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An American Family History

Mary Fry Pierce

 

Fry Family Table of Contents
Alternate spellings of Fry: Ffrey, Frie, Frey, Frye

 
Weymouth is the second oldest town in Massachusetts. It was established in 1622 and incorporated in 1635. The town was a fishing and agricultural community. 
Suffolk County, Massachusetts was created by the Massachusetts General Court on May 10, 1643. It initially contained Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Dedham, Braintree, Weymouth.
ye is an archaic spelling of "the."

Mary Fry Pierce was born on November 9, 1641 in Weymouth, Nolfolk County, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Fry.

In 1642 when she was 2 years old her father died and in 1653, when she was about twelve, she was left with her step-father, Thomas Daggett (Doggett), when her mother died. Thomas held her land until her majority.

On  July 10, 1659 she changed her membership to the church of Dorchester, Suffolk County from the church in Weymouth.

She married Thomas Pierce (Pearce) on October 3, 1661. Mr. Bellingham performed the ceremony in Boston. Richard Bellingham (c. 1592-1672) was a magistrate, lawyer, and governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Thomas was born about 1635 and was the son of Robert Pierce.

Thomas and Mary's children included:
Thomas Pierce (1662, maried Sarah White),
Mary Pierce Payne (1665, married Moses Payne or Paine),
John Pierce (1668, married Abigail Thompson),
Robert Pierce (1673, died 1698),
Samuel Pierce (1675, died 1698),
Sarah Pierce Trott (1679, married James Trott),
Elizabeth Pierce (1682, died 1702), and
Hannah Pierce (1685, died 1688).

Pierce House
The Pierce House

In 1664 Robert Pierce died and Thomas inherited his land in Dorchester. They lived in Dorchester and Thomas added considerably more land to the original holdins.

Thomas was chosen constable in 1674. In 1667 he was chosen to view the fences.

Thomas and Mary joined the church in Dorchester in 1665.

In 1686 Thomas bought 20 acres of upland from James Minot. This property included the Pierce House which was built in 1683 by a member of the Minot family.

Thomas wrote his will in 1701. He left his land to his five surviving children. Mary's portion would have been her dowry which was equivalent to "30 pounds seven shillings in household and other things."

She died on March 22, 1704 in Dorchester. He died October 26, 1706. They are buried in the Dorchester Cemetery. Her tombstone reads:

Mary Pierce
Wife to
Thomas Pierce
Aged 62 years
Died March ye 22d
1704
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.
Children of Elizabeth Fry Daggett
and William Fry
Daggett is also spelled Dogged, Doged and Doggett.
death's head
Detail of Winged Death's Head from Samuel Blanchard's tombstone.

A Dower is a provision for a wife's support should her husband die before her. Her dower right was the use of ⅓ of her husband's estate. The dower was settled on the bride at the time of the wedding.


Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England.

Early European settlers in the American colonies were mostly farmers and craftsmen. They had to work hard to provide daily neccesities for themselves.

Goodman was a courtesy title before the surname of a man not of noble and Goodwife or Goody was the courtesy title for a married woman not of noble birth.

Thomas Pierce of Dorchester and Wife Mary by William B. Tkask, Esq., of Boston.

In the Book of the Lockes, p. 317, it is stated that Thomas Pierce married Mary, daughter of George Proctor..., but I find no evidence, from any source, that Thomas Pierce married Mary Proctor, while there is sufficient proof, as will be shown, I think, that he wedded Mary Fry, of Weymouth. Her birth is given as having occurred, 9 (11) 1641.

Her elder sister, Elizabeth, who was united to Nathan Fiske, son of Nathan, of Watertown (see Bond's Watertown, p. 214, surname of said Elizabeth unknown to Dr. Bond), was born in Weymouth, 20 (10) 1639. In the nuncupative will of William Fry, of Weymouth (who died Oct. 26, 1642, Reg. iL 385), he gives his house and four acres of land, being his home lot, to his wife. After her decease, the same, with other lands, was to go to his two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary.

On the 15th of May, 1672, conveyance was made to Samuel White, of Weymouth (Suffolk Deeds, Lib. xx. 456), of lands in that town, from Thomas Pearce, of Dorchester, and Mary his wife, and Nathan Fiske, of Watertown, and Elizabeth his wife. The lands thus conveyed, the instrument informs us, were

recorded on Weymouth Towne book to William Fry, deceased, the reputed father of the above sd Mary and Elizabeth.

