Tag Archives: Sylvester Stover

Elizabeth (Norton?), Wife of Sylvester Stover and Henry Norton of York, ME

I’ve said it before and I have to repeat myself. It is ALWAYS good to go back and look at old research through new eyes. I also have to promote AmericanAncestors as a “must” resource for everyone who has early colonial American ancestry.

I have been focusing my new eyes on my 8X great grandparents, Sylvester Stover and his wife, Elizabeth, who has been called Elizabeth Norton at least since the mid 1800s in the genealogy world. Because I only carry the Stover surname in my tree for a generation – their daughter, Deborah, married James Sayward and the Stover name leaves my family tree with that generation, I have not looked at this family for a very long time.

Since the time I actually worked on it, The Great Migration Study Project, led by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, and sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, got up and running and published its initial multi-volume set about the earliest settlers in New England.

One of those men, Henry Norton, features in the project because he can be documented living in Boston by 1634/35 and in York, York, Maine by 1642.

Henry Norton was a respected man in his community and details of his residence and community offices held are included in his life sketch. He was baptized on 2 December 1618 in St. Dunstan, Stepney, Middlesex, England and administration on his estate began on 14 August 1659. Henry married Margaret (MNU), c1639, given the birth of George, noted next.

The two most interesting items, though, to me are (1) that he is only attributed with ONE child, his son George, born c1640. Given that Henry was baptized (and born, from other commentary in his sketch) in 1618, he would have been 22 when his son was born in 1640.

HOWEVER, and this is a big however, Elizabeth “Norton” was married to Sylvester Stover by 1653. If Henry was 22 when George was born, and Elizabeth married Sylvester by 1653 and maybe a bit earlier, there is a timeline problem here.

If Elizabeth was just 16 years old when she married, which would be extremely unusual in New England in the mid 17th century, she would have been born no later than 1637 if married in 1653. If she was 21 at the time of marriage, she would have been born c1632.

Instead, it is suggested and maybe probable that Henry’s wife, Margaret, was a widow when she married him.

That conclusion makes perfect sense to me! I suspect that other Stover descendants, like me, might not have looked at more recent research done on this family.

That means that Henry Norton needs to take a new place on my family tree, as the second husband of Margaret (MNU) and Elizabeth will drop the Norton surname. Instead, I will add this information into my notes to explain her relationship to Henry.

DNA & Accusations Against Ann, Wife of Thomas Crockett of Kittery, ME 1600s

While taking a new look at some of my very early New England lines, I came across two interesting entries in the court records of York, Maine that were cited in The Great Migration Study Project on AmericanAncestors, the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

The Maine Historical Society published a multi-volume set of books called Province and Court Records of Maine in 1975, which was cited in a project entry about Sylvester Stover.

Sylvester Stover is my 8X great grandfather. He and his wife, Elizabeth, seem to have had a rocky relationship, even though they were the parents of nine children born c1653-c1677 in York, York, Maine. They apparently made several appearances in York County Court during their marriage:


Source: American Ancestors

So, Elizabeth Stover was accusing her husband of fathering a child with Thomas Crockett’s wife and Sylvester, in turn, was apparently accusing her of also being unfaithful. No marriage record has been found for the Stovers, but they married in the 1650-1653 time frame. Was Elizabeth also involved with someone else or was Sylvester calling her names simply because he was guilty?

I hadn’t come across the name of Thomas Crockett in my research, so I immediately set about looking for documents about him and his family. Sylvester Stover was a fisherman and a ferryman who lived at Cape Neddick in York County. It turns out that Thomas Crockett was also involved in the ferry business, but lived at Kittery, also in York County.

IF Thomas Crockett’s wife had sons born before 1655, then a Y-DNA test taken by a Crockett descendant should yield a result one way or another with some extra effort in the research. However, if Mrs. Crockett gave birth to girls, then it probably wouldn’t be possible to determine the father of her daughters, given that Sylvester is my 8X great grandfather. The autosomal DNA connection would be microscopic, if even that.

Thomas Crockett was likely born c1620 in England. He married Ann (MNU) about 1643, as their first child was born about 1644. Thomas Crockett died by 20 March 1678/79 when administration of his estate began. Ann survived Thomas and married (2) Digory Jeffries before 13 June 1683.

I came across a second surprise in the York County, Maine records:


Source: American Ancestors

Ann Crockett was brought into court, accused by Richard White, of “too much frequent familiarity” with Joseph Davesse (Davis). Thomas Crockett, in behalf of his wife, later sued White and won. However, the court did implement an “act of separation. . .between the said Davisse & Ann Crockett upon the penalty of ten pounds.”

Children:

1. Ephraim, born c1644; married Ann (MNU) by 1667
2. Elihu, born c1646; married (1) Mary Winnock (2) Unknown
3. Joseph, born c1648; married Hannah Clements
4. Joshua, born c1650; married Sarah Trickey

So far, this is looking great – the first four children born by c1650 are all sons! But. . . . .

5. Anne, born c1653; married William Roberts, c1673
6. Sarah, born c1655; married John Parrott, c1675
7. Mary, born c1657; married Elisha Barton, before 28 October 1684
8. Hugh, born c1659; married Margaret (MNU), by 1697

My DNA hopes have been dashed, as Ann Crockett’s 5th, 6th and 7th children were all daughters. The only loophole here might be if Sylvester had an affair with Mrs. Crockett BEFORE he married Elizabeth and perhaps Joseph or Joshua was actually the son of Sylvester.

Knowing about these accusations, though, if I were descended from any of these children, I would note the possibility of a NPE in my notes.

My connection to Sylvester and Elizabeth Stover is their 7th child, Deborah, born c1670. If any of their first three children – Elizabeth – born c1651, John – born c1653, or Mary – born c1655 was my direct line, I’d be making the same notes.

Hmmm. John was born c1653. John deposed in 1730 that he was 77 years old. His wife’s name isn’t known, but if you are a Stover and can’t connect directly to other Y-DNA Stovers, you might want to check that out!