John Benjamin, of Watertown

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John Benjamin

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Chalvington, Heathfield, Sussex, England
Death: Died in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: Unknown
Immediate Family:

Son of John Benjamin of Heathfield and Joane Benjamin
Husband of Abigail Benjamin
Father of John Benjamin ; Abigail Stubbs; Mary Benjamin ; Samuel Benjamin ; Joseph Benjamin and 3 others
Brother of Susan Austin; Thomas Benjamin; Joane Benjamin; Gyles Benjamin; Arabella Austin and 1 other
Half brother of Ann Benjamin

Occupation: Constable of the General
Managed by: Jocelynn Elaine Oakes
Last Updated:

About John Benjamin

  • John and Richard Benjamin (believed to be brothers) of Heathfield, Sussex, England sailed to America on the ship "Lyon" and arrived in Boston on 16 September 1632. John and his wife, Abigail Eddy, settled in Newtown Mass (today called Cambridge) with their children. Harvard College was established in 1636, the same year John's mansion burned down, and Harvard owns the land that originally belonged to John Benjamin. That may be true, though I called the keeper of records at both Cambridge and Gray's Inn but was not given any information proving John Benjamin's attendance.
  • Frank Everett Benjamin, researching the John and Richard lineage in England, found Wills from Lewes, East Sussex, England. These were transcribed from the Old English or Latin and show John Benjamin's father married Joane Hookes on January 18, 1584. Their children were listed as follows: John (1585), Susan (1586), Thomas (1587), Joane (1589), Gyles (1591), and Richard (1602).
  • John Benjamin, Sr. died on September 4,1606 and Joane died on May 20,1619.
             
  • John Benjamin met John Winthrop while they were at Cambridge University and they maintained a strong friendship. Their families lived near each other in Heathfield, Sussex County, England. John Benjamin and John Winthrop were upset with the Church of England because Charles I refused to introduce the full Presbyterian system of church government. Two of their friends were sent to prison in 1629 because they opposed the Parliament of Charles I. This was the last parliament before the English Civil War. In April of 1629, John Winthrop was deprived of his office of Attorney in the Court of Wards and Liveries. In addition, John Winthrop wished to find a place to establish a "City of God". Therefore, they decided to take their families to the New World.

Abigail (Eddy) Benjamin's brothers, John and Samuel, had already sailed on the ship, Handmaid, in 1630. That same year, John Winthrop and his sons Henry, Stephen and Samuel sailed on the Arabella, the Flag-ship and three other vessels of the newly established Winthrop Fleet. This Fleet and the Charter for the Massachusetts Bay Colony had been signed by Charles I in 1629. On August 23, 1631 Mrs Margaret (Clopton) Winthrop sailed on the Lyon, under the command of William Pierce Master, arriving in Nantucket on November 2, 1631 with John Winthrop Jr. and her children Adam and Ann. John Benjamin, his wife Abigail and children John, Abigail, Samuel and Mary accompanied by Abigail's sister Anna Eddy sailed from London, England for America on the ship Lyon, Capt. Wm. Pierce Master, on June 22, 1632.

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John and Richard took an oath of allegiance to King Charles 1 administered by Captain Mason before the ship sailed for the New World. There were 120 passengers, including 50 children, on the voyage. After being at sea for twelve weeks, they cast anchor at Boston Harbor on Sunday Evening, September 16, 1632. This was the final voyage of the ship, Lyon. In November, while returning to England, it was wrecked on a shoal a few miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake River.

The passenger list also shows a Richard Benjamin (bc 1602 in England). Richard was a younger brother of John. Richard settled in Watertown, MA, along with the Benjamin Family. About 1637/8 he married Anna (Simeon). Their children were: Mary (1638), Simeon (1640), Anna (1643) born in Watertown, MA. Richard became a proprietor in Watertown in 1642. The family moved to Southhold, Long Island sometime between 1645 and 1651. Richard (1645) and Simeon (1647) are believed to have been born in Southhold, Long Island. Richard Benjamin became a Freeman in 1664.

