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 and Abigail Benjamin
Father of Caleb Benjamin; John Benjamin ; Abigail Stubbs; Mary Benjamin ; Samuel 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: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Benjamin, of Watertown

  • 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.

Links

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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

-------------------- http://archive.org/stream/benjaminfamilyin00bich/benjaminfamilyin00bich_djvu.txt

Chapter 2 GENERATION I - JOHN LINE

1. JOHN BENJAMIN was born either about 1580 (Col. Banks) or about 1598 ( Bullard and Allied Families ) or was perhaps baptised on March 12, 158 5/6 (Chalvington Parish Records) probably near Heathfield, Sussex County, England. He died June 14, 16^5 at Watertown, Mass. (vr). He married Abigail Eddye (Eddie-Eddy) of Cranbrooke, Kent County, England about 1619 in England. She was the daughter of Rev. William and Mary (Fosten) Eddye and was bapt. at Cranbrooke on October 6, 1601 and died May 20, 168? at Charlestown, Mass. at tfrie home of her son-in-law, Joshua Stubbs. (Watertown vr). She was 87 years of age.

John Benjamin, with his wife and four children, sailed for America on the Ship "Lion" (Lyon). They left England on June 22, 1632 and at that time John took the oath of alle- giance to the King and government of England before he embark- ed. After being at sea for twelve weeks, they arrived at Bos- toh Harbor on Sunday evening, September 16, 1632.

Supposedly John Benjamin and John Winthrop were frifends in England. John Winthrop arrived in America in 1630 and lat- er became Governor of Massachusetts. It is thought that John Benjamin's friendship for John Winthrop played a great part in his decision to leave England and come to America. Also, two of Abigail's brothers had already come and settled in New Eng- land, and that may also have played a part in their decision.

In Planters of the Commonwealth 1630-1640 (p. 101) by Charles Banks, 1930, under a heading "Passengers and Ships" it states 1 "Ship Lyon, Walter Pierce, Master, sailed from London June 22 and arrived September 16 at Boston - John Benjamin, Mrs. Abigail Benjamin of Heathfield, Sussex, Cambridge." Children were not mentioned in this record. Supposedly there were about 50 children on this voyage, four of whom belonged to John and Abigail. This was the last voyage of the Lion. On the following November, while returning to England, it was wrecked on a shoal a few miles from the mouth of the Chesapeak River.

The Topographical Dictionary of English. Emigrants to New England 1620-16 50 by Charles Edward Burke, 1937. states 1 "Name of emigranti Benjamin, John; Richard} English Parish Names Heathfieldj Ship's namei Lion".

The names of John and Richard Benjamin appear in the "Original Lists of Quality" in Emigrants from Great Britian to American Plantations 1600-1700 by John Hotten, 1931 (p. 1632J7

The relationship between John and Richard Benjamin has not been established. Some genealogists call them father and son (though John Benjamin names son John and seven other child ren in his will and that number would exclude Richard as being

a son) while others have called them brothers (though there is about a generation between their ages). Chalvington Parish Records (p. vii) tend to substanciate the brother theory if the John Benjamin named as father is the same person. Also, on two of the ship's passenger lists Richard Benjamin has been named as a separate individual — almost as a head of a family — even though he must have been very close to the same age as John's eldest son, while the known children of John that must have been with him were not named. Obviously, there must have been a close relationship for them to have made this dangerous voyage together, to have come from the same Parish in England, and to have lived in the same areas here in America for many years. Even though their relationship is not established, your compilier feels safe in including the Richard line within the scope of this Benjamin Genealogy, and Richard's line will be dealt with in a later section of this book.

John Benjamin settled in Newtowne (now Cambridge), Mass. On November 6, 16J2 he became a Freeman. A Freeman had the right of sufferage, enjoyed advantages in the division of land and, before the representative system started, Freeman were members of the General Court. The principal qualifications for this privilege seem to have been church membership. John Benjamin was one of the original proprietors of the Freeman of Boston. It is worthy to note that he became a Freeman within two months of arriving in this country, 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 Water town. The church in Wat ertown was the second oldest church in the Colony of Mass. and adopted "strick independency" or Congregationalism. John Knowles was the pastor at this time.

John was also one of the proprietors of Cambridge. On six acres of land in Newtowne he built what Governor Winthrop described as a "Mansion. . .unsurpassed in elegance and comfort by all in the vicinity. It was also a mansion of religion and hospitalityi visited by the clergy of all denominations and by the literate at home and abroad". It would certainly seem that John Benjamin was both wealthy and well educated.

John was a man of consequence. He was addressed by the governor as 'Mister' , a title of respect afforded to few at the time. He was appointed Constable by the General Court on May 20, 1633 . The Constable in England and in the Colonies was the chief executive officer of the parish or town, hence an office of honor and importance.

