William Towne William Towne

  Blessing Family

Perley in his History of Salem states that William Towne was the son of John and Elizabeth Towne of Yarmouth, and that he was baptized in the Saint Nicholas Parish Church there on March 18, 1598/9. William1 Towne and his wife remained at Yarmouth, and six children were born to them there, but in or about 1640 they emigrated to New England, and settled at Salem, Massachusetts. At Salem, on October 11, 1640, the town "Graunted to William Townde a little neck of land right over against his howse on the other side of the riuer to be sett out by the towne." In June and July, 1640, he had brought an action of debt against John Cook, at Salem. He and Francis Nurse asked the town for a grant of land on March 20, 1647, and it was then ordered that the land be surveyed before a decision should be made as to granting it. In 1652 he removed to Topsfield, Massachusetts, where he purchased forty acres of land, and made further purchases in 1656. In 1652 he sold his land at Salem. He was listed among those to share in the common lands at Topsfield in 1661. In 1663 he gave his son, Joseph Towne, two-thirds of his property at Topsfield, reserving only a third share for himself. He died at Topsfield in 1673, and administration on his estate was granted to his widow, June 24, 1673. His widow died in or about 1682, and on January 17, 1682, the six children signed a petition for the settlement
of her estate.

According to "The Four Blessing Sisters", by Walter Goodwin Davis, an article in the American Genealogists, Vol 33 pages 199 - 206;  "Although William is first recorded at Salem in 1640, it is possible that the family emigrated a few years earlier, with the Buffums and the Firmages.  The eldest son, Edmund, who was apprenticed to Henry Skerry in Great Yarmouth, sailed with his master in 1637, either on the Rose of Great Yarmouth, or the Henry and Dorothy of Ipswich, two vessels commanded by Wm. and William Andrews Jr., arriving in Boston in June.  Skerry and his family settled in Salem."

"Upon the east coast of England, 120 miles northeast from London is the old town of Yarmouth.  Among its venerable buildings is St. Nicholas Church (founded A.D. 1123).  In which on 25 March, 1620, William Towne and Joanna Blessing were m.  They were the grandparents of John, the leading man in the English settlement at Oxford.  Twenty years after this m. six of their ch. had been baptized in that Church and the family joined the emigrants to America.  They resided first at "Northfields," Salem, removed 1652 to Topsfield, there they settled  (History of Oxford - page 720)

1637;  Came to America on ship Rose from Great Yarmouth, leaving Ipswich and arriving 6/1637 with wife and 5 or 6 children.  (Currents of Malice - McMillen)

4/18/1637;  "Towne, William, gardiner, Salem, freeman 4/18/1637.   (George Towne book)

5/1/1640;  Plaintiff against Jonathan Cook, defendant in an action of debt, Jury found for the plaintiff "some to be deputed to measure John Cook's land and what is remaining to make up Goodman Town's land and if it be fyve acres to pay Towne fyve marks and ___ is wanting of fyve acres to abate 13s, 4d. p. acre; and costs 4s, : 0 "   (NEHGS, Vol. 21, p. 15)
  8/11/1640;  granted "a little neck of Land right over against his house on the other side of the river"  the section of Salem known asThe Northfields.   Believe the home in Salem to have been on the s side of Waters river about 1/8 mile e of Water Street.  (Pope's Pioneers of Mass; Currents of Malice - McMillen; NEHGS, Vol. 21, p 15)
Abt 1646; Purchased of Jeffrey Massey, 20 acres and paid for it in wheat the same year.  The land bordered on a swamp at the s, was common belonging to Salem at Ryal side, and ran 80 rods to the northward.  This lot sold to Nathaniel Felton of Salem, on his removal to Topsfield. (George Towne book)
1651;  Bought land in Topsfield from early proprietor William Paine of Ipswich, containing "forty acres of ground or thereabouts, whereof 6 acres is by the seller (cellar) which William Howard of Topsfield built, and about 32 acres joyning up to the sayd 6 acres eastward of it,  part of which is plow ground, another part is meadow, another part is upland, unplowed, all lying together, having the meadow and the plow ground of the said William Howards towards the east, and the ground of Walter Roper towards the north and a certain river towards the south or southwest, also a little piece of meadow of about 2 acres lying on the south side of the river directly against the plains of the said William Howard, having ye grounds of the said William Howard towards ye East and the said River towards ye North and upland towards the South."  His property was partly on the boundary line between Topsfield and Salem (the part known as "The Farms" or "Salem Village".   The site of his home may have been on the w side of Main St, nearly opposite Maple St. and on the highest ground about midway of two apple trees formerly standing near the street.  This site is near what is known as the Estey house, and on the opposite side of Main St.  (George Towne book; Currents of Malice - McMillen)  The Towne children were brought up in a house which was located "near the intersedtion of South Main Street and Salem Street."  (Topsfield and the Witchcraft Tragedy -Topsfield Historical Society Publication)  In the latter part of October 1756, Nathaniel Porter and Thomas Baker, selectman of Topsfield,sent a yeoman to Boston to transport the French family of Michael Dugoy to town in accordance with an order of the Province to distribute the French imigrants.  John Gould had been engaged to find a house for them, so he rented from the tanner, David Balch for 4 s8 d per month, the old William Towne house, then over 100 years old (built1651).   (the property later belonged to John L. Saltonstall).  (History of Topsfield;  NEHGS, Vol. 21, p 15)
1652;  Salem property sold to Henry (Harry) Bullock.  (Currents of Malice - McMillen; NEHGS, Vol. 21, p 15)
1656;  Bought additional land in Topsfield.  (Currents of Malice - McMillen; NEHGS, Vol. 21, p 15)