Upon arrival in America, John settled with his family in Newtowne, MA. John and Richard Benjamin were the first by that name to settle in America. John Benjamin became a Freeman on November 6, 1632 in Watertown, MA.

John Benjamin transported many household items including a large

library to America. He paid 30 pounds for transportation. He bought six acres and built what Governor John Winthrop described as a "mansion,  unsurpassed in elegance and comfort by all in the vicinity. He called him  Mister, a title only afforded a few at the time". He was appointed  Constable by the General Court on May 20, 1633.  In 1635 he was made one  of the five surveyors of the lands… In 1645 he purchased 16 acres owned by Captain Sedgwick at Watertown. In June 12, 1645 he appointed his brother in-law, John Eddy and a friend ,Thomas Marret, executors of his will. 

Children of John and Abigail (Eddy) Benjamin

               
     John Benjamin            bc 1620   Heathfield, England
     Abigail Benjamin         bc 1624   Heathfield, England
     Samuel Benjamin          bc 1628   Heathfield, England
     Mary Benjamin       bc 1630   Heathfield, England
     Joseph Benjamin          bc 1633   Watertown, MA
     Joshua Benjamin          bc 1642   Watertown, MA
     CALEB BENJAMIN           bc 1643   Watertown, MA
     Abel Benjamin            bc 1645   Watertown, MA                
     John Benjamin died June 14, 1645 in Watertown, MA. Abigail (Eddy) Benjamin died May 20, 1687 at Charlestown, MA.

-------------------- Christening March 21, 1585 in Chalvington, Heathfield, Sussex, England. Transhumance Sept. 16, 1632 London to Boston on the ship 'Lyon'. This couple had 8 children. --------------------

He immigrated on 16 Sep 1632 to Boston, Suffolk Co., MA.  He arrived on the ship Lyon. He had an estate probated on 3 Jul 1645 in Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA.

---------------- John Benjamin - was chr. on 21 Mar 1585 and died on 14 Jun 1645 in Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA . He was the son of John Benjamin and Joan Hookes. John married Abigail Eddy in 1619 in Cranbrook, co. Kent, England. Abigail was born on 1 Oct 1601 in Cranbrook, co. Kent, England. She was the daughter of Rev William Eddye and Mary Forsten. She died on 20 May 1687 in Charlestown, Middlesex Co., MA .

John - - along with his brother Richard left Herefordshire for America and arrived on the ship "Lion" in 1632. (Same crossing as James Olmsted and Nicholas Olmsted). John Benjamin, a proprietor of Cambridge, was admitted freeman 6 November, 1632, and was constable 20 May, 1633. Of his house in Cambridge Governor Winthrop wrote: "Mr. Benjamin's mansion was unsurpassed for elegance and comfort by any in the vicinity. It was the mansion of intelligence, religion, and hospitality, visited by the clergy of all denominations, and by the literati at home and abroad. His library was said to be one of the finest in the country. It was probably destroyed in the fire in 1636 which burned his house, valued at 100œ. The next year the Watertown records show grants of land to him. There he died 14 June, 1645. His will is of date 12 June; the inventory shows an estate valued at 297œ 3s 2d. The list of books includes a Book of Martiers. His widow Abigail went with her daughter, Abigail Stubbs, to Charlestown, where she died 20 May, 1687, aged eighty-seven." Source: "Powers-Banks Ancestry" by John Leslie Powers (1921) (Sources: - 1)

-------------------- from: "Benjamin Family in America" by Gloria Wall Bicha and Helen Benjamin Brown

John Benjamin was born either about 1580 or 1598 (depends on which book is referenced) in Sussex County England. He married Abigail Eddye of Crantbrooke, Kent County, England on about 1619. On June 22, 1632 John Benjamin, his wife and four children sailed for America on the Ship "Lion". John took the oath of allegiance to the King and government of England before he embarked. At sea for twelve weeks they arrived in Boston Harbor on Sunday evening September 16, 1632. It is speculation what brought John to America. It is believed that he was friends with John Winthrop who came in 1630 and became governor of MA. Also two of Abigail's brothers had come ahead.

