JOHN MAXFIELD was assessed 2 shillings and 6 pence for support of the pastor in Salisbury, Massachusetts, 18 July, 1652. That is the earliest record of John Maxfield in America. His name does not appear on a similar list of assessments for 1650. It is likely that John Maxfield either arrived at Salisbury between 1650 and 1952, or became of age there between those dates. We have not found any information on his place of origin.
It is not clear if the references to an adult John Maxfield at Salisbury from 1652 to his death in 1703, all refer to one person, or if they are for two persons, probably father and son.
The argument for two John Maxfields:
For John Maxfield to pay taxes in 1652, he must have owned property; to own property he must have been of age, or born before 1631. He would have been at least 48 years old when he married 17 year old Elizabeth Hammond. While this is possible, he could easily have a son closer to Elizabeth's age.
The argument for one John Maxfield
There is no record, probate, land, or otherwise, that mentions two John Maxfields. In no record is John Maxfield referred to as "senior" or "junior."
JOHN1 MAXFIELD was born probably at England sometime before 1631. He died at Salisbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, on 10 December 1703. He married at Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts, on 24 July 1679 ELIZABETH HAMMOND. She was born at Gloucester on 30 December 1661, a daughter of John Hammond and his wife Mary Sommes.
The following land transfers of John Maxfield have been recorded:
John Maxfield sued John Macallum for assault, and received damages in October 1662. The preceeding February John Maxfield visited Stephen Webster at Haverhill. John crawled into bed with Stephen about 10 or 11 in the evening. Joseph Pike and John Macallum entered the room in the morning to "whip up" Webster. Webster pulled John Maxfield's coat over himself and hid under the covers, as Pike and Macallum whipped up Maxfield. Macallum thought it was a big joke and laughed as he told friends about it. Pike and Macallum claimed that they agreed with Maxfield afterwards to acknowledge their fault, pay any damages, and buy a gallon of wine, which they would drink together. Pike did produce a quart of wine, which they shared. When a friend asked Maxfield why he accepted those terms, he replied,
aye thay made lightt of terms of agremt as I cam from ye new town wt them butt last night Leftt: Joh Pick [Joseph Pike's father] com & sought to me in ye blads behalf & pswaded me to condesend to him.John Maxfield asked his landlord John Severence to take the matter to court as his attorney.
John Maxfield took the Oath of Fidelity in 1667 at Salisbury.
John Maxfield was in court in April 1676 for felling and carrying away timber off other's lots and was fined 20 s.
After their marriage at Gloucester in 1679, John Maxfield and his young bride lived at Salisbury, where their children were born from 1680 to 1699. When Mary Bradbury was accused of witchcraft at Salem in 1692, John and Elizabeth both signed a petition testifying to her character, that she couldn't be a witch.
John Maxfield wrote a will on 12 November, 1697 when intending to go on a journey. For the full text of his will, see below. According to the Vital Records, John Maxfield died suddenly 10 December, 1703 at Salisbury. However, the probate record, at the head of the inventory of John Maxfield's possessions, states "An inventory of ye estate of John Maxfield of Salisbury, who decd. August 23d, Anno Dom 1703." One of the witnesses to John's will appeared in court on 4 October, 1703, another on 4 May, 1704, to present the will to the court.
Widow Elizabeth (Hammond) Maxfield married widower WILLIAM WEYMOUTH (a.k.a. Wamoth/ Wamo) of Dover, New Hampshire, on 21 May, 1708. They were married before the Amesbury and Hampton Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends. Elizabeth, age 46, had eight children from her first marriage, ages 27 to 8. William Weymouth, alias "William Saddler," of Dover had six children by his first wife, ages 21 to 6. His first wife, Sarah, had died about 17 February, 1704/5 at Dover, having fallen into the fire. It is not clear where the Weymouth-Maxfield blended family lived. They may have had ties to Dover, Salisbury, and Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The older children, soon setting out on their own, were scattering in these directions. The Town of Dartmouth was a friendly environment for members of the Society of Friends.
John Maxfield and his wife Elizabeth Hammond had the following children:
In the name of God. Amen. I John Maxfield of the Town of Salisbury in the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England, planter. Intending a journey and considering the many changes that happen in others. I being in good health and memory do now make, order and constitute this my last will and testament in manner and form as followeth.
First I give my Spirit to God who gave it, and my body to be decently buried in Christian burial in hope of a joyful resurrection to life eternal through the perfect merits of Jesus Christ my mediator. As for my worldly estate that God has given me, after all my just and honest debts be paid, and funeral charges defrayed:
I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth my well beloved wife all my estate personal and real of what kind or nature soever, so long as she remains my widow. And when she ceaseth to be my widow, then I give and bequeath unto my four sons all my land and meadow. Equally to be divided to my four sons as above said--by name John, Timothy, Nathaniel and Joseph to every one a like portion, with this provisal:
that my son John pays five pounds in good merchandise pay unto my daughter Mary; my son Timothy pays five pounds to my daughter, which ten pounds I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary.
also my son Nathaniel paying to my daughter Marjory five pounds in good merchandise--pay unto my daughter, which I give and bequeath unto her;
my son Joseph paying unto my daughter Elizabeth five pounds in good merchandise pay.
