Jacob Bonham's Ancestors

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Note: Before 1752 the year began on March 25th. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year, not the beginning.

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Amariah Bonham was born about 1708-09, some say in June, probably in Maidenhead, Hunterdon County, (now Lawrenceville, Mercer County), New Jersey. He was the fourth of a possible fifteen children born to Hezekiah Bonham and Mary Bishop. It is believed that Amariah married Eunice King probably in Hunterdon County, about 1735-36. They had five children, all probably born in Maidenhead — Christiana, born about 1737, married Absolem Fox; Rebecca in about 1738, married Abraham Johnston; Jeriah was born about 1739, and married a woman named Sarah; Peter in about 1741, married a woman named Rebecca; and Sarah in about 1742, married a man with the surname of Batey. Unfortunately, there are no birth records to confirm any of these dates. Some marriage records exist for the children, but parents names are not stated. Their given and married names come from Amariah’s will.

Amariah owned land in Amwell, Hunterdon County, which he sold in 1742, and moved about 30 miles north to Scotch Plains, NJ. It is assumed that Amariah and Eunice had been members of the Piscataqua Baptist Church that was about 15 miles away. On August 5, 1747, both of their names are listed on the Deacon’s Minutes as members of the newly formed Scotch Plains Baptist Church, now in Union County, New Jersey, as they were among the many folks wanted a spiritual center in their own community.

On February 22, 1747/8, Amariah is listed among the names of persons owed money by the estate of John King of Piscataway,who is assumed to be Eunice’s father. This researcher has not seen the entire will, but Eunice or her children’s names are not mentioned in the will abstract.

The Deacon’s Minutes state that Eunice, listed as Unis, died on February 5, 1748[/9]. This left Amariah with small children to raise. He married ancestor Mary Drake sometime prior to October of 1749, and in that same year, she and Amariah are both dismissed from the rolls. (Mouse over and click on the Deacon's Records record image left to enlarge in a new window/tab.) This was probably when they moved to Virginia. We know they moved to Loudoun County, Virginia, before 1765 when Amariah was assessed tax there. This is about 200 miles southwest of Scotch Plains. In 1759, Amariah’s daughter, Christiana Bonham and her husband, Absalom Fox moved to Loudoun County.

A lease agreement was made on June 22, 1774, between Francis Lightfoot Lee and Amariah Bonham for 200 acres in the Parish of Cameron, Loudoun County, beginning at the road leading to Lane's Mill. The duration of the lease was for the natural lives of Amariah Bonham and his heirs - Peter Bonham, John Bonham and Charles Fox (son-in-law). Amariah paid Lee and his children twelve pounds sterling annually beginning December 1, 1775. Francis Lightfoot Lee was a member of the House of Burgesses in the Colony of Virginia, a delegate to the Virginia Conventions and the Continental Congress, also a signer of the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence.

In 1759, Christiana Bonham and her husband, Absalom Fox moved to Loudoun County, Virginia. This is about 200 miles southwest of Scotch Plains. Amariah leased land there starting in 1775 about when the Revolutionary War started. A lease agreement was made on June 22, 1774 between Francis Lightfoot Lee and Amariah Bonham for 200 acres in the Parish of Cameron, Loudoun County beginning at the road leading to Lane's Mill. The duration of the lease was for the natural lives of Amariah Bonham and his heirs - Peter Bonham, John Bonham and Charles Fox (son-in-law). Amariah paid Lee and his children twelve pounds sterling annually beginning December 1, 1775.

It is said that Amariah served in the Revolutionary War. He was 67 years old when it began, so perhaps it was as an officer or some non-combative position. (It should be mentioned that Amariah had a grandson with his name who may have been the one who severed in the war.) Two of his sons certainly fought - Jacob under Colonel Crawford in Ohio and Peter as a sergeant in Captain Charles West's company in the Third Virginia Regiment. It is not known if Jeriah also fought. In 1777 the General Assembly of Maryland passed an act giving each soldier who had served three years in the Revolution, 50 acres of land. In 1781 another act was passed, reserving all vacant lands in the State westward of "Fort Cumberland" for the soldiers. Amariah Bonham, Josiah Bonham, Lt. Michael Bonham and Peter Bonham all appear on the list of Military Lots. Son Jacob was not on this list as he died on June 9, 1782, while fighting the British and Indians in the Sandusky Ohio Massacre. During the war, this section of the State was very much exposed. The British army took possession of Piscataway, and for a long time this was their place of encampment. The inhabitants were exposed, both in person and property, and in addition to this, they differed among themselves in relation to the justness of the war; some were patriots, and some were bitter enemies to their country.All the patriots were either in the regular army, or enrolled in the militia, or were liable to be called on at any moment. Most of the patriots removed their families to the back settlements, while the Tories fled to the British possessions.

After 1791, Amariah sold his Loudoun County land, and moved about 80 miles northwest, and took "settlers lots" (probably Military Lots mentioned above) in Maryland west of Fort Cumberland. He gave them up in 1796 and moved to Pennsylvania. His daughter Rebecca may have already been in Strabane Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, certainly by 1798 It should be noted that Washington County, Pennsylvania was created in 1781 and it was originally a part of Virginia. In the 1800 census, Ameriah Boneham was living alone in West Bethlehem Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania. Living next door was the 26 to 44 year-old widow Elizabeth Ady and her children. Between the date the census was taken, August 4, 1800 and the date he wrote his will, January 27, 1802, Amariah, in his early 90’s, married a woman named Elizabeth, who may have been this widow. Being that this time period was less than two years, and the fact that he calls his wife beloved, leaves her his house, all profits from his plantation, and half of the stock to her and her heirs, he must have had a relationship with Elizabeth for some time prior to the marriage.

In his will he says he lives in Middle Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania. He gives full names of all of his children — Christine Fox, Rebecca Johnson, ancestor Jacob Bonham, Jeriah Bonham, Peter Bonham, and Sarah Batey, leaving them the residue of his estate and whatever is left upon the death of his wife to be shared equally. He appoints his trusty friends Peter Bonham of Allegheny County and Philip Luallen Llewellyn of Washington County as executors, and the will was witnessed by Jonathan, Isaac and Rebecca Leet. What is truly odd is that he included his son Jacob in his will, as Jacob had died 20 years prior to the writing of this will.

Amariah Bonham died at the age of 94, shortly before April 22, 1803, the date his will was presented to the Probate Court by the Leets. (To read the entire will, mouse over and click on the image of it left to enlarge in a new window/tab.)

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Mary Drake was born about 1713 (some say between 1710 and 1715), probably in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, the second of two known children born to Jacob Drake and Christian Molleson. Her father died probably right after she was born, but definitely before she was married as she was sometimes known as Mary Bebout, the surname of her mother’s second husband. She married Amariah Bonham, who had been recently widowed with five children, before October of 1749 probably in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, as that was when she joined The Scotch Plains Baptist Church, as Mary Bonham. (Mouse over church image right.) It is interesting to note that there are several other Drakes on this membership list, but right under Mary’s name is an Ann Drake. (See the Deacon's Records image above in Amariah's bio.) Amaraiah and Mary were both dismissed from this church and moved away, probably to Virginia.

 Although only one child is known from the marriage, ancestor Jacob, Mary raised Amariah’s children from his first wife, who were between seven and twelve years old when their mother died.

It is not known when and where Mary Drake Bonham died, but she did die before August 4, 1800, as her husband Amariah was living alone on the 1800 census.

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Hezekiah Bonham was born about 1667-68 in Piscataway, Middlesex County, New Jersey. He was one of ten children born to Nicholas Bonham and Hannah Fuller. When Hezekiah was a teenager, his father, Nicholas, died on July 20, 1684, and Hezekiah inherited "all ye rest of my land lying within ye township of Piscataway." Hezekiah’s older brother, Nicholas died before this, leaving Hezekiah as the eldest son. Brother Samuel had also died, on January 10, 1682, whose will was proved on December 18, 1684. Hezekiah was named as an executor with his mother Hannah; with Edward Slater and Isaac Smalley named as overseers. Hezekiah may have been the only surviving son as the fate of brother Elijah is unknown. As will be seen below, Hezekiah certainly did his part to perpetuate the family name.

In about 1690, probably in Piscataway, Hezekiah married 19 year-old Mary Dunn, who was born January 19, 1671/2. Mary was the daughter of Hugh Dunn Sr. and Elizabeth Drake, sister of ancestor Captain John Drake. Hezekiah and Mary had four children – Mary, born on October 4, 1691, married about 1712, Daniel Howell, a blacksmith of Trenton, and had 10 children, the youngest named Hezekiah; Samuel on February 6, 1693, may have married Catherine Anderson in Trenton; Hannah on March 14, 1694/5, married Benjamin Stout in Hopewell Township; and Sarah on February 15, 1697/8, who married Thomas Runyan, Junior. (Mouse over and click on the birth record image left to enlarge in a new window/tab.)

