had by her father Ames” [This expression can refer only to a part of what the testator left, for a part came from his ancestors the Symmeses]. They also leave a legacy to their daughter Ruth Prentice and her children. A pew in Woburn meeting-house is also bequeathed; also cattle, hogs and farming utensils. 

Judith, his wife, died 24 July 1795, aged 84 according to gravestone. The church record makes her but 76. 

[Their children were [89] Judith (died young), [90] ZECHARIAH, [91] SAMUEL, [92] Judith], [93] Ruth (died young), [94] Ruth and [95] WILLIAM, detailed under “Fifth Generation”].

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[55] JOSIAH SYMMES, brother of the preceding and second son of William and Ruth (Convers) Symmes; born in the north part of Charlestown, north of Mystic Pond, 7 April 1710; never married. He was doubtless named for his maternal grandfather, Captain Josiah Convers. 

His father’s large farm was divided in 1765 and about a fourth part was assigned to him. His part included the mill, the mill-pond, the house and barn. It bordered, I think, on the great road to Boston, now Main Street in Winchester. It consisted of several detached portions; one of the portions bordered on the west on the Gardiner farm (formerly Increase Nowell’s) in Charlestown. 

He lived, therefore, in the extreme northerly part of Medford in the house standing on the bank of the Aberjona River, on the spot now occupied by John Bacon which since 1850 has been in Winchester. He died previous to 1780, as we learn from a quit-claim signed by his four brothers in July of that year. He must have lived to near the age of 70. 

His father, William Symmes, in 1761 conveyed to him by deed thirty acres of land near Wedge Pond, bounded N.E. on Ebenezer Convers’s land in Woburn, and S.E. on the river called Symmes’s River [the Aberjona].

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[56] TIMOTHY SYMMES, brother of the preceding and third son of William and Ruth (Convers) Symmes; born about 1714; married Elizabeth (or Betsey) Bodge. 

He inherited a portion of his father’s estate, including a portion of the mill. His land was:

  • bounded west by the mill-pond and the river
  • west and south by the land of his brother Josiah Symmes
  • south on land of his brother John Symmes and his nephew Samuel Symmes
  • east and west on the great road, now Main Street in Winchester

In other words, it was on both sides of the road to Boston. It was formerly in Medford, now in Winchester. 

He died in 1784, intestate. The inventory of his estate was exhibited in Court 2 September 1784 by his widow Elizabeth Symmes, administratrix. Real estate £412; Personal estate £72 10s. 

He left three children, all minors, which induces the belief that he was not married till more than 50 years of age. Of his children, Captain Joseph Brown of South Woburn, a near neighbor of Timothy Symmes, was appointed guardian. Elizabeth, widow of Timothy Symmes, was living in 1814. 

[His children were [96] TIMOTHY, [97] DANIEL, [98] Elizabeth and [99] William, details under “Fifth Generation”]

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[58] JOHN SYMMES, brother of the preceding, born about 1720; married 7 November 1754 Abigail Dix of Waltham. Mr. Dix, her father, was selectman of Waltham for several years. She was admitted to the church in West Cambridge, now Arlington, 16 March 1760. 

Mr. Symmes was a farmer and lived in Charlestown until 1754, when he and his father’s farm were annexed to Medford. After his marriage he continued to live in the same house with his father on the spot where now stands the house of John Bacon, in the present town of Winchester, near where the railroad bridge spans the Aberjona River and not far from the Mystic Station. He owned part of the mill and mill privilege; his brother Josiah the other part. Josiah’s part, after his death, was divided between John and Timothy. 

It was more convenient for him to attend church at West Cambridge than at Woburn, and he was admitted to that church 3 September 1758, at which time his children John and Josiah were baptized. On June 19, 1761, his father William Symmes conveyed to John Symmes a considerable portion of his farm in Medford. His land extended to Symmes’s Corner in the south part of what is now Winchester, but was none of it on the south side of the road leading to West Medford. Forty acres, and probably more of his land, are now owned by his descendants. 

His wife Abigail died 28 March 1761 aged 28. He did not marry again. He was living on 21 July 1780, when he signed a quit-claim deed together with his brothers Zechariah and William in favor of their brother Timothy. 

[His children [100] JOHN, [101] JOSIAH and [102] ABIGAIL are detailed under “Fifth Generation”].

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[60] Rev. WILLIAM SYMMES, D.D., brother of the preceding and youngest son of William and Ruth (Convers) Symmes, born in the north part of Charlestown, afterwards included in Medford and since 1850 in Winchester; married 1759 Anna Gee, daughter of Rev. Joshua Gee, pastor of the Second or Old North Church in Boston. She died 18 June 1772 aged 38. He married, second, 26 July 1774 Susanna Powell of Boston, born 1729, a native of England. She died 26 July 1807, aged 79. 

He graduated Harvard College 1750; was tutor there 1755 to 1758; received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from that college in 1803; was ordained pastor of the North Church and Parish in Andover, now the town of North Andover, 1 November 1758 and continued pastor there more than forty-eight years till his death on May 3, 1807 at the age of 77 years 6 months. Rev. Dr. Cummings of Billerica preached the funeral sermon from 2 Corinthians 1:” For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle,” &c. 

He succeeded Rev. John Barnard at North Andover, who is well remembered as a decided opposer of Whitefield and of the “Great Awakening” of 1741. Dr. Symmes is supposed to have entertained similar views and to have been an Arminian, and very nearly if not quite a Unitarian. Rev. Bailey Loring, his successor, was an acknowledged Unitarian. 

“He was”, says Abbott, the historian of Andover, “distinguished for his prudence, his sound moral principle, his unshaken integrity, and his irreproachable conduct.” 

[His son [103] WILLIAM is detailed under “Fifth Generation”]. His other children, all by his first wife Anna, were:

  • [104] Daniel, born 1 October 1761. He settled in Pendleton District, South Carolina; a son of his was a physician in Charlestown in that State. Perhaps Wm. Gilmore Sims, so well known a few years since as a brilliant writer of novels, was of his family, and perhaps not.
  • [105] Joshua Gee, born 11 July 1763; married Mary Elizabeth Jackson, daughter of Dr. Hall Jackson of Portsmouth, N.H. He was a physician in New Gloucester, Me., and died at sea about 1804. His widow died at Portsmouth 6 November 1808 aged 39. [Gravestone in Portsmouth].
  • 106] Elizabeth, born 13 March 1765; unmarried; died 13 August 1784 aged 19.
  • [107] Theodore, born 16 May 1767; unmarried. A physician, settled in Falmouth, Me., and died in New Gloucester, Me.
  • [108] Anna, born 1 April 1768; married Isaac Cazneau, probably a son of Andrew Cazneau of Boston. After residing many years in Andover they removed to Boston where he exercised the trade of a book-binder. She and her husband were living there in November 1841.
  • [109] Convers, born 22 July 1770, died 4 September 1770
  • [110] Lydia, born 29 December 1771.
  • [111] Charlotte, twin sister of Lydia. Both died the next day.

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[62] Rev. TIMOTHY SYMMES, son of Timothy and Elizabeth Symmes of Scituate, Mass.; born 27 May 1714; married first, in 1740, Mary Cleves daughter of Captain John Cleves, a wealthy farmer of Aquabogue, Long Island. She died in 1746 or 1747. He married second, in 1752, Eunice Cogswell daughter of Francis and Hanna Cogswell of Ipswich, Mass. 

He graduated Harvard College 1733. He was ordained pastor of Millington, a parish in the town of East Haddam, Ct., 2 December 1736, on which occasion Rev. Stephen Hosmer of the First Church in that town preached from 1 Timothy vi. 20: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust”. He was a zealous promoter of evangelical religion and a warm friend of the Great Revival of 1741-2. His great activity and fervor in this cause led to his dismission shortly after. He then took charge of the church at Southold, Long Island. In 1744 the Presbytery of New Brunswick sent him to supply vacancies in West New Jersey. He was pastor of the churches in Springfield and New Providence in that state from 1746 to 1750, during which time he twice sat as a member of the Synod of New York. In 1752 he removed to Ipswich, Mass., having been recommended to the people there by Rev. Nathaniel Rogers of that place as a man who had been “driven from his Society in Connecticut ten years before for being so active on the side of religion”. In Ipswich he was an assistant of Mr. Rogers, but it does not appear that he was formally installed as colleague. He continued at Ipswich till his death, 6 April 1756, aged 41. He had been in the ministry twenty years. 

After the death of his first wife, her father, Captain Cleves, took her two little children and kept them till his death in 1760. 

After the death of Mr. Symmes, his widow Eunice married Richard Potter. The children of Mr. Symmes by his first wife Mary were:

  • [112] JOHN CLEVES, born 10 July 1742; married first Anna Tuthill; married second Mary Halsley; married third Susan Livingston.
  • [113 TIMOTHY, born 10 April 1744; married first Abigail Tuthill; married second Mary Harker.
  • [114] William, born 1746; died in infancy.

By his second wife Eunice, born in Ipswich:

  • [115] EBENEZER, born 1754.
  • [116] WILLIAM, born 1756; married Mehitable Moulton.

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[71] ZECHARIAH SYMMES, , eldest son of Zechariah and Dorcas (Brackenbury) Symmes; born Charlestown 13 March 1701-2; married Elizabeth …. 

He lived in Boston and appears to have died before 1725. He had by his wife Elizabeth: [123] Zechariah, born 28 February 1722-3.

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[80] Deacon THOMAS SYMMES, eldest son of Rev. Thomas and Elizabeth (Blowers) Symmes; born in Boxford 11 January 1702-3; married first, 11 November 1725, Martha Call, daughter of Lieutenant Caleb and Ann Call of Charlestown. She died 19 June 1733 aged 28. Caleb Call was admitted to the First Church in Charlestown 6 April 1718, and his wife on 1 January 1720-1. 

He married second, 11 December 1735, Ruth (Hall) Webber, sister of Rev. Willard Hall of Westford; born 1708, daughter of Stephen and Grace (Willis) Hall of Medford and widow of John Webber. She was admitted to the church 9 October 1726 and died 17 January 1743 aged 45. 

He married third, Mary Frothingham 24 July 1753. She was admitted to the church in Charlestown 10 February 1740. 

Mr. Symmes early submitted to the claims of the gospel and was admitted to the First Church in Charlestown 27 March 1720. His first wife, Martha, was admitted 9 October 1726, and his second wife the same day. He was chosen deacon of said church 5 February 1752. 

He passed his life, after the age of childhood, in Charlestown. He was by trade a potter, as we learn from Middlesex Deeds, vol. xxvii. fol. 57. He also kept a store. He died 7 July 1754 aged 51 1/2 years, greatly respected. 

His will is dated 10 December 1753; proved 25 July 1754. He gives to his wife Mary, besides her dower or third part of his real estate, one third part of his personal estate. The residue he gives to his four children, Thomas, Caleb, Elizabeth, Ruth, in equal portions except that Thomas, the eldest son, “by reason of his grievous lameness” is to have two shares, or a double portion. He speaks of his late wife Ruth. Appoints as executors his wife Mary and his two sons, Thomas and Caleb. [Midd. Prob, xlvii. 150]. 

Among the assets in the inventory was “Symbo, negro woman”, appraised at £200; and a silver watch, £40. Whole amount of inventory, all of it personal estate, £1972 8s 6d. 

His children by his first wife, Martha, were:

  • [124] Thomas, born 16 April 1727; unmarried, died 26 July 1756. He was a cordwainer and died intestate.
  • [125] Martha, born 10 August 1729; died 3 September 1745.
  • [126] CALEB, born 10 October 1732 [detailed under “Fifth Generation”]; married Elizabeth Hall

By his second wife, Ruth:

  • [127] Elizabeth, baptized 24 December 1738.
  • [128] Ruth, baptized 6 December 1741.

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[81] ANDREW SYMMES, brother of the preceding and second son of Rev. Thomas and Elizabeth Symmes; born in Boxford 20 May 1704; married Hannah …. He was named Andrew out of respect to Hon. Andrew Belcher, his grandmother’s brother. 

He lived in Boston, was a man of much respectability and was admitted a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1734. He was living in 1764, when he was a witness of the will of his brother John Symmes of Boston. He must also have been living in April 1778 when in a legal instrument his son Andrew has the suffix “Junior”. 

His children, all born in Boston, were:

  • [129] Hanna, born 15 June 1733; married David Mason 5 September 1750.
  • [130] ANDREW, born 19 March 1735 [Detailed under “Fifth Generation”]
  • [131] EBENEZER, born 6 January 1737 [Detailed under “Fifth Generation”]
  • [132] Elizabeth, born 4 March 1738; married Scarborough Hill on 10 March 1768.
  • [133] Thomas, born 3 January 1740.
  • [134] JOHN, born 5 February 1741 [Detailed under “Fifth Generation”]
  • [135] Mary, born 174… ; married William Thompson 2 July 1767.
  • [135a] Sarah, born 174… ; married Samuel Martin 22 September 1779.
  • [136] WILLIAM, born 1753 [Detailed under “Fifth Generation”]
  • [136a] Another daughter, name unknown, was perhaps the wife of John Osborne.

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[82] JOHN SYMMES, Esq., brother of the preceding and third son of Rev. Thomas Symmes, born in Boxford 14 February 1705-6; married first Martha Kneeland 19 December 1728; married second, Philadelphia …. 

He resided in Boston, on the west side of the land of Colonel Wendell. He was a man of high repute there, as will appear from the following obituary notice in the Boston Gazette and News of 1 March 1764: 

“Monday evening last, died here, after a few days illness, of a violent fever, John Symmes, Esq., in the 58th year of his age, Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment of militia of this Town. He was a gentleman of a very courteous and affable disposition, industrious in his business, honest in his dealings with mankind, and pious towards God.”

He died in Boston 27 February 1764. His will is dated on the day of his death; it was proved 23 March 1764 and is on record in the Suffolk Registry, vol. 63, fol. 50.He gives to his wife the use of his real estate during her life, and to his only son Thomas Symmes, &c. The witnesses were Richard Dana,Esq., Andrew Symmes, Zechariah Symmes. 

His wife’s name – certainly uncommon for a lady – does not occur in the will. We obtain it from the Boston town record of births, &c. 

His children by his first wife Martha, all born in Boston, were:

  • [137] Thomas, born 8 September 1729; married Rebecca Marshall 22 March 1753. He was admitted a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1758. He was an only son.

By second wife, Philadelphia …:

  • [138] Elizabeth, born 5 May 1745.
  • [139] Sarah, 13 January 1746-7,
  • [140] Grace, born 29 July 1748.

[No further mention is made of these children in the Symmes Memorial].

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[84] ELIZABETH SYMMES, sister of the preceding and daughter of Rev. Thomas and Elizabeth Symmes; born in Bradford 3 March 1709-10; married Hon. Samuel Danforth of Cambridge. After her father’s death in 1725 she was taken into the family of Rev. Benjamin Wadsworth, president of Harvard College. 

Her husband was baptized 15 November 1696 in Dorchester, being son of Rev. John Danworth of that place. Rev. John was son of Rev. Samuel Danforth of Roxbury, who was born in England in September 1626, and was son of Nicholas Danforth who came to New England in 1634. Rev. Samuel was brother of Hon. Thomas Danworth, who was Deputy Governor of Massachusetts under Bradstreet from 1679 to 1686. 

Hon. Samuel Danforth graduated Harvard College 1715; was Judge of Probate, and of the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Middlesex; and was for several years President of the Executive Council. He was named Mandamus Councillor * – which means an instrument of arbitrary power under the royal government – in 1774.

* The Mandamus Councillors were appointed by the king, in pursuance of the “Regulating Act” passed in May 1774, which took away the chartered rights of Massachusetts. The people every where compelled these Mandamus Councillors to resign. – [Bancroft’s Hist. U.S., vii. 58,95,103,115.]

This last honor, although he had taken the oath for the performance of its duties, the popular clamor obliged him publicly to relinquish. Four thousand people assembled in the open air before the steps of the old Court House in Cambridge on 1 September 1774 determined to resist, at all hazards, the encroachments of the British ministry. They were aroused even to fury, and yet such order prevailed that the low voice of Judge Danforth, now a feeble old man of seventy-eight years, was heard by the whole multitude. He addressed them at some length and closed by giving a written promise, never “to be in any way concerned as a member of the council”. His townsman Judge Lee confirmed his former resignation. Another townsman, Thomas Oliver, resigned the next day. 

Judge Danforth occupied a prominent position in his day. He sat on the bench till the Revolution, a period of thirty-four years, and died at his residence in Cambridge on 27 October 1777, aged 81. Elizabeth (Symmes) Danforth, his wife, died there 13 January 1775, aged 65. 

Their children were:

  • [141] Samuel (Danforth), born August 1740; married first …. Watts of Chelsea; married second Margaret Billings; married third Martha Hall Gray. He graduated Harvard College 1758, studied medicine, practised the healing art many years in Boston, and enjoyed a reputation as a physician seldom equalled. He continued in practice till nearly eighty years of age. “In all difficult cases his opinion was relied on as the utmost effort of human skill”. He died of paralysis 16 November 1827, aged 87.
  • [142] Thomas (Danforth), born 1 September 1744; graduated Harvard College 1762; was a tutor in Harvard College; practised law in Charlestown. Left the country with the British troops when they evacuated Boston in March 1776 and never returned. He died in London in April 1820, aged 76.
  • [143] Elizabeth (Danforth), died at Cambridge in 1816.

[No further mention is made of these children in the Symmes Memorial].

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[85] ZECHARIAH SYMMES, brother of the preceding and youngest son of the Rev. Thomas Symmes; born in Bradford 15 July 1712; married first on 10 July 1735 Grace Parker, born 21 June 1716, eldest daughter of Isaac and Grace (Hall) Parker of Charlestown and niece of the second wife of his brother Thomas Symmes. She died 9 March 1747. 

He married second, 16 June 1748, Elizabeth Locke born in Medford 17 June 1716, eldest daughter of Francis and Elizabeth (Winship) Locke, first of Medford, where this daughter was born, then of Woburn in 1718, and afterwards of West Cambridge, now Arlington. Francis was son of Deacon William Locke of Woburn, the part now Lexington, and grandson of Deacon William Locke of Woburn who was born in London 13 December 1628 and came to New England in 1634 when only six years old. 

Mr. Symmes came to Charlestown when a youth and was admitted to the First Church in that town on 31 October 1731 at the age of nineteen. His wife Grace was admitted to that church 6 December 1735. 

During many years he kept the “Cape Breton Tavern” in Charlestown, which stood near the present “Bunker Hill Tavern”. It was a noted place in those days. The British troops had possession of it after the battle of Bunker Hill and occupied it for barracks. A granddaughter of Mr. Symmes stated that the British built a large oven near the house, the floor consisting of grave-stones found in the neighboring cemetery. 

Mr. Symmes in the latter part of his life removed to Plymouth and died 12 July 1772, aged 60. 

A letter is on file in the Probate office, East Cambridge, written by him to his brother-in-law the Hon. Samuel Danforth of Cambridge, dated Plymouth 2 December 1770, asking to be excused from coming to attend to the distribution of his father Locke’s estate among the heirs, on account of ill health and the cold weather; his son Thomas will come in about a month.

23 September 1755. Zachariah Symmes, innholder, of Charlestown, with James Osborne, miller, as surety, gives bond in the sum of £300 (equivalent to one thousand dollars) for the faithful discharge of his duties as guardian of his children by his late wife Grace, viz.: Zachary, William, John and Isaac, all under the age of fourteen. [Midd. Prob., xlvii. 150]

This does not correspond with the record below. 

The widow of Mr. Symmes married (published 15 November 1776) Ebenezer Brooks, son of Jabez of Woburn whose first wife was her cousin Jemima Locke born 4 July 1718, daughter of William Locke, elder brother of Francis, already mentioned. The widow Elizabeth outlived this her second husband and died March 1803 aged nearly 87 years.