John settled in Newtowne (now Cambridge) MA and on November 6, 1632 he became a Freeman. A Freeman had the right of suffrage, advantages in the division of land and before the representative system started, Freeman were members of the General Court. To qualify for this privilege was to be a church member. John was one of the original proprietors of the Freeman of Boston becoming a member only two months after arriving in Boston. This was an unusual honor and perhaps a record of the high regard the community placed on him.

John was a member of the Church of Christ in Cambridge and later of the First Church of Watertown.

John on six acres of land built what Governor Winthrop described as "Mansion...unsurpassed in elegance and comfort by all in the vicinity. It was also a mansion of religion and hospitality; visited by the clergy of all denominations and by the literate at home and abroad". It appears that John was both wealthy and well educated. He was addressed as "Mister" by the Governor, a title of respect afforded by few at the time. He was appointed constable by the General Court on May 20, 1633.

April 7, 1636 the Benjamin home in Newtowne was damaged badly by fire and records show a one hundred pounds loss. Tradition says he had a large, fine library, but this was not reflected in his will so maybe they were lost in the fire.

In 1637 John moved his family to Watertown, MA.

On June 12, 1645, just two days before he died, John made a will. It is on file at the Suffolk County, MA Probate Office.

     

Children of John Benjamin and Abigail Eddye are:

  i.   John Benjamin, born Abt. 1620 in England; died 
       Unknown. 
  ii.   Abigail Benjamin, born Abt. 1624 in England; 
        died Unknown. 
  iii.   Samuel Benjamin, born Abt. 1628 in England; 
        died Unknown. 
  iv.   Mary Benjamin, born Abt. 1630 in England; 
        died Unknown. 
  v.   Joseph Benjamin, born September 16, 1633 in 
        Cambridge, Middlesex, MA; died April 1704 in 
        Preston, New London, CT; married Sarah Clarke 
        Aft. 1664. 
  vi.   Joshua Benjamin, born May 06, 1642 in 
        Watertown, Middlesex, MA; died Unknown. 
  vii.   Caleb Benjamin, born Abt. 1643 in Watertown, 
         Middlesex, MA; died Unknown. 
  viii.   Abel Benjamin, born Abt. 1645 in Watertown, 
         Middlesex, MA; died Unknown. 

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John Benjamin, born 1598 in Lower Herefordshire, England; died 14 Jun 1645 in Watertown, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. He married Abigail Eddy 1619 in Cranbrook, Kent Co., England. Abigail Eddy, born 06 Oct 1601 in Cranbrook, Kent Co., England; died 20 May 1687 in Charlestown, Middlesex Co., MA. She was the daughter of Rev. William Eddy and Mary Fosten.

Children of John Benjamin and Abigail Eddy are:

John Benjamin, born Abt. 1620 in England; died 22 Dec 1706 in Watertown, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts; married Lydia Allen 1650 in Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA; died 1709.

Samuel Benjamin, born 1628 in England; died 25 Sep 1669 in Connecticut; married Mary Bef. 1660; died Aft. 1670.

Marie Benjamin, born 1629 in England; died 10 Apr 1646 in Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA.

Joseph Benjamin, born 16 Sep 1633 in Cambridge, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts; died 1704 in New London Co., Connecticut; married (1) Jemima Lambert 10 Jun 1661 in Boston, Massachusetts; married (2) Sarah Clark Bef. 07 Dec 1668.

Abel Benjamin, born 1640 in Massachusetts; died Jul 1710 in Massachusetts; married Amithy Myrick 06 Nov 1671 in Charlestown, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts; born Abt. 1645 in Massachusetts; died 1713 in Massachusetts.