On October 2, 1695, Hezekiah Bonham of Piscataway received a land patent for 100 acres and on May 1, 1697, he received his patent for land, in right of his late father, Nicholas Bonham. During the period of 1690 to 1699 there are numerous land transfers made by Hezekiah and his wife Mary. Hezekiah’s wife, Mary Dunn Bonham died on November 7, 1699. After Mary died, Hezekiah remarried. Scholars have disputed his second wife’s name, but recent research has most believing that she was Mary Bishop.

Hezekiah’s was instrumental in the founding of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Piscataway. The story is that he was found working on a Sunday by Edmund Dunham, who was a deacon with license to preach in the Baptist church of Piscataway. Dunham, the husband of Hezekiah’s sister, Mary, rebuked Hezekiah for desecrating the Sabbath. Bonham challenged Dunham to find a single passage of Scripture proving that Sunday was to be sanctified as holy time. Dunham investigated for himself, with the result that he was convinced of his error and began to keep the Sabbath on Saturday. Several other members of the church soon embraced the Saturday Sabbath and Dunham began to hold meetings on the Saturdays in his own house. In the Spring of 1689, a number of the members of the Piscataqua Baptist Church, including Hezekiah Bonham, withdrew from that church and formed the Seventh Day Baptist Church, where they observed the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. The first pastor was Edmund Dunham.

Hezekiah moved his family to Maidenhead in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, sometime after 1700. Maidenhead was about 20 miles southwest of Piscataway at the location of present day Lawrenceville in Mercer County, New Jersey. We know he was there by 1712, as in The History of Burlington and Mercer Counties it states, “At a Town meeting held in Maidenhead, January 1st, 1712, . . . Hezekiah Bonham” agreed to pay 15 shillings, “for the promoting of a County in the upper parts of the province above Assunpinke, . . .” It is said that Hezekiah and his second wife had fifteen children, but none have been documented. (See Mary's bio for details on the children.)

In 1723, Hezekiah was a judge in Hunterdon County known as "Justice Hezekiah Bonham." Howard E. Bonham tells us that on November 6, 1730, at a public Town Meeting, “Hezekiah was one of several persons who signed a memoranda for a ‘lot to be laid out for a parsonage for a Presbyterian society for the use of the Town of Maidenhead.’” A few years later, some researchers say on January 27, 1733, Hezekiah Bonham died, at the age of 65, probably in Maidenhead.

The early New Jersey families were tightly linked and intermarried for several generations. The Bonham family was closely associated with the Runyon family. They were all members of the First Baptist Church of Piscataway. Hezekiah's first wife, Mary Dunn's sister Martha Dunn, married Thomas Runyon, Sr. who was the son of Vincent Runyon. Martha and Thomas Jr.'s son Thomas, married Sarah Bonham, and their daughter, Martha Runyon married Hezekiah Bonham, Jr. Two of Hezekiah's children married into the Jonathan Stout family. Nehemiah married Ann Stout and Hannah married Benjamin Stout. Ethel Stroupe wrote that two of Hezekiah's son married into the Benjamin Martin family. Zedekiah and Nehemiah married Ann and Elizabeth Martin. The Seventh Day Baptist Church first gathered at the Martin home. Two of Hezekiah's children married into the Ayers family. Two of Hezekiah's descendants married into the George Fox family. Amariah's daughter, Christian, married Absalom Fox and Uriah married George's daughter, Anchor Fox. Nehemiah was a witness to George Fox’s will in 1754.