“It is related of this family that the children of three different marriages resided under one roof in perfect harmony, viz.: the children of Ebenezer Brooks by his first wife, and the children of Zechariah Symmes by both wives”.

The children of Zechariah Symmes by his first wife were:

  • [144] Zechariah, born 18 September 1736; married Elizabeth …. He was a mariner and died in 1765. [Midd. Prob., xlvii. 398]. He seems to have left no children.
  • [145] William, born 9 November 1738.
  • [146] John, born 13 October 1740.
  • [147] ISAAC, born 10 April 1743 [Detailed under “Fifth Generation”]

By second wife, Elizabeth:

  • [148] Elizabeth, born 26 March 1749; married Benjamin Pierce 28 March 1771. It is said that he died in the army, and that she died of yellow fever in Boston in 1798.
  • [149] Thomas, born 21 April 1752; a brilliant young man, a student at Harvard College; died before he graduated, about 1771.
  • [150] Abigail, born 18 April 1755; married first, 30 August 1774, Joseph Bullough (pronounced Bullo); lived in Newton; he was a man of large property, a native of England. She married second, William Hayden, a native of Ireland who also lived in Newton.
  • [151] SARAH, born 29 December 1757 [Detailed under “Fifth Generation”].
  • [152] Grace, born 11 October 1760; died in infancy.

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(Click on any UPPER CASE name within these Trees to view the known details)

INDEX to the FIFTH GENERATION via Third Generation WILLIAM:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[17] William
[54] Zechariah[56] Timothy[58] John[90] William

INDEX to the FIFTH GENERATION via Third Generation TIMOTHY:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[18] Timothy
[62] Timothy

INDEX to the FIFTH GENERATION via Third Generation THOMAS:

[1] Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas
[80] Thomas[81] Andrew[85] Zechariah
[126] Captain CALEB[129] HANNAH[130] Colonel ANDREW[131] Captain EBENEZER[134] JOHN[136] WILLIAM[147] ISAAC[151] SARAH

[90] ZECHARIAH SYMMES, eldest son of Zechariah and Judith (Eames) Symmes of Woburn; born there, in the part now Winchester, 1 October 1744; married Rebecca Tuttle. 

His father left him, in 1793, a handsome estate. He kept the “Black Horse Tavern”, a noted place of resort for travellers and teamsters in those days. It was the last house in Woburn as you approach from Boston, on the east side of the Boston road, now Main Street in Winchester. It is now owned and occupied as a private dwelling by Josiah Francis Stone, Esq. 

He served as a soldier during a part of the Revolutionary war, previous to 1777. 

His wife Rebecca died 10 August 1805 aged 63. His children were:

  • [153] Rebecca, married Francis Wait; published 16 April 1794. They lived in Medford and had a large family.
  • [154] ZECHARIAH [detailed under Sixth Generation], married Hanna Richardson.
  • [155] John, unmarried; a blacksmith. Went to Newburypoint.
  • [156] Mehitable, unmarried. She was ready to be married but became insane and drowned herself in Mystic River.
  • [157] BENJAMIN [detailed under Sixth Generation]; born about 1780; married Rizpah Saunders.

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[91] SAMUEL SYMMES, brother of the preceding and second son of Zechariah and Judith (Eames) Symmes; born in the extreme south part of Woburn, now in the town of Winchester, 20 October 1746; married 4 June 1771 Susanna Richardson born in Woburn 118 August 1749, daughter of Zechariah and Phebe (Wyman) Richardson of that part of Woburn which is now Winchester. 

They lived in South Woburn but a few rods from Medford line, on the west side of the great road to Boston. Their house stood on the spot now occupied by the house of his son Horatio and was nearly opposite the “Black Horse Tavern” already mentioned. He carried on the tailor’s business in addition to the care of a large farm extending from the Main street across the river to the now forsaken Middlesex Canal. He served as a soldier during some part of the Revolutionary war, before 1777. 

He died 11 September 1816, aged 70. The children of Samuel and Susanna Symmes were:

  • [159] Susanna, born 1 April 1772; married Jesse Johnson 19 December 1792.
  • [160] SAMUEL*, born 28 October 1776; married Mary Richardson.
  • [161] Mary, born 30 March 1779; died at the age of 16.
  • [161a] Zechariah, born 1 January 1780; died in infancy.
  • [162] ZECHARIAH RICHARDSON*, born 2 January 1781; married Nancy Richardson.
  • [163] JOSEPH BROWN*, born 2 February 1783; married Lydia Wyman.
  • [163a] A child ….; died 21 February 1785.
  • [164 JOHN*, born 19 May 1786; married first Abigail Green; married second Sophia Spaulding.
  • [165] NANCY*, born 19 April 1788; married James Hill.
  • [166] STEPHEN*, borne 18 May 1790; married Priscilla Reed.
  • [167] HORATIO*, born 8 November 1795; married Charlotte Johnson.

[Note *: Detailed under Sixth Generation]. 

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[95] WILLIAM SYMMES, brother of the preceding and youngest son of Zechariah and Judith (Eames) Symmes; born in Woburn 1 September 1757; married Mary Mallet of Charlestown. He father was of French descent, and her grandfather – or perhaps a remote ancestor – fled from persecution to this country. Her mother was a Gardner, of Scotch descent, from Glasgow. 

He lived in the last house in Woburn as you go south, on the west side of the road to Boston, where his father dwelt before him. It is now in the town of Winchester, a few rods from the spot where I am now writing. 

He enlisted in the Continental Army in 1777 and probably served three years. He had an only child: [168] Mary, born 1785; married Rev. Jacob Coggin. 

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[96] TIMOTHY SYMMES, son of Timothy and Elizabeth (Bodge) Symmes; born about 1770; married Martha Wyman daughter of Seth Wyman of the west side of Woburn, now in the town of Winchester. 

He kept a store, first in Boston, afterwards in Medford, and for some time seemed to prosper. At length he became heavily involved in debt and failed in business. 

On 1 December 1797 he conveyed by deed, for three hundred dollars, to his cousin Josiah Symmes “one half of a certain Mill right in Medford, with half the Mill Stones and Irons that belonged to said Mill, also one half of the land said mill flows, bounded on lands formerly belonging unto William Symmes, deceased, together with one half of the mill stream”. [Midd. Deeds, vol. cxxvii. p. 101]. 

He had many creditors and was indebted to a large amount. The estate was represented insolvent. The whole amount of claims exhibited was $10,531.40. The estate paid only thirty-three and one-third cents on a dollar. He died suddenly and intestate in 1810. Four of five years elapsed before the estate was settled. Mrs. Martha Symmes, the widow, afterwards married Samuel Russell, and died at the age of 93. 

The children of Timothy and Martha Symmes were:

  • [169] William, born about 1798; died in infancy.
  • [170] Timothy, born 23 December 1800; died while young.
  • [171] William Wyman, born 24 August 1803; died unmarried at sea while young.
  • [172], [173]. Two other sons, died in infancy.
  • [174] MARTHA, [detailed under Sixth Generation] born 30 December 1806; married William Wyman.

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[97] DANIEL SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born in North Medford about 1778; married Sophia Emerson of South Reading. When under seven years of age he was deprived of his father, and Captain Joseph Brown, a near neighbor though living in Woburn, was appointed his guardian. In after life he lived in Medford, I believe near Medford bridge, and was a blacksmith. His children were:

  • [175] Sophia, born 10 October 1801; married …. Eastman; she lived in Derry, N.H.; died 1871.
  • [176] Sarah Walton, born 8 May 1803; died 9 October 1804.
  • [177] Sarah Walton, born 11 February 1805; married …. Bryant; she died 13 December 1834.
  • [178] Hephzibah W., born 21 November 1806; died young.
  • [179] Daniel, born 27 September 1808; died 15 December 1831. [A Daniel Symmes, formerly of Medford, Mass., died in Auburn, N.H. 16 June 1867 aged 57, according to Boston Weekly Journal of June 27, 1867].
  • [180] George Washington, born 23 September 1810; died 9 June 1814.
  • [181] Hephzibah, born 27 December 1812; unmarried.
  • [182] GEORGE WASHINGTON [detailed under Sixth Generation], born 16 October 1815; married ….
  • [183] Alfred, born 4 April 1818; lives in Westfield, Mass.
  • [184] Edward, born 2 February 1821; died 17 June 1825.

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[100] Captain JOHN SYMMES, eldest son of John and Abigail (Dix) Symmes; born in the north part of Medford, now the south part of Winchester, in August 1755; married 31 October 1780 Elizabeth Wright, born 1757. Her father lived on “the west side” of what is now Winchester, among the Lockes, and had a brother Philemon and a brother John who settled on the Ottawa River in Canada, opposite to where the city of Ottawa now is. They owned the land on which the city now stands. 

Captain Symmes was a soldier of the Revolution. He was one of the Medford company commanded by Captain Isaac Hall, which marched to Charlestown on the memorable 17th of June, 1775. They did not arrive on the ground till near the close of the action, when our forces were falling back from want of ammunition. It is well known that while a firm, undaunted front was presented by the men who were with Prescott in the redoubt on Breed’s Hill, and with Putnam, Knowlton, Stark and Reed at the rail-fence, great numbers of the American troops refused to advance any nearer the scene of conflict than Charlestown Neck. The fire of the Glasgow frigate across the isthmus, of the CerberusSymmetry and several floating batteries a little further off, the flame and smoke arising from hundreds of burning houses, and the incessant roar of the battle only a mile distant, may furnish a partial excuse. It is said that the Medford company paused at the Neck, Captain Hall not daring to proceed. [I have carefully examined many accounts of the battle. In none of them does Captain Hall’s name appear.] 

It is also said that Sergeant Thomas Pritchard, unappalled by the danger, exclaimed “Let those who are not afraid, follow me” and with a few followers rushed to the scene of combat. This brave man was soon raised to the rank of captain and did good service in the field near New York and elsewhere. 

The enlistments in 1775 were for the term of only eight months. At the reorganization of the army in March 1777, Mr. Symmes enlisted for three years. He was one winter in Ticonderoga. At the close of the three years he came home ragged and emaciated. He was paid in a depreciated currency, with which he bought a yoke of oxen. The oxen he sold and took his pay in the same currency, which he kept for a short time and then paid it all for a bag of Indian meal. Soon after he left the army in 1780 the old “continental money” – of which three hundred millions had been issued – became absolutely worthless. 

After leaving the army he built a wheelwright’s shop at the intersection of two roads, now known as Main and Grove Streets in the present town of Winchester.. It was at the locality which has since been well known as “Symmes’s Corner”. He also built there a blacksmith’s shop. He built carts and wagons for the army in these two shops, that being the only way in which he could obtain good money. He had previously lived with his father on the river’s bank, in the house where now stands the house of John Bacon. But a few years after, we suppose in 1783, he built a house for himself on what is now Grove Street, where he afterwards lived and died, as did his son Edmund after him. This house was burned on 17 August 1864. 

In 1793 a plan was formed by some enterprising citizens of Medford and other towns in the vicinity, for a canal to connect the waters of the Merrimack at Chelmsford with the tide water of Mystick River, near Boston. A company formed for this purpose was incorporated by the legislature on 22 June 1793 by the name of “The Proprietors of Middlesex Canal”. Some years were spent in surveying and in other necessary preparations, so that it was not navigable till 1803.*

* This canal was at the time regarded with much favor and as promising to be of great public utility. But it cost a great deal of money. One hundred assessments were made between 1 January 1794 and 1 September 1817 – the whole amount being $1,164,200, or $1,455.25 on each share. The first dividend was not declared till 1 February 1819. From that time it yielded an income of less than one and a half per cent. per annum. The construction of the Boston & Lowell Railroad, in 1835, utterly ruined its business; and in 1852 its charter was surrendered and the canal sold by auction.

On the 17th of October 1801 Captain Symmes conveyed by deed a certain portion of land to the Proprietors of the Middlesex Canal, the canal passing very near it. He afterwards sold to them another portion. A bill of his, now before me, is for business done for the canal in 1818-20, especially in carting materials and machines to and from Boston. Among these were steam engines to be used on the canal, as early as 1819. Mr. John L. Sullivan, of Boston, was agent for the canal, though a part of the business transacted by him was on his own private account. In 1800 or 1801, Mr. Sullivan purchased of Josiah Symmes, brother of Captain Symmes, his share of the mill and mill-privilege, being three-fourths of the same, which had come to him from his grandfather William Symmes. Soon after this Mr. Sullivan and Captain Symmes built a new mill-dam which considerably increased the water fall, raising it to six feet. It flowed the land above and interfered with the operations of the grist-mill higher up the stream, then owned by Abel Richardson. Several lawsuits with Richardson and others followed, continuing ten years or more, which were not finally settled till 1820 or later. These suits were decided against Sullivan and Symmes. 

Mr. Sullivan was an enterprising man; he now owned three-fourths of the mill privilege, and at length, on 6 January 1823, the other fourth part hitherto owned by Captain Symmes was conveyed by him (Symmes) for one thousand dollars to William Sullivan of Boston and Richard Sullivan of Brookline, to whom their kinsman John L. Sullivan had conveyed his part of the premises in February 1820.*

* Captain Symmes, in 1801 or soon after, built a grist-mill at the eastern extremity of the milldam. The premises now conveyed by him were “my grist-mill, and all the rights, privileges and appurtenances thereof; and all the right, title and interest which I have in the land, buildings, dam, privilege of flowing and using water on Symmes River in Medford, my right and interest in the property being estimated as one-fourth part thereof”.
The mill and mill-privilege had never passed out of the possession of the Symmes family till 1823, since the country was settled, one hundred and eighty years.

From an endorsement on the original deed it appears that the property now conveyed consisted of two acres of land and a dwelling-house seventy feet long and two stories high, one factory dwelling-house, one workshop, one grist-mill and some other buildings. 

In another document of the same date, the property now conveyed is called “one fourth part of the Medford factory estate”. It appears also that a trip-hammer and a turning lathe for making hubs for wheels were reserved by Mr. Symmes, as owned by his sons John and Marshall. 

Mr. Sullivan was somewhat given to scheming. The Middlesex Canal was under his superintendence, and he on his own account made steam engines at the factory on “Symmes’s River” to be used for propelling boats on the canal. The manufacture of wood screws by a newly-invented machine was also prosecuted. Mr. Sullivan became involved, the whole enterprise failed, and at last he sold the whole establishment for four thousand dollars to Abel Stowell, a son-in-law of Captain Symmes, who disposed of it to Robert Bacon, hatter, of Boston. Mr Bacon carried it on for several years, and left it at his death to his children who now possess it. For a time it was known as “Baconville”. 

Captain Symmes had a large farm and a large family. When his son John came of mature age he gave up to him the care of the wheelwright shop, and to his son Marshall the care of the blacksmith shop. The father and sons carried on a flourishing business nearly fifty years. 

He was captain of a company of Light Dragoons. He received his commission, still preserved in the family, from Governor Sumner. He held various other offices of trust. 

Twice he went to Canada to visit his youngest son Charles, who had settled on the Ottawa River near the present city of Ottawa. Such a journey was then a formidable affair. 

He died 24 June 1834 aged 79. His wife Elizabeth died 18 July 1848, aged 91. 

Their children [all of them except [190] William are detailed under Sixth Generation] were:

  • [185] JOHN, born 27 January 1781; married Pamelia Richardson.
  • [186] THOMAS, born 30 March 1783; married Sarah L. Wait.
  • [187] ABIGAIL, born 11 February 1785; married Elias Tufts.
  • [188] ELIZABETH, born 10 April 1787; married Abel Stowell.
  • [189] MARSHALL, born 30 July 1789; married Lephe Stowell.
  • [190] William, born 14 August 1791. When of competent age, his father put him in charge of the mill. He afterwards went to Vermont, married, and died leaving offspring of whom little is known.
  • [191] EBENEZER, born 17 August 1793; married first Hannah Davis; married second Lanissa ….
  • [192] EDMUND, born 14 August 1795; married Elizabeth A. Smith.
  • [193] CHARLES, born 4 April 1798; married Hannah Ricker.

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[101] JOSIAH SYMMES, brother of the preceding and second son of John and Abigail (Dix) Symmes; baptized 3 September 1758; married Elizabeth Johnson. Who her father was we have not learned, but her brothers were Ezekiel, Levi and Reuel, and she had a sister Lucy. 

He lived a bachelor till he was over fifty, then married a young girl who had been his housekeeper, and had by her six children. He never had the measles till he was about seventy, then took the disorder and died of it. 

He lived in what was then the northern part of Medford, now in Winchester. It was near the stream known as Symmes’s River. On 1 December 1797 he bought from his cousin Timothy Symmes one half of the mill privilege on that river. About 1800 he sold to John L. Sullivan, agent for the Proprietors of the Middlesex Canal, his interest in the mill and mill stream, it being three-fourths of the same. (See the notice of his brother Captain John Symmes, above). It would appear that he still retained some connection with the mill stream at least, for I find a document dated Boston, 3 November 1821, containing an agreement between John Symmes, Josiah Symmes, and John L. Sullivan respecting expenses incurred in defending suits against them by Abel Richardson and others. 

His children [none of them further mentioned in the Memorial] were:

  • [194] Josiah, borne 180…; married Sarah Butters. He was killed by the caving in of a well upon him.
  • [195] Johnson, married, and said to be still living in Vermont.
  • [196] Jesse, married; no issue.
  • [197] Gardner, never married; of unsound mind; supposed to be still living in Tewksbury.
  • [198] Elizabeth, married.
  • [199 Lucy Ann, married.

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[102] ABIGAIL SYMMES, sister of the preceding and only daughter of John and Abigail (Dix) Symmes; baptized 16 March 1760; married Joseph Cutter of Woburn, afterwards of Cincinnati. She died soon after the birth of their only child:

* [200] Abigail (Cutter), born 1786 or 1787; married William Woodward. This child, with her father and some of his near relatives, removed to the “Territory North-west of the Ohio River”, now the State of Ohio. They went in 1789, about the time that John Cleves Symmes went, perhaps in the colony that accompanied him in that year. They settled at Hamilton on the Great Miami River. Her father was killed by the Indians previous to 1801. William Woodward, Esq., a noted lawyer of Hamilton County, was appointed guardian of the child in August 1801 and afterwards married her. They had no children. He was a man of wealth, and endowed the Woodward School in Cincinnati. In 1850 he was an inmate of an insane asylum in that city. An adopted son inherited most of his property. In the decree of the Orphan’s Court, August 1801, Abigail Cutter is said to be a minor and an orphan between the ages of fourteen and fifteen years.

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[103] WILLIAM SYMMES, Esq, eldest son of Rev. Dr. William and Anna (Gee) Symmes; born at North Andover, Mass., 26 May 1760; never married. 

He was prepared for college at Phillips Academy in Andover under the tuition of that highly distinguished scholar, Rev. Eliphalet Pearson. This eminent teacher was accustomed to say that John Lowell, John Thornton Kirkland and William Symmes were the three brightest boys ever under his instruction. 

He graduated at Harvard College in 1780, after which he spent some time in Virginia as a private tutor. While in this employment he kept up a correspondence with his class-mates and friends. His letters at this time are said to have been instructive and even beautiful. After pursuing a regular course of legal study in the office of that unrivalled jurist, Theophilus Parsons of Newburyport, he was admitted to practise at the Essex bar, then including such men as Theophilus and Moses Parsons, Rufus King, Nathan Dane, Prescott, Wetmore and Bradbury. He immediately opened an office in the North Parish of Andover. 

On the 3rd of December 1787 he was, while under twenty-eight years of age, chosen by the citizens of Andover as a delegate to represent the town in the Convention to be held at Boston in January following, to act on the question of the adoption of the constitution of the United States. The aspect of public affairs was dark and portentous. The people were suffering from the pressure of debt, heavy taxation and a depreciated currency. Many intelligent and upright men thought that the proposed constitution conferred on the federal government too much power, power that might and doubtless would be used for purposes of oppression. Even Samuel Adams and John Hancock had doubts whether it were best to adopt and ratify it. Patrick Henry of Virginia, and Luther Martin of Maryland, exerted their utmost energies against it. 