Joshua Benjamin, born 06 May 1642 in Massachusetts; died 06 May 1684 in Charlestown, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts; married Thankful Stowe 24 Aug 1682 in Charlestown, Suffolk Co., MA; born 1660 in Massachusetts; died 1691 in Massachusetts.

Caleb Benjamin, born 1643 in Watertown, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts; died 08 May 1684 in Connecticut; married Mary Hale 1670 in Wethersfield, CT; born 1649 in Connecticut; died 1700 in Connecticut.

Abigail Benjamin, born Abt. 1624 in England; died 1704 in Massachusetts; married (1) Joshua Stubbs Abt. 1641; born Abt. 1620; died 1654 in Charlestown, Suffolk Co., MA; married (2) John Woodward Aft. 1654.

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John Benjamin,

Born about 1598; died in Watertown, June 14, 1645. came to Boston, Mass., in the ship Lion, Sept. 16. 1632, and was made freeman the 6th of November following. May 20,1633, he was chosen constable of New Town, (Cambridge,) by the General Court. Nov. 7, 1634, he was exempted from training on account of age and infirmity, but was required to have, at all times, arms for himself and servants.

He was of New Town, (Cambridge,) in Oct. 1636, and settled in Watertown about the year 1637. His homestall of sixty acres in Watertown was situated east of Dorchester Field, and bounded south by' Charles River. He owned three other large lots. Besides these, it is supposed that he purchased several homestalls in Watertown of those who migrated to Wethersfield. Gov. Winthrop designated him as Mr. Benjamin ; the title Mister being rare in those days. His will, dated 12 (4) 1646, is upon record at the Probate Office for Suffolk Co. The following is an abstract of his will:

I John Benjamin being in pfect memory, as touching my outward estate—do bequeath to sonne John a double portion, beloved wife two Cowes, fourty bushels of Corne out of all my lands, to be allowed her towards the bringing vp of my smale Children yearly such as growes vppon the ground, one part of fower of all my houshold stufie, all the rest of my lands goods and chattels shall be equally divided between seven other of my children. Provided that out of all my former estate my wife during her life shall enjoy the dwelling house I live in, and three Acres of the broken vp ground next the house, & two Acres of the Meddowe neere hand belonging to the house. That this will be truly pformed I do appoint my brother John Eddie of Watertowne & Thomas Marrit of Cambridge that they doe theire best Indevor to see this pformed. John Benjamin.

Witnes Georg Muniage [Muning]. the 15 (4) 45.

This was proved to be the last will & testament of John Benjamin & that he did further declare (as an addition to this his will) that his wife should have liberty to take wood for her vse vppon any of his Lands dureing her life vppon the Oath of John Eddye Before

(5) 3 1645. Thomas Dudley Gov.

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BENJAMIN.— May 20, 1633. Mr. John Benjamin was chosen constable of New

Town [Camb.] by the General Court. Nov. 7, 1634, he was exempted from training

on account of age and infirmity, but was required to have, at all times, arms for him-

self and servants. He was of New Town, in Oct. 1636, and there was a mistake in

saying that his house was burned in Watertown. It is conjectured that he purchased

several homestalls in Watertown, of those who migrated to Wethersfield. N.B. The

references on p. 27, are to Hinman's Catalogues, 1st edition. See his 2d ed., pp.

196-7.

Inventory of the real estate of John Benjamin, Sen. [1.], proved July 3, 1645. House

and meadow next the mill, lot bought of John Bernard, £50 ; house and 60 acres

(homestall) £75; 10 acres of meadow, near Oyster Bank, £10: 10 acres in Rocky

Meadow, £13; 8 acres in Great Dividends, £J2; 16 acres in Wat., bought Ap. 20,

1645, of Capt. Robert Sedgwick, of Charlestown, £10.

p. 26. [2.] Nov. 4, 1646. The validity of the Will of Mary Benjamin, "being under

age," was set aside by the Gen. Court, and her mother Abigail appointed admin'x.

p. 27. [3.] Mrs. Abigail Woodward was wit. in Court, June, 1671, then aged 47, showing

that she was b. in England about 1624.