Mary Bishop, born about 1682/3, was the daughter and only child of David Bishop and Mary Alger. Mary’s father died when she was an infant, so she really never knew him. Her mother married Charles Gilman when Mary was a toddler and they had two sons, Mary’s half brothers. Charles seems to have been a good step-father, as he mentions Mary and her Grandmother Alger in his will written just a few days before he died when she was about nine years old. A few months later her mother married again, but this time, her new stepfather seemed to be more interested in the estate her mother brought into the marriage than the children. Sadly, her mom died the following year. Two years later the New Jersey Archives, Vol. XXIII records that are attached to David Bishop’s will, show that on November 18, 1695, twelve-year-old “Mary, daughter of David Bishop, dec'd, makes application for the appointment of her uncle, Jonathan Bishop, of Woodbridge, Middlesex Co, as her guardian” That same day “Order of Gov'r Hamilton to the Secretary of the Province, to make out letters of guardianship to Jonathan Bishop, of Woodbridge, whose niece Mary, daughter of David Bishop, has chosen him as her guardian.”  On December 4, 1695, a Bond is issued to Jonathan Bishop, of Woodbridge, as guardian of Marie Bishop, daughter of Bishop, David, of Woodbridge. In the book Bonham & Related Family Lines, Howard E. Bonham and Jean Allin state, “A diligent search of the New Jersey Archives has failed to reveal a record of the ‘release of guardianship’ from Jonathan. Perhaps her marriage to Hezekiah Bonham, Sr. ca 1700 automaticaily severed the guardianship, however, there should be a release and an accounting of the estate. Uncle Jonathan died before 10 Aug 1724 as that is the date his will was proven in probate court.” It should be noted that Mary is not mentioned in her Uncle Jonathan’s will. But one can argue that by the time Jonathan died Mary was married 24 years, moved away, became a Baptist and in the care of her husband, not her uncle. The fact that Mary is not mentioned in the wills of her grandfathers Thomas Alger and John Bishop is not unusual, after all she is a girl. When her grandfather Thomas died, he does mention his daughter Mary Gilman, his son-in-law Charles is a witness to the will and his granddaughter Mary Bishop, along with her stepbrothers are in this loving family. When her grandfather John died, her father was dead, she was an infant, and Charles Gilman was courting her mother. The only grandchild John Bishop mentioned in his will was“grandchild John, natural son of son John.”

It is said that Mary married Hezekiah Bonham about 1700 as his second wife and that they had fifteen children. All of them possibly born in Maidenhead, but some researchers say the first six children were born in Middlesex County. Birth records can not be found for any of them in either county. Most researchers agree the children were — Hezekiah Junior born about 1701/2, married Martha Runyon; Nehemiah born about 1703, married twice, Ann Stout and then Elizabeth Martin; Zedekiah born about 1704, also married twice, Sarah Compton and then Ann Martin; Jeremiah in about 1706, married Hester Dunn and settled in Shrewsbury; ancestor Amariah; daughter Temperance in 1710, married Zebulon Ayres; Amaziah, called Amos, was born about 1712/13, married Rebecca Rittenhouse; Malachiah in 1713, became a minister and married three times, Jemima Harken, then Hannah Buckingham Heath and then Mary Fox; Ephraim on February 14, 1715/16, settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and married twice, Elizabeth Morris and then Susannah Jones; Josiah about 1717/18, who may not be their child; Zachariah about 1718, married twice, Maria Marlett and then Patience Ayars; Isaiah about 1720, who may not be their child; Uriah born sometime between 1721 and 1724; son Zephaniah born about 1722, is said to have moved West; and Obadiah born about 1723 to 1725. Unfortunately, no researcher has given supporting documentation for any of these children. Howard E. Bonham states in his book Bonham and Related Family Lines, that at least one of these may be a grandson of Hezekiah. Some marriage records have been found, but none give the parents names.

It is said that Mary married Hezekiah Bonham about 1700 as his second wife and that they had fifteen children. All of them possibly born in Maidenhead, but some researchers say the first six children were born in Middlesex County. Birth records can not be found for any of them in either county. Most researchers agree the children were — Hezekiah Junior born about 1701/2, married Martha Runyon; Nehemiah born about 1703, married twice, Ann Stout and then Elizabeth Martin; Zedekiah born about 1704, also married twice, Sarah Compton and then Ann Martin; Jeremiah in about 1706, married Margaret Cock and settled in Shrewsbury; ancestor Amariah; daughter Temperance in 1710, married Zebulon Ayres; Amaziah, called Amos, was born about 1712/13, married Rebecca Rittenhouse; Malachiah in 1713, became a minister and married three times, Jemima Harken, then Hannah Buckingham Heath and then Mary Fox; Ephraim on February 14, 1715/16, settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and married twice, Elizabeth Morris and then Susannah Jones; Josiah about 1717/18, who may not be their child; Zachariah about 1718, married twice, Maria Marlett and then Patience Ayars; Isaiah about 1720, who may not be their child; Uriah born sometime between 1721 and 1724; son Zephaniah born about 1722, is said to have moved West; and Obadiah born about 1723 to 1725. Unfortunately, no researcher has given supporting documentation for any of these children. Howard E. Bonham states in his book Bonham and Related Family Lines, that at least one of these may be a grandson of Hezekiah. Some marriage records have been found, but none give the parents names.

