John French, Sr.

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John French, Sr.

Birthplace: Scotland, UK
Death: Died in Williamsburg, Hampshire, MA, USA
Immediate Family:

Husband of Grace French and Elinor French
Father of John French, Jr.; Mary (Mercy) French; Dependence French; Temperence Bowditch; William French and 3 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John French, Sr.

John French b ca 1612 or ca 1615, married first to Grace and second to Eleanor (Ellen, Helen, Elinor), daughter of Rev. William and Abigail (Collins) (Bedle) Tompson and widow of William Veazie.

The following compiled by Waldo Chamberlain Sprague.

S.P.1-292 N.S., Widow Helen French declines to serve as administrator of John French Oct.12,1692. John & Dependence French are bonded with John Baxter and Joseph Crosby as administrators Oct.13,1692.

S.P.13-66: John & Dependence made administrators of John French, yeoman, Oct.17,1692.

13-74: Inventory, Oct.24,1692 of John French Sr.North end of house & outhousing and 8 acres adjoining £60.18 a. at Peases Creek £45, 12 a. pasture near Dependence's £30.5 a. formerly Spear's £10, 120 acres at a place called Aldridges Farm about 12 a. therof meadow, the upland prized at 20 S per acres & the meadow at 40 S per acre £132.Total £317/10/4, taken by Samuel White, Nathaniel Wales, & Joseph Allen.

13-252: Account of John & Dependence as administrators of father John French.

(Waldo Chamberlain Sprague Collection, Card 1761; New England Historic and Genealogical Society)

John French was born in England near 1612 or 1615

He is first of record in America at Boston, but resided in Dorchester evidently as he was admitted to the church there Jan.27,1642(3) and two children were baptized there. He was made freeman of the Colony May 29,1644. On Feb.24,1639(40) he was granted forty acres of land at Braintree for 5 persons in the family. This land became the homestead and remained in the family for several generations; it was located in present Braintree at the easterly end of Elm St. where the old road used to join Commercial St. a little north of the present road.

His wife was Grace - who died Feb.28,1680 a.59, says her gravestone, Hancock Cem., Quincy. He then married a second wife and a marriage covenant was drawn up, a curious document, dated July 8,1683 in which "the said John French doth pre-engage unto the said Eleanor Veazie not to meddle with, or take into his hand, any part of her estate, wherein she is invested by her former husband William Veazie, or any otherwise, nor any wise weakening her right or claim to the same. The said John French doth hereby covenant and engage to pay the said Eleanor Veazie after my decease four pounds per annum annually to be paid each year immediately ensuing after the said John French's decease, by his lawful administrators, executors, or assigns at her dwelling house; the specie of which payment shall be paid in cord wood, porke, beefe, malt or corn proportionally of each at prices current. And that she the said Eleanor Veazie shall have, hold, possess and enjoy the new end of the dwelling house in which the said French now dwelleth with the cellar appertaining, during the time of her widowhood. But the four pound annuity to bee and continue to her and her heirs or assigns during the term of her natural life. To the true performance whereof the said John French doth hereto set hand this eighth day of July Anno Domini one thousand six hundred eighty three

and she shall have apples what she please for spending, and a place for a garden plot." Sign'd John French, witness Samuel Tompson, Benj. Tompson. (Register 12-353).

Eleanor Veazie was widow of William Veazie and daughter of Rev. William & Abigail (Collins) (Bedle) Thompson born about 1626 in England, died April 23, 1711 a. 85 ys, Hancock Cem. She was also called Ellen or Helen or Elinor.

(Waldo Chamberlain Sprague Collection, Cards 1761R and 1762R; New England Historic and Genealogical Society)

French A petition to the Court to divide the estate of John French was made by the heirs, and although undated must have been made not too long after his death on Aug. 6, 1692 at about 80 yrs (Town Rec) "The persons concerned in said estate are John French, the oldest son, Dependence French, Thomas French, Samuel French, William French, the orphan of William French deceased; two daughters viz: Temperance Bowditch wife of John Bowditch, Elizabeth Wheelock of Mendon, children of Mary Lamb deceased are Mary Poole (alias) Thayer by her first husband Poole, and John Lamb, Samuel Lamb, Margaret Lamb, Mary Lamb, Grace Lamb, Hannah Lamb, which, if your Honor shall please to grant will greatly oblige your humble servants." (Register Vol. 12-353) John French according to town records died 1692 aged "about 80 years" which places his birth near 1612, but on July 26, 1659 he made a deposition "aged 44 years or thereabouts"(Mass. Archives 39-66) which places his birth about 1615, this latter probably being more nearly correct.

(Waldo Chamberlain Sprague Collection, Card 1763; New England Historic and Genealogical Society)

It seems strange that John French had a land grant in Braintree in 1640, yet his first two children were born and baptized at Dorchester in 1641, and 1643. Perhaps his wife was a member of Dorchester Church before him. He was of Braintree in 1644 when he made freeman, and in 1645 when he was one of the petitioners to the General Court for land for a new plantation.

Children of John & Grace, born at Braintree except 1st two

  • John Feb.28,1640(1) at Dorchester, bapt there Feb.12,1642(3). "Went to Weymouth", says Church Rec.
  • Thomas Jul.10,1643 at Dorchester, bapt. there Jul.2,1643(sic), died Oct.28,1656 at Braintree.
  • Mary or Mercy near 1646, m. 1st about 1667-8, Samuel Poole of Weymouth. m. 2nd about 1677, John Lamb of Braintree.
  • Dependence Mar.7,1648/9
  • Temperance Mar.30,1651, m. about 1682, John Bowditch.
  • William Mar.31,1653
  • Elizabeth Sep.29,1655, m. 1st Jul.13,1680 at Medfield, Jonathan Thayer of Mendon. m. 2nd about 1692, Benjamin Wheelock Sr. of Medfield as 2nd wife.
  • Thomas (Mar.10,1657/8) date from Thayer Memorial, not on present town records, probably town off.
  • Samuel Feb.22,1659/60

(Waldo Chamberlain Sprague Collection; New England Historic and Genealogical Society, Card 1764)

JOHN FRENCH was b. about 1612; d. Aug. 6, 1693; came to Mass., 1639; resided a short time at Dorchester; removed to Braintree about 1640; m. Grace - and had 8 ch., including JOHN, WILLIAM and SAMUEL who m.; m. (2nd) Eleanor -, wid. of William Veazie; no. ch.

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John French, Sr.'s Timeline

Scotland, UK
February 28, 1641
Age 29
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
Age 30
Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts
March 7, 1648
Age 36
Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts
March 30, 1651
Age 39
Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
March 31, 1653
Age 41
Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA
July 29, 1655
Age 43
Braintree, Norfolk, MA, USA
January 10, 1657
Age 45
Braintree, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
December 22, 1659
Age 47
Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA