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James Bridgman

Birthdate: (56)
Birthplace: Winchester, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: March 17, 1676 (56)
Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Immediate Family:

Husband of Sarah Bridgeman; Martha Bridgeman married name; Sarah Bridgman and Elizabeth Allis
Father of Martha Dickinson; John Bridgman; Thomas Bridgeman; Sarah Tilestone; Mary Bartlett and 3 others

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About James Bridgman

James Bridgman was born 1620 in Winchester Co. Hants, England, and died 17 Mar 1675/76 in Northampton , MA. He married Sarah Lyman on 06 Jun 1644, daughter of John Lyman and Medad Pomeroy.

James Bridgman probably of Winchester, County Hants, England, came to America prior to 1640, for on March 3 or that year we first find record of him in this country at Hartford, Conn, where he certainly was not one of the original land proprietors and whether he ever owned any land there is doubtful. From subsequent records, it appears that he was a carpenter by trade. His oldest child, of which we have any record, was probably born in that place and we infer that James was married there. In 1643 he moved to Springfield, MA the first mention of him being the "Goodman Bridgeman (he had the 4th draw or choice) received 4 acres planting lot facing on y great river." (Springfield Town Records, Vol I p 32.)

At this same time, other lands were given him on both sides of the Connecticut River. He evidently had come to stay. His home lot was the one previously owned by Thomas Horton (who came to Springfield in 1638) and was the fifth Homestead south of y way to the training place which way is the modern Elm Street. The home lots all fronted on the main street an the Connecticut River their average width being eight rods.

On the Main St frontage of what was then James Bridgman's home lot, and probably within a few feet if not occupying the identical site of his homestead, is now located the block of 546 Main street, which by a strange coincidence was built by Dr. William Bridgman (a descendent of James in the fifth generation) unconsciously at the time on the homestead lost of his first American ancestor of the name.

During his residence of eleven years in Springfield, James is frequently mentioned in various transactions. Sylvester Judd, a Northampton historian, records that James was a constable in 1645 while in Springfield. On Nov 3, 1646, he was chosen together with George Colton to "y oversight of y fences in y longer meadows." In 1648 he showed his enterprise by building in conjunction with several others, a "cartway over y meadow against Robert Ashley" and charging"4 pence a load of any others y shall cart over y way who have not joyned in making of it." March 1, 1647, James Bridgeman and H. Parsons chosen surveyors of y fences for y home lotts.

November 7, 1648, James Bridgeman and William Warriner chosen surveyors for the highways y year following. As shown by the records of Massachusetts Bay, James took the oath of fidelity in 1648. Nov 4, 1651, James and Benjamin Parsons chosen viewers of y fences for y lower end of y towne. To show the dislike which the early settlers in general had for the use of tobacco, it is recorded that in 1649, James was fined for taking tobacco into his own yard. He remained in Springfield until 1654, when as we shall see, he moved to Northampton, Ma. While in Springfield he and his wife Sarah, had four children. His Springfield possessions of land, etc, seems not to have sold til 1664. the deed of sale being made on March 20th of that year to Samuel Marshfield.

In 1654, James in company with a few other Springfield men, pushed up the Connecticut River and settled in that part of Nonotuck now called Northampton, MA. In this place he seems to have spent the most of his remaining years. His home lot in Northampton was on Hawley street which was the original Main street of the settlement. It was twelve rods wide, fronting on the highway westerly, and continuing 3 3/4 acres viz, the land lying just north of what is now the Burrows place on Hawley street.

In 1658, James was chosen deputy constable in Northampton (Centennial Hampshire Gazette) and in 1659, as we have already seen, he was chosen constable. The duties of constables in those days included those now performed by tythingmen,deputy sheriffs, collectors of taxes, coroners, etc. They carried a black staff in the execution of their office. James was also chosen the same year sealer of weights and measures, which office he held til his death in 1676, when his son John was appointed as sealer(cleark of the market) as he was sometimes called, and continued in that office for about thirty years. (From History of Northampton, by Sylvester Judd, published in Centennial Gazette) According to Sylvester Judd, James Bridgeman and Nehemiah Allen were the two carpenters among the first settlers of Northampton.

Professor Strong in his popular book"Our Country" says: "when Northampton was settled in 1654, it was way out west on the frontier." "Among the early settlers in the then wilderness, who shaped the character and history of the town, were the Allens, Bartletts, Bridgmans, Clapps, Dwights, Elliotts, Hawleys, Lymans, Mathers, Parsons, Stoddards, Strongs, Tappans and Wrights. The town early became distinguished for its marked religious character and its educational advantages."

James Bridgman died in Northampton on March 1676. Tradition says on the same night as his death that his grandson Deliverance as born. The date was March 17, 1676.

It was customary to name children for any noteworthy event of the time and it is quite likely that this child was named Deliverance to commemorate the deliverance of the family from the Indian raid referred to in James Bridgmans will, which occurred on the night of his death.