There is no documentation for the marriage of Mary Bishop to Hezekiah Bonham, Sr, and two other Mary’s (Hunt and Hune) have been suggested as Hezekiah’s second wife, but recent research has eliminated them as possibilities. Mary Bishop would have been about 17 years old at the likely time of Hezekiah’s second marriage and an unusual discovery supports her as being his wife. A tombstone of a Mary Bonham, with dates that would correspond to Hezekiah´s second wife, has been found in the foundation of the Stoney Brook Friends School Master´s house in Princeton, New Jersey, close to where Hezekiah lived. In a letter written on January 6, 1978 from Donald Baird, of Princeton University, to Joseph J. Felcome, Librarian, Historical Society of Princeton, New Jersey, Baird states: “The stone was discovered . . .in the early 1970's. The story I got was that in the course of checking the property for necessary repairs, a thin coating of cement fell away from the house foundation, revealing the tombstone. . . .  The use of a tombstone in a house foundation reflects one of the little oddities of Quaker history. During the last Quarter of the 18th century the conviction grew among Friends that inscribed grave markers smacked too much of worldly vanity to be conscionable. Accordingly, existing tombstones were either broken off, leaving only a stump in the ground, or grubbed up entirely and the stone put to other uses. This policy accounts for the lack of inscribed tombstones in the earlier easterly portion of Stony Brook burying ground, which lies adjacent to the Schoolmaster's House and from which Mary Bonham's stone must have been taken. . . . My original reading of the stone was 'AGED 5 years,' but upon re-examination of the photograph I can make out 'AGED 51' as an alternative reading of that line, the '1' having the same form as it does in '1734' but nearly obliterated by weathering…” Mary Bishop’s age would have been 51 in 1734 and there are no other known Mary Bonhams who would match. This was the year after Hezekiah died, and it happens often that a wife or husband dies soon after their spouse. This researcher has recently found a death record for a Mary Bonham, wife of Hezekiah in Piscataway. The date is difficult to read, as the year is missing, but it seems to read November 7th. Unfortunately, without the year, this does not confirm the above tombstone information. This death record could be for Hezekiah Jr’s wife Martha. It should be noted that in the book, Bonham and Related Family Lines, it is stated that Mary died on May 3, 1734, in Hunterdon County, but does not give a source. (Note Nicholas Bonham’s death is recorded above hers.) (Mouse over and click on the Bonham deaths record image left to enlarge in a new window/tab.)

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Jacob Drake was born on May 10, 1690 in Piscataway, Middlesex County, New Jersey, the ninth of fourteen children born to Rev. John Drake and wife Rebecca Trotter. It was seventy years since the Pilgrims landed. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York, were heavily colonized, as was New Jersey, which had been taken over by the British from the Dutch about forty years earlier. Many of the colonists of New Jersey became farmers. However, despite the fertility of the soil, farmers were forced to struggle due to the dearth of English money. Some owned slaves or had indentured servants work for them. The majority of the colonists lived in simple log cabins, coming from the original Dutch settlers. Since New Jersey was ideally located next to the Atlantic Ocean, colonists farmed, fished, and traded by sea. Transportation was slow and difficult usually on either foot or horseback. Education came through small religious schools, private academies, or tutors.

Jacob married Christian Molleson about 1709 and they had two known daughters. It is not known when Jacob died. It may have been shortly after the birth of Mary, but it was definitely before 1715 as his wife Christian was remarried at that time.


Christian Molleson was born on December 15, 1689, in Piscataway, Middlesex County, New Jersey, the eldest of seven children born to John Molleson and Sarah Howell.  She met and married Jacob Drake about 1709 and they had only two known children — Rebecca, born on February 1, 1710, in Piscataway; and ancestor Mary. Christian’s husband Jacob died probably within a few years of the marriage, but definitely prior to 1715 as by this time she was married to Peter Bebout as his second wife. (It is interesting to note that Peter Bebout and his first wife Martje had a son, John Bebout, who married Mary King, sister of ancestor Amariah Bonham's first wife, Eunice.) It is likely that Jacob died early in the marriage, as his daughter Mary Drake was called Mary Bebout in many family trees. Christian and Peter had a daughter named Mertien, who was baptized on October 17, 1715, and is believed to have been the Margaret Bebout who married Philip Cooper on October 26, 1754.

