American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS
  • Elisha Smith and Sarah (Hartwell) Melvin of Watertown and Worcester, Massachusetts

    Joy F. Peach

    Published Date : April-May 1988

    In the course of preparing a revised edition of The Hartwells of America (compiled by John F. Hartwell in 1956, based on an 1887 Hartwell genealogy), the following information has come to light. Since it is a revision not only of the Hartwell genealogy but also of some information published in Henry Bond’s Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts (2nd ed., 1860), it may be of interest to a wide genealogical audience.


    Sarah4 Hartwell (Ebenezer3, John2, William1), daughter of Ebenezer and Sarah (Smedley) Hartwell, was born in Concord, Massachusetts, 28 July 1694 (Concord VR) and died in Worcester, Massachusetts, sometime prior to 26 January 1769, the date her will was presented for probate. She marned (1) Jonathan Melvin who was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, 29 May 1688, son of John and Hannah (___) Melvin and who died in Concord 11 February 1737, age 49 (Concord VR). Sarah married (2) 12 August 1741 Elisha Smith of Worcester (Concord VR). Her second marriage is not listed in the Hartwell genealogy, nor is her death date.


    Elisha Smith was the son of Jonathan and Jane (Peabody) Smith and was born in Watertown, Massachusetts, 11 January 1691/2 (Bond, Genealogies of Watertown, 434, 437) and died in Worcester, Massachusetts, sometime between 29 July 1765, the date he wrote his will, and 19 February 1766, the date the will was filed (Worcester Probate Record #54148). His first wife, and probably the mother of all his children, was Patience Brown, whom he married in Weston 25 March 1713 (Bond, ibid.). Weston Vital Records list the births of only four of his children, and the list given in Bond does not agree with the bequests of his will. Bond names a second wife of Elisha, an Abigail ____ whom he was to have married in 1730, but no source is given. In any event, Elisha must have moved to Worcester some time prior to 1741, as he is described as being "of Worcester" on the record of his marriage to Sarah Melvin (Concord and Worcester VR). Elisha and Sarah Smith lived 25 years together in Worcester, presumably with their combined families.


    As was customary at that time, Elisha named his wife the major beneficiary in his will, here extracted as follows:

    In primary, I give and bequeath to Sarah, my dearly beloved Wife, the Use of my Garden before the Door, and the use of the one half of my Dwelling House, during her natural life: and she is to choose which half she shall think fit. And my Executor that shall be hereafter named, shall provide for her during the whole time of her natural life….I further give and bequeath unto her during her natural life the use of one half of my [illegible] together with the one half of all my other indoor, or house Moveables and Utensils, excepting such of them as she brought with her, which are inventoried by order of the Judge of Probate for the County of Middlesex. And at her decease the said Indoor Moveables to be equally divided between my Two Daughters, viz. Patience Sanderson and Eunice Gleason…


    After listing his monetary bequests to his children and grandchildren, Elisha’s will continues, demonstrating his concern for Sarah’s wellbeing:


    Moreover my Will further is this, that my Executor hereafter named, shall keep Twenty Two Pounds, Sixteen Shillings and Eight Pence of the Money I now have at interest, still to lie at Interest during the whole Term of my Wife’s Natural Life, and if she should have any Sickness or be confined to her bed by Sickness or Want any Doctoring, or Extraordinary or Special nursing, or any of the Comfortables of Life, more than I have already provided for her in this Will, then the Interest of said Sum and the Principle [sic] too, if need be, shall be made use of for her Relief, so far as the Judge of Probates and Wills for the County, shall think proper in that Case, Application being made to him therefor: And after her Decease all and every part of said sum of Twenty Two Pounds, Sixteen Shillings and Eight Pence, with the Interest that is riot expended in the abovesaid manner, which shall remain after her Decease, shall be equally divided between all my now surviving sons, and my executor is hereby ordered to pay out to all of them their equal portion, he reserving in his own hands an equal proportion with the others…


    Sarah made her own will a few months after her husband’s death (26 July 1766), although she was to live nearly three more years. In contrast to Elisha’s very specific bequests, Sarah’s will, written in the hand of John Chandler, Judge of Probate for Worcester, and signed by her (X) mark, is a comparatively simple document, leaving all her Wearing Apparel to her daughter, Sarah Barnes, and the remainder of her estate to be equally divided between her four sons, John, Ebenezer, Josiah, and Nathan Melvin with John named executor. The inventory of her estate is attached to the will (Worcester Probate Record #54715).


