Isabella Bland alias Smith

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Isabella Bland alias Smith (Drake)

Birthdate: (60)
Birthplace: Halstead Parish, Elmstead, Essex, England
Death: Died in Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Drake, of Elmstead and Joan Drake
Wife of John "Smith" Bland and John Bland alias Smith
Mother of Isabella Jr Austin; Annabella Bland alias Smith and John Smith, Jr
Sister of Robert Drake, of Hampton; Thomas Drake; Joshua Drake; Joseph Drake; Alice Drake and 4 others

Occupation: Housewife
Managed by: Flemming Allan Funch
Last Updated:

About Isabella Bland alias Smith

'Isbella Drake

Husband: John * Bland SMITH (1572-1668)

Note on Husband: John * Bland SMITH

John Bland Smith, our immigrant ancestor was born in England to Anthony and Adrian Bland. Anthony must have died for we find Adrian married second to a James Smith which John took on the name of Smith for much of his life until later which will be explained.

Wife: Isabella * DRAKE (1579-1639)

Children: Isabell SMITH (1602- )

Thomas D * SMITH (1605-1693)

Abraham SMITH (1607- )

Daniel SMITH (1609- )

Annabella SMITH (1613- )

Francis SMITH (1620- )

John * SMITH (1621-1687)

Mary SMITH (1623- )

Marriage 1604 Colchester, Essex, England1

Husband: John * Bland SMITH

Name: John * Bland SMITH

Sex: Male

Father: Adam * BLAND (1528-1594)

Mother: Joan * ATKINS (1528-1596)

Birth 28 Sep 1572 Colchester, Essex, England

Baptism 28 Sep 1572 (age 0) St. Gregory by St. Paul, London, England2

London, England

Immigration 1630 (age 57-58) from Colchester, England

Sailed in John Winthrop's Fleet

Death 6 Jan 1668 (age 95) Nantucket, MA, US

Wife: Isabella * DRAKE

Name: Isabella * DRAKE

Sex: Female

Father: William* DRAKE (1564-1625)

Mother: Joan * MERRYLLS (1557-1617)

Birth 1579 Elmstead, Essex, England

Death 12 Oct 1639 (age 59-60) Watertown, Middlesex, MA, US

Child 1: Isabell SMITH

Name: Isabell SMITH

Sex: Female

Birth 1602

Child 2: Thomas D * SMITH

Name: Thomas D * SMITH

Sex: Male

Spouse: Mary * Ann KNAPP (1613-1667)

Birth 14 Apr 1605 Colchester, Essex, England

Immigration 1637 (age 31-32) to Watertown, Middlesex, MA, US3

Will 16 Mar 1688 (age 82)

Occupation carpenter

Death 10 Mar 1693 (age 87) Watertown, Middlesex, MA, US

Probate 8 May 16934

beq to wife Mary; sons Thomas, John, Ephraim, Jonathan and Joseph;

dau Mary and the ch of dec dau Sarah; gr ch James Smith of Piscataqua.

Child 3: Abraham SMITH

Name: Abraham SMITH

Sex: Male

Birth 1607 Child 4: Daniel SMITH

Name: Daniel SMITH

Sex: Male

Birth 1609

Child 5: Annabella SMITH

Name: Annabella SMITH

Sex: Female

Birth 1613

Child 6: Francis SMITH

Name: Francis SMITH

Sex: Male

Birth 1620

Child 7: John * SMITH

John * SMITH

Name: John * SMITH5

Sex: Male

Spouse: Deborah * PARKHURST (1619-1675)

Birth 5 Jan 1621 Hampton, Hampshire, England6

Christening 17 May 1623 (age 2)

Watertown, Suffolk, MA, US

Immigration 1635 (age 13-14) from England

Boston, Suffolk, MA, US

Death 13 Oct 1687 (age 66) Edgartown, Dukes, MA7,8,9

Burial Revolutionary War Cemetary

Sudbury, Middlesex, MA, US

Child 8: Mary SMITH

Name: Mary SMITH

Sex: Female Birth 1623

Note on Husband: John * Bland SMITH

John Bland Smith, our immigrant ancestor was born in England to Anthony and Adrian Bland. Anthony must have died for we find Adrian married second to a James Smith which John took on the name of Smith for much of his life until later which will be explained.