On May 12, 1731, a few days after he gave his daughter Jean her dowry, Christian received from her father by deed of gift, a lot in New Windsor between Millstone River and Rock Brook. On January 9, 1733, she also received 100 acres known as Lot 8 which was joined on the east by her father’s land and on the north by a tract belonging to John Bebout. She sold this lot 8 farm for £70 current money to Benjamin Sutton and signed the deed as Christen Bebout of the township of Piscataway. Seven years later, Christian is mentioned as Christian Bebout in the will of her father-in-law, ancestor Rev. John Drake, which was drawn April 7, 1740 and proved the next year.

Many researchers have stated that Christian married John Webster on October 13, 1744. This is not correct for two reasons: First, she was still married to her husband Peter; and secondly, she was too old to be the Christian Drake who married, on that date, a man named John Webster, as they had 4 children between 1745 and 1754. If you do the math, Christian Molleson would have been 65 years old in 1754, far too old to have a child.

It is not known when and where Christian Molleson Drake Bebout died. Some researchers believe she died about 1740 in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey, but do not give supporting documentation.

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Nicholas Bonham was born about 1630. Though some list his father as George (who came from England to America in 1635), he may be his brother or not related at all. In volume 3 of the History of South Carolina, it states, “The family tradition is that three Bonham brothers came to Virginia from England between 1625 and 1640. One, Hezekiah, was a ship builder and sailing master, trading in his own vessels along the coast as far north as Massachusetts. After sailing on one of these expeditions he was never again heard of. His son frequently accompanied him on his voyages, and is believed to have settled in Massachusetts. At Barnstable, Massachusetts, there was living between 1658 and 1665 Nicholas Bonham.” Being that the name Hezekiah goes down Nicholas’ line, He may be the son of this Hezekiah.

Nicholas married Hannah Fuller on January 1, 1658, in Barnstable and their first three children were born there. See Hannah Fuller below for a list of the children and images of the town records. Nicholas Bonham's name is on the list of persons admitted as inhabitants of Barnstable between 1662-1666. The family moved to Piscataway New Jersey, by 1672 where their last three children were born.

Piscataway Township, New Jersey, was first settled in 1666 by Quakers and Baptists who had left the Puritan colony in New Hampshire. Nicholas and Hannah were members of First Baptist Church of Piscataway, which Nicholas helped organize (see plaque under Jacob Bonham below). In 1668 he was the tenth colonist to receive a land grant of 122 acres in Middlesex County, NJ. Soon after arriving in NJ he was made a Dutch Schepen, or magistrate, whose duty it was to nominate citizens to various official positions in the towns of East Jersey.

Nicholas signed the Oath of Allegiance in 1672, a standard practice for men of good standing. In 1678, Nicholas was granted 122 acres of land about three miles northeast of Piscataway, which was later named Bonhamtown in Woodbridge Township (now Edison Township - mouse over map right), Middlesex County, New Jersey. It is five miles northeast from New Brunswich. He built the first house there, which stood for about 200 years, a frame house of 1 ½ stories. Nicholas and Hannah lived there for the rest of their lives. Nicholas was made Sergeant of Militia in 1681 and belonged to a military group organized under ancestor Capt. Francis Drake, whose son, ancestor John, eventually married Nicholas widowed daughter Elizabeth.

Nicholas Bonham died on July 20, 1684, in Piscataway, Middlesex County, New Jersey. (See his death record image in the bio for Mary Bishop.) His will was dated February 6, 1683, and was proved on December 18, 1684.


In the name of God, Amen, the 6 day of February in the year one thousand six hundred eighty-three, I, Nicholas Bonham of ye town of Picastaway in County of Middlesex in East New Jersey being sick in body but of good and perfect memory thanks be to ye all mighty God and calling to remembrance the uncertain estate of this transitory live that all flesh must yield unto death whn it shall please God to call, do make, constitute, ordain, and declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following, revoking and annulling by those present all and every Testament and Testaments Will and Wills heretofore by me made and declareed either by word or written and this to be taken only for mylast will and testament and none other.

And first being penitent and sorry from the bottom of my heart for my sins past most humbly desiring foregiveness for ye same I give and commit my soul unto Almighty God my Savior and Redeemer in Whom and by ye mercies of Jesus Christ I trust and believe assuredly to be saved and so have full remission and forgiveness of all my sins and that my soul with my body at the general day of resurrection shal rise again with joy and through ye merits of Christ's death and passion passes so inherit the Kingdom of heaven prepared for his elect and chosen and my body to be buried in such a place where it shall please my executor hereafter named to appoint. And now for ye - - - of my temporal estate and such goods chattels and debts as it has pleased God far above my desires to bestow upon me I do order give and dispose ye same in manner and form following. That is to say - - -

First I will that all those debts and duties as I owe in right or conscience to any manner of person or persons whatsoever shall be well and truly contented and paid or ordained to be paid within convenient time afier my decease by my executors hereafter named.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved wife Hannah Bonham the house and lot that I now live on and ye bed that we now lie on during her natural life and after her decease, son Hezekiah Bonham. Item, I give unto my said Hezekiah Bonham all ye rest of my land lying within ye township of Piscataway or a to him his heirs and assigns forever.