On April 7» I636 the Benjamin home in Newtowne was dam- aged badly by fire and records show a one hundred pounds loss. Tradition says he had a large, fine library, but details of the inventory of his will don't support this claim. Undoubt- edly many of his books were lost in this fire.

In I63? John moved his family to Watertown, Mass. Water- town records of 1642 say that John Benjamin owned the largest homestall in the town at that time. The records do not show

that he assumed an active part in the civil affairs of Water- town. Apparently he led a very quite life there. His home- stead in Watertown was 60 acres and was situated east of Dor- chester Field and bounded on the south by the Charles River, on the west by John Loveran and Ephraim Child, and on the north and east by Thomas Rogers. He had eighteen acres of up- land with two acres of meadow, plus 80 acres of upland in the Second Division, and 24 acres of plowland.

He was excused from military training on November 7, 1634 eleven years before his death, "on account of age and infirm- ity", but was "required to have at all times arms for himself and servants". (It was this statement, plus the fact that John's birth in 1580 would make him more a contemporary with Governor Winthrop, that led Col. Banks into assuming that John Benjamin was born at an earlier date. The generally accepted birth date of 1598 was probably estimated from the birth dates of his children. ) The earlier birth date would certainly ex- plain many of the facts in his later life, particularly his exemption from military training. Of course, he might very well have been ill or in poor health to have been excused in 1634, when surely every hand might be needed on a gun. How- ever, the excuse does also include the word 'age'.

On June 12, 1645, just two days before he died, John made a will. It is on file in the Probate Office, Suffolk County Court House and reads as follows 1 "I, John Benjamin, being in 'pfect' memory as touching my outward estates - 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 toward the bringing up of my smale Children yearly such as growes vpon the ground, one part of flower of all my hous hold stuffe all the rest of my lands, goods, and chattels shal 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 land belong to the house.

That this will be truely pformed I do appoint my brother John Eddie of Watertowne and Thomas Marrit of Cambridg that they doe theire best Indivo r to see this pformes." This was signed by John Benjamin and witnessed by George Munnge.

There was an addition to the will. He did further de- clare "that his wife should have the liberty to take wood for her use upon any of his lands 'dureing* her lifetime, upon the oath of John Eddie". It was dated June 13, 1645 and the wit- nesses to this addition were Governor Thomas Dudley and Deputy Governor John Winthrop.

The will covered two and one half pages and was handwrit- ten by Deputy Governor John Withrop. In 1900 it was bought at an auction by Charles Gunther of Chicago, Illinois, because of the autograph of Governor Winthrop. A copy of it appears in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vol. 45,

p. 19.

The inventory of the estate of John Benjamin appears as follows «

8

Mentions the lot bought of John Bernard. Land of Capt. Sedg(wick).

House and meadow next the mill. 50 pounds.

10 acres of Meadow near Oyster Bank 10

House and 60 acres homestall 75

10 acres in Rocky meadow 13

8 acres in Great Dividends 13

16 acres in Watertown 10

The articles listed in the inventory consisted of the house- hold goods and farming implements. There were several vol- umes of books, ? treatisis, 2 concordances, and 3 or 4 other books mentioned. The inventory was taken by Simeon Stowe, John Eddye, and Thomas Maret and was placed before Governor Thomas Dudley on March 5» 164-5. It showed that John Benjamin had property amounting to over 297 pounds. A large amount of property for that time.

Abigail Benjamin probably made her home in Watertown un- til about 1654, when she went to live with her daughter, Abi- gail Stubbs, in Charlestown.

Children of John and Abigail (Eddye) Benjamini

  • 2. John Benjamin be. 1620 in England.
  • 3. Abigail Benjamin be. 1624 in England.
  • 4. Samuel Benjamin be. 1628 in England.

5. Mary Benjamin be. 1630 in England. Mary died unmar- ried in 1646 at Watertown, Mass. (vr), age 16. Her will was made May 16, 1646 and notices her Aunt Wines, sister Abigail Stubbs, her brother, and her cousin Ann Wynes.

  • 6. Joseph Benjamin b. September 16, 1633 at Cambridge,

Mass. (vr).

  • 7. Joshua Benjamin b. May 6, 1642 at Watertown, Mass.
  • 8. Caleb Benjamin be. 1643 in Watertown.
  • 9. Abel Benjamin be. 1645/6 at Watertown, Mass.

Resourcesi Watertown, Mass. Vital Records Vol. I (copied by Mrs. Ray Fales of Mass.); Bond's History of Watertown, Mass. ; Burke and Alvord Memorials } Rix Family Genealogy by Thomas Rix; Savage's Gen. Dictionary of Settlers of New England ; Great Little Watertown . F. Robinson; Hoover's Gen, of Park Benjamin ; Gen, of Lt. Samuel Benjamin , Mary L. Benjamin; Hinraan's Gen, of Puritans of Colony of Conn . 1852; Paige's History of Cam- bridge; and Wilson Papers which are records of Benjamins col- lected by Dr. William V. Wilson and are found in the Rare Book Room of the Congressional Library in Washington, D.C.; Cutter's History of Stratford. Conn, p. 1090.