Mr. Symmes at the first took a decided stand in opposition and made far the ablest argument in the convention against it. But on hearing the arguments of Theophilus Parsons and others in its favor, he changed his views and made a speech recalling his opposition and giving his unreserved assent to the constitution. In so doing he acted in opposition to the wishes of his constituents, expressed in a very full meeting. The course he now pursued subjected him to the popular ill will of his native parish, and even to bitter personal enmity, ultimately leading to his removal. But there is much reason to believe that it secured the adoption of the constitution not only in this State but throughout the country. Had this brilliant young man persisted in his opposition he might have led a very numerous party, even of the most ardent friends of liberty, such men as had faced the British music on Bunker Hill; and had Massachusetts, under his leading, refused to ratify the instrument, New Hampshire, New York and other States would probably have done the same. His conduct, therefore, merits the highest praise. It was an instance of the highest moral heroism

Mr. Symmes went to Portland in 1790, entered at once upon a successful practice and took high rank at the bar.*

* Mr. Symmes, as a member of the Cumberland bar, had such associates as Isaac Parker, afterwards Chief Justice of Massachusetts, Prentiss Mellen and Ezekiel Whitman, who both became Chief Justices in Maine; Stephen Longfellow, Salmon Chase, Samuel Cooper Johonnot, John Frothingham and other eminent lawyers.

He was a good classical scholar, a sound lawyer and an able advocate. His manner was formal and stately, but graceful. A letter from one of his students says:

“His personal appearance was stately and dignified. He was in all respects a gentleman in his manners, and emphatically one of the old school. He was affable and polite and commanded affection as well as respect. He may truly be said to have been one of the most imposing and influential men of that time [1805] in Portland. As a lawyer and advocate he was unsurpassed. In his efforts as a speaker there was perhaps more of the fortiter in re than of the suaviter in modo. He always touched the right string. He had great discriminating powers; no one brought out the root and truth of the case so effectually as he did, whether at the bar or at any public meeting. Great confidence was felt in his opinions on all occasions, and especially on legal questions. He was unquestionably the best and most reliable lawyer of his time in the State”. 

The writer of the above letter, William Freeman of Portland and Cherryfield, then speaks of the cloud which hung over his latter days through the use of intoxicating drinks, and adds:

“Often, when mellow with brandy – his favorite drink – he was brilliant and threw more light on a subject under discussion that any other speaker”.

It was probably under the influence of his favorite beverage that a scene took place between him and Judge Thacher. [Hon. George Thacher of Biddeford, of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Maine was still a part of that State.] Mr. Symmes had made a motion to the court, which he was zealously arguing notwithstanding frequent interruptions by the Judge. Thacher at last became impatient – as he was apt to be – and said: “Mr. Symmes, you need not persist in arguing the point for I am not a Court of Errors and cannot give a final judgment”. “I know”, replied Symmes, “that you can’t give a final judgment, but as to your not being a court of error I will not say”. 

Mr. James Dean Hopkins, a lawyer of Portland and contemporary of Mr. Symmes, thus speaks of him:

“Mr. Symmes was a well-read lawyer and an able and eloquent advocate. He ranked among the first of his contemporaries. He was also a fine classical scholar, of cultivated literary taste, and uncommonly learned as a historian. His productions in the newspapers of the time bore honorable testimony to his literary character – particularly a series of numbers entitled ‘Communications’, about the year 1795, in defence of the common law. These numbers were copied into the principal newspapers throughout the Union. Mr. Symmes, with Judge Thacher and two or three others, rendered the newspapers of that period very interesting by their valuable contributions”.

Mr. Symmes died on 7 January 1807, aged 47. 

The preceding sketch has been compiled in part from Hon. William Willis’s “History of the Law, the Courts, and the Lawyers of Maine”, Portland 1863, 8vo, pp. 148-151; and in part from “A Memorial Discourse of William Symmes, Esq., delivered at Andover and North Andover in the winter of 1859-60”, by Nathan W. Hazen. 

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[112] Hon. JOHN CLEVES SYMMES, eldest son of Rev. Timothy and Mary (Cleves) Symmes; born at Riverhead, Long Island, 10 July 1742 Old Style or 21 July, New Style; married first, about 1761, Anna Tuthill daughter of Daniel Tuthill of Southold, Long Island.*

* John Tuthill is mentioned in Thompson’s History of Long Island as one of the principal members of the Congregational Church at Southold, at its organization by Rev. John Youngs in 1640. Southold was settled that year by a company from Norfolk in England. Until 1674, this and two other towns at the eastern end of Long Island belonged first to the Colony of New Haven, afterwards to that of Connecticut. John Tuthill, of Suffolk County, Long Island, probably son of the former, was a member of the General Assembly of the Colony of New York, 1695 to 1698.

She died in 1776. He married second, perhaps about 1794, Mrs. Mary (Henry) Halsey, a sister of Colonel James Henry of Somerset County, New Jersey. He married third, at Vincennes in 1804, Susan Livingston, daughter of William Livingston, Governor of New Jersey during the Revolutionary War, and sister of Brockholst Livingston.*

* William Livingston was the first governor of New Jersey chosen by the popular vote. This was in 1776. He was born in 1723 and died in 1790. His son Brockholst, scarcely less distinguished, was born in 1757 and died in 1823. Both were ardent friends of liberty.

In early life Mr. Symmes was employed in teaching school and in surveying. About 1770 he removed to Flatbrook, Sussex County, New Jersey. He had a farm and a house there which continued to be his nearly – or quite – to the close of his life. The house and farm were called by him “Solitude”, for what reason does not appear. He early took part in the great struggle of the Revolution. He was chairman of the Committee of Safety for Sussex County in 1774, and was a colonel in 1775 of one of the Sussex militia regiments. In March 1776 he was ordered with his regiment to New York and was employed in erecting forts and batteries there and on Long Island. Early in the summer he was elected a delegate from Sussex County to the State Convention of New Jersey which met at Burlington on 10 June 1776, and was a member of the committee which was appointed to draft a constitution for the State. Towards the close of that year he was sent by the legislature to Ticonderoga with the delicate task of making a new arrangement of the officers of the New Jersey troops there employed. On his return he was ordered with his command to Morris County, and in December assisted in covering the retreat of Washington to the Delaware. While thus engaged, Colonel Symmes attacked a detachment of eight hundred British troops under General Leslie at Springfield, December 14. This, it is said, was the first check to the progress of the enemy towards Philadelphia. 

He was with General Dickinson when he surprised the British on Staten Island. He was at Red Bank when the hostile ships came up the Delaware and attacked the fort there and Fort Mifflin. He was in the battle of Monmouth on Sunday 28 June 1778. He conducted five expeditions to Long Island when it was in the hands of the British. In one of the battles of the war he had three horses shot under him. 

In civil life Colonel Symmes rendered himself equally conspicuous. He was lieutenant-governor of New Jersey one year; six years a member of the council. In 1777 he was appointed one of the associate judges of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. He served in this capacity for twelve years. In 1786 he was a member of Congress from that State and served two years. 

After the war, a strong impulse was felt through the northern and eastern States towards the settlement of the Great West. This impulse was specially strong among those who had toiled and suffered and made sacrifices for the liberties of America. The “Ohio Company” was organized in Boston on 1 March 1786. It was originated by the disbanded officers of the late army. That year and the next were chiefly occupied in making surveys and other necessary preparations. The ordinance of Congress establishing the “Territory North-West of the Ohio” was passed 13 July 1787. On the 23rd of the following October, Judge Symmes together with General James Mitchell Varnum and General Samuel Holden Parsons were appointed judges of the Supreme Court of the new Territory.*

* General Varnum was born in Dracut, Mass., in 1749, but in 1787 was a resident in East Greenwich, R.I. He was a brother of Joseph Bradley Varnum. General Parsons, born at Lyme, Connecticut 14 May 1737, was a major-general in the continental army, and in 1787 a lawyer in Middletown, Connecticut.

The settlement of Ohio commenced at Marietta in April 1788 under General Rufus Putnam, distinguished as an able engineer and military commander in the continental army. In the summer of that year Judge Symmes passed down the Ohio River with a few families, but they were obliged to spend the ensuing winter in Kentucky, the settlement of which had commenced in 1770 under Daniel Boone. Judge Symmes in 1787 contracted with Congress, in behalf of himself and his associates, for one million acres of what were called “military lands” in the south-western part of the present State of Ohio, between the Great and Little Miami Rivers. The price stipulated was sixty-six and two-third cents per acre. It is designated on the early maps as “Symmes’s Purchase”. In the spring of 1789 he took possession of it with his little colony. The purchase included the land on which the cities of Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton now stand. By his public spirit and generous conduct he encouraged the settlement of the whole region. 

The embarrassments arising from the Indian war which followed in 1791 hindered the settlement of the new purchase and made it impossible for Judge Symmes to fulfil the contract, although several payments had been made on it. In 1794, after Wayne’s victory, a new contract was made for 248,000 acres, which are all that are properly included in the “Symmes Purchase”. 

Judge Symmes selected a site for a settlement at North Bend, so called because it is the most northerly point in the course of the Ohio after it has passed the mouth of the Great Kanawha. It was his intention to found here a city which should become the emporium of the West. But Cincinnati and Columbia were settled about the same time; and the protection afforded to settlers against Indian hostility by the construction of Fort Washington and the presence of a military force, decided the question in favor of Cincinnati, which accordingly became the “Queen City of the West”. 

Judge Symmes was on the staff of General St. Clair during the campaign which ended in disaster and defeat. He did not, however, neglect his judicial duties at Vincennes and other places. 

During his residence at North Bend he had frequent intercourse with the Indians, and by his kindness and uprightness was enabled to exert a great influence over them. After the treaty of Greenville, several Indians declared that during the war they had often raised their rifles to shoot him but, recognizing him, had desisted. 

He gave, either in whole or in part, a section of land to each of eight children of his brother Timothy. 

Mr. Symmes did not become rich – at least not as the word is commonly used – in consequence of his purchase. Many lawsuits arose against him [this is common in newly settled regions], causing no small embarrassment. Much of his land was taken from him to satisfy these demands, and sold under the sheriff’s hammer as low as ten cents the acre, although some of it cost as high as twenty shillings, or $3.33 the acre. He applied to Congress for relief but could not obtain it. In one of his letters, dated Cincinnati 8 October 1803, he speaks of being “grievously straitened and oppressed”. In another he says “I fear I shall be ruined altogether”. 

I have been favored with the perusal of a series of letters from him to his brother-in-law, Colonel James Henry of Lamberton, Somerset County, New Jersey, bearing date from May 1791 to May 1813. They mostly relate to business transactions but contain much information on family affairs. They breathe a spirit of kindness and affection for his relatives, many of whom are mentioned by name. He is careful to send his kind regards to “Mamma Henry”, the mother of his second wife. It appears that he often suffered from the carelessness or injustice of others; but he maintains a cheerful, hopeful spirit through the whole. 

On the 1st of March 1811, during an absence from home of several days, his house in Cincinnati was set on fire by some malicious person who had a spite against him, and utterly consumed with all its contents. All his papers (several barrels full), all his clothing save what he had on, “everything that could burn”, were destroyed; $30,000, he says, would not repair his loss. The house alone cost him $8,000. He had nothing left but his lands, the income from which he estimated at $1,700. 

The last two or three years of his life passed in much suffering from a cancer which, commencing in the upper lip, spread into his mouth and ears and finally his throat. This dreadful malady caused his death 26 February 1814, aged 72. 

The latter part of his life was spent in the family of his son-in-law, General Harrison, at Cincinnati. I have before me a letter from General Harrison to Colonel Henry, before mentioned, dated 4 March 1814, relating to the sad event. The writer, after a visit to New Jersey, arrived at home 9 January and continued with him to the last. 

Mr. Symmes “died with great serenity, preserving his senses till about ten minutes before his exit. On the following day I [General Harrison] took his body to North Bend, where he [had] earnestly requested to be buried. His funeral was attended by a large concourse of people, and ample justice is now done to his character, even by many who were most inveterate against him. He has appointed his grandson and myself his executors, and has given us whatever we may be able to save out of his estate. This will be nothing unless we can ‘fauset’ the iniquitous rules which were made under color of law, of an immense and valuable estate, which in most instances was sold for one-twentieth part of its then value”.

He was buried with military honors. The procession moved from the dwelling-house of General Harrison, on Front Street in Cincinnati, and the body was interred at North Bend in a spot selected by himself for the purpose. The following is the inscription on his tomb:

“Here rest the remains of JOHN CLEVES SYMMES, who at the foot of these hills made the first settlement between the Miami Rivers. Born on Long Island, State of New York, July 21, 1742. Died at Cincinnati, Feb. 26, 1814”.

His children, all by first wife, were:

  • [201] MARIA, born about 1762; married Peyton Short.
  • [202], [203] Two sons, died in infancy.
  • [204] ANNA, born 25 July 1775; married William Henry Harrison [President of the U.S.A., see [204] under Sixth Generation]

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[113] TIMOTHY SYMMES, brother of the preceding and second son of Rev. Timothy and Mary (Cleves) Symmes; born at Aquabogue, Long Island, 10 April 1744; married first, in 1765, Abigail Tuthill, daughter of Daniel Tuthill of Southold, Long Island, and sister of Anna who married the preceding John Cleves Symmes. She died in New England in 1776. He married second, in 1778, Mercy Harker daughter of Rev. Samuel Harker. 

He resided in Sussex County, New Jersey, during the greater part of his life, and there all his children were born. He owned a farm, but lived mainly by his trade which was that of a silversmith. He was active in the cause of liberty in the Revolutionary War, and was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Sussex County. 

He died 20 February 1797, in his 54th year. 

His children, by first wife Abigail, were:

  • [205] CELADON, born 30 May 1770; married Phebe Randolph.
  • [206] DANIEL, born 1772; married Elizabeth Oliver.
  • [207] WILLIAM, born 1774; married Rebecca Randolph.

By second wife, Mercy:

  • [208] JOHN CLEVES, born 5 November 1779; married Marianne Lockwood.
  • [209] Timothy, born 178…; died in childhood.
  • [210] MARY, born 1785; married Hugh Moore.
  • [211] JULIANA, born 1791; married Jeremiah Reeder.
  • [212] PEYTON SHORT, born 1793; married Hannah B. Close.
  • [213] TIMOTHY, born 1795; married Ruth Spurrier

[All the above, except little Timothy, have entries under Sixth Generation]. 

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[115] EBENEZER SYMMES, half-brother of the preceding and son of Rev. Timothy and Eunice (Cogswell) Symmes; born in Ipswich, Mass., 1754; married, and had a family. 

I have no certain information respecting this person, further than is given above. A letter from Newfield, Me., says:

“During the war of the Revolution two brothers, Ebenezer and William Symmes, came to this town, settled on farms and married”.

Nothing more is stated concerning Ebenezer, except that before going to Newfield he was a sea captain. 

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[116] WILLIAM SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born in Ipswich 1756; married 12 December 1782 Mehitable Moulton of Newfield, Me. Her father removed from Hampton, N.H. to Newfield about 1780. 

William Symmes came to Newfield about 1780, or in the latter part of the Revolutionary War, and settled on a farm in that town. He was a deacon in the church there, and died 20 December 1825, aged 70. 

His children were [214] Mehitable, [215 Anstice], [216] TIMOTHY, born 1788; married Hill; [217] James and [218 William. [Only TIMOTHY is mentioned further under Sixth Generation]. 

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[126] Captain CALEB SYMMES, son of Deacon Thomas and Martha (Call) Symmes; born in Charlestown 10 October 1732; married 21 September 1756 Elizabeth Hall, born 24 October 1732, daughter of Rev. Willard and Abigail (Cotton) Hall of Westford, Mass. 

He lived in Charlestown in a house on or near the spot where now stands the dry-goods store of John Skilton. 

He was a Master, successively, of several vessels engaged in the West-India trade. Among the vessels in which he sailed were schooner Catharine, schooner Greyhound, schooner Neptune and brig Catharine. It appears that he was in the employ of John Hancock of Boston in 1764. During the “old French war”, or about 1755, he was taken prisoner by the French, carried to France and detained there till he had acquired a pretty good knowledge of the French language. He was at home in 1756. At the time of his death he owned his house and one half of the brig in which he sailed. 

He died at St. Lucia, one of the West-India islands, 4 February 1771, aged 38 years 3 months. He was a faithful husband, an affectionate father, a Christian gentleman. 

His will is dated 3 March 1757; proved 2 May 1771. He was then “bound on a voyage”. He gives all his estate to his wife Elizabeth. 

His widow Elizabeth, a woman of courage and energy, returned from Charlestown to he native Westford in 1774 with her two little boys, Caleb and Thomas. She supported herself and them five years by shop-keeping; the Lord prospered her in so doing. She married, as her second husband, Captain Benjamin Fletcher on 9 February 1779. It is due to him to say that he faithfully performed his duty towards her two fatherless children. He gave a deed of his farm on 6 December 1788 to his step-son Thomas Symmes, and to Levi Parker, the son of his only daughter. Captain Fletcher died 25 January 1789, in his 72nd year. His widow Elizabeth died at the house of her son Caleb Symmes in Groton on 31 January 1813, in her 82nd year. She was interred at Littleton. 

The children of Captain Caleb and Elizabeth (Hall) Symmes, all born in Charlestown, were:

  • [224] Martha, born 20 September 1757; died 30 September 1767.
  • [225] Abigail, born 9 April 1759; died 15 July 1759.
  • [226] Caleb, born 16 September 1760; died 14 October 1761.
  • [227] CALEB, born 7 March 1762; married first Lydia Trowbridge; married second Mary (Chittenden) Lane.
  • [228] Elizabeth, born 31 August 1763; died 9 November 1773.
  • [229] THOMAS, born 19 September; married Rebecca Carver.
  • [230] Willard Hall, born 24 January 1770; died 7 October 1772.

[Of these, only the surviving CALEB and THOMAS are mentioned further under Sixth Generation]. 

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[129] HANNAH SYMMES, eldest daughter of Andrew and Hannah Symmes; born in Boston 15 June 1733; married Colonel David Mason of Boston 5 September 1750. He was born 1727. She was his second wife. The first wife, married 9 June 1748, was Sarah Goldthwait. 

He was a prominent man in Boston. In 1763 he founded an artillery company known as the “Train of Artillery”, the only artillery company at that time existing in Boston. This company became a celebrated military school and furnished many excellent officers for the Revolutionary army. General Knox was one of its commanders. In the year 1768 there came from London, for the use of this company, two beautiful brass field pieces, three pounders, with the Province arms thereon. These two pieces constituted just one half of the field artillery with which the war of the Revolution commenced.*

* This statement is made in the Genealogical Register, in a note on page 365, of the volume for 1852; but it cannot be true. There were at Cambridge, in April 1775, six three-pounders and one six-pounder. At Watertown there were sixteen pieces of artillery, of different sizes, not all, however, fit for immediate use. The Americans, under Ethan Allen, took in May more than a hundred pieces of cannon at Ticonderoga.

They were constantly in service during the war; were in many engagements; were taken and retaken many times; and finally, in 1788, the names of Hancock and Adams, “sacred to liberty”, were engraved on them by order of Congress. They are now in the Bunker Hill Monument. 

Colonel Mason was a distinguished officer of the Revolution and the founder of that great national institution, the Springfield Armory. He had also a nice perception of æsthetic beauty. In his earlier years he learned painting and gilding, and studied portrait painting with that eminent artist John Greenwood of London, who was born in Boston 7 December 1727. He gave lectures on electricity in several towns. Franklin was a fried of his father. [Vide Allen’s American Biography]. Colonel Mason died in Boston 17 September 1794, aged 67. 

