A second clue to the English origin of the Parker brothers may be found in their close association with, and apparent kinship to, the family of the immigrant Edward1 Converse of Charlestown and Woburn, MA. In 1659, Edward1 Converse made his will leaving 40 shilings to his "kinsman," John Parker, who was to be one of the overseers. As Mary Walton Ferris rightly noted, two subsequent facts tighten the apparent bond between these families: (a) Josiah2 Converse (Edward1) assisted Jacob1 Parker in the administration of the estate of Jacob's brother, John1 Parker; and (b) in 1672, after the deathof Jacob1 Parker, James2 Converse (brother of Josiah) joined the widow Sarah Parker and her brother-in-law, James1 Parker of Groton, MA in petitioning the court for a division of the property left by Jacob1 Parker.
In the Register article published in 1992, Arnold P.G. and Carolyn Bryant Peterson suggested that the immigrant Edward Converse was probably the man of that name baptized at Navestock, Essex, England, 23 March 1588/9, son of Allen Converse of Navestock and his first wife, Joanna. The baptismal date of Edward1 Converse of Navestock agrees with his deposition given 10 March 1661/2 when he gave his age as then about 73 years. Edward Converse married at Great Burstead, Essex (ENG) on 29 June 1614 his first wife, Sarah Parker, and they resided at South Weald, Essex, where they had the baptisms of three children recorded between 1618 and 1623.
In an effort to confirm the alleged English origin of Edward Converse, this writer reexamined the parish registers of South Weald. In addition to the baptisms of Edward Converse's three children as reported by the Petersons, two previously overlooked burials were found: Sara, dau. of Edward Converse, in 1623 and Sara, wife of Edward in 1625. Moreover, the South Weald registers revealed that Edward Converse's brother, Allen Converse, Jr. (baptized at Navestock, Essex, in 1586) also resided at South Weald, where he and his wife, also named Sara, had five children: Theophilus, Allen, Aron, Abraham, and Sara) baptized between March 1613/14 and 1621. Allen's wife Sara was buried there 5 December 1626.
Of the five children of Allen Converse, Jr. recorded, only three, Theophilus, Allen and Sara survived infancy. Since only Theophilus appears as an adult in the South Weald registers, it is reasonable to suppose that Allen and Sara are identical with the Allen Converse "kinsman" and Sarah Smith "kinswoman" named in the 1659 will of the immigrant Edward Converse of Woburn, MA. Allen Converse nephew of Edward, did in fact immigrate to New England where he joined his uncle at Woburn. He married about 1641 Elizabeth _____ and died at Woburn 19 April 1679. Edward Converse's niece, Sara (Converse) Smith appears to be identical with Sarah (died 1687) wife of John Smith (died 1673) of Charlestown, MA who were married 1646.
The fact that Edward1 Converse's first wife, Sarah, was a Parker, explains Edward's having referred to John Parker of Billerica as "kinsman' in his will dated 1659.
4. Sarah Parker was born probably abt 1596 and was buried at South Weald, Essex, 13 June 1625 as, "Sara wyfe to Edward Convers." She married at Great Burstead, 29 June 1614, as his first wife, Edward1 Converse (or Combers), who was baptized at Navestock, Essex, 23 Mar 1588/9 and died at Woburn, Mass., 10 August 1663, son of Allen Converse of Navestock and his first wife, Joanna. Edward and Sarah resided at South Weald, where several of their children were baptized before her death there in 1625.
.............. He married second, Sarah____shortly before 14 Oct. 1632 when they were dismissed from the Boston church to participate in forming the new Charlestown church................... In 1640 Edward and Sarah removed to Woburn, where he was a commissioner to end small causes in 1643 and deputy to the General Court in 1660. Following the death of his 2d wife there 14, January 1662 (presumably 1661/2 intended), Edward married, third, at Woburn, 9 Sept. 1662, Joan (or Joanna) (Warren) Sprague, daughter of Richard Warren of Fordington, Dorset and widow of Lieut. Ralph Sprague of Fordington St. George, Dorset and Charlestown and Malden, Mass.
Edward Converse left a will dated August 1659 proved 7 Oct. 1663, naming his wife, Sara; sons, Josiah, James, and Samuel Converse; daughter, Mary Sheldon; the children of his daughter, Mary Thompson; grandson, Edward son of James Converse; kinsmen, Allen Converse and John Parker; and kinswoman, Sarah Smith. Joanna, the widow of Edward Converse died at Charlestown 24 February 1680/1, and in her will dated 24 February 1674/5 proved 15, June 1680, named her sons, Phineas, John, Richard and Samuel Sprague; her daughter, Mary Edmunds and (her grandchild), Mary daughter of Daniel and Mary Edmunds.
