An American Family History

Benjamin Collins

English colonists from Salem were the first settlers in Lynn.
King Philip’s War was a bloody and costly series of raids and skirmishes in 1675 and 1676 between the Native American people and the colonials. King Philip was the Native American leader Metacom.

Benjamin Collins was born about 1644 in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts. His parents were Henry and Ann Collins.

He married Priscilla Kirtland (Kirkland), on September 25, 1673 in Lynn. Ann was born in 1658 in Lynn. Her parents were Nathaniel Kirtland and Permelia Rand.

Benjamin and Priscilla's children included:
Susannah Collins (July 9, 1674) and
William Collins (1676 died as an infant).

Priscilla died on October 28, 1676. She probably died due to complications of childbirth.

Benjamin's second wife was the widow Elizabeth Leach Putnam. They married on September 5, 1677. Elizabeth was born September 27, 1653 in Salem. Her parents were John Leach and Elizabeth Conant. Elizabeth was Samuel Putnam’s widow. Samuel was born December 18, 1652 in Salem. His parents were Nathaniel Putnam and Elizabeth Hutchinson.

Elizabeth and Samuel Putnam had at least two children. Samuel died in 1676 when he was only 23.

Benjamin and Elizabeth's children included:
Priscilla Collins (1679),
Elizabeth Collins (1682),
Benjamin Collins (1684),
Richard Collins (1689),
Sarah Collins (1692), and
Anna Collins (1695).

According to Soldiers in King Philip's War by George Bodge Benjamin served under Captain George Corwin on September 23, 1676.

Benjamin was made freeman in 1691.

Elizabeth died on March 5, 1711.

Children of Anne and
Henry Collins, Sr.

  • Anne Collins
  • Henry Collins, Jr.
  • John Collins
  • Margery Collins Williams
  • Hannah Collins Ingersoll
  • Joseph Collins
  • Mary Collins Johnson
  • Benjamin Collins
  • Childbirth was was perilous. Around 1.5 percent of births ended in the mother's death. Since women gave birth to many children, chances of dying in childbirth were quite high.
    Essex County, Massachusetts was created on May 10, 1643 by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when it ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires."


    Understand the Puritans better:
    from Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers of America by Henry Whittemore

    Benjamin Collins, of Lynn, freeman 1691, married Sept. 25, 1673, Priscilla Kirtland, had Susanna, born July 9, 1674, William Oct. 14, 1676, died at 12 days; the mother died soon after, and he married Sept. 5, 1677, widow Elizabeth Putnam, had
    Priscilla, May 2, 1679,
    Elizabeth Jan. 3, 1682, and
    Benjamin Dec. 5, 1684.

    Any man entering a colony or becoming a a member the church, was not free. He was not forced to work, but his movements were carefully observed to see if they followed the Puritanical ideal. After this probationary period, he became a "freeman." Men then took the Oath of a Freeman where they vowed to defend the Commonwealth and not to overthrow the government.

    1677 Map of New England
    click to enlarge
    A Puritan was a member of the religious group in the 16th and 17th centuries that advocated "purity" of worship and doctrine who believed in personal and group piety. Puritans were persecuted in England and came to America so they would be free to practice their religion.

    Samuel Parris was a rigid Puritan minister of Salem Village. He married Elizabeth Eldridge, and they had three children including Betty Parris.

    Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts by Ellery Bicknell Crane, Lewis Publishing, 1907

    Nathaniel Putnam, son of John Putnam, was born in Ashton Abbotts, Buckinghamshire, England, in 1619, and baptized October 11, that year. He died at Salem, July 23, 1700. He was a prosperous farmer, settled in what is now Danvers, Massachusetts.

    He married Elizabeth Hutchinson, daughter of Richard and Alice (Bosworth) Hutchinson. She was born in Arnold, England, August 20, 1629, and baptized there August 30; died at Danvers June 24, 1688. Both were admitted to the church at Salem in 1648.

    Their children, born at Salem Village, were:
    Samuel, February 18, 1652;
    Nathaniel, April 24, 1655;
    John, March 26, 1657;
    Joseph, October 29, 1659;
    Elizabeth, August 11, 1662, married Sergeant George Flint;
    Benjamin, of whom later;
    Mary, September 15, 1668, married John Tufts.