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http://wellerharvey.wordpress.com/stories/benjamin-family/john-and-abigail-benjamin/

[See website for interesting photos.]

· John and Abigail Benjamin

John and Abigail (Eddy) Benjamin are my 9th great grandparents. The Benjamin family, along with the Bradfords, Newcombs, Clevelands, Ormsbys, and many others, form my English ancestry, through my grandmother, on my dad’s side of the family.

John Benjamin was born about 1584 in Heathfield, Sussex, England. He was a close friend of John Winthrop, the great Puritan leader who began the Great Migration with the Winthrop Fleet of English settlers to New England in 1630. Benjamin met John Winthrop while they were at Cambridge University. It is thought that his friendship with Winthrop played a big part in his decision to leave England and come to America. Also, two of his wife Abigail’s brothers had already come and settled in New England, and that may also have played a part in their decision.

Abigail Eddy was born on October 6, 1601, in Cranbrook, Kent Co., England. She was the daughter of Rev. William Eddye, who was Vicar of St. Duntan’s Church in Cranbrook, and Mary Fosten. She married John there in about 1619. They had eight children together.

John and Abigail sailed from Plymouth, England on June 22, 1632 aboard the ship “Lyon”, captained by Captain William Pierce. John took the oath of allegiance to the King and government of England before he embarked. This group of Puritans were members of Thomas Hooker’s “Braintree Company”. After being at sea for 12 weeks, they landed in Boston Harbor on Sunday evening, September 16, 1632. They brought with them their children John, Abigail, Samuel and Mary. The “Lyon” carried 123 passengers, with 50 being children.

This was the last voyage of the “Lyon”. On the following November, while returning to England, it was wrecked on a shoal a few miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake River.

The Benjamins soon settled in Newtowne, Massachusetts. Newtowne is the original name of the present day Cambridge. On November 6, 1632, he became a Freeman. A Freeman had the right of sufferage, enjoyed advantages in the division of land and, before the representative system started, Freemen were members of the General Court. The principal qualifications of this privilege seem to have been Church membership. John Benjamin was one of the original proprietors of the Freeman of Boston. It is worthy to note that he became a Freeman within two months of his arrival, an unusual honor, and perhaps a record of the high regard the community placed on him.

On May 30, 1633, he was was appointed Constable of Newtowne by the General Court. The Constable in England and in the Colonies was the Chief Executive Officer of the parish or town, hence an office of honor and importance.

On six acres of land in Newtowne, Benjamin built, what Governor John Winthrop described as, a “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”. The location of the Benjamin home was on the present site of Harvard University. The map below shows the home’s location on the present day map of Harvard.

It would certainly seem that John Benjamin was both wealthy and well educated. Gov. Winthrop referred to him as “Mr. Benjamin,” a title indicating prominence and used rarely. On April 7, 1636, the Benjamin home in Newtowne was damaged badly by fire. It’s loss was valued at over 100 pounds. John was said to have had a very large library. Many of his books were lost in the fire.

In about 1637, John moved his family to Watertown, Massachusetts. Watertown records of 1642 say that he owned the largest homestall in the town at that time. This lot was bought from the Oldham family and much of his land contains the current site of the Perkins School for the Blind. His homestead in Watertown was 60 acres and was situated east of Dorchester Field and bounded on the south by the Charles River. You can see the location of the Benjamin property on the map of present day Watertown below.

It would certainly seem that John Benjamin was both wealthy and well educated. Gov. Winthrop referred to him as “Mr. Benjamin,” a title indicating prominence and used rarely. On April 7, 1636, the Benjamin home in Newtowne was damaged badly by fire. It’s loss was valued at over 100 pounds. John was said to have had a very large library. Many of his books were lost in the fire.

In about 1637, John moved his family to Watertown, Massachusetts. Watertown records of 1642 say that he owned the largest homestall in the town at that time. This lot was bought from the Oldham family and much of his land contains the current site of the Perkins School for the Blind. His homestead in Watertown was 60 acres and was situated east of Dorchester Field and bounded on the south by the Charles River. You can see the location of the Benjamin property on the map of present day Watertown below.

The following pictures show the view of the Charles River today from the site of the Benjamin homestead in Watertown. Click on each to view a larger version.

The records do not show that he assumed an active part in the civil affairs of Watertown. Apparently he led a very quiet life there. He was a member of the First Church of Watertown. This church was the second oldest church in the Colony of Massachusetts.

John Benjamin died in Watertown on June 14, 1654. His wife, Abigail, went to Charlestown, MA (now part of Boston) after John’s death, and lived with daughter Abigail and son-in-law Joshua Stubbs. Abigail died in Charlestown on May 20, 1687.

John and Abigail’s 3rd great grandson was Asa Benjamin. You can read more about him at this link.

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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