Adrian was married a third time to Jeremy Norcross who was of noble birth from London. We know that John probably lived in this area for a time. However in all of the records in the New World it says that John at the time of coming to America was from Colchester, England.

Isabella Drake was born abt 1579 probably in Halstead, Essex, England. She had a son born supposedly in 1600. She was the daughter of William John Drake and Joandt Merrylis both of Halstead, England.

Conditions in England were not real good during this time. There were many separatist groups and much confusion over the “true” religion at this time.

Not only was there religious contention but also in the Colchester area the clothing industry which was a big part of the industry there was floundering. They could not get unfinished cloth. In 1618 the Thirty Years’ War began. Cloth sales were further disrupted. 1619 the London clothier failed. 1621-23 were disastrous harvests. England enters the Thirty years’ War in 1624. In 1626 the Plague hits Sudbury and Colchester. 1629-30 Further disastrous harvest. Complete stop on cloth exports. In July 1629 there were grain riots at Colchester. The depression of 1630?s begins. 1635-6 was a bitter winter. Governor Winthrop in his writings says that hunger threatened to turn into starvation. “…so many wandering ghosts in the shape of men, so many spectacles of misery in all our streets, our entries full of hunger-starved Christians, and under our stalls lie our own flesh in nakedness.” From the pulpits messages like this from Winthrop were heard “… this land grows weary of her inhabitants greatest burdens.” They preached this scourge was the hand of God. In such a mood of despair and desperation, some came to understand that they were to transfer their goodly companies to the new world. That is why so many groups of people from the same town left and immigrated to America. [1]

When John and Isabella came to America is unknown but in the history of Martha’s Vineyard it says he was found at Watertown in 1630 with wife Isabel. He was proprietor of Watertown, Massachusetts, 1636 and a freeman there December 6, 1636. In 1645, he owned land adjacent to that of John Benjamin. Adrian, John’s mother and her husband Jeremy Norcross, did not come to America until around 1639.

John and Isabella had children (1) John born abt 1599 in England but christened 17 May 1623 at Watertown, Suffolk, Massachusetts. (2) Thomas born abt 1600 in England but christened 17 May 1623 at Watertown, Suffolk, Massachusetts. (3) Daniel born abt 1610 probably in England. (4)Francis born abt 1625, (5) Abraham born abt 1629. John also had children, (6) Isabell and(7) Annabel. These are the records I have however Thomas was also a proprietor of Watertown in 1636 and a freeman there on 17 May 1637.

Living in Watertown was a peaceful place to be except for the occasional antisocial behavior of a few restless, frustrated or badly raised adolescents. However, stealing was rare in the community and it was a safe place to live.[2]

They were not in America too long before tragedy hit their household. Isabella Drake Smith was buried October 12, 1639 at Watertown, Suffolk, Massachusetts age 60. This must have been a hard time for John.

In 1642, John Bland (the first time we know he is going by the name of Bland) goes with Thomas Mayhew Jr to Martha’s Vineyard to convert the Indians. The Wompanoags on the island proved ready converts after an epidemic, incurable by their own powwows, laid them low in 1645. When an Indian who had scoffed at Mayhew’s first convert, Hiacoomes, was struck by lightning, Christianity boomed. By 1652 there were 282 native islanders who had entered the covenant. In 1659 Thomas Mayhew Sr., who had assumed leadership after his son’s death by drowning on a ship to England, established the first Indian church on the Vineyard. Unlike the mainland, however, adoption of Christianity did not threaten loss of native identity, land, leadership, or culture. The Indian churches, greatly outnumbering the white in the seventeenth century, retained much of their own automony.[3] The Indians were a big part of the New World. In Watertown the natives were hired on to do farm work for the farmers. There was “frequent recourse to the English towns by the Indians.” Their lives became entwined in the late 1640?s so much that the diseases were effecting the Indians and the effects of alcohol was making the Indians succumb to drunkenness. The puritan abhorrence of excess made it a strong temptation to pay the Indians in cheap liquor or to make an illicit profit by selling them what they thirsted after. Soon guns were being sold to the Indians. Nevertheless the Indians continue to frequent the town during the 1650?s and 1660?s.[4]