E3P John Benjamin, Sen., had a son Joseph, of whom there is no mention in Wat.

records, and who settled in Barnstable. He m., June 10, 1661, Jemima, dr. of Tho-

mas and Joice Lambert, of Barnstable. • Oct. 30, 1686. Joseph Benjamin, of Barn-

stable, sold land in Camb., bounded on land of Abel Benjamin, my brother, which

was devised by Will of my honored father, Mr. John Benjamin, some time of Water-

town, deceased." William Clark, of Yarmouth, who d. Dec. 7, 1668, by his nuncu-

pative Will, proved Feb. 28, 1668-9, gave his property (£8 3s.) to Joseph Benjamin.

[Gen. Reg. vii. p. 178.] There was a Joseph Benjamin and wife Hannah, of Hamp-

ton, Conn., as early as 1748, whose lineage has not been ascertained. They had at

least 5 chil. [Hinman, p. 197.]

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JOHN BENJAMIN arrived in the ship Lion, Sept. 16, 1632 ; was adm. freeman Nov.

6, 1632; was a proprietor of Camb., and perhaps he first settled there. If so, it was

only for a short time, as his house, with goods to the amount of £100, was burnt in

Wat. Ap.7, 1636. [Winthrop. I. 185.] Gov. Winthrop designates him as "Mr. Ben-

jamin," and in 1642 he had the largest homestall in Wat. He d. June 14, 1645, and

inventory (£297, 3, 2), was made by Simon Stone, John Eddie, and Thomas Mar-

ret. His will, dated June 12, 1645, two days before his death, mentions beloved

wife, not named, eldest son John, and 7 other chil. not named, some of whom

were ' : small." [See Gen. Reg., III. 176.] He appointed : 'my brother John

Eddie, of Wat.," and Thomas Marret, of Camb., executors. His wid., ABIGAIL,

went with her son-in-law, Joshua Stubbs, to Charlestown about 1654, where she d.

May 20, 1687, aged 87. Probably she did not live continuously in Charlestown.

Mar. 28, 1670, Abigail Benjamin, spinster of Wat., for £12, sold to John Welling-

ton, of Wat., three parcels of land in Camb. [As a Richard Benjamin came over

with John in 1632, and was proprietor of Wat. in 1642, he may have been a

brother, instead of a son, of John, Senr. His age at his embarkation is not given. J

2 | 1. Mary. She d. Ap. 10, 1646. Her will, proved June 4, 1646 [See Geneal. Reg.

-------------------- John and his brother, Richard, left Herefordshire for America and arrived on the ship "Lion" in 1632. John, a proprietor of Cambridge, was admitted freeman on November 6, 1632, and was constable May 20, 1633. Governor Winthrop wrote of his house in Cambridge, "Mr. Benjamin's mansion was unsurpassed for elegance and comfort by any in the vicinity. It was the mansion of intelligence, religion, and hospitality, visited by the clergy of all denominations, and by the literati at home and abroad. His library was said to be one of the finest in the country." It was probably destroyed in the fire in 1636 which burned his house. The next year, the Watertown records show grants of land to him. -------------------- Links

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John Benjamin, of Watertown's Timeline

1585
March 12, 1585
Chalvington, Heathfield, Sussex, England
March 12, 1585
Heathfield, Sussex, England
March 12, 1585
Chalvington, Heathfield, Sussex, England
March 12, 1585
Chalvington Par.,Heathfield,Sussex,England
March 12, 1585
Chalvington Par., Heathfield, Sussex, England
March 12, 1585
Chalvington Par., Heathfield, Sussex, England
March 12, 1585
Chalvington, Heathfield, Sussex, England
March 12, 1585
Chalvington,Heathfield,Sussex, England
March 12, 1585
Chalvington Par.,Heathfield,Sussex,England
1619
1619
Age 33
England