An American Family History

Joseph Grafton

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."

Joseph Grafton was born January 24, 1637 in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts. He was the son of Joseph Grafton and a mariner like his father.

He married Hannah Hobart. Hannah was born on September 29, 1639. Her parents were Captain Joshua Hobart and Ellen Ibrook.

Hannah and Joseph's son was Joshua Grafton (April 9, 1660, married Hannah Gedney).

Hannah died when she was only 20, on May 17, 1660 in Salem. She no doubt died due to complications of childbirth.

His second wife was Elizabeth.

Elizabeth and Joseph's daughter was Hannah Grafton Downer (1670, married Joseph Downer).

Joseph died when he was only 33 in February, 1670 in Charlestown.

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.

Children of Joseph Grafton:
  • Elizabeth Grafton
  • Priscilla Grafton Gardner
  • Joseph Grafton
  • John Grafton
  • Nathaniel Grafton
  • 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.



    Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England.

    It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.

    from History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater by Nahum Mitchell

    Capt. Joshua [Hobart] (s. of Edmund) came over with his father, and m. Ellen Ibrook of Cambridge 1638; he d. 1682, ae. 68; she about 1700; he had
    Hannah 1639,
    Peter 1642,
    Sarah 1644,
    Deborah 1647,
    Joshua 1650,
    Solomon 1652,
    Enoch 1654,

    in his will 1682 he thus names his children, viz: Joshua, Enoch, and Edward Cowell and Joshua Lincoln sons-in-law, gave to his Ds. husbands all his lands at a place called by the Indians "Tuncke."

    Hannah m. Joseph Grafton 1657.

    Peter made a will at Barbadoes 1665, and gives all his estate to his wife Susannah, but if she should have a child makes provision for it, and mentions his brother Jacob Elliot. Sarah m. Edward Cowell 1668.

    Deborah m. Joshua Lincoln 1666, and d. 1684, ae. 37.

    Joshua and his w. Faith sold land to Daniel Cushing in 1684, he was a mariner.

    Solomon was a mariner 1683; he had 2 ch. b., and d. 1682.

    Enoch Hobart, boatman of Boston 1691; his w. Hannah, D. of Thomas Harris, m. 1676, and had Hannah 1677, Ruth 1678, Hannah 1680, Thomas 1683, Deborah 1685

    Eleanor, Helen (or Ellen) the mother d. a. 1700, and her estate was settled by her grandson Joshua Lincoln.

    Hannah, D. of Capt. Joshua the son perhaps, d. 1731.

    The indigenous population in the United States before the arrival of Europeans included many distinct tribes and languages
    Merchant sailors were vital to the economy of the American Colonies. They could become wealthy, but suffered very high mortality rates.

    from Essex Institute Historical Collections

    Hannah [Gedney] (Bartholomew John), born in Salem 19th, 6 mo., 1667, was married to Joshua Grafton 2d August, 1686. He was born in Salem 9 April, 1660, being a son of Joseph Grafton by his first wife Hannah, daughter of Joshua Hobart of Hingham, and a grandson of Joseph Grafton, the first of the name in Salem, whose homestead included what is now known as Hardy Street and the lots on both sides of it from the harbor up to Essex Street.

    Administration on the estate of Mr. Joshua Grafton, late of Salem, mariner, was granted 14th August, 1699, to his widow Mrs. Hannah Grafton, whose sureties were Timothy Laskin and Samuel Gedney. From the inventory of his estate, exhibited 4 Dec., 1699, it is evident that he was a merchant as well as mariner. His dealings were with Barbados.

    Very little has been learned about his family. In 1732 Nath. Emms of Boston and his wife Hannah conveyed to Timothy Lindall, Esq., one common right and a half

    being originally from Joshua Grafton father of sd Hannah his homestead near Col. Turner

    This places it at the southeast corner of old Mr. Joseph Grafton's estate, at the foot of Grafton's lane, now Hardy Street.

    The births of Joshua and Hannah Grafton's children are thus recorded:
    54 Hannah, b. 27 May, 1691, abt. 3 of ye clocke in ye morning; m. Nathaniel Emms.
    57 Sarah, b. 13 April, 1697.
    58 Priscilla, b. 8 Feb., 1698.

    ye is an archaic spelling of "the."
    Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.

    from Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Volume 4  edited by William Richard Cutter

    Joseph Downer, son of Joseph Downer (2), was born in Newbury, April 25, 1666. He removed to West Farms, (now Franklin) district of Norwich, Connecticut, and bought land there with buildings thereon, of John Wiborn, May 5, 1716. The land is described as three hundred and sixty acres "situated on Middle Hill, on the Windham road, partly in Norwich and partly in Lebanon."

    In October of the same year he and his son Joseph were among those of the inhabitants of Norwich who signed a petition to the general court at New Haven asking to be set off as a separate parish on account of the distance from the meeting house.

    He married, in 1692, Hannah Grafton, who died at Norwich, October 12, 1741. Children:
    1. Joseph, born September 29, 1693;
    2. John, born March 15, 1695, died at the age of sixteen.
    3. Andrew, born May 14, 1697; married Sarah Lazell.
    4. Samuel, born April 12. 1699; died 1797; married Phebe Bishop.
    5. Richard, born February 11, 1701-2; married January 13, 1726, Mercy Horton of Colchester.
    6. Hannah, born February 16, 1704
    7. Benjamin, born February 24, 1706; died at sea.
    8. Mary, born May 14, 1708.
    9. Caleb, born July 8, 1710; married December 5, 1733, Martha Smith, of Franklin.
    10. Edmund, born about 1712; married October 2, 1741, Anna Munson (or Munsell) of Norwich,
    11. John, born about 1714; married Mary Fry.
    12. Stephen, baptized at Franklin, May 26, 1717; married September 21, 1737, Martha Tyler, of Preston.
    13. Elizabeth, born about 1719.

    Connecticut's first European settlers were Dutch.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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