We know that John had acquired property in the vicinity of Katama before 1646. “Mr. John Bland has bought of John Pease of Martins Vineyard a parcell of Land about 10 acres and two acres of Medo lying against Mr blands house attMattakeekset. 23 mar 1646.” He also “bought of Philip Tabor 2 Mar 1647 all his rights and he then possessed..”

We also know that he married a second time to “Joanna”. He married her before 1654 for she was mentioned in John’s Step father’s Will in 1654. John must have been a man of some substance for he and his wife are called Mr. and Mistress which in those days had a meaning of high stature. He is the only one besides Thomas Mayhew Jr. and Sr. that had this title.

In immigration records we find John Bland from Colchester parish in England and in Watertown and Edgartown, Massachusetts and this information was found in the History of Martha’s Vineyard.

The first tract set apart for the last resting place of the dead was the acre on Burial Hill. It was on the home lots of John Bland and John Eddy.

There had been some speculation on the true last name of our John Smith. A Robert Drake, probably the brother of Isabella Drake said that he had known “Isabel Bland from childhood, and that John Bland, her father, formerly lived in Colchester, England and that his name and ancestry were Bland, not Smith.”

Mr. John Bland, alias Smith, was living at Edgartown, on Martha’s Vineyard, in 1646, undoubtedly the John Smith associated with the Mayhews in the first movement from Watertown to the Island, where he was always Bland. In Watertown living his mother Adrian 2nd wife of Jeremiah Norcross, and there is recorded Isabel wife of John Smith, bur 12 July 1639, age 60. The Hampton Drakes testified that they knew his daughter Isabel Bland from childhood, that her father John Bland lived in Colchester, and that his ancestry was Bland not Smith. His step father was Smith. John’s will made 2 Nov 1663 names wife Joanna and all the children that are alive that I owne, Isabel married 1st Francis Austin, 2nd Thomas Leavitt. Annabel, married William Basham of Watertown, Eldest son John.[5]

Thomas Levit and Isabel Levit (sometime Isabel Bland, daughter of John Bland of Martha’s Vineyard late deceased), both of Hampton, New Hampshire, constitute their son John Levit their Attorney in the settlement of the estate of John Bland, by an instrument dated 16 April,1691. In support of their claim they file depositions of Nathaniel Drake aged 78 and Abram drake aged about 70, both of Hampton, dated April 27, 1671, in which deponents state that they have known Isabel Bland since childhood and that John Bland formerly lived at Colchester, England, and “he was sometimes called John Smith but his name and his ancestors were Bland.” Samuel Smith aged 29 and Benjamin Gould aged 42 years both of the Vineyard testify to the same effect.[6]

On 8 May 1653, the first known division of the “common” land on Martha’s Vineyard was made. John Smith, probably son of John Bland was given Lot 13, John Bland was given lot 18. This land has been believed to be what was since known as “The Planting Field”, which was situated on the north side of the town between Weeks’ Neck and Mills’ or Miles’ Brook. Each lot consisted of ten acres, and a tract of 200 acres was therefore thus allotted.

In 1654, John was chosen one of the seven magistrates to assist the elder Mayhew in the government.

John’s will was dated 2 Nov 1663 and reads:

The sixth of Janry 1663: this is the Last will and Testament of me John Bland of Martens Vineyard in or belonging to the province of Main in New England. I say made y me John Bland delivered into the possession of my wife Joanah Bland this second of November in the year of our Lord one Thousand Six Hundred Sixty and three.

