Eleventh Great-Grandparents: Henry and Bridget (Fitts?) Travers

My last post was about Nicholas Wallington, whose life ended mysteriously at sea in the early 1680s. He had left behind many children and his wife, Sarah Travers. But this wasn’t Sarah’s first mysterious loss in her family, as we shall see.

Sarah’s parents were Henry Travers and Bridget _____ (believed – but unproven – to be Fitts). Henry was born in England sometime before 1610. After March 24, 1634, he traveled aboard the Mary and John and ended up in Agawam (now Ipswich), Massachusetts. By 1635 Henry was living in Newbury, where I assume he married Bridget*. They ended up having two children:

  • Sarah, born 1636; married Nicholas Wallington on August 30, 1654 in Newbury.
  • James, born April 28, 1645; married Mercy Pearce on April 8, 1667 in Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts; died before 1717. (At some point, James started using the surname “Travis”.)

There seemed to be some trouble in Henry and Bridget’s marriage: on September 29, 1646, John Emery (another collateral relative of mine) was fined or “to be whipped” for “his miscarriage with the wife of Henry Traverse”, and he was “bound to good behavior and not to frequent the company of the wife of Henry Traverse. Brigett Traverse fined 10s for her misdemeanors”. What?! How long was that going on, I wonder! And I have to note that John was married as well.

Not two years later, on July 26, 1658, Henry drew up his will. He ominously stated that he was going “to sea and know not whether I shall live to Com againe”. He and Bridget must have kept up some sort of correspondence, for she later stated that she last heard from Henry in 1650. At that point, daughter Sarah was only fourteen and son James was five.

Snippet of the beginning of Henry Travers’ 1648 will. Don’t you just love the handwriting? Courtesy AmericanAncestors.org.

This is where Bridget’s story ramps up. In 1655 (a year after Sarah got married), she petitioned the court in Ipswich to allow her to live in her present house until James turned twenty-one. She apparently had been working hard, as she went into debt in keeping up her buildings and breaking up the land. Perhaps things got easier once she married Richard Window in Gloucester on March 30, 1659.

Life was probably stable for Bridget until Richard died on April 27, 1665. Again, Bridget headed to court on May 23 and June 26, 1666 regarding her inheritance from Richard’s will. She stated that she only received “30s. per year, she being now aged and not able to work for her maintenance, and James Stephens, the overseer, not providing her even with bread or beer.” The court ended up granter her petition of May 23 (for how much, I don’t know), and for June 26th’s petition, she received a cow. I suppose that Bridget was satisfied with this arrangement, because I don’t see any further petitions. I have to give her credit for doing what she could to make sure that she and her family were provided for!

At last, Bridget passed away in Bradford, Essex County, MA on October 9, 1673, with her will being proved on November 25 of that year. For some reason, it was another two years (November 26, 1675) before administration of her estate was granted to her son James and son-in-law Nicholas. I don’t know how much she had to leave to her family, but it’s nice to know that in the end, she had something!

* Some sources believe that Bridget was previously married to a Richard Goodwin, but Robert Charles Anderson (author of NEHGS’ Great Migration series) discounts this marriage.

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Tenth Great-Grandparents Nicholas and Sarah (Travers) Wallington

Going so far back in time, there are a few theories out there as to when Nicholas Wallington was born and who his parents were, but I don’t have a very high confidence in them at this point. Also, I realize that there are some records and indications of Nicholas’ various dealings in his life that I have yet to research. The following is what I know so far.

It looks like as a boy, Nicholas arrived in Boston, Suffolk County, MA from Southampton, England on April 24, 1638 aboard the Confidence. He was likely a servant to Stephen Kent, who eventually settled in Newbury, Essex County, MA. Nicholas eventually was no longer a servant and married Sarah Travers, daughter of Henry and Bridget Travers, on August 30, 1654 in Newbury.

1663 finds Nicholas and family living in Rowley, Essex County, MA. In 1670, he became a freeman (not a “free man” from being a servant, but a citizen in good standing and able to vote). On November 26, 1675, he became co-administrator of his mother-in-law’s will. I suppose this demonstrates the level of trust that his extended family had in him.

From what I can gather, Nicholas and Sarah had a great number of children:

  • John, born September 16, 1655; died January 6, 1656
  • Nicholas, born January 2, 1657; married Elizabeth Palmer, December 4, 1678; died May 10, 1682
  • John, born April 7, 1659 in Newbury, Essex County, MA; married Mary Tuttle on December 6, 1687 in Dover, Rockingham County, NH; died 1709
  • Sarah, born May 20, 1661; married Caleb Hopkinson, November 25, 1679
  • Mary, born August 20, 1663
  • James, born October 6, 1665; married Deborah _____
  • Hannah, born November 1667
  • William, born February 7, 1670
  • Joseph, born April 20, 1672
  • Elizabeth, born June 23, 1674
  • Esther, born June 8, 1676
  • Benjamin, born June 27, 1678
  • Abigail, born June 24, 1680

The most interesting thing I find about Nicholas is his mysterious death. Every source tells me that he was taken captive and died at sea. I don’t know what prompted him to travel or how anyone found out he was taken captive. In any event, his probate was opened on March 28, 1682 and was not closed until 1703 I suppose that the circumstances of his death and his large number of children contributed to this long period.

Meanwhile, Nicholas’ wife Sarah moved on in her life. On May 18, 1691, she married Onesiphorus Marsh as his third wife. Onesiphorus, according to his gravestone, died on May 15, 1713 and is buried in Pentucket Cemetery in Haverhill, Essex County, MA. I don’t know where Sarah is buried.

We’ll take one more step back through Sarah’s line just to find another mystery!