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Billerica, Massachusetts founders and history

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  • Capt. William French, of Billerica (c.1604 - 1681)
    WILLIAM FRENCH (ca. 1604-1681) - [of Fenchurch, London, Middlesex, England]; Cambridge & Billerica, Middlesex co., MA. Married 1) Elizabeth (not Symmes) 2) Mary Lathrop (daughter of Thomas). There were...
  • Thomas Bryant Pollard, Sr. (1666 - 1724)
    Had 14 children by his cousin, Sarah Farmer.Came to Massachusetts with his brother William Pollard (2) in 1692. ____________Thomas Pollard emigrated from Warwickshire, in England. He was son of William...
  • John French (1635 - 1712)
    John was born circa 1635 in England[3]. He was aged 5 months at time of migration in 1635. John was baptized in Cambridge, Middlesex co., MA in 1635[61]. John married four times. On 21 June 1659 when J...
  • Sgt. Jacob French (1640 - 1713)
    Jacob was born on 16 January 1639/40 in Cambridge, Middlesex co., MA[9,63]. On 20 September 1665 when Jacob was 26, he first married Mary CHAMPNEY, in Billerica, Middlesex co., MA[9]. On 30 June 1685 w...
  • Ralph Hill, Sr. (c.1608 - 1663)
    of Billerica, Massachusetts, with a Genealogical register* . 1. Ralph, was early at Plymouth. The tradition, in his family, that he came from Billericay is prob. and strengthened by the fact that there...

The town of Billerica was founded from a deed of land from the Shawshin, or Billerica Indians. This site not only looks at the early settlers, but the making of towns that became the culture of America, the United States of America.

In 1660, 40 families (mostly from Cambridge, then Woburn) had homes in Billerica. Some are as follows: Champney, Crosby, Danforth, French,Frost, Hamlet, Hide,Hubbard, Kidder, Manning, More, Parker, Patten, Ross, Willice,Baldwin, John Parker, and Poulter, and John Trull (by marriage), (read A HIstory of Billerica,Farmer, 1813, p. 26). A few came from England directly to Billerica. Edward Farmer,James KIitteridge. James Patterson from Scotland. (Farmer, p.28). Thomas Hubbard land to Samuel Manning, by Mr. Hubbard's death. (Farmer, p.37). Ralph Hill (Farmer, p.75).

Land 1635-6, 3 March planting of Billerica found in records of General Court. The Groun, Deputy Groun, John Winthrop, Sen., Esq. to be with Shaweshin and see if the land is a fit place for a plantation. (read History of Billerica,Farmer, J., 1813, p.2.

William Manning, Jr. (c1615-1690) was concerned in the settlement of the estates of his fellow citizens either as executor, administrator at least eighteen times, often taking the inventory in his own hand. He was one of the inhabitants of Cambridge to whom the Shawshin, or Billerica, territory was granted in 1644, he being allotted 60 acres, and who joined in the “great deed” of 1650, conveying it to the Billerica settlers. William Manning made a real estate purchase in 1646 described in the Proprietors’ records of Cambridge as: “William Manning Junr. bought of Henry Addams one dwelling house with about half a rod of land Edward Shepard East John Trumbull south water-street West, marsh-land north.” He also had several grants of land from the town, when “divisions” were generally made to the inhabitants: 3 acres in 1662, 20 acres in 1663, 25 acres in 1664 and 1665, etc. These grants he disposed of before his death, though there is no deed or other record to show who bought the land. Paige’s history of Cambridge states that William “inherited the homestead” of his father. How he disposed of it is unknown for when he died, he possessed only one house and this was at the SE corner of Dunster and South streets, opposite to his warehouse -- the same he bought from Henry Adams (Water street was changed to Dunster and Marsh Land – or Lane – was changed to South street.) He probably resided on this site from 1646 to the time of his death, and died there. After his death, the premises passed to his son Samuel Sr., and in 1698, to his grandson Samuel Jr. At the time the Manning Family book was written in 1900, there was a house there built before the American Revolution, but there is no reason to believe it was built during the ownership of the Manning family, but more likely during an earlier period.


A Historical Memoir of Billerica, published by John Farmer, 1813, printed at Amherst, NH.

History of Billerica, Massachusetts, with a Genealogical register by Hazen, Henry Allen, 1849-1900, published 1883, Publisher Boston, A. Williams and Co. this book is not in copyright.

Salem Witch Trials and Indian attack 1692-1693

On July 23rd, 1692, Mary’s daughter, Martha (Toothaker) Emerson, was accused and arrested. Mary Toothaker, now a widow, made a confession before the magistrates at Salem. Mary confessed to having made a covenant with the Devil in the past May for protection from the Indians.

About a week later,on August 1, 1692, the Indians attacked Billerica, and at least 6 persons were slain. The Indians returned a few days later and burned down the deserted Toothaker farm.

On July 23rd, 1692, Mary’s daughter, Martha (Toothaker) Emerson, was accused and arrested. Mary Toothaker, now a widow, made a confession before the magistrates at Salem. Mary confessed to having made a covenant with the Devil in the past May for protection from the Indians.

"The Toothaker family, in finicial and disciplinary with Billerica selectmen in 1683 and 1684, suffered severly during the witchcraze of 1692-93; Mary (Wife of Roger), the sister of Martha (Allen) Carrier executed at Salem on 19 Aug. 1692, was acquitted on 1 feb 1693. Roger, described as a doctor, had died at the gallows in June 1692; two of their children, Margaret and Jason were also accused. [Roger] Tooothaker who was fifty-eight in 1692, was accused of teaching Margaret supernatural methods of killing witches. Mary confessed to succumbing the temptations of Satan in 1690... She was accused of inflicting Timothy Swan and Mary Warren.

Mary Toothaker....on 5 Aug. 1695 when she was killed by Indians and her daughter captured."