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  • Dear S.S.B., About Your Query...

    Published Date : April 1989

    Being the Case of Sarah Woodward Scott Tookey Weeks (1691-?) of Dorchester, Boston, and Falmouth (now Portland), Massachusetts (plus a sidelong glance at Tookeys in general)

    Consider this letter an answer to your query #3324 in the Boston Evening Transcript’s genealogical column for 4 January 1937.  You sought the identity and ancestry of Sarah Tukey, who in 1724 married William Weeks of Dorchester, Massachusetts.  (There are many variant spellings of Tukey.)  You argued that in years of searching you found only two Tukey marriage records of the period, John Tookey to Sarah Scot in Boston, 1718, and Sarah Tukekee or Tukey to William Weeks, aforesaid.  You speculated that, given the shortage of Tookeys in the marriage records, Sarah of the first marriage was Sarah of the second.

    You were right. She was born 20 September 1691, daughter of Smith4 and Thankful (Pope) Woodward of Dorchester, and in that town on 20 July 1710 she married Ebenezer2 Scott (1688-1717) of Boston (Harold F. Woodward, Some Descendants of Nathaniel Woodward [1984], p. 13).  In this first marriage she bore three daughters, Sarah, b. 1711, Anna, b. 1713, and Mary, b. 1715. The Scott genealogy (Mary L. Holman, Scott Genealogy [1919]) shows their births but gives us no further information on them. Further data might be gleaned from various records of Portland, Maine.

    On 17 July 1718 at Boston Sarah married John Tookey (Boston Marriages From 1700 to 1751 (1898, rep. 1977), p. 79).  You said they had a son John, b. 1722, who “in 1744 came from Malden to Falmouth and m. Abigail Sweetzer. Their children include Ann, Lemuel, and William, the same names found among the children of William Weeks” (The Boston Transcript, 4 January 1937, #3324).

    Sarah was married, for the third time, at Boston 3 December 1724 to William4 Weeks (1690-ca. 1750) as his only wife.  They had five children: William, b. ca. 1725 at Boston or Falmouth; Lemuel, b. ca. 1727 at Falmouth, as were his three sisters: Abigail, b. 31 March 1730; Ann, b. 1732 or 1733; and Esther, b. when?, all of whom married and except for Esther, had issue.  William Sr. was admitted an inhabitant at Falmouth in 1727.  He was likely a merchant.  Neither his nor his wife’s death is recorded, and no gravestone stands for either in a Portland cemetery (William Willis, The History of Portland [1865]; Robert D. Weeks, Weeks Genealogy, [1885]).

    One further document furnished the needed evidence that this Sarah was the same who was born a Woodward and finally was Weeks.  Her father, Smith Woodward (whose grandmother was a Smith), had the good grace to live beyond her third marriage.  Although he left £572, he left no will.  But in the probate record, eldest son Ebenezer Woodward, administrator, names his siblings, among them Sarah Weeks (Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Probate case #6417, 1733-38).

    While published genealogies for the Woodward, Scott, and Weeks families condensed the search for Sarah’s identity and forebears, no genealogy was around for the Tookeys.  This omission is not surprising, for the Tookeys left but the scantest traces in local records.  A John Toockie was admitted to the church in Charlestown in 1650, and a will of 1667 written by John Tookie of Charlestown is in Middlesex County Probate records.  In 1678 a child was born in Charlestown to Nicholas Tookie and his wife Mary.  James Savage author of A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England [1860-62, rep. 1965], vol. 4, p. 312) reported Job Tookey or Tukey of Beverly was charged in 1692 with witchcraft.  He was not executed.  Then there were our Sarah’s John Tookeys, husband and son.  No other Tookeys are mentioned in vital records for Boston and vicinity or in Suffolk, Middlesex, or Worcester County probate records or deeds (though they may as witnesses).  Portland records may be more rewarding. (Sarah herself appeared in the Register 86(1932) and 100(1946): 167, which are obituaries for Weeks, but not Tukey, descendants.

    This paucity of data on the Tookeys seems to be characteristic of what John Winthrop called “the poorer sort,” who evidently then, as now, seem to have been chary of officialdom, reluctant to register births, wills, or even deeds (though deeds might get recorded years after the events).  But “the poorer sort” tend to make an above average number of appearances in colonial court records.  Some of these cases were of their own volition, for there were litigious types among them.  Whether Tookeys are found in these early court records, this correspondent has not looked to see.

    Your probable cousin,

    Willard L. Felsen

    Note: The book Some Descendants of Nathaniel Woodward was published by the Society in 1984 from papers in the Societys manuscript collections currently being cataloged by Jane Bramwell, the Societys serials librarian.  The query which inspired Mr. Felsen to write this article appeared in a genealogical column published in The Boston Transcript from 1896 to 1941, which provided information on many New England families.  Members may like to be reminded that the Society collections include the original Transcript newspapers, while in fragile condition, from ca. 1896 to April 1941. Microfilms of the column from January 1848 through March 1912 and microfiche of the years 1896 through 1935 are available in the Society's microtext area, are in many cases easier to read and help preserve the original newspapers.  All three of the above are easily accessible to members and the Reading Room public.

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