Mathias Farnsworth, born c1612, most likely in England is my 10X great grandfather. While a fair amount is known about his life and family, there are few clues to other basic vital facts.
To begin, his likely English origins are unproven. In his will of 1689, he says he is about 77 years old, so probably born in 1611 or early in 1612. It is also believed that Mathias married at least twice. The name of his first wife is unknown. He married (2) Mary Farr, daughter of George Farr and was likely quite a bit younger than Mathias, as she wrote her own will dated 5 December 1716 and it was proved 7 March 1717. The Great Migration estimates her birth year as c1637. Mary Farr married (1) James Micall or Mycall (McCall), 11 December 1657, Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts. Little else is known about James McCall.
Although both Mathias and Mary left wills, they leave gaping questions. Mathias most likely named all of his living children in birth order, but grouped by sons and then daughters. Mary only named her “well-beloved” sons Benjamin and Samuel.
Mathias’s move from Lynn, Massachusetts to the frontier town of Groton, Massachusetts sometime between 11 October 1660, when daughter Mary was born in Lynn and early 1664 when Mathias is selected to serve on a council regarding church membership requirements in Groton, coupled with gaps in Groton town records, blur birth and other vital record information for this family.
Groton was truly in the middle of nowhere in the 1660s, yet Mathias Farnsworth was an original proprietor of the town.
Digital images of the Farnworth wills are available on American Ancestors, by subscription, but the writing is difficult to read. In 1891, Claudius B. Farnsworth published Mathias Farnsworth and His Descendants in America: A Monograph, which is digitally available on FamilySearch. Included are transcriptions of each will. (Thank you, Mr. Farnsworth!)
Mary’s 1716 will:
From this, it can be determined that Mathias Farnsworth had at least nine children, as they were named in his will. Benjamin and Samuel were two of the youngest, given that Mary named them in her own will as her sons. Daughter Abigail may have predeceased her mother. She was unmarried in 1689 and no further information has been found about her.
1. Elizabeth, born c1647; married James Robertson, 16 January 1667, Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
2. Mathias, born c1649; died c1693; married Sarah Nutting, by 1681.
3. John, likely born between 1651 and 1665, as wife Hannah Aldis was born in 1666.
4. Mary, born 11 October 1660, Lynn, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Samuel Thatcher, 11 April 1676, Lynn, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
5. Sarah, born c1665; married Simon Stone, c1685
6. Benjamin, born c 1670; married Mary Prescott, c1695
7. Samuel, born 8 October 1669, Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts; died after 1716
8. Jonathan, born 1 June 1675, Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts; probably the man who died 16 August 1748, aged 74 years in Harvard, Worcester, Massachusetts; married Ruth Shattuck, by 1698
9. Abigail, unmarried in 1689 when her father wrote his will
From this data, it can be inferred that at least Elizabeth, Mathias and John were likely children of Mathias’s probably first unknown wife. Birthplaces for these children are also unknown, as Mathias’s name isn’t found in Massachusetts records until 1657. His first three children were likely born in England.
My line of descent is through Mathias’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth:
1. Mathias Farnsworth & Unknown
2. Elizabeth Farnsworth & James Robertson
3. Elizabeth Robertson & William Lakin
4. Lydia Lakin & John Shepley
5. Jonathan Shepley & Lydia Lakin
6. Oliver Shepley & Mary Lakin
7. Sibbel Shepley & James Scripture
8. Oliver Scripture & Mary Goddard Bucknam
9. Mary Elizabeth Scripture & George Rogers Tarbox
10. Nellie F. Tarbox & Calvin Segee Adams
11. Charles Edwin Adams & Annie Maude Stuart
12. Vernon Tarbox Adams & Hazel Ethel Coleman
13. Doris Priscilla Adams & George Michael Sabo
14. Linda Anne Sabo Stufflebean – me!