The children of Colonel David and Hannah (Symmes) Mason were:

  • [231] Davis (Mason), born 7 August 1752.
  • [232] Andrew (Mason), born 19 August 1754.
  • [233] Hannah (Mason), born 21 December 1756.
  • [234] Arthur (Mason), born 2 September 1758.
  • [235] Samuel (Mason), born 20 April 1761.
  • [236] Susanna (Mason), born 1763; married 1785, Rev. John Smith D.D.

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[130] Colonel ANDREW SYMMES, eldest son of Andrew and Hannah Symmes; born in Boston 19 March 1735; married first 20 October 1763 Lydia Gale, daughter of Joseph and Mary (Alden) Gale. He married second Mary Holmes of Boston. She died previous to August 1774. He married third, at Christ Church in Boston 21 September 1779, Mary Ann (Stevens) Symmes, widow of his brother [131] Captain Ebenezer Symmes. 

Colonel Symmes resided in Boston and was an eminent member of the community. He was distinguished by his air, manner and entire personal appearance. He was remarkably intelligent, of great probity of character, a warm-hearted patriot and Christian gentleman, and much beloved for his kindly traits of character. He was admitted in 1760 a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, an organization of which Benjamin Lincoln, after having served in the armies of his country as major-general many years, said he deemed it an honor to be a private member. 

He was one of that famous fraternity, the “Sons of Liberty”, which originated in 1765 to oppose the execution of the Stamp Act and other arbitrary measures of the British Parliament. He was present at their memorable celebration and great dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern in Dorchester on 14 August 1769, held in a canvas tent, “in the open air near the barn”, the rain pouring down in torrents. This was the anniversary of the hanging in effigy of Andrew Oliver, the odious distributor of stamps, on the Liberty Tree at the intersection of Washington and Essex Streets, 14 August 1765. The day was held in honor somewhat as the 17th of June now is, as the time of a mighty outbreak against arbitrary power. Samuel Adams and John Adams were there. The procession, a mile and a half in length, on leaving the place was headed by John Hancock in his splendid chariot. Gentlemen of distinction from other colonies were also there, among whom were Joseph Reed of Philadelphia and Mr. Dickinson of New Jersey. About three hundred and fifty persons were present; the “Liberty Song” was sung, the whole company joining in the chorus; forty-five toasts were drunk, yet no one was seen intoxicated. The company broke up between four and five o’clock in the afternoon, entered Boston before dark, marched round the State House (at the head of State Street), and then dispersed. The whole affair was conducted with perfect order, and the enthusiasm was intense. [For a list of the persons present on this occasion, see “Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1869-1870”] 

In proof of the estimation in which he was held, we may mention that Colonel Symmes was an intimate and confidential friend of John Hancock, before and after the Revolution. After that event he was his aide-de-camp, and the warm friendship between them continued till death. 

At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, April 1775, on the prospect of a siege by the American troops General Gage gave permission for all who desired to leave Boston. In a few days this permission was suddenly revoked and many respected and patriotic citizens were compelled to remain. Of this number was Colonel Andrew Symmes. It so happened, therefore, that he was in Boston on the day of the battle of Bunker Hill, June 17th. On the return of the British from that sanguinary encounter, a captain of the royal army – finding himself mortally wounded – requested his bearers to take him to the house of his friend Colonel Symmes. In that house he died that evening, his young son holding his hand. Just previous to his death, Colonel Symmes came in and the dying officer said to him: “Ah! Colonel, I little thought that the bullet was cast by my American friends here to send me to the grave”. 

During the visit of Lafayette to this country in 1824, while making inquiries in Boston for his old friends, he learned that Mrs. Snelling, a daughter of Colonel Symmes, was alive. On her presentation to him in the evening he said to her, in his inimitably graceful way: “Well do I remember your father, Colonel Symmes. He was the first man who took me by the hand on my return to this country from France in 1780”. 

Colonel Andrew Symmes was appointed, 5 August 1774, guardian of his daughter Polly Holmes Symmes, a minor under fourteen years of age, with Ebenezer Symmes, mariner, and Benjamin M. Holmes, distiller, both of Boston, as bondmen. [Suff. Prob. lxxiv. 17]. Benjamin M. Holmes was probably brother of the second wife. 

After the death of his brother Ebenezer, Colonel Symmes gave bond, dated 16 April 1779, as guardian of the same child, with John Osborne, painter, and William Symmes, tailor, both of Boston, as sureties. [Ibid, lxxviii. 624]. John Osborne probably married his sister. 

Colonel Andrew Symmes died 9 April 1797, aged 61. His third wife, Mary Ann, was living as late as August 1796. 

His children by first wife Lydia were:

  • [237] Mary, born 6 August 1764.
  • [238] LYDIA, born 18 December 1768; married Jonathan Snelling.

By second wife, Mary:

  • [239] Mary Ann, born between 1770 and 1774.

By his third wife, Mary Ann:

  • [240] ANDREW ELIOT, married Eliza Coffin.

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[131] Captain EBENEZER SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born in Boston 6 January 1737; married first 21 March 1763 Hannah Greenwood, born 1740, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Charnock) Greenwood of Boston. She was a sister of the artist John Greenwood already mentioned. They were married by Rev. Samuel Mather. He married second, Mary Ann Stevens of Turnham Green, near London. 

He lived in Boston, was a man of great courage and energy, a man of decided public spirit and patriotism. He was one of the “Sons of Liberty” and was present with his brother on the great occasion mentioned in the notice of Colonel Andrew Symmes [above]. He was a mariner and commanded for years what was called a “king’s ship” (not a man-of-war) running between Boston and London. 

He died some time in 1776, in his 40th year. His widow Mrs. Mary Ann Symmes married his brother, Colonel Andrew Symmes, 21 September 1779. 

He left no will. Of his estate, the widow Mary Ann Symmes was appointed administratrix and as such presented an inventory on 10 January 1777 – the assets consisting of a dwelling-house on Middle Street, goods in the town of Littleton, &c. Her bondsmen were John Scollay, Esq., and Andrew Symmes Jr, Gent., both of Boston. [Middle Street was the northern half of what is now Hanover Street]. 

In a subsequent account presented 2 December 1782 she charges for carting goods to and from Littleton, and from Littleton to Billerica; likewise, money “paid to his five sisters agreeably to the request of the intestate before his death”; and money “paid to his sister Mason and sister Thompson”. [Suff. Prob. lxxv. 109, 194-6]. 

After paying out these various charges there was found to be a balance of personal estate amounting to £1622 6s 1d. As “continental money” ceased to circulate in 1780, this balance was doubtless reckoned in a sound currency and the amount may be stated as about $5,400. It was distributed one-third to the widow, then become a wife; two-thirds to the only daughter, Mary Ann Symmes. 

The only child of Captain Ebenezer Symmes was by his second wife: [241] Mary Ann, born 15 August 1775; married John Greenwood. 

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[134] JOHN SYMMES, brother of the preceding and fourth son of Andrew and Hannah Symmes; born in Boston 5 February 1741; married Hephzibah Barrett 1 June 1766. They were married by Rev. Andrew Eliot, of New North Church from 1742 to 1778. 

He was one of the “Sons of Liberty” and was present at the great celebration in Dorchester on 14 August 1769, described under [130] Colonel Andrew Symmes. He afterwards, it is said, lived in Lynn. 

His children [may have been]:

  • [242] William, had a son William whose daughter Susan married a Barnes and was living in Boston in 1867.
  • [243] Elizabeth, married … Colman and had ten daughters.
  • [244] Abiah, married … Shepard and had Susan (Shepard) and John (Shepard).

I am in doubt whether these were not the children of another John Symmes. 

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[136] WILLIAM SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born in Boston 1753; married first Prudence Urann, a native of Boston said to be a descendant of Rev. Pierre Daillé, the minister of the French Protestant Congregation in Boston from 1696 to 1715; married second, Elizabeth Russell, sister of the well-known Benjamin Russell, printer and publisher of the Columbian Centinel of Boston.* She died at Ludlow, Vt., 25 January 1856, in her 91st year.

* According to Mr. Samuel G. Drake in his “History of Boston”, p. 733, there were issued in Boston, previous to December 1767, only four weekly papers – the News Letter, commenced 1704; the Evening Post, 1739; the Advertiser, 1753; the Gazette, 1755. In December 1676 two enterprising men, John Mein and John Fleming, commenced the Boston Chronicle. It was a high Tory paper and from the force of public opinion suspended in June 1770. All the other papers but the the last continued till the Revolution War, 1775-6, when they were discontinued. The Independent Chronicle was commenced 2 January 1777, and after the division of the country into parties was the accredited and leading organ of the democratic party in New England. The Massachusetts Centinel was first issued in 1784, the name changed on 16 June 1790 to Columbian Centinel. This paper was owned and conducted (I think from the beginning) by Benjamin Russell, a man of rare ability and possessing in a high degree the confidence and support of the federal party. It was continued by him till about 1820, when it was merged in the Boston Daily Advertiser.

He resided in Boston and was by trade a tailor. He was also a ship-master, sailing from Boston and Philadelphia. He was one of the sureties of his brother Colonel Andrew Symmes when the latter was appointed guardian of his child Mary by his second wife, Mary Holmes. 

He was for a time a deputy-sheriff of the county of Suffolk, and near the close of life removed to Cambridge where he died of consumption in 1810, aged 57. His wife’s brother, Mr. Russell, was guardian to his son, then only eight years old, and took him into his family. 

His children by first wife were:

  • [245] Mary, unmarried.
  • [246] Elizabeth, married John Bayley. They had a numerous family, one of whom was Dudley H. Bayley now residing in Boston. Previous to the “Great Fire”, November 9 and 10, 1872, he had a “Horse Bazaar” on Federal Street where he kept horses and carriages for sale.

By second wife:

  • [247] An infant.
  • [248] WILLIAM, born 1802; married first Elizabeth Ridgeley; married second Eliza A. Mayland.

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[147] ISAAC SYMMES, son of Zechariah and Grace (Parker) Symmes; born in Charlestown 10 April 1743; married first, 20 March 1765, Hannah Davis born 27 February 1743 – supposed to be a descendant of Dolor Davis of Barnstaple, 1680-1704. She died 1 October 1773. He married second, 15 December 1774, Hannah …., born 5 February 1749, died 13 December 1783. He married third, 24 October 1784, Joanna …., born 30 August 1754. 

He was a baker and one of the selectmen of the town. He lived in Plymouth, Mass. He died in consequence of a fall from a horse on Saturday 27 August 1791 at 11 o’clock, A.M. 

His children by first wife were:

  • [249] Hannah, born 30 January 1766. She was beautiful and attractive in parson; was engaged to be married but was disappointed and died in consequence while yet young.
  • [250] Isaac, born 5 June 1767; died November 1767.
  • [251] Grace, born 24 August 1768.
  • [252] Martha, born 6 May 1770; died 23 January 1859.
  • [253] ISAAC, born 16 November 1771; married Mary Whitman.
  • [254] Elizabeth, born 16 September 1773; died 2 May 1803.

By second wife:

  • [255] Lucy, born 14 September 1773; died 4 October 1775.
  • [256] MARGARET, born 15 November 1777; married James Spooner.
  • [257] Sarah, born 24 April 1779; married Pelham Brewster of Kingston, Mass. They have five children, names unknown.
  • [258] LAZARUS, born 18 February 1781; married Mary Weston.
  • [259 Lucy, born 24 October 1782; died 2 May 1783.

By third wife:

  • [260] Joanna, born 14 October 1785; died 27 December 1789.
  • [261] Nancy Holland, born 2 November 1786.
  • [262] ZECHARIAH PARKER, born 8 May 1791; married first Elizabeth D. Berry; married second Elizabeth Young; married third Caroline F. Esty.

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[151] SARAH SYMMES, half-sister of the preceding and daughter of Zechariah and Elizabeth (Locke) Symmes; born in Charlestown 29 December 1757; married 1777 James Locke born in the west end of the present town of Winchester, then part of Woburn, 7 April 1752. He was son of Jonathan and Phebe (Pierce) Locke of the same place. 

James Locke was a soldier of the Revolution. He dwelt successively in Winchester, Lexington and Arlington, the last place then known as West Cambridge. He died at the place last named on 6 July 1831, in his 80th year. His wife Sarah died 22 February 1839, aged 81. 

[None of their nine children – all surnamed Locke – are mentioned under Sixth Generation in the Memorial].



(Click on an UPPER CASE name within these Trees to view the known details)

via Fourth Generation [54] ZECHARIAH:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[17] William
[54] Zechariah
[90] Zechariah[91] Samuel[95] William
[154] ZECHARIAH[157] BENJAMIN[160] Samuel[162] Zechariah[163] Joseph[164] John[165] Nancy[166] Stephen[167] HORATIO[168] Mary

via Fourth Generation [56] TIMOTHY:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[17] William
[56] Timothy
[96] Timothy[97] Daniel
[174] Martha[182] GEORGE

via Fourth Generation [58] JOHN:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[17] William
[58] John
[100] John
[185] JOHN[186] THOMAS[187] Abigail[188] ELIZABETH[189] MARSHALL[191] EBENEZER[192] EDMUND[193] CHARLES

via Fourth Generation [62] TIMOTHY:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[18] Timothy
[62] Timothy
[112] Hon. John Cleves[113] Timothy[116] William
[201] MARIA[204] ANNA[205] CELADON[206] DANIEL[207] WILLIAM[208] Captain JOHN CLEVES[210] Mary[211] Juliana[212] PEYTON[213] Timothy[216] Timothy

via Fourth Generation [80] THOMAS:

[1] Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas
[80] Thomas
[126] Caleb
[227] CALEB[229] THOMAS

via Fourth Generation [81] ANDREW:

[1] Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas
[81] Andrew
[129] Hannah[130] Andrew[131] Ebenezer[136] William
[236] Susanna[238] Lydia[240] ANDREW[241] Mary Ann[248] WILLIAM

via Fourth Generation [85] ZECHARIAH:

[1] Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas
[85] Zechariah
[147] Isaac

[154] ZECHARIAH SYMMES, son of Zechariah and Rebecca (Tuttle) Symmes; born in Woburn before 1780; married 6 October 1801 Hannah Richardson daughter of Nathan Richardson of Woburn.
He was by trade a cooper; lived and died in Woburn. Late in life he became a member of the Congregational Church where his wife had long been a member. 

Their children [not mentioned further in the Memorial] were:

  • [272] Hannah, born about 1802; married Samuel B. Tidd 2 March 1820. They lived and died in Woburn. Had children.
  • [273] Mehitable, born 180….; married Ira Bucknam of Woburn; had children.
  • [274] Zechariah, born 1807; unmarried; died 16 April 1830; said to have been an excellent young man.

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[157] BENJAMIN SYMMES, brother of the preceding and son of Zechariah and Rebecca Symmes; born in Woburn about 1780; married Rizpah Saunders of Tewkesbury, Mass. They were published 25 March 1809.
He lived and died in Woburn, about 1815. His widow married Charles Stackpole of Charlestown. 

Their children [not mentioned further in the Memorial] of Benjamin and Rizpah Symmes were:

  • [275] Rispah, born 26 January 1810; said to have been married very young.
  • [276] Frances, 11 December 1810; married Isaac Lathrop. He kept a hat store in Charlestown and died about 1850. His wife died some years previous. They had a family of six children, one of them married Charles E. Rogers of Charlestown and is now living. An unmarried daughter, Mary Lathrop, is a teacher at Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury.
  • [277] Mary, born 1812; married 1832 Horatio Jenkins. They resided in Boston for a time, then in Chelsea, and now in Alexandria, Douglas County, Minnesota.
  • [278] Martha Saunders, born 26 September 1813; married Henry Bursley of Boston. They reside at No. 4 Bond Street, near Shawmut Avenue.

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[167] HORATIO SYMMES, youngest son [of six sons and one daughter] of Samuel and Susana (Richardson) Symmes; born in South Woburn, now Winchester, 8 November 1795; married 11 November 1819 Charlotte Johnson born in Lexington 7 July 1798, daughter of Munson and Betsey (Monroe) Johnson of Lexington, afterwards of Woburn. 

He was by trade a shoemaker and is now a stiffener or maker of the stiffened part of shoes. He and his wife are still living in Winchester in the house where he was born, but a few rods from the spot where his grandfather Zechariah Symmes lived. He and his wife were converted in the great revival in Woburn in 1827 when two hundred and twelve were admitted to the church by profession, and this couple among them; and they have ever since remained in covenant with God and his people. 
Their children were:

  • [316] Charlotte, born April 1822; died at 2 years old.
  • [317] Horatio, born 29 August 1824; married Rhoda Fowle daughter of Luke Fowle of Woburn.
  • [318] Henry, died at two or three years old.
  • [319] Henry William, born 29 December 1829; married Harriet Fogg of Harrison, Me.
  • [320] Charlotte Elizabeth, born 30 January 1833; unmarried; lives with her parents.
  • [321] Samuel Johnson, born 30 September 1838; married Eunice Fanny Forrester of Lynnfield. They have no children.

The three sons of this family now living [317, 319 and 321] reside near their father in Winchester. Stability is a marked characteristic of the Symmes family. The farm of their ancestors, William [17], William [4], and Zechariah [1], is but a stone’s throw from their present residence. 

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[182] GEORGE SYMMES, son of Daniel and Sophia (Emerson) Symmes of Medford; married ….
He occupied the homestead in Medford and was a blacksmith. 

His children [none of whom is seen again in the Memorial] were: [331] Louisa, married Charles L. Newcomb of Boston; [332] Mary Jane, [333] Abby, [334] Ella, [335] Hephzibah born about 1857, and [336] Charles. 
Though I have tried, I have not been able to obtain a better record of this family. 

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[185] Deacon JOHN SYMMES, eldest son of Captain John and Elizabeth (Wright) Symmes; born in North Medford now included in Winchester 27 January 1781; married 28 June 1804 Pamelia Richardson born 13 July 1782, daughter of Deacon Jeduthun Richardson of South Woburn by his wife Mary Wright, born 29 January 1741, eldest daughter of Deacon John and Mary (Locke) Wright of Woburn. 

He resided at “Symmes’s Corner” in a house built by himself in that part of Medford which, together with South Woburn and part of West Cambridge, was incorporated as the town of Winchester. 

He was a good man, just and upright, and useful in his day. In addition to the cultivation of a valuable farm, part of which he inherited from his early ancestors, he carried on during many years the business of a wheelwright as his father had done before him. He settled many estates of deceased persons and held at different times most of the offices of trust in the town and parish. He attended public worship in Medford and was a staunch supporter of civil and religious order. He was a deacon of the first Congregational Church in that town from about the year 1818 till his death, which occurred 15 February 1860 at the age of 79. He left a valuable estate to his children. His wife Pamelia died 1 December 1845 aged 63 years and 4 months. 

Their children were:

  • [337] John Albert, born 30 March 1805; died 30 May 1808.
  • [338] Pamelia, born 3 February 1807; married Horatio A. Smith 28 May 1852.
  • [339] Mary Wright, born 26 October 1809; unmarried. A lady of cultivated mind, of refined taste and extensive information, residing in the paternal mansion. The readers of this volume are largely indebted to her for the facts it contains relative to the Symmes Family at Winchester. Indeed, had it not been for her, this probably had not been undertaken.
  • [340 JOHN ALBERT, born 3 November 1812; married Lydia M. Smith.
  • [341] CHARLES CAREY, born 15 November 1814; married Lydia F. Clark.
  • [342] HENRY RICHARDSON, born 13 April 1818; married Abigail Symmes.
  • [343] LUTHER RICHARDSON, born 21 March 1822; married Elizabeth A. Ayer.

