Category Archives: Babson

Thomas Witham & Abigail Babson, Gloucester, MA, Late 1600s

As I’ve worked my way back in time with the Witham families, I’ve been able to clean up incomplete and/or inaccurate details in each generation, using only Gloucester vital records plus Essex County, Massachusetts land deeds and probate records in a handful of cases.

Today’s family sketch covers Thomas Witham, born 29 September 1666, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, the eldest child of Henry Witham and Sarah Somes.

Thomas Witham married Abigail Babson, born 13 May 1670, also in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, the daughter of James Babson and Eleanor Hill, on 8 July 1691.

This family resided in Gloucester their whole lives.

Thomas Witham died 1 August 1736. Abigail survived him by almost a decade, passing away 25 February 1745.

The Withams were comfortably well off and their son Daniel graduated from Harvard in 1717.

They were the parents of eleven children. All events noted were in Gloucester.


1. John, born 17 May 1692; died 14 November 1709

2. James, born 21 December 1693; died before 12 July 1773, when Hepzibah and James’s brother Zebulon sold land; married Hepzibah Standwood, 17 February 1722/23

3. Henry, born 12 June 1695; died 18 March 1777; married Rachel Baker, 18 June 1733

4. Joseph, born 16 December 1697; died before 5 November 1744, when widow Jane administered his estate and guardians were chosen for his children; married Jane Harraden, 2 December 1728

5. Daniel, born 30 August 1700; died after 6 September 1774, when he was last mentioned in town records; married Lydia Sanders, 7 January 1734/35

6. Ebenezer, born and died 8 May 1702

7. Abigail, born 4 April 1704; no further record. She is NOT the one who married Thomas Hutchins in October 1749 and gave birth to children born 1767-1771!

8. Sarah, born 8 June 1706; died between 18 August 1789-20 August 1799, when she and daughter Abigail Hadley appeared in a land deed and then Abigail next appeared alone; married John Hadley, 1 December 1737

9. Zebulon, born 8 January 1707/08; died 22 January 1794; married Elizabeth Sanders, sister of Lydia, who married Zebulon’s brother, Daniel, 17 December 1736

10. Patience, born 15 February 1709/10; died after 1798; married (1) Edmund Grover, 6 January 1730/31 (2) John Pool, 3 June 1752. Patience Pool was enumerated, living alone, in the 1790 census of Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts. She is also on the 1798 Massachusetts Direct Tax list for Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts in 1798. She was 1/3 owner of a dwelling with Esther Leighton and Dorcas Leighton. Patience and Edmund Grover’s daughter, Patience, married Samuel Leighton, 9 January 1749/50.

11. Thankful, born 2 January 1712; died 18 May 1786; married Eleazer Grover, brother of Edmund Grover who married Patience, 15 July 1736

Tomorrow’s sketch will cover the earliest DOCUMENTED Witham – Henry. I have quite a bit to say about that.


Widow Isabel (MNU) & Son James Babson, Immigrants to MA, 1637, Part 2

Today’s post will look at the family of James Babson, with a few notes about the family of his sister, Joan Collins, who also settled in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts.

First – the family of James Babson.

James Babson, one of the younger children of Thomas and Isabel (MNU) Babson, was born c7 March 1622, Wookey, Somerset, England. Given that his mother was up in years and brother Richard was 25 in 1637, it seems to me that Richard would have encouraged the family move to Massachusetts and a teen-aged James likely saw it as a great adventure.

It’s interesting that Richard Babson returned to England, perhaps unhappy with his new life. I also have to wonder if Isabel declined to return home because of her age and young James found life in Massachusetts an improvement over life in Old England.

James Babson married Eleanor Hill, 16 November 1647, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts. Eleanor was born c1629, likely the daughter of Philip Hill of Bedminster, Somerset, England and an unknown wife. Even though little is known about Philip Hill, there has been enough discussion about his family that it merits its own story.

James was a cooper (barrel maker) who died in Gloucester, 21 December 1683, a couple of weeks after making his will. Eleanor survived him, dying 14 March 1713/14, also in Gloucester, aged about 84 years.

Children: (All events in Gloucester, unless noted.)