    Just as Sarah’s will mentions only her own children, so also does Elisha name only his own descendants, namely eight children and six grandchildren: son Jonathan (deceased), Elisha, Isaac, Joshua Robert (the executor), Abraham, and daughters Patience Sanderson and Eunice Gleason, and the four children of Jonathan, plus Jacob Sanderson and Jonathan Gleason. Elisha’s monetary bequests totalled 326 pounds, 3 shillings, and 4 pence.



    Children of Sarah (Hartwell) Melvm. all born in Concord, Massachusetts (Concord VR):

    i. SARAH5, b. 23 June 1716; m. 18 Mar. 1736 JOSEPH BARNS. *ii. JONATHAN, b. 12 Oct. 1718, n.f.r.iii. JOHN, b. 31 May 1721; d. ca. 1776 when his will was proved; m. ca. 1745 HANNAH HEALD. Children, all b. in Concord (Concord VR): 1. Hannah, b. 4 Aug. 1746. 2. Sarah, b. 23 Nov. 1748; prob. m. 27 Nov. 1766 Jonathan Davis of Ipswich. 3. Amos, b. 15 June 1751; d. 13 Aug. 1806; m. Anna Flat (DAR P.I.). 4. Sibill, b. 11 Feb. 1754; d. unm. 11 Aug. 1770. 5. Molly, b. 17 May 1756. 6. Eunice, b. 7 June 1758; m. 14 Nov. 1780 Joseph Polly of Fitchburg. 7. Melicent, b. 8 Aug. 1760. 8. Ruth, b. 1 Aug. 1764.iv. EBENEZER, b. 10 Nov. 1725; d. in N.H., after 1790; m. (1) SUSANNAH DENSMORE, m. (2) MARY BAYLEY, m. (3) SUSANNAH BROWN (DAR Patriot Index).v. JOSIAH, b. 14 June 1727; d. 23 Feb. 1809 (DAR P.I.); m. 3 Mar. 1757 LYDIA BARRETT. Children, all b. in Concord (Concord VR): 1. Josiah, b. 24 Aug. 1758; d. 8 Jan. 1818; m. 28 Jan. 1790 Sarah Minot. 2. Stephen, b. 9 Jan. 1760. 3. Lydia, b. 21 Mar. 1761; m. 13 Nov. 1783 Abel Brigham. 4. Stephen, b. 25 Mar. 1763. 5. Rebecca, b. 18 Dec. 1764. 6. James, b. 11 Dec. 1766. 7. Lucy, b. 7 Mar. 1769; d. Aug. 1784. 8. Joel, b. 3 Mar. 1771. 9. Persis, b. 17 Apr. 1773; d. 19 Oct. 1790. 10. John, b. 14 Feb. NATHAN, b. 25 June 1729; d. 6 Jan. 1807 (DAR P.I.); m. ca. 1755-59 ANNA ____. He was a resident of Dorchester-Canada several years previous to its incorporation as Ashburnham, Mass., and was a farmer and innholder as well as an assessor and selectman. He apparently left Ashburnham shortly after 1780. Children, b. in Ashburnham (Ashburnham VR): 1. Anna, b. 8 Nov. 1760. 2. Sarah, b. 15 Sept. 1762. 3. Phebe, b. 27 Mar. 1765. 4. Hepsibah, b. 24 Mar. 1767; m. Jonah Whipple. 5. Nathan, b. 1 Mar. 1769. 6. Theodore, b. 1 May 1771. Poss. older dau. Mary, m. 11 Sept. 1770 John Bigelow.vii. AMOS, b. 4 July 1731; poss. dy., as he is not mentioned in his mother’s will.