This deed to White is signed by the parties, Thomas Pearce, Mary Pearce, Nath. Fisk and Elizabeth Fisk, and was received and recorded at the Probate Office in Boston, Dec. 2, 1701.

Among the early entries of marriages, called the Suffolk County returns, to be seen at the Registrar's office in Boston, is the following: "Tho Pearse to Mary " (surname not given), "by Mr Bellingham, 3. 8. 1661." I feel confident that this is the record of the marriage of Mr. Pierce to Mary.

In the Dorchester Cemetery stands a grave-stone with the inscription (see Reg. iv. 277) "Mary Pierce | Wife to | Thomas Pierce | Aged 62 years | Died March ye 22d | 1704."...

Elizabeth and Mary Fry joined Dorchester Church in 1659, as we learn from the Church Records, volume one:

John Blackman & Sarah his wife & Elizabeth & Mary Fry being dismissed from ye Church of Waymoth viz: the two latter p'sons, they wer all admitted ye 10 (5) 59.

Two years before the marriage of Thomas Pierce to "Mary," as recorded, Elizabeth and Mary Fry joined Dorchester church. Mary was at that time in the seventeenth year of her age.

Ten months and eighteen days after the marriage of Thomas and Mary Pierce, or "Pearse," a son Thomas was born to them. He eventually married Sarah, surname not learned.

Bond's genealogy of Watertown is available on Kindle.
 

 

 

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.

The rod or perch or pole is a surveyor's tool equal to 5 1⁄2 yards.

A History of the Dorchester Pope Family by Charles Henry Pope, 1888

"It is ordered that Robert Pierce shall be a commoner." (Dorchester Town Records, Oct. 31, 1639.) This language, used in no other case, refers to a vote passed Jan. 18, 1635:

All the hoame lotts within Dorchester Plantation which have been granted before this present day shall have right to the Commons, and no other lotts that are graunted hereafter, to be commoners.

It is certain, then, that Robert Pierce did not own a home lot in D. until after Jan. 18, 1635. He may have been here earlier, but there is no mention of his name before. The tradition that he came in the Mary and John may point to one of her later voyages (she brought passengers in 1634, we know).

"Decimo 9M10: 1639," he was admitted to the church. In 1644 a road was laid out to "Robert Pears house on the pyne necke"; about 30 rods N. E. of Neponset R. R. station there is a well to which credible tradition points as the very "watering-place" of that early dwelling of the pioneer.

Near by lived his father-in-law, "John Grenaway, millwright," one of the original members of the Dorchester church-colony, who is mentioned in D. town records in the oldest clause extant, dated "Jan. 21 " [1631 or 1632]. He was one of the first persons made "freemen," applying Oct. 19, 1630, and admitted May 18, 1631; stood high in town and church.

Had several daughters, but no son known. He d. about 1651, his wife, Mary d. Jan. 23, 1658....

"Robert Pearse" was chosen a fence-viewer for the great lots in 1651 ef seq., and was paid five shillings for mending a gate there in 1657. The church record says: "Robert Pearse of the great lots died 5th was buried yth n mo., 1664." In his will he left to his son and daughter this noble charge:

And now my dear child a (father's blessing I bequeath unto you both & yours, bee tender & loving to your mother Loving and kind unto one another. Stand up in your places for God and for his ordinances while you live. Then hee will bee for you & Blesse you.

A stone in the old burying-ground told of the extraordinary age to which the "goodwife " lived.

Here Lyes ye
Body of Ann
ye wife of
Robert Pearce
Aged about 104 year.
Died December
ye 31 1695.

Thomas [Pierce] only son of the above, b. 1635, built and lived in the "Pierce House," on Adams Street, where bread, left from the pioneers' voyage from England, is still shown. He m. Oct. 3, 1661, Mary, daughter of William Fry, b. in Weymouth Jan. 9, 1641, d. in Dorchester March 22, 1704. He d. Oct. 26, 1706.

The town common (commons) was a small, open field at the center of the town which was jointly owned. It was used as a marketplace, a place for the militia to drill, or for grazing livestock.
 

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