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[186] THOMAS SYMMES, brother of the preceding and second son of John and Elizabeth (Wright) Symmes; born in North Medford 30 March 1783; married Sarah Lloyd Wait daughter of Nathan Wait of Medford. 
He lived in Medford, was a farmer, and was killed in the woods by the irregular action – what is called slewing – of a sled heavily laden with fire-wood. This took place in the winter of 1811-12. 
His children were:

  • [344] Sarah Jane, born January 1807; married John Hunt of Roxbury as his second wife.
  • [345] Eliza Ann, born August 1808; married Henry Withington of Medford.
  • [346] THOMAS RUSSELL, born 1812; married Harriet Eady

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[188] ELIZABETH SYMMES, sister of the preceding; born 10 April 1787; married Abel Stowell in 1814, son of Abel Stowell of Worcester, a noted clock maker. 

His home after marriage was in Charlestown where he carried on the business of a jeweller. He purchased of John L. Sullivan for four thousand dollars, the mill privilege on the Aberjona River in the present town of Winchester which had, from the settlement of the country till 1823, been partly at least in the possession and occupancy of the Symmes Family. He had on this stream an iron-foundry. After some years he sold it to Robert Bacon, hatter, of Boston and it is now in the possession of Mr. Bacon’s children. Mr. and Mrs. Stowell are both deceased. 
Their children [all surnamed Stowell, none mentioned further in the Memorial] were: [349] Eliza, [350] Abel, [351] Alexander, [352] Caroline, [353] Emily and [354] Abby Maria. 

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[189] MARSHALL SYMMES, brother of the preceding and fifth child of Captain John and Elizabeth Symmes; born in North Medford 30 July 1789; married 26 January 1818 Lephe Stowell born 1791, sister of Abel Stowell the husband of her sister Elizabeth (see preceding paragraph). Her name, judging from the name she gave to her eldest daughter, may have been Relief. 

He pursued the business of a blacksmith at “Symmes’s Corner” in what is now Winchester. He is still living in Winchester in November 1872 and is able to be about. His wife Relief died 23 November 1848 aged 57. 

It is a remarkable fact that he and the children of his brother Edmund still own fifty or sixty acres of the farm in the present town of Winchester, which was given to their ancestor Rev. Zechariah Symmes by the town of Charlestown two hundred and thirty years ago. It has never gone out of the Symmes family. When transferred from one person to another it has been by the Probate Court. 

Their children were:

  • [355] MARSHALL, born 27 October 1818; married Abbie Stowell.
  • [356] Elizabeth Relief, born 28 September 1820; died 1 December 1820.
  • [357] Harriet Stowell, born 13 December 1821; unmarried; resides with her father.
  • [358] ALEXANDER STOWELL, born 13 December 1823; married Sarah Jane Livermore.
  • [359] Philemon Wright, born 12 February 1826; married Eliza P. Stowell daughter of Samuel Stowell of Worcester. Samuel was a cousin of Abel Stowell, mentioned above. Mr. Symmes died 8 January 1861. His wife Eliza died 8 October 1856. No child.
  • [360] Ellen Louisa, born 16 May 1828; married Oliver L. Wellington.
  • [361] CHARLES THOMAS, born 9 March 1832; married Abby Elizabeth Hunt.

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[191] EBENEZER SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born at “Symmes’s Corner” in the present town of Winchester 17 August 1793; married first HannaH Davis of Wilmington, Mass. sister of the wife of Joseph Bond of that town, the noted baker of excellent crackers. He married second, Lanissa …. 

Mr. Symmes carried on the baking business in Hanover, N.H., as many who were students at Dartmouth College in 1825 and the following years may remember. He removed to Concord and there had a wholesale flour store. In 1867 he removed to Medford where he now lives on an ample income. 

His children by his first wife were:

  • [362] Ebenezer, entered the U.S. Navy as midshipman many years ago. What has become of him we have not learned.
  • [363] Hannah Maria, married Sullivan Fay of Southboro’, Mass. She is a widow and resides with her father in Medford. She had a daughter who died.

By second wife:

  • [364] Mary Lamson.

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[192] EDMUND SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born at “Symmes’s Corner” 14 August 1795; married 15 November 1820 Elizabeth Ann Smith, born 27 November 1803, daughter of Elijah and Lydia Smith of Medford. 

He was a farmer; lived and died on the spot where he was born. He died 6 September 1843. The house, built by his father about 1783, was consumed by fire 17 August 1864. 

His children [none mentioned further in the Memorial] were:

  • [365] Edmund Augustus, born 12 May 1822.
  • [366] Elizabeth Ann, born 12 May 1824; married Hosea Dunbar of Winchester 3 January 1847. He is a master mason. 
  • [371] Lorenzo, born 28 August 1826; died 16 July 1845.
  • [372] Lydia Maria, born 15 April 1831; married Thomas Prentiss Ayer 12 December 1854. He is a merchant in Boston on Commercial Street in company with Thomas Dennie Quincy under the firm of Thomas D. Quincy & Co. He resides at “Symmes’s Corner” in Winchester.
  • [374] Theodore, born 11 August 1835; married Josephine G. Teel 7 September 1870. They live at “Symmes’s Corner”. He is engaged in business at 233 Cambridge Street, Boston.
  • [375] Sarah Smith, born 11 May 1840; married Jacob Clark Stanton, Jr., a merchant in Winchester.

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[193] CHARLES SYMMES, brother of the preceding and youngest child of Captain John and Elizabeth (Wright) Symmes of North Medford; born 4 April 1798; married Hanna Ricker 6 April 1824. 

In his youth he was in the counting room of Mr. Newhall, ship chandler in Boston. Afterwards he settled in Aylmer, Canada East, on the Ottawa River in the neighborhood of his mother’s brothers. 

The children of Charles and Hannah (Ricker) Symmes:

  • [376] Abigail, born 8 January 1826.
  • [377] Elizabeth, born 17 Nov 1829; married Peter Aylen 1 July 1852.
  • [382] Sarah Jane, born 16 October 1831; married Richard W. Cruice 27 February 1851.
  • [386] JOHN THOMAS and [387] THOMAS JOHN, twins born 26 January 1836; married respectively Harriet Grimes and Mary Weymouth.
  • [388] Edmund, born 6 February 1838.
  • [389] Tiberius Wright, born 4 May 1842.

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[201] MARIA SYMMES, elder daughter of Hon. John Cleves Symmes by his first wife Anna; born on Long Island about 1762; married about 1790 Major Peyton Short, a wealthy farmer of Kentucky. 
Little is known of either the husband or the wife. They lived in Lexington, Kentucky.*

* Her father, in a letter to his brother-in-law Colonel James Henry of Somerset County, New Jersey, dated ‘North Bend, May 22, 1791’, says: “Poor dear Maria, she seems to be lost to us all, and buried at Lexington in a circle of strangers. She would not come here with me, nor is she willing yet to come; the fear of Indians deters her. And yet there is not the least danger. As to her health it is very poor. She is very infirm and weakly. She trembles for my safety, let the Indians should kill me”.

It is supposed that she died about 1820. 
Their children were:

  • [390] John Cleves (Short), married first Betsey B. Harrison; married second Mrs. Mitchell, a widow, about 1850.
  • [391] Charles W. (Short), born about 1795; married ….
  • [293] Anna Maria (Short), born 1803; married Dr. Benjamin Dudley.

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[204] ANNA SYMMES, sister of the preceding and younger daughter of Hon. John Cleves Symmes; born at Flatbrook, New Jersey 25 July 1775; married at her father’s residence, North Bend, in what is now the State of Ohio, 22 November 1795, William Henry Harrison

Her father , in her earlier years, called her Nancy. Her mother died when she was about a year old. In her fourth year she was placed in the care of her mother’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Tuthill at Southhold, Long Island. The incidents of this journey she well remembered. The city of New York was then occupied by the British Army, and her father, though a Colonel in the American service, contrived by assuming the British uniform to pass the hostile lines with his young charge without suspicion.. Her grandmother was a godly woman whose soul had been stirred to its depths by the preaching of Whitefield. From her lips Anna Symmes received her first religious instruction, which produced impressions lasting as her life. She early acquired a relish for religious reading and committed to memory large portions of the Bible and many hymns, which she delighted to repeat after eighty years had passed away. 

In early life she enjoyed the advantages of a female school at Easthampton, Long Island [Both Southold and Easthampton were settled from Connecticut about 1650 and have always been pervaded by a New-England influence], and afterwards was a pupil of Mrs. Isabella Graham and an intimate of her family. For that excellent woman she always cherished the highest regard. 

In the autumn of 1794, her father having married again, she left her eastern home in company with her father and stepmother; but the journey at that time was made with difficulty and the party did not reach North Bend, her father’s home, till the morning of the first of January 1795. That region was then regarded as the Ultima Thule of civilization. Soon after, she paid a visit to her elder sister, the wife of Major Short, near Lexington, Kentucky, and there she first met with her future husband, Captain Harrison, who was then in command at Fort Washington, Cincinnati. Her home was with him at that place till 1801 when, on his appointment as the first governor of Indiana Territory – then extending to the Mississippi River – she accompanied him to Vincennes where she resided till the commencement of the war of 1812. She then returned to Cincinnati and after the war removed with her family to North Bend. 

She united with the First Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati but transferred her connection to the church at Cleves, near North Bend, on its organization, and continued a member of it till her death. 

She could never tell the precise time of her conversion; the new life must have begun in her very early youth. She could not remember a time when she was not penitent for sin, or when she did not prefer the service of Christ to all the pleasures of the world. Her only reliance for acceptance with God was the atoning merit of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Her influence was most happy on all who came within its reach. During the active Presidential canvass of 1840 a company of politicians from Cincinnati visited one Sabbath day the residence of General Harrison at North Bend. The General met them at some place near by and, extending his hand, courteously said: “Gentlemen, I should be most happy to welcome you on any other day, but if I had no regard for religion myself, I have too much respect for the religion of my wife to encourage the violation of the Christian Sabbath”. 

Mrs. Harrison was not indifferent to political interests, and few were better informed on public affairs than herself. But her real life was in a higher sphere. The Spirit of Christ from childhood reigned in her heart. Her chief joy was humbly to follow the Redeemer. Her love embraced all mankind. To relieve want, to succor the distressed, gave her unspeakable joy. A writer sums up her character thus:-

“She is distinguished for benevolence and piety. All who know her view her with esteem and affection. Her whole course through life, in all its relations, has been characterized by those qualifications that compose the idea of an accomplished woman”.

She retained her intellectual and physical powers almost to the last, and at the age of eighty-eight was an agreeable companion both to young and old. She calmly fell asleep in Jesus at Longuevue, the residence of her son Hon. John S. Harrison, February 25, 1864, in her 89th year. [Cincinnati Prebyter, 11 May 1864]. 

We must not omit to sketch the principal events in the life of her noble husband.

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON was born in the County of Berkeley in Virginia in the year 1775. His father, Benjamin Harrison, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He graduated at Hampden Sydney College in that State and studied medicine; but, preferring a military life, entered the Army of the United States in 1791 with an ensign’s commission at the early age of sixteen. He soon became a lieutenant and in 1794, as captain, had command of Fort Washington on the ground now occupied by the city of Cincinnati. In 1797 he was appointed secretary of the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, and in 1799 was its first delegate to Congress. In 1801 he was appointed Governor of the newly formed Territory of Indiana, which office he held for thirteen years, during which time he resided at Vincennes. 

In 1811 he defeated the Indians at the battle of Tippecanoe, receiving a bullet through his stock, without further injury. After the surrender of General Hull in 1812, he rose to the rank of Major General in the U.S. Army. In 1813, after Perry’s victory on Lake Erie, he invaded Canada and gained the battle of the Thames. A misunderstanding arising between him and General Armstrong, Secretary of War, he resigned his commission in 1814 and retired from the army after a connection with it of nearly twenty-four years. 

From this time his course was wholly in civil life. Not long after, he laid our the village of Cleves, Ohio, just back of the hills in the vicinity of North Bend, giving it that name in honor of his father-in-law, John Cleves Symmes. 

In 1816 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio; in 1819, to the Senate of that State; and in 1824, to the United States Senate. 

In 1828 he was appointed minister of the United States to the Republic of Colombia, South America, which position he held but one year. From 1829 to 1834 he quietly lived on his farm at North Bend. From 1834 to 1840 he served as prothonotary of the court of Hamilton county, Ohio, in which North Bend is situated. 

On the 4th of March, 1841, he was inaugurated PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, to which great office he had been elected, after a most animated canvass, by an overwhelming majority. The enthusiasm of his supporters has never been exceeded in this country. But amid the general rejoicing consequent on his election, he suddenly died just one month after his inauguration.

The children of William Henry and Anna (Symmes) Harrison were:

  • [393] Betsey Bassett (Harrison), born 1796; married her cousin John Cleves Short. She died in 1848. He was a lawyer and farmer at North Bend.
  • [394] John Cleves Symmes (Harrison), born 1798; married Clarissa Pike.
  • [395] Lucy Symmes (Harrison), born 1800; married D.K. Este of Cincinnati in 1819. He was a lawyer and judge. She died 1826.
  • [397] William Henry (Harrison), born 1802; married Jane Irwin.
  • [398] John Scott (Harrison), born 1804; married first Lucretia K. Johnson; married second Elizabeth Irwin.
  • [399] Benjamin (Harrison), born 1806; married first …. Bonner; married second …. Raney.
  • [400] Mary Symmes (Harrison), born 1808; married J.F.H. Thornton.
  • [401] Carter Bassett (Harrison), born 1811; married Mary Sutherland.
  • [402] Anna Tuthill (Harrison), born 1813; married William H.H. Taylor.
  • [403] James Findley (Harrison), born 1818; died in infancy.

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[205] CELADON SYMMES, eldest son of Timothy and Abigail (Tuthill) Symmes; born in Sussex County, New Jersey 30 May 1770; married 14 October 1794 Phebe Randolph, said to be a cousin of the famous John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia. 

He went, probably in the company led by John Cleves Symmes in 1789, to the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio and there took up his abode for life. In Cincinnati he bought a small lot of land for eight dollars, built a shop eight by ten feet, and worked one year at his trade of a silversmith which he had learned of his father. He then sold his lot and shop for seventeen dollars. It may well be supposed that in a new country like that around Cincinnati in 1789, little encouragement could be found for such a business. 

In 1790 he went to North Bend and during four years took the oversight of the farm of his uncle, Hon. John Cleves Symmes. He also acted as one of the guard whose duty was to protect from the Indians the surveyors who were laying out his uncle’s lands. It was then a time of war, and the Indians were troublesome

There seems to have been no price stipulated for his services, only Judge Symmes said to his nephew: “You shall never be the worse for it”. The uncle afterwards gave him a section of land in Butler County estimated to be worth eight hundred dollars, of which three hundred dollars might be considered as a present. 

During his residence at North Bend he was often in danger from the savages. Once he and his brother Daniel, both being unarmed, were followed several miles by two Indians, one of whom proposed to kill them. He was prevented by the other, who maintained that they were too good to be killed. 

He was a man of daring courage. At a certain time his dogs were fighting with a wounded panther and the beast seemed to be getting the advantage. Mr. Symmes rushed into the fray, seized the animal by the fore paw and stabbed it to the heart, thus ending the conflict. 

Hon. John C. Symmes, his uncle, often speaks of him with interest in his letters. In a letter to Colonel Henry of New Jersey, dated Cincinnati 8 October 1803 he says: “Celadon is very unwell. He hurt himself in the harvest field [last summer] and has never got over it. He and his brother William were both elected justices of the peace in one day by the body of the people; and the next week after, Celadon was elected captain of the company of militia; and the week following, the Governor [Dr. Tiffin of Chilicothe] sent him a commission appointing him commissioner for leasing”, &c. In a letter dated Cincinnati 10 February 1805 he calls his nephew “Major Celadon”.*

* In a letter dated Cincinnati 5 November 1810 John Cleves Symmes says:” We have great crops of all kinds of grain this year. Corn at 20 cents, wheat at only 50, delivered at the Mill; beef and pork $2.50 per hundred weight. We begin to hope for better times”.

He served several terms (seven years in all) as judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County. He owned a section of land three miles south of Hamilton, Ohio, which was afterwards known as “Symmes’s Corner”. On the southern side of his farm he laid off two acres as a public burying-ground, which received the designation “The Symmes Cemetery”. There he was buried, dying 11 July 1837 aged 67 years, 1 mo. 11 days. [Family Record]. 

Their children were:

  • [404] William Cleves and [405] A daughter, twins born 1795; died in infancy.
  • [406] Daniel Tuthill, born 5 November 1798; married Lucinda Gaston.
  • [407] John Cleves, born 1800; a farmer in Butler County; died in 1837.
  • [408] Benjamin Randolph, born 1802; married first Eliza Gaston; married second Jane Pauley.
  • [409] A son, born 1805; died in infancy.
  • [410] Celadon, born 1807; married Catharine Blackburn.
  • [411] Nancy H., born 1810; died 1814.
  • [412] Esther Woodruff, born 1811; married William N. Hunter.
  • [413] Joseph Randolph, born 1814; married first Martha J. Huston; married second Mary C. Bigham.
  • [414] Sarah Deborah, born 1817; married first Enoch Powers; married second Joseph Danford.

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[206] DANIEL SYMMES, second son of Timothy and Abigail (Tuthill) Symmes; born in Sussex County, New Jersey, 1772; married about 1795 Elizabeth Oliver. 

He studied at Princeton College and went out west with his uncle. He was clerk of the court of the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio until that Territory was discontinued. He afterwards studied law and practised at the bar for some years. In 1802 he was elected to the senate of Ohio and re-elected in 1803 for two years. He presided over that body as its speaker. On the resignation of Judge Meigs in 1804, he was appointed judge of the Supreme Court of Ohio. He was captain of the militia in 1803. 

He settled in Cincinnati when it was a mere village. His house, a two-story framed building, was for a time the best in the place. After the war of 1812-15 he was employed as the attorney of some persons who claimed from the United States government a large tract of land in the present State of Mississippi [probably the celebrated “Yazoo claims”]. He was successful in prosecuting the claim and received in remuneration a square league of the land included in the claim. 

In 1814 he received the appointment of Register of the U.S. Land Office in Cincinnati, which position he held until a few months before his death, which took place 10 May 1827. In that office he was succeeded by his half-brother Peyton Short Symmes. 

After his death his widow, an excellent Christian woman, married again. But her second marriage deprived her not only of her large property but of her domestic peace, so that she obtained a divorce. There being no law in Kentucky, where she had resided, which allowed a divorced wife to resume the name she bore previous to marriage, the legislature of that State honored her by passing a special act permitting her to bear the name of Symmes, to which she was devotedly attached. I have before me an autograph letter of hers dated Dayton, Ohio, 8 May 1856 in which she says that in three days more she would arrive at the age of 81. 
Daniel Symmes had no issue. 

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[207] WILLIAM SYMMES, brother of the preceding and third son of Timothy and Abigail Symmes; born in Sussex County, New Jersey, 1774; married in 1796 Rebecca Randolph, a sister of his brother Celadon’s wife. 

He learned the trade of silversmith of his father, but after his removal to Ohio – or rather to the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, as it was then called – he devoted himself wholly to farming. He resided in the south part of Butler County, Ohio, near what is now known as Jones’s Station on the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad. 

He died in 1809, leaving the children whose names follow:

  • [415] William F. R., born 1798; was a grocer in Hamilton, Ohio; died in 1839.
  • [416] Phebe, born 1804; married 1826 Barnabas Hoel.
  • [417] Esther, born 1806; married James Davis, a farmer in Butler County, Ohio.
  • [418] Timothy, born 1908; married Harriet Wilmuth.

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[208] Captain JOHN CLEVES SYMMES, half-brother of the preceding and son of Timothy and Mercy (Harker) Symmes; born in Sussex County, New Jersey 5 November 1779; married at Fort Adams, Louisiana, 25 December 1808 Mrs. Marianne Lockwood, widow of Captain Benjamin Lockwood of the U.S. Army, who had died in that year. 

In early life he received a good common English education, and then and in later life was particularly fond of mathematics and the natural sciences. 

