Who Was Lucy, Wife of Josiah Lakin, Groton, Massachusetts?

I have to admit that I am a bit spoiled. Spoiled because I have so many colonial New England lines that I am very used to finding full sets of birth, marriage and death records for all those ancestors who lived their lives and raised their families in Massachusetts.

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t had a few challenges along the way. I do have a few brick walls – people who moved westward or northward to found new towns. Sometimes these settlements weren’t welcomed by the Native Americans in the area and inhabitants were attacked and driven out of their homes.

Early residents of the town of Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts experienced several of these attacks, being displaced to Chelmsford or even back to Boston and its environs. The town was decimated and abandoned for two years after its 1676 attack.

It’s important to have a bit of background understanding of 17th century colonial life before I present my hypothesis about who Lucy, wife of Josiah Lakin, might have been.

Here is what is known about the family of Josiah Lakin and his wife, Lucy.

Josiah Lakin was born on 14 September 1675 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, the son of John Lakin and Lydia Browne. He married a young lady named Lucy, and although the History of Groton gives a marriage date for them of 12 December 1704, there is no record to support that date.

Lucy’s birth year has been estimated as about 1680. However, many of my ancestors in this time period in Massachusetts married at about the ages of 25 for men and 21 for the women. It is also more likely, at least among my ancestors, that if one of the couple was older than those ages, it was the man. A woman who didn’t marry until she was 24 years old was a bit older than most of the brides.

It is just as unusual in my family during that century for either men or women to marry before they were of legal age. Not that it never happened, because it did, but it wasn’t the norm by any means.

Therefore, since no records have been found indicating exactly how old Lucy was, it is certainly possible to say that her year of birth might have been as early as, say, 1679 or even as late as 1683, if she married when she turned 21. Keep this span in mind as we look at the few records produced by virtue of Lucy’s life.

One other important tidbit to know is that the Lakins had multiple ties by marriage with other Groton families, such as the Shepleys, the Parkers, and the Boydens. I am actually descended from Lakins through four different lines. They weren’t averse to marrying close cousins, either.

Josiah and Lucy had five known children, all born in Groton, Massachusetts:

  1. Sarah, born 12 May 1705; died 8 December 1782, Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Sarah married Jonathan Green, 25 February 1724 in Groton.
  2. Eunice, born 7 October 1707; died 1 January 1799, Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Eunice married (1) Jacob Lakin, 28 January 1728/29, Groton and (2) Ebenezer Lakin, 7 February 1761, also in Groton.
  3. Jane, born 25 December 1710; no further record
  4. Mary, born 26 February 1718/19; married Samuel Parker Jr., 23 March 1737/38, in Groton. Her death date is unknown, but she apparently predeceased her mother, as neither she nor her husband is mentioned in the 5 January 1768 court record approving the administration of Lucy’s estate.
  5. Esther, born 30 May 1721. Esther married (1) Abraham Boynton and (2) John Scott, 3 May 1758 in Groton. Esther’s death date is not known, nor is the date of her marriage to Abraham.

Lucy appears in one other record created during her lifetime – the administration of husband Josiah Lakin’s estate.

Lucy served as administratrix of Josiah’s estate with three other men signing with her. Lucy made her X mark.

Notice that Jona Boiden (Boyden) and Joseph Boiden both signed their names and were noted as living in Groton. Joseph Lakin also signed and next to his name is written: husband bro.

Josiah Lakin did have a younger brother named Joseph, born 14 April 1670 in Groton. He married a cousin, Abigail Lakin, and died on 1 April 1747 in Groton.

Now, in my somewhat limited experience with widows serving as estate administrators, I have found that those named in court records who aren’t related to the husband’s family most often are kin to the widow.

The estate administration packet only contains about 8 images total, but one was of great interest to me:

Below the date of March 18 are a few lines of text, part of which say:

The above named Luce Lakin presented the aforewritten (?) were
present Jona Green husband to Sarah (a daughter of said decd) and Jona Boiden Guardn of Eunice the Sd Luce is Guardian to Mary and Esther and the said Admrx made oath the the same . . . . .

Jonathan Boyden not only signed the court papers when Lucy was appointed as administratix, he is also serving as the GUARDIAN to Eunice Lakin. I would think that this relationship strongly points to a familial tie of some kind.

Could Lucy be a Boyden by birth?

Being that Josiah and Lucy were both born in the 1600s, it didn’t take much work to discover Thomas Boyden, the immigrant, and his family.

Thomas Boyden, the immigrant, was born no later than 1613, as he was of legal age when he arrived in Massachusetts in 1634. His English origins are not known. He married (1) Frances, who died 17 March 1657/58 and (2) Hannah Phillips, widow of Joseph Morse on 3 November 1658.

Thomas’s life in the colonies was notable for his family’s moves from Watertown in 1639 to Boston 1650 to Medfield in 1662 and Groton by 1666.

Children of Thomas and Frances (MNU) Boyden were:

  1. Thomas, born 26 September 1639, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Thomas married Martha Holden by 1667.
  2. Mary, born 15 October 1641, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts; no further record found.
  3. John, baptized 21 April 1650, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts; no further record found.
  4. Jonathan, born 20 February 1651/52, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts. He married Mary Clark, 26 September 1673, Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts.
  5. Sarah, born 12 October 1654, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; no further record found.