1. James, born 16 November 1648; no further record
2. Eleanor, born 15 June 1650; married Edmund Ashby, before 1682
3. Phillip, born 15 October 1654; died before 5 August 1708 when his mother executed a deed to Abigail Hill of Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts; married Hannah Baker, 22 October 1689, Beverly or Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
4. Sarah, born 15 March 1655; died 19 January 1675
5. Thomas, born 21 May 1658; no further record
6. John, born 27 November 1660; married Dorcas Elwell, 8 November 1686
7. Richard, born 1 June 1663; married Mary Dolliver, c1686
8. Elizabeth, born 8 October 1665; no further record
9. Ebenezer, born 8 February 1668; no further record
10. Abigail, born 13 May 1670; married Thomas Witham, 8 July 1691

I actually have a double descent through James Babson and Eleanor Hill, through their son Richard, who married Mary Dolliver and their youngest child, Abigail, who married Thomas Witham.

Now for the family of John & Joan (Babson) Collins:

Joan Babson married John Collins about 1640. John wrote his will in 1674 and died 25 March 1675 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts. Joan survived him by many years, passing away on 25 May 1695, also in Gloucester.


1. John, born c1639; called eldest son in his father’s will; died before 5 October 1697 when his siblings petitioned the court for his son Ezekiel to close the estate of John Collins Sr.; married Unknown
2. Joan,
born c1641; died 9 November 1662 or 1663; married Robert Skamp, 25 December 1661 and had one daughter, Mary, who received a bequest from her grandfather, John Collins, “if she comes of age.”
3. James, born 16 September 1643, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married Hannah (MNU), by 1674
4. Mary, born 8 March 1645/46, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married (1) Josiah Elwell, 15 June 1665 or 1666, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts (2) John Cook, c1679 (3) James Davis, by 1697
5. Anna, born 26 September 1649, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married Charles James, 17 July 1673, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
6. Daughter, died 2 August 1654, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts

That covers the Babson family early generations in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts.



Widow Isabel (MNU) & Son James Babson, Immigrants to MA, 1637, Part 1

Isabel (MNU) must have been a very spunky lady as she made the dangerous trip across the Atlantic Ocean to begin a new life in Massachusetts when she was about 60 years old.

Thomas Babson was born c1575 and was buried 28 December 1630, Wookey, Somerset, England. Isabel (MNU) was born c1577, undoubtedly in England, and married Thomas Babson c1605.

A new professionally done Babson genealogy, The Babson Genealogy, 1606-2017: Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson Who First Arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637 by Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, for the Babson Historical Association, was published in 2017. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to it, so I am going out on a limb to publish what appears to be reliable abstracted information about the family in England.

Thomas and Isabel suffered a lot of heartache, as they buried most of their children at a young age. Lacking access to the Babson book, it is uncertain whether the children’s dates are birth or baptism, so I will use ‘born circa.’

Children: (All events in Wookey, Somerset, England unless noted)

  1. Rose, born c17 June 1606; buried 24 June 1606
  2. Joan, born c9 October 1608; died 25 May 1695, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married John Collins, before 1642. This couple lived in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
  3. Richard, c6 September 1612. Richard accompanied James and their mother to Massachusetts, but reportedly returned to England
  4. Thomas, c27 October 1614; buried 4 January 1615
  5. Sarah, c31 December 1615
  6. Thomas, c14 February 1619
  7. James, c7 March 1622; died 21 December 1683, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
  8. Agnes, c11 December 1625; died 10 May 1634, Wookey, Somerset, England

It is not known whether the impetus to emigrate came from Isabel or her sons, James and Richard, but the family packed up and settled first in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, in 1637, but soon moved to nearby Gloucester, where Isabel and James remained.

I have no further information on Richard Babson, who is said to have gone back home to England. There is a Richard Babson who married Anna Savadge at St. Dunstan, Stepney, London, England on 19 December 1642. This may or may not be the same man.

Thomas Babson was buried at Wookey, Somerset, England on 28 December 1630.

Isabel survived her husband by many years, passing away on 6 April 1661 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts. Her son, James, administered her estate.

Given that Richard returned to England, it is possible that Thomas and Isabel have descendants still in England. However, they certainly have American Babson descendants and probably further descendants through Joan (Babson) Collins.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the family and life of James Babson in Massachusetts.