Children of Edward and Sarah (Parker) Converse:
i. Josiah1 Converse, bp at South Weald, Essex, 30 Oct 1618 as "Josiah Convers son to Edward Con- vers", d. 3 Feb 1690/1 aged 72 yrs. He m. at Woburn, Mass., 26 March 1651, Esther Champney, dau. of Richard1 and Jane (___) Champney of Cambridge, b. ca. 1638 in England, d. at Billerica, Mass., 5 April1713 aged 80. She m. (2nd) at Billerica, Mass., 17 Nov. 1690, (as his 2nd wife), (Captain) Jonathan2 Danforth, Sr. of Cambridge and Billerica, widower of Elizabeth Poulter, stepdaughter of John1 Parker of Billerica (see 3 above) Jonathan d. 7 Sept. 1712 aged 85 yrs.
ii. James Converse bp at South Weald, Essex, 29 Nov. 1620, as "John (sic) Convers son to Edw: Convers and Sarah his wief." Died at Woburn, Mass., 10 May 1715 aged 95 yrs. He m. at Woburn 24 Oct 1643, Anne (or Anna) Long, bp l June 1623 at St. Albans, Herts., and d. at Woburn 10 Aug 1691 aged 69 yrs. daughter of Robert1 and Sarah (Taylor) Long of St. Albans, Herts., and Dunstable, Bedfordshire, and Charlestown, Mass., and younger sister of Elizabeth Long, wife of James1 Parker (see no. 3.ii, above)
iii. Sarah Converse bp at South Weald, Essex 2 June 1623, ,as "Sara Convers daughter to Edward Convers & Sara, his wife"; buried there 30 Dec. 1623,, as "Sara Conbers (sic) daughter to Edward Convers."
iv. Mary Converse, b. say 1625 baptism not found. She m. (1) at Woburn, Mass., 19 Dec. 1643, Simon Thompson, who died there in May, 1658. She m. (2) at Billerica, 1 Feb 1659/60, John Sheldon who d. there 24 May 1690, aged about 63.
With his second wife, Sarah ______, Edward had:
Samuel, bp. at Charlestown 12 March 1636/7; d. at Woburn 20 Feb 1669 (Converse, ibid (note67), 12-14. He m. at Woburn, 8 June 1660 (Woburn VRs, 3:50), Judith Carter, daughter of Rev. Thomas and Mary (Parkhurst) Carter of Watertown and Woburn, Mass. (Pope, Pioneers of Massachusetts (note 35), 90 (re: Carter family). Judith was b. at Watertown 15 March 1642/3; she m. (2nd.) at Charlestown, 2 May 1672 (as his 2nd wife), Giles Fifield of Charletown and Hampton, N. H., mariner and tobacco winder (Rogert D. Joslyn, Vital Records of Charlestown, Mass. to the Year 1850, 2 vols. (Boston: NEHGS, 1985-95), 1:82), b. ca. 1629 (aged 46 in 1675), d. testate at Charlestown, 5 Oct 1676 (Charlestown VRs, 1:97). She d. there of small pox, 3 Oct 1678 (Sybil Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby and Walter Goodwin Davis, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire (Portland, Me: The Southworth-Anthoensen Press, 1928-1939; reprint Baltmore: Genealogical Publishing Co. 1972), 233 (re. Fifield family)).
p.95 Converse Addenda
Allen Converse (or Combers), Jr., brother of Edward Converse the immigrant (see above) was baptized at Navestock, Essex in 1586, the son of Allen Converse, Sr. of Navestock and South Weald, Essex with his first wife, Joanna. He was buried at Navestock 24 April 1639. He m. say 1613, Sara ___, who was buried at South Weald 5 December 1626. As an adult, he was styled "junior", to distinguish him from his father of the same name. Children, all baptized at South Weald, Essex:
i. Theophilus Converse (or Cumbers) bp l3 March 1613/4, as "Theophilus Convers the sonne of Allen Convers (junior);" buried at South Weald "as Theophilus Cumbers of Brentwood" 16 Aug. 1672; m. (1) at South Weald, 25 Sept. 1644, Elizabeth ___, whose surname is not included in the record. She was buried at South Weald as "Elizabeth the Wife of Theophilus Convers of Brentwood" 5 Feb 1667/8. He m. (2) at South Weald, 6 Oct. 1668, Margery (___)Hurrall. Children: bp at South Weald: 1. John Converse bp 28 Sept.1645; buried at South Weald 9 April 1679. 2 Japhet Converse bp 14 Sept. 1648. 3. James Converse bp 11 April 1652.
ii. Allen1 Converse immigrant to New England bp 18 Aug, 1616 as "Allen Convers sonne to Allen Convers" d. at Woburn, Mass., 19 April 1679. He m. say 1641, Elizabeth ___ who d. at Woburn 9 Aug. 1691. (p.96) In his will dated 14, April 1679, proved 17 June 1679, he named his wife, Elizabeth; two children of his deceased son, Zachariah; son, Samuel; and daughters Sarah and Mary.
iii. Aaron Converse, bp 2 Feb. 1618/19, as "Aron Convers ye sonne to Allin Convers" buried at South Weald 7 March 1618/l9, as "Aron Convers sonne to Allin Convers.
iv. Abraham Converse bp 7 Jan 16l9/20 as "Abraham Convers sonne to Aleyn Convers"; buried at South Weald 3 May 1620, as "Abraham Convers son to Allen Convers."
v. Sarah (or Sara) Converse, immigrant to New England, bp 17 April 1621, as "Sara Convers daughter to Allen Converse & Sara, his wife", living 1659 when she was mentioned in the will of her uncle, Edward1 Converse of Woburn, Mass. She m. by 1659, ____Smith. A review of all contemporary Smith men with a wife Sarah suggests that she was probably Sarah, wife of John1 Smith of Charlestown, Mass., ship carpenter, who m. by 1646. He d. 26 March 1672/3 leaving a will dated 8 March 1672/3 proved 17 June 1673, that named his wife, Sarah; sons, John, James, and Josiah; and daughters, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Mary. The widow Sarah d. at Charlestown l2 Nov. 1687.