An American Family History

Nathaniel Grafton

Children of Joseph Grafton:
  • Elizabeth Grafton
  • Priscilla Grafton Gardner
  • Joseph Grafton
  • John Grafton
  • Nathaniel Grafton
  • Understand the Puritans better:

    Nathaniel Grafton was born in 1642 in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts. He was the son of Joseph Grafton. He was a mariner.

    He married Elizabeth Maverick. Elizabeth was born on September 30, 1649 in Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts. Elizabeth was the daughter of Moses Maverick and Remember Allerton.

    Nathaniel and Elizabeth's children included:

    Elizabeth Grafton (1667, married William Hughes),
    Remember Grafton (1669, married Richard Knight),
    Priscilla Grafton Jackson (1670, married Thomas Jackson).

    Nathaniel died on February 11, 1670/1 in Barbadoes. He was cast away on the ketch Prudence.

    After his death Elizabeth married Thomas Skinner of Boston, a baker.

    Some Puritans gave their children hortatory names (from the Latin for “encourage”) like Thankful, hoping that the children would live up to them. The names were used for several generations.

    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.

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


    In 1688, during the Glorious Revolution, the Protestant king and queen,William and Mary, took the English throne from Catholic King James II. The bloodless revolution profoundly impacted the American colonies.

    from The Grafton Family of Salem by Henry Wyckoff Belknap

    Nathaniel Grafton was baptized April 24, or May 1, 1642, at the First Church in Salem. He was made a Freeman in 1680 and was a mariner. As will be noted in the record of his father’s lands, he inherited a portion and in 1664/5 the widow Ann or Hanna More conveyed a lot to him for £13. In the Suffolk County Probate records, (vol. 5, p. 85) he deposed,

    aged about 26 yeares, that James Parker deceased often said unto said Grafton, that Grafton being much in his Company both a shoare & by Sea, that if the said Parker died a Batchiller, that what Estate he has his Brother Parnell & sister should have it for hee had received from them more Lovinge freindship & that they had been as a ffather, & mother to him, & further saith not. January 29, 1667.

    He joined his father and brothers in signing the petition against Imposts in 1688.

    Bartlemew Gidny, aged about 30 yrs., deposed that some time the last winter a servant of Jno. Clifford called William Hollis came to deponent and said that his master desired to have deponent’s boat to carry some goods on board Nath. Grafton’s Ketch for Goodman Horne, Wilaum Hollis and John Leagrow, servants of John Clifford deposed as to rowing the goods down to the ketch. When they reached there they called aboard and could not find anybody, but later found Mr. Grafton who said he could not take the goods that tide but would on the morrow.

    Mr. Grafton said bring your ancor abord of my cetch and let the boat Hide
    I asked him wether the snow would not hurt the goods he says noe
    and I said had not the goods best be covered
    he said yes saith he and provided a saild to cover the goods and heed us lay it on the beds of the caske next yr wether which according to his order we dedd
    (Essex Quarterly Court Records, vol. 4, p. 265, June 1670.)

    He married April 6, 1665, Elizabeth, baptized September 30, 1649, daughter of Moses Maverick and Remember Allerton. He died February 11, 1670/1, at Barbadoes, being cast away on the ketch Prudence, and she married secondly, before May 1, 1679, (probably about 1676), Thomas Skinner of Boston, a baker.

    He died December 28, 1690, in Boston, and she died before June 1686.

    Moses Maverick’s will proved in November 1686 speaks of her as deceased and mentions his Grafton granddaughters.

    Mr. Nathaniell Grafton dying intestate, Elizabeth the relict, brought in an inventory June 27, 1671, and was appointed administratrix. The Court ordered that she bring up the children until they come of age, should receive 45li. each, the house and land to be security. (Salem Quarterly Court Records, vol. 5, p. 46.)

    Children, born in Salem;
    Elizabeth, b. Dec. 18, 1667 ; d. Mar. 26, 1754/5. 20.
    Remember, b. Sept. 29, 1669 ; ? mar. Apl. 10, 1685, at Marblehead, Richard Knight, both of Boston.
    Priscilla, b. Mar. 12, 1670.

    Note: — William Hughes and Thomas Jackson and wives Elizabeth and Priscilla Grafton were mentioned in the will of Moses Maverick, November 1698 and in the agreement of the heirs that year.

    Merchant sailors were vital to the economy of the American Colonies. They could become wealthy, but suffered very high mortality rates.

    John Endecott (or Endicott) was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    John endicott
    Governor John Endicott

    from History and Genealogy of the Mayflower Planters by Leon C. Hills

    Maverick, Moses (Rev. John), born 1610 (?); died Marblehead, Mass., Jan. 28, 1685-6; married 1st Remember Allerton before May 6, 1635; born Leyden, Holland, 1614 (?); died Salem, Mass., 1652-56; daughter of Isaac Allerton married 2nd at Boston by Gov. Endicott, Eunice (Cole Roberts, Oct. 22, 1656, widow of Thomas Roberts (John).

    He was probably a member of the first church at Dorchester, of which his father was pastor before its reconstruction. He was admitted a freeman of the Bay Colony on Sept. 3, 1634, as a citizen of Dorchester, and no one was made a freeman unless a church member.

    Moses Maverick arrived at Marblehead with Isaac Allerton in 1631 in the White Angel. They first settled at Peach Point, near Little Harbor, where Moses lived as early as 1634. He and Allerton engaged in fishing as a business, and had a number of employees. On May 6, 1635, Moses took over all houses, fish-stages and the like on a point of land called Maverick's Island. He became a member of the first church at Salem in 1638, and thereafter was active in church and town affairs for over fifty years. The last service of Moses Maverick was as town clerk, and he had probably been doing much of the clerical work even in the early settlement.

    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 town clerk was one of the first offices in colonial America. The clerk recorded births, marriages, and deaths.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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