Item, I will order and appoint that all my cattell with my household goods shall remain in ye hands of my executors hereafter named for ye support of my family and ye bringing up of my children and as any of them marries such parts of ye cattell and goods to be given them as my executor shall think meet with and by ye advise and consent of my overseer hereafter named.

Item, I will and bequeath unto my grandchildren now living or shall be born within a year after ye date hereof, one bible to each of them to be bought and paid for out of my estate by my executors hereafter named. Item, after ye decease of my said wife what chattels, goods, or lands that is then undisposed of I do will and bequeathunto my son Hezekiah Bonham, he being my sole heir excepting ye legacies before mentioned and ye other dispositions in ye articles above mentioned.

Item, I will constitute and appoint my wife Hannah Bonham and my son Hezekiah Bonham to be my whole and sole executors and dispose of my estate above mentioned accordingly as is above ordered and appointed with and by ye advise and consent of my overseer hereafter mentioned.

Item, I do request and desire my friends Isaac Smalley and Edward Slater to be my overseers to assist and advise my said executors about ye disposing of my estate and affairs as above said.

Given under my hand and seal the day and year above written. Signed and sealed in the presents of Edward Slater and Isaac Smalley.

It is interesting to note that Howard E. Bonham states in his book, Bonham and Related Family Lines, that “John Bishop, one of the Justice of Peace who approved Nicholas' will, was the father of David Bishop, whose daughter Mary, born 1683, married Hezekiah Bonham, Sr. as his (2) wife ca 1700.” These are also our Bishop ancestors (follow the Bishop line on the above chart).

In 1699/1700, Nicholas’s sons-in-law, Priscilla's husband, John Langstaff, and Elizabeth's husband, Edward Slater, were involved in anti-English, pre-revolutionary activities, namely speaking out against the government of New Jersey and specifically the Governor and attorney general. The court wanted to hold proceedings in the Piscataway Public house. The townspeople were opposed to this and nailed the door shut. The sheriff attempted to break the door open and John and Edward stopped him forcibly. The court officials were apparently kept from prosecuting Langstaff and Slater by numerous townspeople that were there and the matter was allowed to rest.

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Hannah Fuller was born about 1636 in Scituate, Plymouth, Massachusetts. She was the first of nine children born to Samuel Fuller and his wife Jane Lothrop. Hannah married Nicholas Bonham on January 1, 1658, in Barnstable, Essex County, Massachusetts. They had possibly ten children, the first three born in Barnstable on Cape Cod Bay (mouse over image right) — Hannah on October 8, 1659, married Daniel Lippington, but died at 29 years-old; Mary on October 4, 1661, married Rev. Edmund Dunham; and Sarah on February 16, 1664, who married John Fitz Randolph. It is not known where the next few children were born or if all of them are their children — Elizabeth about 1666, married first Edward Slater and after his death she became the third wife of ancestor John Drake; ancestor Hezekiah; Nicholas, born about 1667, perhaps a twin of Hezekiah, who either died that same year or as some researchers believe, may not be their son; and Elijah about 1669, who also may not be their son. Neither Nicholas or Elijah are mentioned in their father's will. Because no proof of birth dates are known for these four children, it may be implied that between the years 1664 and 1672, the family took up residence perhaps on Long Island or on Staten Island, as was the case with many other of the Piscataway First Settlers who emigrated from New England.

The last three children were born in Piscataway, New Jersey, — Samuel on September 7, 1672,who died at age 10 on October 1, 1682; Jane on January 29, 1674/5, who died just over a year old on February 25, 1675/6; and Priscilla on November 11, 1677, who married John Langstaffe. (Mouse over and click on the birth record image left to enlarge in a new window/tab.) In 1683 Hannah inherited from her father “four pounds in Money and two Cowes” and “all my household stuffe to be equally Divided” with her three sisters.