1656;  New road laid out "from the ford nigh to the house of William Towne, through the lands of said William Towne, William Howard, Jacob Towne, Edmund Towne, and George Buckner..."  Edmond one of the men empowered by the town to lay out the road.  (Currents of Malice - McMillen)

The records of the town of Topsfield show that the road to Salem which bordered Salem Village began upon John Porter's farm, and went through the lands of William Towne, and his sons, Jacob and Edmund.  (Currents of Malice  - Persis W. McMillen)

1660;  At a county court held at Salem, in the case of Henry Bartholomew plaintiff, Jacob Towne as defendant; William, Edmund and Joseph Towne were witnesses, and in their evidence William stated that he was three score years old, Edmund that he was thirty one years of age, and Joseph that he was about one and twenty.  (NEHGS, Vol. 21, p. 16, Pope's -  Pioneers of MA)

1661;  Name appears with Isaac Esty, Jacob and Edmond Towne on Topsfield's original list of thirty commoners.  (Currents of Malice - McMillen)
1663;  With wife Joanna, deeded 2/3 of the home they live in, the barn, outhouses, yard, gardens, orchards, "lying situate and being in Topsfield, together with a parcel of broken upland by the meadow side, only a cartway reserved between the said land and the meadow towards the South, and the land of Jacob Towne towards the East, and the land of Jacob Towne and Edmund Towne towards the North, and the Lands of Isaac Estie towards the West - also another parcell of land broke up and upbroken, containing an estimation of thirty acres, bounded by the way towards the Southeast and Northeast, and a way also towards the Southwest; the land of Zacheus Gould and Edmund Towne towards the Northwest and the land of Edmund Towne and Isaac Estie towards the North.  Also a parcell of meddow lying on the North side of the river, having the river for the bounds towards the South, a highway towards the West, and a way towards the North, and meddow of Jacob Towne towards the East, containing by estimation fourteen acres." to son Joseph just prior to his marriage with Phebe Perkins; "In consideration of natural affection and the contemplated marriage of our son Joseph Towne to Phebe Perkins..."  Joseph also to have first refussal of the remaining 1/3 when it should be for sale.  (George Towne book; Pope's Pioneers of MA; NEHGS, Vol. 21, p 15)

1664;  He and wife dismissed from church at Salem to church at Topsfield.  (Currents of Malice - McMillen)

1664;  Paid only 4 shillings, tuppence to the minister.  (Currents of Malice - McMillen)

4/24/1673;  Administration granted to Joanna Towne of the estate of William Towne.  She was to bring inventory to the next Ipswich court.  (Salem Quarterly Court Records)

1/17/1683;  Petition for settlement of a small estate left the undersigned by their father, who died ten years ago leaving no will, but left his estate in the hands of their mother who was appointed administatrix and the estate remained unsettled until her death, and now they desire that the following division may be allowed: the land to be divided equally to his three sons, Edmond, Jacob, and Joseph and the moveables equally to the three daughters, Rebecca, Mary, and Sarah; also the three brothers to pay all debts now due and what charges shall arise in settlement of the estate to be equally borne by all six.  Signed by Mary (her mark) Towne relict of Edmond, Jacob Towne, Joseph (his mark) Towne, Francis (his mark) Nurse with the consent of Rebecca, Mary (her mark) Esty formerly Mary Towne, Sarah (her mark) Bridges.      Witness:  John How, John Pritchet
Allowed by the court at Ipswich April 10, 1683 (Ipswich Deeds, Vol 4 page 515)


"The origin of the Blessing family is obscure.  The name Blessing has not been found after considerable search in the Norfolk County records at Norwich, and as the name Jone is the only instance of the name in the Yarmouth register for the period 1558 - 1611, it is possible that she was a foreigner.  A general search for the name Blessing in records covering all England has been unavailing, and families of the name Blessing in now living in the United States claim a German origin.  A glance at the map of Europe will show that Great Yarmouth in Norfolk and just south of it, Ipswich in Suffolk (the ancestral home of the Estys), are directly opposite the low countries across the North Sea to the west.  Many emigrants from Germany and the low countries were attracted to Yarmouth by the herring fisheries in the sixteenth century."  (Currents of Malice - McMillen)