In the year 1802 he entered the U.S. Army with an ensign’s commission. In a letter dated Cincinnati 8 October 1803, his uncle of the same name says to his correspondent and brother-in-law Colonel Henry:

“Johnny Symmes is a lieutenant in the standing troops, and is beloved by his men and respected by his officers. So much for bringing up boys as they ought to be, to keep them steady to business, without discouraging them”.

In 1807 he was stationed at Natchez and New Orleans. “Johnny Symmes” was commissioned as a captain of infantry 20 January 1812. He was in the battle at Bridgewater, sometimes called the battle of Lundy’s Lane, on the evening of 25 July 1814 and was then senior captain in his regiment. The company under his command discharged seventy rounds of cartridges and repelled three desperate charges of the bayonet from veterans who had driven Napoleon’s troops out of the Spanish Peninsula. His regiment was almost the only one which maintained its position throughout the action. In a sortie during the siege of Fort Erie, 17 September 1814, he with his command captured the enemy’s battery No. 3 and with his own hand spiked their heaviest cannon, a twenty-four pounder. He was universally esteemed a brave soldier, a zealous and faithful officer. [From statements made to him by General Jessup, General Brown in his official report makes honorable mention of the bravery of Captain Symmes in this battle]. 

He left the army on the general disbandment, 1816, at the close of the war and took up his residence at St. Louis where he was engaged for about three years in furnishing supplies to the troops stationed on the Upper Mississippi. Contrary to the usual experience, he did not make this business profitable and he left it in 1819. 

Captain Symmes has become extensively known as the author of a “Theory of Concentric Spheres and Polar Voids” which he promulgated at St. Louis in 1818 and which attracted considerable attention about the year 1824. We will present here in as few words as possible the substance of his theory and the arguments by which the author attempted to sustain it. For this we are indebted to a book written by James McBride, Esq., of Hamilton, Ohio, entitled “Symmes’s Theory of Concentric Spheres, demonstrating that the earth is hollow, habitable within, and widely open about the poles”.

On page 28 of that book we read:

“According to Captain Symmes, the earth is composed of at least five hollow concentric spheres, with spaces between each, and habitable as well upon the concave as the convex surface. Each of these spheres is widely open about the poles.
“The north polar opening is believed to be about four thousand miles in diameter, the south six thousand, and they incline to the plane of the equator at an angle of about twelve degrees. The highest point of the northern polar opening is near the coast of Lapland on a meridian passing through Spitzbergen; the lowest point will be found in the Pacific Ocean, about North latitude fifty degrees, on or near a meridian passing through the mouth of Cook’s River.
The lowest point of the southern opening will be found in the South Pacific about latitude forty-two degrees south and longitude one hundred and thirty degrees west. The highest point will be found in about latitude thirty-four degrees south and longitude fifty-four degrees west”.

His namesake and uncle ( [112] John Cleves Symmes ) gave him a valuable section of land near Hamilton, Ohio. He removed to it in 1824 but, as may well be supposed, his estate was insolvent at his death and his affairs greatly embarrassed, demanding the most vigorous exertions of his eldest son Americus to provide for the widow and the family. Mrs. Marianne Symmes, the widow, made her home most of the time with her eldest son Americus and died at Mattoon, Illinois, on a visit to her son Dr. William H.H. Symmes on August 5, 1864. 

Captain Symmes was a man of great simplicity and earnestness of character, high-minded, honorable, honest, exemplary in every walk of life, beloved, trusted and respected by all who knew him. The lady whom he married came to him with a family of five daughters and one son by her former husband. These children wee brought up and educated by him as his own. 

So entirely convinced was he of the soundness of his theory that for ten years, though laboring under great pecuniary embarrassment and buffeted by the ridicule and sarcasm of an opposing world, he persevered in his endeavors to convince others and interest them in it. The theory finally cost him his life. 

The children of Captain John Cleves Symmes [with the exception of [422] Elizabeth who died at seven years old] are referred to under “Seventh Generation”, [419] to [423]. 

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[212] PEYTON SHORT SYMMES, brother of the preceding and son of Timothy and Mercy Symmes; born in Sussex County, New Jersey in 1793; married Hannah B. Close in 1819. 

He went to Ohio in his childhood and was one of the pioneers of the West. He passed his life in Cincinnati and was one of its most respected and valued citizens. His name stands intimately connected with every important social improvement made in the Queen City. He took a deep interest in the cause of education and did much to promote the efficiency and success of the public schools. He had refined tastes and was a man of much culture. He wrote often in prose and verse for papers and magazines, He was distinguished for purity of character and was courteous and pleasant in social life. He was fond of humor and excelled in wit, but not at the expense of others. He was apt with the pencil and could draw the human countenance with remarkable success. He gave much time to the affairs of the city, in the City Council and in the Board of Health, of which he was a member from 1833 to 1849. He was one of the Trustees of Cincinnati College, an active member of the Horticultural Society, and prominent as a member and corresponding secretary of the Pioneer Association. He succeeded his brother Daniel in 1827 as Register of the U.S. Land Office in Cincinnati. He was the last male survivor of the elder John Cleves Symmes, the purchaser and pioneer settler of the wilderness of the northwest between the Great and Little Miami, where the flourishing cities of Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton now stand. 

He died of a paralytic stroke on the afternoon of Saturday 27 July 1861 aged 69, at the house of his son-in-law Charles L. Colburn at Mount Auburn near Cincinnati, where he had been resting for a few weeks during the heat of the weather. On the morning of that day he had attended the weekly meeting of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society at its rooms in the city. His funeral was attended on Friday 2 August by many of the old pioneer families, and the body deposited in the Spring Grove Cemetery. [Cincinnati Daily Gazette]. 

The children of Peyton S. Symmes [of whom only [443] Mary Susan is mentioned under “Seventh Generation”] were:

  • 442] William, born 1820; died same year.
  • [443] Mary Susan, born 1822; married Charles L. Colburn.
  • [444] Elizabeth, born 1825; married Langdon H. Haven in 1845, a merchant of the city of New York.
  • [447] Rachel Anna, married Henry B. Skinner, merchant of Boston.
  • [449] Henry Edward, born 1835; unmarried.
  • [450] Harriet Louisa, died 1852.
  • [451] Daniel Cleves, [452] Ethan Allen and [453] Allen Cleves, [for whom no details are known]

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[227] CALEB SYMMES, son of Captain Caleb and Elizabeth (Hall) Symmes; born in Charlestown, Mass., 7 March 1762; married first Lydia Trowbridge in Westford on 23 November 1784. She was born in Shirley, Mass., 25 December 1762, daughter of Thomas and Lucy Trowbridge. She died in Groton, Mass., 5 December 1812 and was buried at Littleton on the 7th. Thomas was son of Rev. Caleb Trowbridge of Groton. Mr. Symmes married second Mary (Chittenden) Lane, a widow, daughter of Calvin and Sally Chittenden in Charlestown, marriage ceremony by Rev. James Walker 20 July 1820. She was born in Malden 19 March 1781; died in Charlestown 13 September 1826 and was interred in Malden on September 14. 

In his childhood Mr. Symmes was fond of study and obtained some knowledge of Latin and Greek. Afterwards he learned the trade of a blacksmith. He resided, after marriage, in Westford till about 1792; in Hollis, N.H. one year; in Peterborough N.H. about the same length of time. In 1796 his mother bought a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in the south part of Groton, of her brother-in-law Captain Jonas Minot, father of Judge Minot of Haverhill, Mass., to which place they removed the same year. After his first wife’s death he lived in Charlestown. 

He died trusting in Christ at Malden near Boston 15 December 1843, aged 81 years 9 months, and was interred in the family tomb in the old cemetery in Charlestown on December 23. 

His children by first wife Lydia were:

Born in Westford

  • [479] Caleb, born 1 September 1786; married Mary Bowers.
  • [480] Betsey, born 5 September 1788; married Joshua Mixter.
  • [481] Lydia, born 11 January 1791; unmarried; she was a member of a Baptist church nearly fifty years and an eminently useful person; died in Boston 4 January 1857. Her end was perfect peace.

Born in Hollis, N.H.

  • [482] Lucy, born 29 June 1793; married John Clement.

Born in Groton, Mass

  • [483] Willard Hall. born 26 March 1796; married Sally Parker.
  • [484] Calvin, born 8 March 1798; unmarried
  • [485] Harriet, born 19 May 1802; never married. This estimable lady has been a worthy member of the Episcopal church for the last thirty-one years. She has taken a warm interest in this Family History and has contributed much to its completeness, especially in the record of her father’s and grandfather’s descendants. She resides with he brother Caleb’s widow at No. 8 Joiner Street, Charlestown.
  • [486] Mary, born 16 November 1805; married William C. Paterson.

By second wife Mary and born in Charlestown

  • [487] Thomas, born 13 December 1823; married first Mary Mitchell; married second Sarah Ellen Bowers.

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[229] THOMAS SYMMES, brother of the preceding and son of Captain Caleb and Elizabeth (Hall) Symmes; born in Charlestown 19 September 1765; married Rebecca Carver born 3 July 1766, youngest child of Ensign Benjamin and Edea Carver of Westford. Her mother, Edea Fletcher, was sister of Captain Benjamin Fletcher, his step-father. 

He went with his mother in 1774 to Westford where she married Captain Fletcher in 1779. He was brought up under Captain Fletcher to the business of husbandry, to which he added that of a cooper. He was unsuccessful un business, as many were in the pinching times that followed the war of the Revolution. He found it necessary in 1796 to dispose of his interest in the farm at Westford, which had belonged to Captain Fletcher, and removed to Ashby where Dr. Thomas Carver, his wife’s brother, was the practising physician. He bought a farm there and engaged in trade but soon sold out and in 1799 returned to Westford, which, with some additions since made, remains in the hands of his descendants. 

He was a man honest, industrious and of exemplary life, a church-going man and very careful in observing the Sabbath. He was fond of church music and took part in the devotions of the sanctuary. 

He died on 1 September 1817, aged nearly 52. His widow Rebecca remained at the homestead till 1832 when she removed to the house of her son Edward, where she died 17 November 1836 in her 71st year. 

The children of Thomas and Rebecca (Carver) Symmes were:

Born in Westford

  • [488] Thomas, born 27 March 1790; unmarried; died 27 November 1846.
  • [489] Patty Carver, born 14 August 1791; died 28 June 1795.
  • [490] Susanna Bancroft, born 5 July 1793; died 13 April 1813.
  • [491] Edea Fletcher, born 2 August 1795; married Cephas Drew,

Born in Ashby

  • [492] Martha, born 4 May 1797; died 24 April 1820.

Born in Westford

  • [493] Caleb, born 15 November 1800; died 29 March 1821.
  • [494] Elizabeth Hall, born 16 April 1803; died 1805.
  • [495] Edward and [496] Edmund, twins born 1 April 1806; Edward married Rebecca P. Fletcher.

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[240] ANDREW ELIOT SYMMES, only son of Colonel Andrew Symmes by his wife Mary Ann (Stevens) Symmes; born in Boston; married Eliza Coffin, daughter of Hon. Peleg Coffin, a native of Nantucket and a member of Congress from the district in which Nantucket was situated. He was an intimate and confidential friend of Caleb Strong, the excellent governor of this commonwealth. He resided in Boston and was one of the firm [Samuel] Torrey, Symmes & Company from 1806 to 1810. 

He had two daughters:

  • [507] Eliza, married first John Thorne of Brooklyn, Long Island; married second William Raymond Lee Ward formerly of Salem Mass, now in 1873 a broker in New York city. She and her husband are both living. By her first marriage she had one child, George Winthrop (Thorne) who married a Miss Beckwith but is now a young widower.
  • [508] Mary Anne, married Frederick A. Heath of Brookline. She died about a year after marriage.

[Up to the Index]

[248] WILLIAM SYMMES, only son of William and Elizabeth (Russell) Symmes; born in Boston 1802; married first in 1826 Elizabeth Ridgeley, a native of England. She died in Dorchester in 1833 aged 26. He married second Eliza A. Mayland on 2 May 1836. 

His father dying when he was but eight years old, his mother’s brother Hon. Benjamin Russell was his guardian. He spent much of his early life in his family. He was a harness-maker in Boston and has lived in Boston, Dorchester and Framingham. He and his wife are living in Framingham in March 1873. 

His children by first wife were:

  • [511] Charles, born 14 February 1827; married Cleora Dunbar, daughter of Hon. Frederick Dunbar of Ludlow, Vt. In 1872 he is a farmer in Waupaca, Wisconsin.
  • [512] William Henry, born 29 March 1829; married Rhoda Bray of Rockport. She is not now living. He was a sailor nine years and was in the War of the Rebellion. He now lives in Boston and has some office in the Suffolk Jail in Charles Street; house, Bradford Street.
  • [513] Sarah Elizabeth, born 13 March 1831; married Amasa D. Cunningham of Cambridge, a horticulturist. They live in Boston Highlands, formerly the town of Roxbury.

By second wife:

  • [514] Charlotte Russell, born May 1837; married Nelson H. Hull of Durham, Ct. He was in the “lamp business” at Meriden, Ct. He is not now living. She resides with her parents in Framingham. Has one child.
  • [515] Henrietta Russell, born 5 July 1838; unmarried. She is at present, January 1873, in Southington, Ct.
  • [515 a and b] Two children named Hubbard Winslow, both died.
  • [516] Theodore White, born 17 February 1844; married Amanda Colburn of Groton, Mass. They live in Plantsville, Ct. He is a clerk.

[253] ISAAC SYMMES, son of Isaac and Hannah (Davis) Symmes; born in Plymouth, Mass. 16 November 1771; married 1 January 1798 Mary Whitman who was born 19 August 1778. 

We suppose he lived in Plymouth, Mass., possibly in Kingston, an adjoining town.

Their children were:

  • [517] Isaac, born 27 September 1798.
  • [518] Hannah, born 6 May 1801.
  • [519] William, born 19 August 1802; married first Mary D. Washburn; married second Caroline H. Jameson.
  • [520] Mary Whitman, born 29 October 1805; married Alden Sampson.
  • [521] Martha, born 12 January 1809.
  • [522] Daniel, born November 1820; married Selina A. Weston.

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[258] LAZARUS SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born 18 February 1781; married 7 November 1802 Mary Weston born 1784, daughter of William Weston of Plymouth, Mass. 

Their home was in Plymouth but the last part of their lives they spent mostly with their children. Mr. Symmes died 25 January 1851 aged 70. Mrs. Symmes died 4 December 1863 aged 79.

Their children were:

  • [527] Eliza, born 1803; died 1804.
  • [528] William, borne 1 June 1805; married in Boston in April 1834 Jane G. Pratt, a widow; he was a sea-captain; died at sea 1836.
  • [529] Eliza Ann, born 17 January 1808; married in Plymouth 29 September 1828 John W. Newman of Lancaster, Mass. She now resides in Wakefield. Their son [530] Dr. J. Frank Newman is a dentist in Boston.
  • [531] Columbus, born 28 September 1813, died 19 May 1827.
  • [532] Washington, born 29 August 1816; married Juliette Jones in Philadelphia, where they reside. Children: [533] William and [534] Mary, who married James Patterson. They live in Washington D.C.
  • [535] Harriet, born 27 January 1819; married in Plymouth 1838 to Renseelaer Barker of East Boston.
  • [536] Mary, born 16 March 1823; married at Hartford, Ct., 15 October 1850 to James B. Richards of New York. She died 5 February 1872.

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[262] ZECHARIAH PARKER SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born in Plymouth, Mass., 8 May 1791; married first Elizabeth Dukes Berry born 16 August 1791, died 23 November 1834; married second Elizabeth Young, who died 17 December 1840; married third Caroline Fox Esty born 21 April 1808, now deceased. Mr Symmes died 6 September 1865.

His children by first wife were:

  • [537] David Mason, born 23 September 1815; unmarried; a “jobber”.
  • [538] Parker, born 19 March 1817; died at sea September 1838.
  • [539] Lewis, born 17 April 1819; married Sarah P. Hood.
  • [540] Henry, born 25 January 1822; married Almira W. Wiley. He was a shoe-maker and lived in Beverly and Lowell, Mass., and died 27 October 1869. His wife is living in Lowell. One child: [541] Lucy, born 6 June 1852.
  • [542] Stephen, born 20 March 1824; a shoemaker in Beverly; married 8 January 1846 Sarah D. Hildreth born 21 September 1827, daughter of James Hildreth, a blacksmith of Hopkinton, N.H. Only child: Freddie H., born 28 July 1869, died 3 August 1869.
  • [543] Charles, born 10 April 1827; married Nancy Duffee.
  • [544] Richard, born 25 September 1830; unmarried; a shoemaker.

By second wife:

  • [545] RUFUS WILLIAM, born 2 December 1836; married 1867 Mary E. Page daughter of William Page of Newburyport, Mass. Resides in Beverly; a trader. Only child: Walter, born 14 March 1870.

By third wife:

  • [546] Parker Fox, born 5 September 1842.
  • [546a] Joanna A.



(Click on an UPPER CASE name within these Trees to view the known details)

via Fifth Generation [91] SAMUEL SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[17] William
[54] Zechariah
[91] Samuel Symmes
[164] John

via Fifth Generation [100] Captain JOHN SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[17] William
[58] John
[100] Captain John Symmes
[185] Deacon John[186] Thomas[189] Marshall[193] Charles
[340] JOHN ALBERT[341] CHARLES CAREY[342] HENRY R.[343] LUTHER R.[346] THOMAS RUSSELL[355] MARSHALL[358] ALEXANDER[360] Ellen Louisa[361] CHARLES THOMAS[386] JOHN THOMAS[387] THOMAS JOHN[388] Edmund[389] Tiberius Wright
Wellington Family

via Fifth Generation [113] TIMOTHY SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[18] Timothy
[62] Timothy
[113] Timothy Symmes
[205] Celadon[207] William[208] John Cleves[212] Peyton[213] Timothy
[406] DANIEL[408] BENJAMIN[410] CELADON[412] Esther[413] JOSEPH[414] Sarah Deborah[416] Phebe[418] TIMOTHY[419] Louisiana[420] AMERICUS[421] WILLIAM[423] JOHN[443] Mary Susan[449] HENRY EDWARD[461] HENRY HARKER
Hunter familyPowers familyHoel familyTaylor and Baker familiesColburn family

via Fifth Generation [126] CALEB SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas
[80] Thomas
[126] Caleb Symmes
[227] Caleb[229] Thomas
[479] CALEB[480] Betsey[482] Lucy[483] WILLARD[484] CALVIN[486] Mary[487] THOMAS[488] THOMAS[491] Edea Fletcher[495] EDWARD[496] Edmund
Mixter familyClement familyPaterson familyDrew family

via Fifth Generation [147] ISAAC SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas
[85] Zechariah
[147] Isaac Symmes
[253] Isaac[262] Zechariah Parker
[519] WILLIAM[520] Mary Whitman[539] LEWIS[543] CHARLES
Sampson family

[298] JOHN SYMMES, eldest son of John and Abigail (Green) Symmes of South Woburn; born 14 December 1819; married first Almira Stoddard of Woburn. She died previous to 1845. He married second, 9 June 1845, Mary Kendall Carter of Albany, New York. She was born 14 June 1827, daughter of Levi and Cynthia (Kendall) Carter, residents in Albany but not natives of that place. She died at Burlington, Mass., 11 June 1860 aged 33. He married third at Lexington, Mass., 30 June 1861 Emily Carter born in North Bridgton, Me., 13 September 1832, daughter of Henry and Hannah (Cochran) Carter. She was cousin to the second wife – her father Henry being brother of Levi Carter, already mentioned. Hannah Cochran, wife of Henry Carter, was an Andover woman. 

Mr. Symmes was by trade originally a carpenter and worked in the sash and blind business. He has resided in Naples (Me), Burlington (Mass), Lawrence (Mass), and now lives on Elm Street in Winchester. He goes to Boston daily, where he is superintendent of the large piano-forte manufactory of Hallett, Cumston & Co. 