    John, Benjamin and Mary alone survived their youth. Part of the original homestead of Nathaniel Putnam at Danvers is still known as the Judge Putnam place. Nathaniel was constable in 1656 and deputy to the general court in 1690-91. He was prominent in the church and town, serving for some years as selectman. He had great business ability and activity and was a man of unusual powers of mind,

    of great energy and skill in the management of affairs and of singular sagacity, acumen and quickness of perception. He left a large estate.

    He was involved in a lawsuit over the ownership of the Bishop farm, so-called, and his side of the controversy was successful in 1683. During the trouble over the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Bayley he was an opponent, but when Mr. Bayley was dismissed he was one of those who contributed land May 6, 1680, to make a farm for him. He had the rank of lieutenant. He was one of the four messengers to Rev. Samuel Parris to obtain his reply to their call. As the head of the large and influential Putnam family he was known for years as "Landlord" Putnam.

    He was a leader in the witchcraft delusion which had its centre in Salem and Salem Village where he lived. Upham says of him:

    Entire confidence was felt by all in his judgment and deservedly. But he was a strong religionist, a life long member of the church and extremely strenuous and zealous in his ecclesiastical relations. He was getting to be an old man (at the time of the Delusion) and Mr. Parris had wholly succeeded in obtaining for the time possession of his feelings, sympathies and zeal in the management of the church and secured his full co-operation in the witchcraft prosecutions. He had been led by Parris to take the very front of the proceedings. But even Nathaniel Putnam could not stand by in silence and see Rebecca Nurse sacrificed.

    Old Style Calendar
    Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.
    Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.

    Salem is in Essex County, Massachusetts and was a significant seaport in early America. John Endicott obtained a patent from England and arrived there in 1628. Salem originally included much of the North Shore, including Marblehead. Salem Village also included Peabody and parts of Beverly, Middleton, Topsfield, Wenham and Manchester-by-the-Sea.

    The Salem witch trials were between February, 1692 and May, 1693.

    Many factors led to the witchcraft accusations in Salem.

    The First Church in Salem, Massachusetts was founded by English Puritan settlers in August, 1629. Both accusers and accused were members of First Church during the witchcraft hysteria.

    A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America by Frederick Odell Conant

    Sarah [Conant] (Roger), born about 1628; married John [Leach], son of Lawrence and Elizabeth Leach. Although there is no direct documentary evidence to prove that she married John Leach, the circumstances indicating such a marriage are considered sufficient to warrant the statement; viz.:
    1st, John Leach's wife was named Sarah;
    2nd, there is no record of the marriage of either of them to anyone else;
    3rd, John Leach was a near neighbor of Roger Conant;
    4th, John Leach's eldest surviving child was John, and there were at least four daughters, one of whom was named Mary, who, at the time of Lot and Roger Conant's death, was unmarried;
    5th, in Lot Conant's will Mary Leach is called kinswoman; and in Roger Conant's will she is mentioned in connection with his granddaughter, Rebecca; he also mentions his daughter, Sarah, and her son, John, and four daughters. Lawrence Leach came to New England in the fleet with Higginson, in 1629; took the freeman's oath 18 May, 1631, and died June, 1662, aged about 82.

    John Leach had a grant of land 1637, and was made freeman 1681 (Savage). Sarah Leach was admitted to the First Church, 1648, and dismissed to the Beverly church, 1667; she died about 1681.

    Children of John and Sarah (Conant) Leach:
    i. John, bapt. 3 Sept., 1648;
    ii. and iii. John, Sarah twins, bapt. Nov., 1648, married and had family
    iv. Rachael, bapt, 6 Apr., 1651.
    v. Sarah, bapt. il June, 1652.
    vi. Elizabeth, bapt. 27 Nov., 1653.
    vii. Mary, bapt. 8 Sep., 1654; m. 2 Mch., 1080, Thos, Field, and probably then received the cow or heifer left her by Lot Conant, 1674, "at her being married or leaving my wife."
    viii. Richard, bapt. 15 June, 1656, d. y.

    Savage's Classic is still available.
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