In the name of God, Amen. Be it know unto all men by these presents and express partickelars that I John Bland in perfect memory and full understanding but week in body:

First I do willingly bequeath my Body to the Earth from whence it came when the lord Shall be pleased to Call for itt and my Soul and sperit unto God that Gave itt. Now for my Temporall Goods after my Decease as Well as Whilst I am alive I doe wholly give unto my well beloved wife joanah Bland all my houses and Lands with all my housellsuff together with all my Godds or Chattles of what Kind so Ever Giving her Most hearty thanks for all Her Care and Gratt love toward me in all my needs and Nessessityes: Excepting Twenty shillings Which I doe give unto my Tow Dafters Anable and Isable who are all the children that are Alive whome i own and Give them twenty Shillings that is to say ten Shillings to each of them after my Decease to be Truly paid to them at there demand; and I do Here by these presents make and ordain my well beloved wife my real and sole executive of this my Last will and do apoint her to Pay my Debts and Leagecies. Dated this Second of November in the year of our Lord 1663 and confirmed By Me John Bland as witness of my hand this same second of November 63.


Thos Daggett His

Richard Sarson John X Bland


John must have died shortly before 6 Jan 1668 at Edgartown, Massachusetts, for we see that his wife begins to participate in the divisions of land credited to his share in the commons from that time forth.[7] His estate was inventoried at L355-10-0, an especially large sum for that period,and the full list of articles shows evidence of household refinement in the way of looking glasses, silver plate, table linen, books, and china, while among his stock are found horned cattle, hoses, sheep, and goats. A servant, “ a Lad for a term of time,” was rated at L10, and his houses and lands were valued at L120.

Joanna was still living in Edgartown, on Martha’s Vineyard on 12 Aug 1680

when she sold her husband’s estate. 

This was the “Home”lot on the harbor front just south of the burying ground.


1 "US and International Marriage Records, 1550-1900" (on-line, Yates Publishing, Provo, UT). 2 "London England - Baptisms Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812". 3 "Passenger and Immigrations Lists Index 1500-1900". 4 Charles Henry Pope, "Pioneers of Massachusetts, 1620-1650" (Genealogical Publishing Co, 1998). 5 Charles Henry Pope, "The Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire, 1623-1660". 6 Edmund West, "Family Data Collection - Births" (Provo, UT 2001). 7 Edmund West, "Family Data Collection - Death" (Generations Network, Inc 2001). 8 Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters, "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register" (NEHGS). 9 "MA Town and Vital Records 1620-1988 Record".

'Drake, Isabella

b. 1585, Essex, Elmstead, England;

d. Oct 12 1639, Watertown, MA

Parents: William Dranke (b. bet. 1550-1557, White Notley, Essex, England, d. bef. 3 Nov 1616 Elstead, Essex, England) and Joanna Merrylls (b. 1557, Halstead, Essex, England and d. 16 Mar 1617, Elstead, Essex, England)

Marriage 1: Bland, John (b.Oct 1597 of Colchester, Essex, England, d. BEF Jan 06 1668), who married Joanna Unknown as his second wife.

Children of Isabella Drake and John Bland:

1. Isabel (b. 1611, Colchester, Essex, d. Feb 1698 Hampton, Rockingham, NH) m. Francis Austin

2. Anabel Bland (1615-bef. 1683) m. William Barsham



Some data purports the Hampton Drakes were of Yorkshire origin although this research shows them of Essex. Lineage traces back to the 1300s in England.

view all 21

Isabella Bland alias Smith's Timeline

Elmstead, Essex, England
Age 35
Colchester, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Age 36
Colchester, Essex, England
June 5, 1621
Age 42
Ipswich, Suffolk, England, (Present UK)
October 12, 1639
Age 60
Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
March 13, 1923
Age 60
March 13, 1923
Age 60
March 13, 1923
Age 60
March 13, 1923
Age 60