Isaac Parsons & Hannah Burnham, Gloucester, MA 1700s

Isaac Parsons, the son of Ebenezer Parsons and Lydia Haskell, was born on 14 June 1714 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts. He held respected social standing in the community, as he was called Deacon in official records. He was a tanner by trade, as stated in the Essex County, Massachusetts Probate File #20602.

Isaac married Hannah Burnham, the daughter of Thomas Burnham and Susannah (MNU), was born c1721, probably in the nearby town of Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts.

Hannah still had seven children at home when Isaac died on 5 July 1767, as only the two eldest, Isaac and Ebenezer, had married and begun their own families. However, Isaac had removed from Gloucester to New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine, so only Ebenezer was living nearby when his father died.

Hannah married (2) Nymphas Stacy Jr., intentions filed on 28 September 1769 in Gloucester. Nymphas apparently died in Wiscasset, Lincoln, Maine in 1804. However, no further record of Hannah has been found after this marriage.

Children (All BMD in Gloucester unless noted) :

1. Isaac, born 14 April 1740; died 9 October 1825, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; married Salome Merrill, c1765, probably New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine
2. Ebenezer, born 6 September 1741; died 8 March 1778, Marshfield, Plymouth, Massachusetts; married Rebecca Joslyn, 25 April 1765.
3. Nathan, born 21 January 1743/44; married Sarah Parsons, 24 October 1769. No further record.
4. Nehemiah, born 29 June 1746; died 9 August 1798; married Susannah Ellery, 27 September 1769.
5. Hannah, born 29 April 1749; died 8 February 1834, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; married John Haskell, 18 January 1769.
6. Caleb, born 28 July 1751; died after November 1769, when he is listed as an heir to his father’s estate. His brother, Ebenezer, was named his guardian in January 1768. No further record found.
7. Lydia, born 8 January 1754. Her mother was appointed her guardian in January 1768.
8. Thomas, born 22 November 1756; died 2 December 1816; married Judith Kinsman, 10 December 1780
9. Aaron, born 25 January 1759; died 21 June 1809; married Polly Dolliver, 25 April 1784.

I have to wonder if Hannah’s impending marriage to Nymphas Stacy in September 1769 influenced the marriages of Nathan, Nehemiah and Hannah, considering that the Stacys apparently removed to Lincoln County, Maine. It’s also possible that both Lydia and Caleb married in Maine, as no further evidence of them has been found in Essex County, Massachusetts.

Isaac Parsons’s inventory return paints a clear picture of his FAN club:

Probate of Isaac Parsons’ Estate, 1767
Essex County, Massachusetts File #20602
Source: American Ancestors

As Isaac born in 1740 was the eldest son, it would have fallen to him to administer his father’s estate. However, there is a document in the probate file in which Hannah requested that her son Ebenezer take on the job, as Isaac was living in Maine. Isaac appended one sentence to the form saying that he, too, wished his brother Ebenezer to serve as administrator.

Hannah further stated that “myself not very well able to do it,” but it’s unclear whether she felt she didn’t have the skills to serve as administrator or if she had some infirmity or illness. As she was in her 40s and remarried, I suspect Hannah felt it was too big a job for her to handle.

Ebenezer was called “currier,” who was brought tanned hides or skins into a form in which they could be sold. He likely worked side by side with his father, as Isaac was a tanner.

It appeared that Isaac’s estate was £343, 8 shillings, 4 pence in the black. Ebenezer Parsons, administrator, was ordered to pay out rightful portions to each of his siblings and his widowed mother.

The probate was then ordered closed and the Parsons family life went on.


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