Tag Archives: Goddard

A Massachusetts Mystery: Hannah (Pratt) Goddard (c1700-1759+) & Son Giles Goddard (1721-1759+

Hannah Pratt is one of my 7X great grandmothers. However, I know very little about her in spite of the fact that she was born in and probably died in Massachusetts in the 1700s. Yes, in the same Massachusetts that began keeping vital records from the time of the Mayflower landing!

Hannah Pratt was the daughter of John and Mary (MNU) Pratt of Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, according to the Pratt Handbook, published 1984, which I found at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston.

She was reportedly the tenth of eleven children born to the couple, but annoyingly little is known about this family.

Children:

  1. Thomas, born c1680
  2. Ebenezer, born c1684
  3. John, born 14 June 1686; died 10 October 1704, both in Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts
  4. Joseph, born c1688
  5. Elizabeth, born January 1689, based on her age at death; died 22 November 1704, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts
  6. William, born c1690
  7. Caleb, born c1692
  8. Joshua, born c1694
  9. Mary, born 6 March 1695/96, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts
  10. Hannah, born c1699; married Giles Goddard, 223 December 1720, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts
  11. Abigail, born c1700

John Pratt, father of these children, died in Malden on 3 June 1708. His wife, Mary, outlived him by only two years, passing away on 17 July 1710, also in Malden.

At that time, the five, and possibly six, youngest children would still have been minors, assuming they hadn’t died young.

However, I can find no probate or land records for John or Mary that would shed any light on what happened to this family after they both died.

Given that Hannah married in Boston, it is possible that some relative/s who lived there took in the children and raised them until they married.

There are some Boston marriage records that MAY pertain to Hannah’s siblings. One Thomas Pratt married Elizabeth Edmonds on An Ebenezer Pratt married Rachel Floyd on 29 March 1711. Further, there is a Joseph Pratt who married Sarah Roberts on 19 July 1716, a William Pratt married Mehitable Gill on 12 May 1715, a Caleb Pratt married Mary Lash on 3 May 1715, a Joshua Pratt married Zebia Collins on 1 January 1721, a Mary Pratt married Isaac Green on 2 May 1717 (Malden, not Boston) and, lastly, an Abigail Pratt married Phineas Sargent on 31 December 1724.

Whether any or all of these records pertain to Hannah’s siblings would take much more research.

Hannah (Pratt) Goddard most definitely had a difficult life. She not only lost her parents before she reached her teens, but married life wasn’t terribly easy either.

Giles Goddard was born 28 December 1698 in Lynn, Essex, Masschusetts, the son of John Goddard and Sarah Farrington.

Births have been found for only three children of Giles and Hannah, all born in Boston:

1. Giles, born 22 December 1721; married Elizabeth Williamson, 2 December 1747 at Trinity Church, Boston
2. John, born 10 December 1725; no further record and likely died young
3. Mary, born 15 November 1728; married James Bucknam

Given the gaps between the births of these three children, it is likely that Giles and Hannah lost at least two children, one about 1723 and another about 1727.

Giles Goddard left few records detailing his life. A land deed filed in 1752 indicated that Giles and wife Hannah sold about 4 acres of land to James Bucknam on 30 April 1747. The land included a double house and a barn. Probably not coincidentally, James Bucknam married Mary Goddard of Roxbury four months later on 17 September 1747.

Hannah Goddard was appointed administratrix of the estate of her husband, Giles Goddard, deceased, of Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts. Probate records call Giles an innholder, which was the term used for an innkeeper.

There were but two heirs named for Giles Goddard, his widow Hannah and son Giles. Mary (Goddard) Bucknam lived a long life, passing away on 8 December 1790 in Malden so she likely received her share of her father’s estate as dowry when she married.

The fact that John is not mentioned confirms the suspicion that he predeceased his parents.

Hannah and Giles Jr. are last mentioned in a court document on 20 January 1759 (Suffolk County, MA Deed Book 92:195-196), where it is stated that the Massachusetts Superior Court in Boston gave Hannah permission in February 1754 to sell a piece of real estate to cover debts owed by Giles Goddard’s estate. The property, sold to Thomas Stoddard, gentleman, of Boston, contained 11 acres. Originally, the court had distributed 4 acres of that land to Hannah as her 1/3 dower and the other 7 acres to Giles Jr. This sale further mentions that the court set off a small portion of the acreage, which was where Giles Jr. was living, so he apparently was able to continue to live there.

After 20 January 1759, both Hannah and her son, Giles Goddard Jr. drop out of sight. There are no further deeds filed in Hannah’s name or for Giles Jr., so I have no idea what happened to his small lot.

Further, there are no death or probate records for either one of them.

What happened to this family? Hannah may have finished her life living with daughter Mary’s family or possibly with Giles, but he appears to have left the area.

Giles Jr. and Elizabeth may be the parents of Giles Goddard who married Catherine Brown on 11 April 1771. There is some evidence that this Giles Goddard was a Loyalist who removed to Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada after the Revolutionary War.

Did his parents, Giles Jr. and Elizabeth (Williamson) Goddard go with them? It’s possible as Giles Jr. would only have been about 62 years old.

There are several unanswered questions about Hannah (Pratt) Goddard and her descendants and I’m not sure I’ll ever have any answers to them.