There were no children by the first wife, at least none that lived.

Children by second wife:

  • [547] Emma Sophia, born in Winchester 11 February 1846; unmarried, lives with her father.
  • [548] William Franklin, born in Naples, Me., 31 July 1849.
  • [549] Charles Augustus, born in Naples 31 May 1851; died 31 July 1851.
  • [550] Mary Ella, born in Naples 2 September 1853.
  • [551] Arthur Carter, born in Burlington 15 September 1855; died 9 November 1856.
  • [552] Charles Kendall, born in Burlington 24 January 1858.
  • [553] Abigail Green, born in Burlington 4 June 1860; died 26 August 1860.

Child by third wife:

  • [554] Edwin Albert, born in Lawrence, Mass., 22 May 1865.

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[299] WILLIAM BITTLE SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born 13 June 1822; married Anna Hill of Portsmouth, N.H., 11 February 1847.
He lives in New York city or very near there and is connected with a clothing store in that city.
Only one child: [555] William, born 31 July 1851.

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[340] JOHN ALBERT SYMMES, son of Deacon John and Pamelia (Richardson) Symmes; born at “Symmes’s Corner”, Medford, 3 November 1812; married Lydia Maria Smith 1 June 1839.
He kept a store in South Woburn, now the centre of Winchester. He was to have taken the wheelwright’s business from his father’s hands with his brother Luther and moved to the homestead for this purpose, but died from a cut on the knee 19 February 1849, aged 36 years and three months.
He had but one child: [556] Amelia Maria, born 24 March 1841.

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[341] CHARLES CAREY SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born 15 November 1814; married 10 November 1840 Lydia Fletcher Clark, daughter of Deacon Oliver Clark of Tewksbury, Mass. by his first wife, and half-sister to Hon. Oliver Richardson Clark of Winchester, and Rev. Edward Warren Clark of Claremont, N.H., they being children of the second wife.

Mr. Symmes went to Aylmer, Ottawa, Canada East, when sixteen years of age as clerk to his uncle Charles Symmes [193], a lumber merchant there. After his marriage in 1840 he and his brother Henry succeeded to their uncle’s business. He died of cholera at Three Rivers, Canada East, 4 August 1854. His widow Lydia died at Aylmer, C.E. 26 March 1859.

Their children, all born at Aylmer, were:

  • [557] Charles Henry, born 31 October 1841; died 3 October 1858.
  • [558] Edward Carey, born October 1844; died February 1846.
  • [559] Catharine Noel, born 25 December 1846; died December 1846.
  • [560] Francis Edward, born 12 September 1851. After his mother’s death (1859) her brother the Rev. Edward W. Clark adopted this her only living child and had his name changed to Francis Edward Clark. He is now a member of Dartmouth College and is expected that he will graduate in the summer of 1873.

[ Up to the Index ]

[342] HENRY RICHARDSON SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born 13 April 1818; married 25 March 1842 his cousin Abigail Symmes [376] born 8 January 1826, daughter of his father’s youngest brother Charles of Aylmer, Canada East.
He resided some years at Aylmer, where he was editor of a paper. In 1858 he removed to Three Rivers in the same province and has since been superintendent of Public Works on the River Saint Maurice.

His children have been:

  • [561] Henry Charles, born 18 April 1843; married Jennie Brown Thompson 22 August 1867. They live at Hamilton, Canada West. Child: [562] Herbert Ormsby, born 20 September 1872.
  • [563] John Albert, born 28 May 1845.
  • [564] Mary Elizabeth, born 4 January 1848.
  • [565] Edward, born 3 February 1850; died 10 December 1850.
  • [566] William, born 25 October 1851.
  • [567] Hannah Pamelia, born 25 March 1854.
  • [568] Luther Richardson, born 22 August 1856.
  • [569] Margaret McDougal, born 5 August 1858.
  • [570] Frederic. born 11 November 1859; died 28 March 1867.
  • [571] Fanny, born 5 September 1861; died 1861.
  • [572] Kate Frances, born 12 January 1863.
  • [573] Charles, born 18 July 1864; died 1864.
  • [574] Agnes Adelaide, born 25 January 1866.

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[343] LUTHER RICHARDSON SYMMES, brother of the preceding and youngest son of Deacon John and Pamelia (Richardson) Symmes; born 21 March 1822; married 1 November 1848 Elizabeth Abby Ayer, daughter of Nathaniel Ayer formerly of Charlestown and more recently of Winchester, and sister of Thomas Prentiss Ayer.

He resides at the old homestead at Symmes’s Corner, Winchester, on the spot where he was born. He was for some time a wheelwright, following the business of his father and grandfather. He is now the efficient superintendent of the upper portion of the Charlestown Water Works, which derive an unfailing supply from Mystic Pond, near to which is Symmes’s Corner and Mr. Symmes’s house. North of this beautiful sheet of water and immediately contiguous to it was the farm granted to his ancestor, Rev. Zechariah Symmes, two centuries and a quarter ago.
Only one child: [575] Alice Frances, born 13 September 1851.

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[346] THOMAS RUSSELL SYMMES, son of Thomas and Sarah Lloyd (Wait) Symmes; born 1812; married Harriet Eady of Canada.
He lived at Aylmer, Canada East, and died a few years ago.

Their children were:

  • [576] Elizabeth.
  • [577] Sarah.
  • [578] Thomas Russell, lives in Medford, near Boston.
  • [579] Albert.
  • [580] Jane, died 1870.

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[355] MARSHALL SYMMES, eldest son of Marshall and Lephe (Stowell) Symmes; born in what is now the south part of Winchester 27 October 1818; married 17 June 1846 Abbie Stowell, born 16 August 1824, daughter of Samuel Stowell of Worcester who was cousin of Abel Stowell, already mentioned as the husband of his aunt Elizabeth Symmes.
They live at Symmes’s Corner, south Winchester, in the house formerly owned and occupied by Governor John Brooks.

Their children:

  • [592] Frances Louisa, born 26 April 1847; died 25 August 1849.
  • [593] Frederic Marshall, born 13 August 1850.
  • [594] Ella Lephe, born 28 May 1852.
  • [595] Walter Fay, born 1 August 1854.
  • [596] Anna Eliza, born 16 February 1857.
  • [597] Samuel Stowell, born 22 October 1858.
  • [598] Albert Henry, born 11 August 1860; died 28 April 1861.
  • [599] Abbie Elizabeth, born 2 August 1862.

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[358] ALEXANDER STOWELL SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born 13 December 1823; married 27 January 1852 Sarah Jane Livermore of Watertown, born 7 December 1830.
They reside in Medford.

Their children, all born in Medford, are:

  • [600] Addie Maria, born 23 March 1853.
  • [601] Arthur Cotting, born 9 February 1856.
  • [602] Mary Ellen, born 9 May 1858.
  • [603] Jennie, and [604] Nettie, twins born 1 April 1861, died 12 November 1861.
  • [605] Sarah Elizabeth, born 3 July 1863.
  • [606] Lillian Frances, born 17 October 1865.
  • [607] Ida Livermore, born 9 June 1871.

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[361] CHARLES THOMAS SYMMES, brother of the preceding and youngest child of Marshall and Lephe (Stowell) Symmes; born 9 March 1832; married 30 March 1863 Abby Elizabeth Hunt born 28 February 1843, daughter of John Hunt of Roxbury and sister of John G. Hunt who was the husband of Abby Maria Stowell.


  • [613] Irving Livingston, born 13 July 1866.
  • [614] Charles Herbert, born 15 November 1869.

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[386] JOHN THOMAS SYMMES, son of Charles and Hannah (Ricker) Symmes; born at Aylmer, Canada East 26 January 1836; married Harriet Grimes 5 April 1860.


  • [615] Sarah D., born 24 January 1861.
  • [616] Charles W., born 9 September 1863.
  • [617] Hannah E., born 26 February 1867.

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[387] THOMAS JOHN SYMMES, twin brother of the preceding; born at Aylmer, Canada East 26 January 1836; married Mary Weymouth 17 April 1865. 


  • [618] Charles Thomas, born 17 January 1866.
  • [619] Edmund, born 3 January 1868.
  • [620] Daniel Weymouth, born 30 January 1870.
  • [621] Thomas John, born 13 December 1871

[Children born to Thomas John Symmes after 1871 – a further three sons and one daughter – and known descendants are introduced in “21st Century” under “Beyond the Symmes Memorial” (see Contents window)]

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[406] DANIEL TUTHILL SYMMES, son of Celadon and Phebe (Randolph) Symmes; born in Butler County, Ohio 5 November 1798; married 8 May 1823 Lucinda Gaston daughter of Joseph and Martha (Hutton) Gaston.

He passed his life in agricultural pursuits in his native place, was a leading man in that vicinity and died somewhat prematurely on 14 August 1830 in his 32nd year.


  • [688] Phebe, born 1825, died same year.
  • [689] Joseph Gaston, born 24 January 1826; married Mary Rosebrook Henry.
  • [690] Francis Marion, born 18 November 1827; married Mary Jane Dunn.
  • [691] Samuel, born 1832; died 1842.

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[408] Captain BENJAMIN RANDOLPH SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born 1802; married first Eliza Gaston in 1826. She was sister of Lucinda Gaston, wife of Daniel Tuthill Symmes. He married second Jane Pauley in 1835.

He has always resided in the vicinity where he was born and has devoted himself to the pursuits of agriculture. He was for a long time captain of a company of militia and also justice of the peace. In 1840 he built a hotel on the southwestern corner of the section of land which had been the property of his father, three miles south of Hamilton, Ohio. To this locality he gave the name Symmes’s Corner, whence the name of the village which has since sprung up in that vicinity. In 1844 he removed to the “Corner” and kept the hotel himself for many years. He also served as postmaster of that village from that date to 1861. He still resides at Symmes’s Corner.

His children by first wife Eliza:

  • [692] Celadon Cleves, born 1828; died 1829.
  • [693] Martha Jane, born 1829; married John Watson.
  • [694] Isaac Watts, born 1831; died 1835.
  • [695] Peyton Randolph, born 1833; married Elizabeth Kingery.

By second wife Jane:

  • [696] Celadon Hutton, born 1836; married Sarah Tuley in 1862.
  • [697] Samuel Wiley, born 1839; died 1839.
  • [698] James Rigdon, born 1840; married Maria Hagerman.
  • [699] Eliza Gaston, born 1843; died 1844.
  • [700] Joseph Erskine, born 1845.
  • [701] Catharine Jane, born 1847.

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[410] CELADON SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born 1807; married 1828 Catharine Blackburn.
He is a well-to-do farmer in Butler, Ohio and a member of the Presbyterian church. After his brother Daniel died he was guardian of his three fatherless, helpless children, and acted towards them the part of a father.


  • [702] Benjamin, born 1830. He is a farmer at Symmes’s Corner near Hamilton, Ohio.
  • [703] Infant son, born and died 1832.
  • [704] John Milton, born 1833; a farmer and carpenter at Symmes’s Corner.
  • [705] Daniel Tuthill, born 1836; married 1860 Mary H. Vinnedge. He is a farmer at Symmes’s Corner. Had [706] Georgetta, born 1861.
  • [707] Joseph Cleves, born 1840; married 1863 Martha Smith.
  • [708] Aaron Blackburn, born 1843.
  • [709] Celadon Jasper, born 1845; died 1848.
  • [710] Hannah Catharine, born 1848.

In this family the reader will observe seven sons in succession.

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[412] ESTHER WOODRUFF SYMMES, sister of the preceding, born 1811; married in 1827 William Noble Hunter who was a farmer in Butler County, Ohio and an elder in the Presbyterian church, a very worthy man. [By 1873 they had eleven children surnamed Hunter and three Huston grandchildren].

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[413] JOSEPH RANDOLPH SYMMES, brother of the preceding, born 1814; married first Martha J Huston in 1840; married second Mary C. Bigham in 1847.
He is a farmer near Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio; a man of strict integrity and unusual strength of character. He is now, in December 1872, an elder in the First Presbyterian Church in Hamilton, Ohio.

Children by first wife Martha:

  • [725] John Huston, born and died 1840.

By second wife Mary:

  • [726] James Bigham, born 1848; died 1849.
  • [727] William, born 1851.
  • [728] Martha, born 1853; died 1856.
  • [729] John Cleves, born 1855; died 1858.
  • [730] Celadon, born 1857; died 1858.
  • [731] Mary Catharine, borne 1861; died 1863.
  • [732] Joseph Cleves, born 1861; died 1863.
  • [733] Phebe Randolph, born 1864.

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[418] TIMOTHY SYMMES, son of William and Rebecca (Randolph) Symmes; born in Butler County, Ohio 1809; married in 1830 Harriet Wilmuth.
He was a farmer in Butler County and died in 1838.


  • [753] Hester A., born 1831; married 1850 James Hargan of Cincinnati, Ohio, a locksmith. She died 1854.
  • [756] Washington, born 1832; died 1848.
  • [757] Jefferson, born 1834; married 1857 Ellen H. Dixon. Resides at Chicago, is a broom-maker and has two children.
  • [758] Timothy, born 1837; at Chicago, a broom-maker.

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[420] AMERICUS SYMMES, eldest son of Captain John Cleves Symmes; born at Bellefontaine 2 November 1811; married first in 1832 Anna Milliken of Hamilton, Ohio, daughter of Dr. Daniel Milliken. She died there on 5 January 1839. He married second in 1840 at Louisville, Kentucky, Frances Scott daughter of Major Chasteen Scott of Boone County, Kentucky.
His father died when he was but little more than seventeen years of age, leaving in his hands an estate encumbered with debt and a widowed mother and three children besides himself to provide for. The responsible task was well performed.
He resided at Hamilton, Ohio till 1850, then removed to Covington, Kentucky. In 1852 he removed to a fine farm three miles southeast of Louisville, Kentucky.

Children by first wife:

  • [763] Anthony Lockwood, born 1835; married 1857 Mary E. Culver. He is a coal-dealer in Louisville, Kentucky. Twin children [764] Ella and [765] Charles, born 1858. Charles died 1859.
  • [766]James Tuthill, born 1837; was a military student; died 1854.
  • [676] Daniel Cleves, born 1839; of Louisville, Ky.; was a captain in the rebel army and fought bravely on the side of the “Confederacy”. He was taken prisoner by a kinsman in the U.S. Army (see [695] under Eighth Generation)

By second wife:

  • [768] Florence, born 1841.
  • [769] Scott, born 1843.
  • [770] Americus, born 1846.
  • [771] William, born 1848.
  • [772] Henry, born 1852.
  • [773] Lilly, born 1855; died 1856.
  • [774] Ida, born 1858.
  • [775] A daughter, born 1861.

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[421] Dr. WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON SYMMES, brother of the preceding and son of Captain John Cleves Symmes; born at Bellefontaine May 1813; married first Phebe A. Wayne at Greyville, Illinois 1840. She died there 1851. He married second Mrs. H. Bargen, 1853, at Shawneetown, Illinois, a niece of the noted Benjamin Hardy of Kentucky.
He studied medicine in Frankfort, Kentucky; graduated at the Medical College, Cincinnati, Ohio in 1837. He practised medicine some years in Ohio; in 1857 removed to Mattoon, Illinois, and is now a physician in Kansas City, Missouri.

Children by first wife:

  • [776] William Scott, born 1841.
  • [777] Littleton Fowler, born 1843.
  • [778] Alice, born 1845.

By second wife:

  • [779] Oliver Reeder, born 1854.
  • [780 Ida Carr, born 1855.

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[423] Captain JOHN CLEVES SYMMES, brother of the preceding and youngest son of Captain John Cleves Symmes; born at Newport, Kentucky 25 October 1824; married in 1862 at Berlin, Prussia while sojourning in Germany, Marie Lepowitz of Posen, in Prussian Poland. 

He graduated at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point in 1847 at the head of his class and with a higher “general merit” in studies than any other student of that institution had ever exhibited.
He was second lieutenant of Artillery immediately on his graduation 1 July 1847, and two months afterwards – August 30 – became Acting Assistant Professor of Ethics etc in that institution.
He was transferred to the Ordnance Department 24 August 1849, and was, unsolicited, made a captain of infantry by the Secretary of War on the formation of new regiments in 1855, but declined the appointment, preferring the artillery service. 

After this he was stationed at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and was promoted to be captain of Ordnance, but was compelled to retire from active service on account of sickness and weak eyes, contracted at that station. He made, from time to time, fifteen breech loading guns and a cannon, all different. He has invented a new species of arms, which he proposes to call the “Simz Rifle” and the “Simz Cannon”; also an air engine which he calls “The Simz Power”. 

He is now on the invalid list, and since September 1862 has resided in Berlin, Prussia, where he had a son:
[781] John Haven Cleves, born 1866.

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[449] Major HENRY EDWARD SYMMES, son of Peyton S. Symmes of Cincinnati; born in Cincinnati 1835; never married. 

When the war of the rebellion broke out in April 1861 he entered with ardor and energy into the great struggle against the enemies of the Union. In a very few days he left his native city at the head of a company of nearly one hundred men. This was afterwards known as Company C in the 5th Regiment Ohio Volunteers. This regiment was chiefly made up of Cincinnati young men, the flower of that city.
At the end of the three months term for which it originally enlisted, it was mustered for three years. Its first campaign was in West Virginia. They were first under fire in the affair of Blue’s Gap near Romney, so called because it is a narrow ravine between two high hills, the ravine in one place only twenty feet wide. It was on the 8th January 1862 and the snow was six inches deep. In this affair Captain Symmes led the advanced guard of one hundred and fifty men in most gallant style and was in the thickest of the fight, till the enemy, though strongly posted, made a hasty retreat. 

The regiment bore a conspicuous part in the battle of Winchester on 23 March 1862; joined General McDowell at Fredericksburg May 1862; were actively engaged in the battles of Port Republic on 9 June, Cedar Mountain 9 August, in the second battle of Bull Run on 29 August, in the battle of Antietam on 17 September, in the defence of Dumfries against the attack of the rebel Stuart on 27 December – all in 1862 – then in the battle of Chancellorsville 1-3 May, of Gettysburg 2-4 July, and of Lookout Mountain 23-25 November 1863.
In these severe engagements the regiment lost the greater part of its men. 

In January 1864 Captain Symmes was promoted to be major. Colonel John H. Patrick, who commanded the regiment, was killed by a concealed rebel and Major Symmes succeeded to the command but received a mortal wound from a rebel in a rifle-pit, of which he died at Chattanooga in May or June 1864, being only 29 years of age.

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[461] Captain HENRY HARKER SYMMES, only son of Timothy and Ruth Symmes; born 1821; married Belinda Sedam in 1846.
His home is St. Louis, Mo., but he passed the greater part of his life on the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers as pilot, mate and captain of steamboats. Thirteen steamers are recollected of which he has been captain and owner-in-trust. He is noted for great bodily strength. Frequently, when two men have been fighting, he has gone up to them and, taking one in each hand, has held them apart until their rage subsided.


  • [808] Creed F., born 1851; died 1855.
  • [809] Mary, born 1854.
  • [810] Scott Harrison, born 1856; died 1857.
  • [811] Rut. A., born 1859.

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[479] CALEB SYMMES, eldest son of Caleb and Lydia (Trowbridge) Symmes; born in Westford, Mass., 1 September 1786; married in Charlestown 27 January 1814 – by Rev. Jedidiah Morse D.D. – Mary Bowers born in Littleton, Mass, 26 December 1793, daughter of Samuel and Lucy (Allen) Bowers. 

He had no trade. For some years was employed in farm work. He came to Charlestown at twenty years of age. The embargo and war followed, the times were hard and money difficult to obtain. He was happy, therefore, to get anything to do. At length he became funeral undertaker and did the most of that sort of business in Charlestown for several years. He was a man of good common sense and sound judgment. His company was sought by the young for the information he could impart of “the olden time”. He gave his children a good school education, fitting them for usefulness in future life. He enjoyed a competency through life and left a competency to his family. 