    Children of Elisha Smith, probably all b. in Weston (order of birth uncertain):

    i. JONATHAN, b. 23 Jan. 1714/5 (Weston VR); d. before 3 Mar. 1745/6 when "Susannah,
    dau. wid. Susannah” was b. in Lunenburg (Walter A. Davis, The Early Records of
    Lunenburg, Mass
    . (1896), 328). He m. 8 Nov. 1736 SUSANNAH STEARNS (Bond, Genealogies
    of Watertown
    ). Children, b. in Lunenburg, Mass.: 1. Reuben, b. 1737. 2. Simon, b. 1739.
    3. Patience, b. 1741; m. Levi Stiles. 4. Mary, b. 1743. 5. Susannah, b. 3 Mar. 1745/6.
    All but Susannah were mentioned in their grandfather’s will, so presumably Susannah
    d. before 1765.ii. PATIENCE, b. 23 Feb. 1716/7 (Weston VR); m. 6 Dec. 1733 ABRAHAM SANDERSON, res. in Lunenburg. Son Jacob mentioned in Elisha’s will.iii. ELISHA, b. 4 June 1719 (Weston VR); m. ca. 1742 SUSANNAH GLEASON. Children, all b. in Worcester, Mass. (Worcester VR): 1. Ephraim, b. 25 Mar. 1743. 2. Elisabeth, b. 6 Jan. 1744/5. 3. Elisha, b. 6 July 1744 or 6 Jan. 1745. 4. Sarah, b. 7 Nov. 1748. 5. Susannah, b. 21 Mar. 1750. 6. Prudence, b. 30 Mar. 1753. 7. Phineas, b. 7 Jan. 1755. 8. Hannah, b. 21 May 1758. 9. Aaron, b. 6 Apr. 1760. 10. Moses, b. 19 Aug. 1762. 11. Percis, b. 5 Sept. 1766.iv. ISAAC, bp. in Sudbury, Mass., 16 Sept. 1722 (Weston VR). No further record other than mention in Elisha’s will.v. JOSHUA. No record other than mention in Elisha’s EUNICE, m. ISAAC GLEASON, b. 1724; d. 1776 (DAR P.I.).vii. ROBERT, bp. 9 July 1727 (Weston VR) (not 1737 as per Bond, Watertown); m. (1) ca. 1751 SARAH _______; m. (2) 16 Dec. 1767 ELIZABETH GOODALE of Shrewsbury. Children by his first wife, b. in Worcester (Worcester VR): 1. Abigail, b. 27 July 1752. 2. Elizabeth, b. 1 Feb. 1756. 3. David, b. 27 Apr. 1758. 4. Amos, b. 10 Feb. 1760. 5. Betty, b. 30 Jan. 1764. 6. Sarah, b. 8 Feb. 1766. Children by his second wife: 7. William, b. 30 July 1758 [sic]. 8. Robert, b. 11 Dec. 1763 [sic]. 9. Ruth, b. 8 Oct. 1768. 10. Esther, b. 2 Mar. 1771. Robert was named executor of his father’s will, possibly because he lived nearest.viii. ABRAHAM, b. 20 Sept. 1730 (DAR P.1.); d. 4 Nov. 1809; m. ca. 1765 Lucy ALLEN. Children, b. in Worcester (Worcester VR): 1. Molly, b. 20 Nov. 1766. 2. Abraham, b. 27 Oct. 1768. 3. Allen, b. 6 Apr. 1770. 4, 5. Isaac & Jacob (twins), b. 12 Feb. 1772. 6. Rufus Chandler, b. 15 May 1774.


    *Author's Note: The number of actual children of Sarah and Joseph is still to be determined. Concord VR list the following: Jonathan, b. 19 May 1744; Josiah, b. 11 June 1746; Rebeckah, b. 15 June 1759; Joseph, b. 26 April 1764; Hannah, b. 3 March 1766; Asa, b. 3 June 1769; Phineas, b. 10 Jan. 1772. However, given their later birth dates, the last five children named may belong to another Joseph and Sarah Barns family.

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society