All these abovesaid payments to be paid within one full and complete year after my wife's marriage or her death, or my said sons come of age of one and twenty year, which of those shall happen. And all the above payments to be paid at my now dwelling house.
Also my will is that if any one or more of my sons do die before those payments are to be made, then my land and meadow to be equally divided among the surviving sons, they paying to my daughters equally that which the deceased should a' paid.
Also, my will is that if one or more of my daughters should die before they should receive their said portions then to divide ye legacy ye deceased should have had to be divided among my surviving daughter or daughters. All ye above payments to be in merchandise pay.
Finally I appoint Elizabeth my beloved wife sole executrix to this my last will and testament.
... 12th day of November, 1697
The county in which a town was located, is not indicated in all cases in the above article. This is to avoid confusion. When Massachusetts Bay Colony was organized into counties in 1643, the area north of the Merrimack River was designated Norfolk County. This is often called "Old Norfolk" County by historians and genealogists, to distinguish it from another county later orgainzed in a different place and given that name. Salisbury, Haverhill and Dover were all port of Old Norfolk County. The Town of Amesbury was organized in 1666 from part of Salisbury. In 1680, when the Province of New Hampshire was created, much of Old Norfolk, including Dover, became part of the new province. The remainder of Old Norfolk, including Salisbury, Amesbury and Haverhill, was transferred to Essex County, Massachusetts. New Hampshire did not organize counties until 1769.
1Thornton, "Original Settlers of Salisbury, Mass.," New England Historic Genealogical Register, 3 (1849): 57.
2Jay and Delene Holbrook, "Massachusetts Vital and Town Records," digital images, Ancestry (ancestry.com : accessed 11 January 2013), Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts, Hingham, MA, p. 79.
3Hoyt David W., The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982), 242.
4Elizabeth Wright. "John Maxfield of Salisbury, Massachusetts, 1652, and Some of His Descendants." The Nebraska and Midwest Genealogical Record (1928–1930): 6:52-56; 7:20-24, 42-47, 61-71, 87-96; 8:15-22.
5French, Harry Dana. Descendants of John Maxfield of Salisbury, Mass., New Hampshire Historical Society Library, Concord, NH, about 1952.
6Vital Records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849 (Topsfield, MA: Topsfield Historical Society, 1915), 586.
7Vital Records of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1917, 1923, 1924), 2:256, 369.
9Pulsifer David, editor, Records of the County of Norfolk in the Colony of Massachusetts (1852), 1:50; (Salt Lake City, UT: Genealogical Society ) .
15Essex County, Massachusetts, Land Records, 9:222-23, accessed 3 July 2013; Essex County Courthouse, Salem, MA (familysearch.org).
17Salisbury, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Quarterly Court 380-382.
18The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts, 242.
19Salisbury, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Quarterly Court, 409.
20The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts, 242.
21Vital Records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849, 586.
22Essex County, Massachusetts, Probate Records, 308: 203.
23Vital Records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849, 416.
27Vital Records of Dover, New Hampshire, 1686-1850 (Dover, NH: Dover Historical Society, 1894; reprint, Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1977), 137.
29Vital Records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849, 152.
30Essex County, Massachusetts, Probate Records 308: 202-03.
French, Harry Dana. Descendants of John Maxfield of Salisbury, Mass. New Hampshire Historical Society Library, Concord, NH, about 1952.
Holbrook, Jay and Delene. "Massachusetts Vital and Town Records." Digital images. Ancestry. ancestry.com : accessed 2013.
Hoyt David W. The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982.
Massachusetts. Essex County. Land Records. Essex County Courthouse, Salem, MA (familysearch.org).
Massachusetts. Essex County. Probate Records. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Massachusetts. Norfolk County. Salisbury. Quarterly Court.
Pulsifer David, editor. Records of the County of Norfolk in the Colony of Massachusetts. 1852. Salt Lake City, UT: Genealogical Society.
Thornton. "Original Settlers of Salisbury, Mass.." New England Historic Genealogical Register 3 (1849): 55-57.
Vital Records of Dover, New Hampshire, 1686-1850. Dover, NH: Dover Historical Society, 1894. Reprint, Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1977.
Vital Records of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1917, 1923, 1924.
Vital Records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849. Topsfield, MA: Topsfield Historical Society, 1915.
Wright, Elizabeth. "John Maxfield of Salisbury, Massachusetts, 1652, and Some of His Descendants." The Nebraska and Midwest Genealogical Record (1928–1930): 6:52-56; 7:20-24, 42-47, 61-71, 87-96; 8:15-22.
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