He died in Charlestown 8 December 1856 and was interred in the old cemetery there. His wife, who has long been a member of the First Congregational Church there, still survives in February 1873.

Their children, all born in Charlestown, were:

  • [819] Mary Bowers, born 1 December 1814; married Joseph Parsons Moulton of Woburn Centre.
  • [820] Caleb Trowbridge, born 23 February 1817; married Nancy Richardson.
  • [821] Lydia Maria, born 11 August 1819; married Josiah Thomas Reed.
  • [822] Samuel Bowers, born 25 October 1821; died 17 June 1828.
  • [823] Martha Eliza, born 26 April 1824; married Thomas D. Demond.
  • [824] Leonora Warner, born 5 October 1826; married Bradford Erastus Gline 15 June 1848. He was born in Westmoreland, N.H., 10 September 1821, son of Phineas and Betsey (Hodges) Gline. He is a grocer in Charlestown. No children.

All the above children of mature age, except Martha Eliza, were married by Rev. William Ives Budington, then pastor of the First Church in Charlestown, Mass., now in Brooklyn, New York.

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[483] WILLARD HALL SYMMES, brother of the preceding, named for his ancestor Rev. Willard Hall of Westford; born in Groton, Mass. 26 March 1796; married 5 February 1819 Sally Parker born in Littleton, Mass. 2 November 1802, daughter of Ebenezer and Sally (Bowers) Parker.
They lived in Charlestown and their children were born there. He left Charlestown for New York on business 25 December 1824 and it is supposed died soon after.


  • [832] Calvin, born 25 December 1819; married in Charlestown on 22 February 1849 Martha Ann Rice born in Charlestown 7 March 1824, daughter of Samuel Rand and Ann (Caldwell) Rice. He is a carpenter and resides in Charlestown.
  • [833] Charles, born 12 October 1821; died 29 January 1823.
  • [834] Sarah Ann, born 26 July 1823; married first, in Charlestown in June 1844, James Lawrence Murphy, a brass-founder and copper-smith born in Catskill, New York 1815, died in Charlestown 11 December 1845; married second 26 September 1853 Isaac McCausland born in Fredericton, N.B., 4 February 1827, son of Alexander and Margery McCausland, and a harness-maker by trade. Now resides at Fredericton and keeps a jewelry store.

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[484] CALVIN SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born in Groton, Mass. 8 March 1798; never married.
It may be said of him that he was a born mechanic. When he was a little boy he was always using a jack-knife, and wherever there was a little water-fall he would place a water-wheel made by himself. When eighteen years of age his adventurous spirit moved him to go to sea. He was absent five years and made two voyages, visiting Antwerp, the Hawaiian and Marquesas Islands, Sumatra and China. At one island the ship was in want of charcoal, and he made some, to the great delight of the natives.
After his return he was employed as a machinist at Great Falls, Somersworth, and Dover, N.H., and at Manayunk, seven miles from Philadelphia; but when or where he learned the business his friends never knew.

After this he hired a small factory in Troy, New York, employing sixteen or twenty people in spinning cotton warp. He resided in Troy about two years, his sisters Lydia and Harriet being with him. 

In politics he was a decided Whig and a great admirer of Henry Clay. He died suddenly in Troy on 4 November 1848, aged 50, greatly lamented by his friends, and his remains were deposited in the family tomb in Charlestown.

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[487] THOMAS SYMMES, half-brother of the preceding and son of Caleb and Mary (Chittenden) Symmes; born in Charlestown 13 December 1823; married first in Charlestown – by Rev. Benjamin Tappan on 23 September 1849 – Mary Mitchell, born in Charlestown 17 October 1822, daughter of John and Sarah (Phipps) Mitchell. She died 12 April 1850. He married second – at Milford, Mass. on 25 June 1854 – Sarah Ellen Bowers, born in Littleton, Mass., 18 May 1827, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Downing) Bowers and half-sister of his brother Caleb Symmes’s wife. 

In his fifteenth year he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Sloop-of-War Cyane under Captain Percival. He left the service when twenty-one and went to California upon the acquisition of that country by the United States. He was not successful there, returned to his native place and some time after became an officer in the State Prison at Charlestown. 

He was Acting Master of the U.S. ship Pocahontas from September 1861 till September 1862 in the South Atlantic Squadron under Commodore Dupont. He was at the capture of Port Royal, S.C., 7 November 1861. From October 1862 to August 1863 the ship belonged to the West Gulf Squadron under Admiral Farragut; from November 1863 till the close of the war, to the North Atlantic Squadron under Admirals Phillips and Porter. During a part of this time he served on board the U.S. ship Agawam. He was highly approved as an officer and might have remained in the navy, but the charms of domestic life prevailed and on 4 March 1865 he obtained his discharge.
He now resides with his family in Waltham, Mass., and is connected with the well-known Waltham Watch Manufactory.

Children, all by his second wife:

  • [840] Mary Elizabeth, born in Charlestown 30 May 1857.
  • [841] Caleb Chittenden, born in Charlestown 13 September 1859, a fine Latin scholar.
  • [842] Thomas Forestus, born in South Reading – now Wakefield – 8 June 1863.

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[488] THOMAS SYMMES, eldest son of Thomas and Rebecca (Carver) Symmes; born in Westford, Mass., 27 March 1790; never married. 

He was for a short rime a lieutenant on board of a privateer in the war of 1812. He was taken prisoner, carried to Halifax and confined to prison on Melville Island where he remained till the war was over, his health good though otherwise suffering greatly. 

Writing from Philadelphia on 29 April 1815 he says: “I arrived in the brig Herald, eight days from Halifax”. From Philadelphia he proceeded to Charlestown, South Carolina, and engaged as a clark in a dry-goods store. Subsequently he engaged in that business for himself, acquired competency, and returned to Massachusetts in 1839. 

After the death of his father in 1817 he supplied the place of a father to the other children. His purse was always open to the needs of the family. He lost his life in the fearful storm of 27 November 1846 by the stranding of the Steamer Atlantic on Fisher’s Island, at the entrance of Long Island Sound. Many others perished at the same time. He was on his way to Washington to spend the winter. Three weeks afterwards, his body was recovered and brought to Westford for interment.

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[495] EDWARD SYMMES, brother of the preceding and son of Thomas and Rebecca (Carver) Symmes; born in Westford, Mass., 1 April 1806; married 19 November 1840 Rebecca Pierce Fletcher, born 30 March 1814, daughter of Captain Aaron and Sally (Keep) Fletcher of Carlisle, Mass. 

In 1826 he was employed in the machine-shop of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company, Lowell. In 1827 he was in the service of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company in the same city. He passed a little more than a year in a manufacturing establishment in Saco, Me., 1828 and 1829. Returning to his mother’s house in Westford in 1829 he studied surveying; taught school the following winter and again in the winter of 1830-31. He was assistant in the retail store in Westford in the summer of 1831; and in trade on his own account there from 1 May 1832 till 17 September 1838. At the last date he removed to Lunenburg in Worcester County and engaged in trade there till the spring of 1840, when he returned to Westford and resumed store-keeping in that place. In the spring of 1843 he removed to the old homestead of his grandmother, widow of Caleb Symmes, which he had purchased in 1832, where he has since pursued the business of farming, occasionally serving as a surveyor of land. 

He has a special taste for genealogy and has rendered important aid to the compiler of this volume.

His children, all born in Westford:

  • [851] William Edward, born 5 September 1841.
  • [852] Thomas Edmund, born 28 October 1843; graduated Harvard College 1865 and is now a school teacher in Boone County, Indiana.
  • [853] John Kebler, born 5 November 1845; died 6 October 1848.
  • [854] Sarah Rebecca, born 20 October 1847; died 5 October 1848.
  • [855] Caleb, born 11 September 1849; died same day.
  • [856] Carver, born 9 February 1851.
  • [857] Fletcher, born 10 September 1852.
  • [858] Harriet Elizabeth, born 19 August 1854.

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[519] Captain WILLIAM SYMMES, son of Isaac and Mary (Whitman) Symmes; born 19 August 1802; married first, 4 March 1832, Mary D. Washburn who was born 17 August 1805 and died 7 February 1837; married second on 27 November 1841 Caroline H. Jameson, born 16 July 1816.
He lives at Kingston, Mass., is a ship-master and is said to be a skilful navigator.

Children by first wife:

  • [859] William Whitman, born 7 February 1834; died 1 July 1857.

By second wife:

  • [860] Carrie Francis, born 22 August 1842.
  • [861] John Jameson, born 9 May 1844; deceased.
  • [862] Frank Jameson, born 7 June 1847; a graduate of the Scientific School at Cambridge. In 1866 he was Acting Assistant Engineer in the U.S. Navy.
  • [863] Alexander Beal, born 27 June 1849; died 26 September 1849.
  • [864] Mary Whitman, born 17 October 1859; died 5 April 1860.

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[539] LEWIS SYMMES, son of Zechariah Parker Symmes; born 17 April 1819; married 24 November 1842 Sarah P. Hood daughter of Samuel and Abigail Hood. Samuel Hood, a mariner, died at the age of 74. His wife Abigail died aged 76. The dates were not given to me, nor was the place of their residence stated.
Lewis Symmes is a shoemaker, perhaps in Beverley.


  • [874] Lewis Henry, born 10 September 1843; died 24 February 1858.
  • [875] William Albert, born 15 March 1846; a teacher in North Carolina.
  • [876] Sarah Ellen, born 12 January 1860.

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[543] CHARLES SYMMES, brother of the preceding, son of Zechariah Parker Symmes; born 10 April 1827; married 11 April 1850 Nancy Duffee daughter of James Duffee, blacksmith, from Nova Scotia.
His place of residence in unknown to the compiler, perhaps Beverly.


  • [877] Mary A., born 30 May 1851.
  • [878] Charles A., born 20 October 1852; a shoemaker.
  • [879] James A., born 14 July 1855.
  • [880] Samuel A., born 27 December 1858.
  • [881] Georgiana, born 25 December 1860.
  • [882] Henrietta, born 14 June 1862.

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(Click on an UPPER CASE name within these Trees to view the known details)

The known descendants of Rev. Zechariah via [689] JOSEPH GASTON SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[18] Timothy
[62] Timothy
[113] Timothy
[205] Celadon
[406] Daniel
[883] Henry Cleves
b. Madison, Indiana
9 May 1855 
[884] Frank Rosebrook
b. Madison, Indiana
24 Oct 1856
[885] Addison Henry
b. Cranbury NJ
Nov 1858
[886] Joseph Gaston
b. Cranbury NJ
3 May 1870

All the children of JOSEPH GASTON SYMMES were alive in December 1872. 

The known descendants of Rev. Zechariah via [690] Rev. FRANCIS MARION SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[18] Timothy
[62] Timothy
[113] Timothy
[205] Celadon
[406] Daniel
[887] Samuel Dunn
b. 20 Oct 1856
[888] Lucinda Sophia
b. 26 Apr 1859
[889] Joseph Gaston
b. 7 Nov 1862

The known descendants of Rev. Zechariah via [693] MARTHA JANE SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[18] Timothy
[62] Timothy
[113] Timothy
[205] Celadon
[408] Benjamin
[890] Robert (Watson)
b. 1847
d. 1849
[891] Eliza Jane (Watson)
b. 1849
[892] Catharine Bell (Watson)
b. 1853
[893] Phebe Lucinda (Watson)
b. 1858

The known descendants of Rev. Zechariah via [695] PEYTON RANDOLPH SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[18] Timothy
[62] Timothy
[113] Timothy
[205] Celadon
[408] Benjamin
[894] Eliza Jane
b. 1857
d. 1861
[895] Edwin Clarence
b. 1859
d. 1863

The known descendants of Rev. Zechariah via [698] JAMES RIGDON SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[4] William
[18] Timothy
[62] Timothy
[113] Timothy
[205] Celadon
[408] Benjamin
[896] Ella Bell
b. 1861
[897] Martha Jane
b. 1862
d. 1863

The known descendants of Rev. Zechariah via [819] MARY BOWERS SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas
[80] Thomas
[126] Caleb
[227] Caleb
[479] Caleb
[906] Isabel (Moulton)
b. 17 Nov 1842
[907] Mary Parsons (Moulton)
b. 7 May 1845
d. 2 Apr 1848
[908] Caleb Symmes (Moulton)
b. 13 Jan 1847
m. 7 May 1871
[909] Roger Hutchinson (Moulton)
b. 18 Apr 1849
d. 17 Sep 1865
[911] Samuel Bowers (Moulton)
b. 3 Nov 1856
d. 12 Sep 1857
[912] Joseph Herbert (Moulton)
b. 12 Jan 1858

The known descendants of Rev. Zechariah via [820] CALEB TROWBRIDGE SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas
[80] Thomas
[126] Caleb
[227] Caleb
[479] Caleb

The SYMMES MEMORIAL reports only two unnamed children, [913] and [914], who both died in infancy. 

The known descendants of Rev. Zechariah via [821] LYDIA MARIA SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas
[80] Thomas
[126] Caleb
[227] Caleb
[479] Caleb
[915] George Hyde (Reed)
b. 17 Apr 1849
d. 25 Oct 1849
[916] [917] Unnamed twin sons
b. 3 Oct 1850
d. 4 Oct 1850
[918] Mary Eliza (Reed)
b. 17 Feb 1852

The known descendants of Rev. Zechariah via [823] MARTHA ELIZA SYMMES:

[1] Zechariah
[11] Zechariah
[31] Thomas
[80] Thomas
[126] Caleb
[227] Caleb
[479] Caleb
[919] George Albert (Demond)[920] Joseph Miles (Demond)[921] Mary Susan (Demond)[922] Edward Griffin (Demond)[923] Warner (Demond)[924] Martha Symmes (Demond)[925] Lincoln Grant (Demond)[926] Charles Denny (Demond)

Three children of this family were buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery, Dorchester, the afternoon of Friday 28 September 1860. 

[689] Rev. JOSEPH GASTON SYMMES, son of Daniel Tuthill and Lucinda (Gaston) Symmes; born in Fairfield township, Butler County, Ohio on 24 January 1826; married in May 1854 Mary Rosebrook Henry, daughter of Rev. Symmes Cleves Henry D.D. of Cranbury, New Jersey. Dr. Henry’s father’s sister, Mary Henry, was the second wife of Hon. John Cleves Symmes. 

He graduated at Hanover College, Indiana, 1851 and at the Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey, 1854. In the Seminary just named he was chosen Spring Orator for 1853, which is there esteemed a great honor. He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, N.J. in 1854 and was ordained pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Madison, Indiana, by the Presbytery of Madison in the same year. In 1857 he became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Cranbury, N.J., the place having become vacant by the death of his father-in-law. 

At Madison the church published one of his sermons, entitled “Predestination and Prayer”. I have before me a printed sermon of his preached at Cranbury on 21 November 1863 on occasion of the National Thanksgiving, it being the first thanksgiving appointed by a President of the United States, unless on some special occasion. I also have before me a printed Address delivered by him before the Loyal Leagues of South Brunswick and Monroe, N.J. on 1 June 1865. Both of these discourses are clear and decided utterances in condemnation of the great sin of slavery, and both do honor to the author’s mind and heart. He was very earnest and decided in the cause of union and humanity during the great war against the southern rebellion, and took a leading part at the dedication of the Soldiers’ Monument at Cranbury on 1 August 1866. He still remains at Cranbury, 1873.

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[690] Rev. FRANCIS MARION SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born in Fairfield township, Butler County, Ohio, 18 November 1827; married 15 March 1855 Mary Jane Dunn. 

He graduated at Hanover College, Indiana, 1852 and at the Theological Seminary, Princeton, 1855. 

He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Oxford, Ohio in 1856 and was ordained pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Pleasant, Indiana, by the Presbytery of Madison in 1856. He had previously preached there as a supply for one year. In August 1861 he became pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Vernon, Indiana, where he continued till April 1864. The summer of that year he spent at Crawfordsville, Indiana. After preaching four months to a feeble church in Brazil, Indiana, he took charge of the Independent Presbyterian Church at Bedford, Indiana, a church which had been formed by the union of an Old School church with one of the New, and not connected with any Presbytery. This charge he resigned in April 1867 and passed the ensuing summer in mission work. In the autumn he took charge of the Presbyterian Church in Lebanon, Indiana, which he retained till October 1872. He then removed to Crawfordsville and is now prosecuting mission work in Alamo Church, ten miles from that city, and in one other, half the time in each. Besides which he superintends and teaches five classes in the Crawfordsville graded schools, thus performing more than the work of two men. 

At Lebanon a member of his church who had been subjected to discipline brought an action before the Circuit Court for an alleged libel, but lost the case. 

Mr. Symmes sometimes pays his devoirs to the Muses, as will appear by what follows. 

[Click for the DIALOGUE SONG]

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[693] MARTHA JANE SYMMES, daughter of Benjamin Randolph Symmes of Symmes’s Corner, near Hamilton, Ohio; born 1829; married 1846 John Watson, a farmer formerly of Springdale, Ohio. A man of integrity, an elder in the United Presbyterian Church. They now live in Illinois.

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[695] PAYTON RANDOLPH SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born 1833; married 1856 Elizabeth Kingery. 

He has been engaged in the pursuits of agriculture, but has also borne arms in the service of his country. He was a soldier in the 69th Regiment Ohio Vol. Inf., Co. B, under command of Captain Gibbs. He was stationed the greater part of the time at Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio, guarding prisoners. One day he discovered that he had under his charge a cousin, [767] Captain Daniel Cleves Symmes of Louisville, Kentucky, son of [420] Americus Symmes. 

He resides at College Corner, Ohio.

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[698] JAMES RIGDON SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born 1840; married 1860, Maria Hagerman. 

He is a farmer at Symmes’s Corner, Butler Co., Ohio.

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[819] MARY BOWERS SYMMES, eldest child of Caleb and Mary (Bowers) Symmes; born in Charlestown 1 December 1814; married 15 September 1840, Joseph Parsons Moulton born in Newfield, Me., 29 August 1814, youngest son of Simeon and Sally Moulton of that place. The father of Simeon removed from Hampton, N.H., to Newfield and Simeon himself was born there. 

Mrs. Moulton, previous to marriage, was a successful teacher in Boston, Charlestown, and other places. 

He is a carpenter by trade; lived in Charlestown several years, afterwards in Woburn Centre. He and his wife are members of the Congregational church.

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[820] CALEB TROWBRIDGE SYMMES, brother of the preceding; born in Charlestown 23 February 1817; married, by Rev. William Ives Budington, 28 October 1841 to Nancy Richardson born at Woburn 9 July 1819. daughter of Job and Nancy Richardson of that place. Job Richardson was son of Edward and Sarah (Tidd) Richardson of “Button End”, Woburn. 

For nearly thirty years, or since 1843, he has been the faithful cashier of the Lancaster Bank in the town of Lancaster, Mass., where he resides. He and his wife are members of the Congregational Church and are represented as being worthy and conscientious persons, “serving God, it is said, with his prayers, his strength, and his money”.

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[821] LYDIA MARIA SYMMES, sister of the preceding; borne in Charlestown 11 August 1819; married 20 April 1848, Josiah Thomas Reed born in Burlington, Mass.,11 November 1821, son of Isaiah and Sally (Ellsworth) Reed. 

They live in Charlestown. He was a grocer on Main Street in that city, now a dyer of kid gloves. They are members of the Winthrop Church. He is an active and liberal man.

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[823] MARTHA ELIZA SYMMES, sister of the preceding; born in Charlestown 26 April 1824; married in Charlestown, by Rev. Benjamin Tappan 28 October 1852, to Thomas Denny Demond born in Rutland, Mass., 16 November 1814, son of Daniel and Hannah Demond. 

Previous to marriage she was an approved teacher in Charlestown and other places. 

He was a merchant in State Street, Boston. They resided at 124 Webster Street, East Boston.

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