February 08, 1655/56, bequeathed "old cloth gowne" by sister Alice66,66,67,68

"Relations between the Gould family and the Townes and Estys had been strained ever since the quarrrel over their minister, the Reverend Mr. Gilbert, when Mary Esty's mother, old Joanna Towne, had supported him against the Goulds faction."(Currents of Malice - Persis W. McMillen)

1670;  She deposed that she was 70 years old in this year.  (Pope's Pioneers of MA)

4/24/1673;  Administration granted to Joanna Towne of the estate of William Towne.  She was to bring inventory to the next Ipswich court.  (Salem Quarterly Court Records)

1692;  Of Joanna's daughters Mary, Sarah and Rebecca;  "Apparently young John Putnam had said that it was no wonder they were witches since their mother had been a witch herself."  (Currents of Malice - Persis W. McMillen)

Blessing Family

Generation No. 1

1.  JOHN1 BLESSING1,2,3 was born 1549 of Somerlayton, Suffolk, England3.  He married JOANNE PREISTE4,5,6 October 15, 1569 in Somerleyton Parish, Suffolk, England7,8.  She was born 1553 of Somerlayton, Suffolk, England8.

 i. JULIAN2 BLESSING9,10,11,12, b. 1571, Somerlayton, Suffolk, England13,14; m. THOMAS GOOSE15,16,17.
 ii. WILLIAM BLESSING18,19,20, b. 1575, Somerleyton, Suffolk?, England21,22.
2. iii. ALICE BLESSING, b. 1577; d. Abt. February 1655/56, Boston, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts.
 iv. MARGARET BLESSING23,24,25, b. 1580-159025; m. ROBERT BUFFAM26,27,28, August 23, 1613 at Great Yarmouth. She d. before 1634 when he remarried THOMASIN WARD.  He d. August 06, 1669 at Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts.

Generation No. 2

2.  ALICE2 BLESSING (JOHN1)29,30,31 was born 157731, and died Abt. February 1655/56 in Boston, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts32,33.  She married FERMACE34,35.  He died Bef. 165636,36,37,38.

Children of ALICE BLESSING and FERMACE are:
 i. ESTHER3 FERMACE39,40, m. ESTICK41,42.
 iii. SARY FERMACE43,44, m. LANGDON45,46.
4. iv. ABIGAIL FERMACE, d. August 10, 1689.

Generation No. 3


Child of SUSAN FERMACE and GOOSE is:
 i. SUSAN4 GOOSE51,52.

4.  ABIGAIL3 FERMACE (ALICE2 BLESSING, JOHN1)53,54 died August 10, 1689.  She married (1) ROBERT BUTTON.  She married (2) EDWARD HUTCHINSON55,56,57, son of WILLIAM HUTCHINSON and ANNE MARBURY.  He was born Abt. 1613 in Alford, Lincolnshire, England58,59,60, and died August 02, 1675 of Boston, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts61,62,63.   EDWARD HUTCHINSON: He emigrated to New England before his parents and was received into membership of the First Church at Boston on 10 August 1634. He returned to England and married Catherine Hamby, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Arnold) Hamby, 13 October 1636 at Ipswich, Suffolk, England. Edward and Katherine returned to Boston where he sided with his mother during the Antinomian Controversy. He removed to Rhode Island with his mother's banishment but later returned to Boston. He strongly opposed the persecution of the Quakers. Katherine died about 1650 in Boston and he married secondly, Abigail Vermais, the widow of Robert Button. Edward was a captain in the colonial militia, he died 2 August 1675 during King Phillip's War in an ambush near Marlborough, Massachusetts. Abigail died 10 August 1689. See Hutchinson page for more information on this family.

i. EDWARD4 HUTCHINSON, christened November 11, 1651, First Church of Boston, Suffolk, Mass; died 1692, Boston, Suffolk, Mass.
ii. KATHERINE HUTCHINSON, christened December 19, 1653, First Church of Boston, Suffolk, Mass; married HENRY BARTHOLOMEW.
iii. BENJAMIN HUTCHINSON, christened April 8, 1656 First Church of Boston, Suffolk, Mass; died before 1675.
 i. HANNAH HUTCHINSON64,65, b. May 16, 1658, of Boston, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts66,67,68; d. Aft. 169269,70,71; m. PETER WALKER72,73; of Taunton, Bristol Co., Massachusetts74,75,76.

Further info on the Blessing lines would be welcomed!

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