I James Bridgman of Northampton being by ye Providence of ye all wise God weake & will& know not ye Day of my departure & therefore doe here make my last Will and testiment. Imp.I comitt by soule to Goe ye gave it, and to jesus Christ which I hope through grace hathRedeemed it & ye Holy Spirit which I hope hath sanctified it, and my Body I comitt to ye grave there to be buried in a Comely & Decent manner. And concerning my Worldlie Goods wh ye lord hath beene pleased to bestow on me out of his free Bountie I being of Perfect memory & understanding at this present doe thus dispose:

It is my last will & testament yt my son John shall have my house & all my Land to be to him and to ye heirs lawfullie begotten of his body, to have & to hold for ever. Alsoe a black horse colt I give to my son John.

Item. I give a heifer & my silver spoone to my Grandchild Mary Bridgeman, to my Daughter Martha I give my great Kettell, my trunk my great chest & cabenitt & Bedsteade. Item. I give to my Grandchild Cornelius Tilestone a colt of a year old & ye vantage. All my tooles (except my Broad axe) I give to my son John, & my broad axe I give to my son in law Sam Dickenson. Item. The rest of what ye lord hath beene pleased to bestow on me I give to my son John hee allowing out of it a comely ffunerell & paying three Pounds a peice to my three Grand Daughters ye children of my Daughter Sarah Tilstone this to be payed when they come to be one & twentie yeares of age. In confirmation of this my last Will & Testament I have hereunto set my hand before these whose names are here subscribed ye Day and year fir abovewritten.

To ye Truth of this Instruement to be ye Reall & true Will of James Bridgeman Deceased, Attests Medad Pomeroy.

And ffurther yt ye only Reason of his not signing it was there being disturbance or alarme in ye Town which called us away, and before we Returned againe hee died which was ye same night. And alsoe we testifie yt at ye time of his making or Declareing ye abovesayd Premises, to Our understandings he was of Perfect memory and understanding. Attests, JOHN LYMAN MEDAD POMEROY

John Lyman & Medad Pomeroy made oath before ye Corte yt ye abovesd Instrument was ye last Will & testement of James Bridgeman & yt to ye best of there understandinge he was of Sound minde when he made itt.

Probabe Records Vol. I, Pa. 169. Northampton. John Bridgeman Presented to this Courte ye Inventory of his ffather's James Bridgeman's Estate, March 29, 1676 to which he made oath which is on ffile with ye Records of this Corte & Power of Administration is granted unto ye said John Bridgeman of the Deceased.

Imp. Here ffollowith ye coppy of ye Inventory of ye Estate of James Bridgeman:

To a house & Land 90 Pounds; wearing apparrell 4 Pounds great chest 14 Shillings To a cabanette at 15 Schillings; to Beding with ye ffurniture belonging to it att To 2 Blanckets at 16 Schillings; to a gun & sword and Bandeliers 2 Pounds, 2 Schillings; to a hat 4 Schillings To curtains at 15 Schillings; a coper Kettell at 15 Schillings; to a warming pan at 5 Schillings To a bible at 4 Schillings; to iron tooles at 2 Pounds, 10 Schillings; to a tramell & slice 5 Schillings To a mare and colt 1 Pound, 15 Schillings; to a heifer at 3 Pounds; to a scillet & spooone & cupp att The totall sum of ye abovesayd Inventory is : 114 Pounds, 15 Schillings. The abovesayd Inventory taken by John Lyman & Medad Pomeroy Febr; 1676.

At his death James held the following land: Homestead 3 3/4 In 1st Square 5 In Great Rainbow 5 In Ventor's field 6 In 2nd Square 4 On the plain 4 1/2 Swamp 1 1/4 In Munhane 6 Upland 3

31 3/4 Acres of meadow land, besides the Homestead John held all these possessions at his decease and willed it to his sons, as will be seen under account of each. He had sold the upland and bought two pieces of William E. Mather.

Biographical Summary:

James Bridgeman, a landholder in Hartford in 1640, but not an original proprietor; removed to Springfield in 1645, and to Northampton in 1654. His wife, Martha, died August 31, 1668; he died March, 1676.

SOURCE: James Hammond Trumbull, editor, The memorial history of Hartford County, Connecticut, 1633-1884, Volume 1 (Boston, Massachusetts: Edward L. Osgood, 1886), page 231. Retrieved: 3 May 2011 from Google Books

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James Bridgman's Timeline

Winchester, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 23
July 7, 1645
Age 25
Springfield, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
November 20, 1649
Age 29
Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts
July 5, 1652
Age 32
Of Hardford H, Massachusetts
May 30, 1655
Age 35
June 1656
Age 36
June 1658
Age 38
March 17, 1676
Age 56
Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts Bay Colony