We now have only two possible candidates to be the father of Lucy, if she was part of the Boyden family – Thomas and Jonathan. Naming patterns don’t help in this case. Although Esther and Eunice are found among the Lakin children in this era, no Boyden daughters are found with those names. In addition to that, in looking at possible male pattern names, Josiah and Lucy Lakin had only five daughters before he died, so there are no names to compare there.

Thomas Boyden, the eldest child of Thomas and Frances (MNU) Boyden married Martha Holden, as mentioned above. They had the following children:

  1. Martha, born 14 July 1667, Watertown. She married Timothy Reed of Woburn, 27 December 1688.
  2. Elizabeth, born 24 May 1670, Watertown. She joined the Second Church of Boston in 1693. No further record.
  3. John, born 6 December 1672, Groton. John married Hannah (MNU). They lived first in Walpole and then moved to Dedham.
  4. Jonathan, born 27 September 1675, Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Jonathan married (1) Elizabeth Lakin, before 1701 (2) Widow Lydia Shepley
  5. Joseph, born 24 April 1678, Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts. He removed to Needham, Norfolk, Massachusetts as an adult.
  6. Benjamin, born 29 March 1683, Charlestown, Massachusetts; no further record found.

Jonathan Boyden, the other son of Thomas and Frances (MNU) married Mary Clark on 26 September 1673, Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts. They had the following children:

  1. Jonathan, born 30 July 1674. This Jonathan was born in Medfield, lived his life there and died in Medfield.
  2. Mary, born 13 April 1677
  3. Elizabeth, born 22 July 1678
  4. Mehitable, born 31 July 1679. She married (1) Joshua Armsby, 22 December 1704. He died in 1715 and she married (2) Mr. Titus.
  5. Thomas, born 16 March 1681
  6. John, born 14 April 1685
  7. Joseph, born 1 February 1687
  8. Sarah, born 21 November 1690. She married David Jones of Walpole, Massachusetts, 14 November 1710.

There are birth gaps in both of these families where Lucy could easily fit in. There is a five year gap between Thomas’s sons, Joseph and Benjamin and there is a four year gap between Jonathan’s sons, Thomas and John. The estimated birth range for Lucy would allow her birth to be placed in either family.

Are there any clues to further narrow down which Jonathan and Josiah Boyden are the ones who signed on Josiah Lakin’s administration?

We have to look at one more Boyden generation to come up with the likely candidates. When looking at the two Jonathan Boydens, one born 1674 and the other born in 1675, Jonathan born in 1675 who married Elizabeth Lakin, is living in Groton from the time of his 1701 marriage onwards.

Here are the children of Jonathan Boyden and Elizabeth Lakin, born in Groton:

  1. Josiah, born 21 September 1701
  2. Jonathan, born 13 February 1706
  3. Elizabeth, born 10 March 1707
  4. Lydia, born 23 March 1711
  5. Martha, born 5 June 1715
  6. Mary, born 1 January 1720. She married Eleazer Green.

By the way, Elizabeth Lakin who married Jonathan Boyden was the daughter of William Lakin and Lydia Browne and there were no Lakin children in that line with the given name of Josiah.

I think the clues are pointing to Jonathan Boyden who married Elizabeth Lakin and lived in Groton as the brother of Lucy who married Josiah Lakin. I further believe that Lucy was born in the five year gap between the births of Thomas and Martha Holden Boyden’s sons Joseph born in Woburn and Benjamin born in Charlestown. That family was constantly on the move. The moves would explain an unrecorded birth.

Next, Jonathan Boyden and wife Elizabeth named their first child Josiah. Since that isn’t a given name Elizabeth’s branch of the Lakin family (and it appears nowhere else in the Boyden family), it might be safe to assume that Jonathan might have held his (assumed) brother-in-law in such high enough regard that he named his first child after him.

It would also explain his appearance in the administration papers for Josiah’s estate and his guardianship of Eunice Lakin. Josiah Boyden who was the other signer on the estate would have been just over 21 and of legal age to take part in the proceedings. The fact that his father was a wealthy man might have meant that the court didn’t question his ability to assume this responsibility.

Readers – What do you think? Have I made a good case for identifying Lucy as Lucy Boyden, sister of Jonathan Boyden born in 1675 and daughter of Thomas Boyden and Martha Holden?

I have found clues indicating that Lucy was indeed a Boyden and, while there isn’t a ton of documentation created during Lucy’s lifetime, what has been found doesn’t contra-indicate this identification in any way. Please comment!

My line of descent:
1. Josiah Lakin and Lucy (Boyden?)
2. Sarah Lakin and Jonathan Green
3. Mary Green and Samuel Scripture
4. James Scripture and Sibbel Shepley
5. Oliver Scripture and Mary Goddard Bucknam
6. Mary Elizabeth Scripture and George Rogers Tarbox
7. Nellie F. Tarbox and Calvin Segee Adams
8. Charles Edwin Adams and Annie Maude Stuart
9. Vernon Tarbox Adams and Hazel Ethel Coleman
10. Doris Priscilla Adams and George Michael Sabo
11. Linda Anne Sabo Stufflebean – me






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