It is not known when Hannah Fuller Bonham died. Some researchers say she died on October 29, 1683. Others say it was 1685, but Howard E. Bonham states in his book, Bonham and Related Family Lines that “according to the above deeds, she was still living by 1696/7. Hezekiah received ‘confirmation in right of his late father ... of 182 acres in Piscataway,’ which included (1), a houselot of 12 acres, etc. recorded 1 May 1697. [NJArchives, Vol. XXI, p.268]” The deed he referred to was dated January 1, 1697, and it referenced the widow Bonham’s land. Howard goes on to say, “Nicholas' will gave all remaining property to Hezekiah Bonham, Sr. after the death of ‘wife, Hannah….’ Therefore, we suggest that Hannah died after 1 Jan 1696/7 and before 1 May 1697.” If this is so, it means Hannah lived long enough to bury at least three of her children, her father in 1683 and her husband in 1684.


David Bishop was born August 26, 1660 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, the youngest child of eight children born to parents John Bishop and Rebecca Kent Scullard. (Mouse over birth record image right.) Because this was his mother’s second marriage, he also had two older Scullard half sisters. David married Mary Alger on March 24, 1679 in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey, and they had only one child, ancestor Mary. David and Mary settled in Woodbridge and were only married four years and ten months when David died unexpectedly, without a will.  The inventory of his estate, which occurred on January 7, 1683/4, was made at the request of his father, John Bishop, and father-in-law, Thomas Alger. The estate consisted of 60 pounds, 16 shillings and 10 pence. On March 10, 1683/4, his widow Mary was granted administration of the estate. It is not known where David Bishop is buried, but it is assumed to be in Woodbridge.

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Mary Alger was one of three known children born to parents Thomas and Susannah Alger in the 1660’s. Justice James Bollen married her to ancestor David Bishop on March 24, 1679, at her father's house at Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey.  The typewritten transcript of the official record says “Mary Alger, daughter of William . . .” This error could mean that it was her brother William’s house, not the father’s house; or that possibly William and Thomas are the same person, i.e. William Thomas Alger; or the compiler of the earlier records incorrectly transferred the name of the son on the marriage record. We know she is Thomas’ daughter because she is listed in his will.

Mary and David had only one child born about 1682, who was called both Mary and Marie Bishop in the records.  Mary and David were not married long, as David died just prior to January 7, 1683/4, the date the inventory on his estate was made.  On March 10, 1683/4, administration of the estate was granted to his widow. Mary was left widowed with a very young daughter.

A year later on January 9, 1684/85, Mary, who lived in Woodbridge, married Charles Gilman, who lived in Piscataway, also in Middlesex County, in the Baptist Church there. An entry of their marriage can be found both in the Woodbridge and Piscataway records. (Mouse over and click on the hand written Piscataway marriage record image left to enlarge in a new window/tab.) They had three children together all born in Piscataway – Charles Jr born on August 2, 1686, married first Susannah Carle, and after her death Rachel Clarkson-he died at 33 years old; Joseph born on November 10, 1689, married a woman named Elizabeth and died at 43 years old; and Mary born on December 15, 1691, who died as an infant that same month. Just a month later, her second husband Charles died on January 19, 1691/2. Once again, Mary is left a widow with 10-year-old Mary Bishop, 5-year-old Charles, and 3-year-old Joseph. In her husband Charles’ will, which was written the day before he died, he mentions his wife’s mother Susannah Alger, and his wife's daughter Marie Bishop, among others. He assigns Mary and their son Charles as executors of his personal estate, which was inventoried at 251 pounds, 17 shillings and 10 pence, and included a Negro slave at 25 pounds.

Four months later, Mary married Benjamin Jones as his second wife on May 20, 1692. Prior to their marriage, on March 1, 1691/2, Benjamin petitioned the court to get involved with the Gilman estate“in right of his wife Marie” and gained access to the estate.  On August 17, 1692, a Bond was issued for “Marie, late widow of Chas. Gilman, now wife of Benjamin Jones of Piscataway, as executrix with her eldest son, Charles of said Gilman's estate.

Mary Alger-Bishop-Gilman-Jones died the following year on April 28, 1693 in Piscataway. She was buried in the Piscatawaytown Burial Ground, which is now the St. James Episcopal Church Cemetery in Edison. The tombstone (pictured right) inscription is hard to read but it seems to say, “Hear Lies The Body of Mary Jones Wife of Benjamin Jones   MY 1693.”  In their 2008 book, New Jersey Cemeteries and Tombstones: History in the Landscape, Richard Francis Veit and Mark Nonestied say, “Mary Jones’s headstone in the Piscatawaytown Burial Ground, Edison, is New Jersey’s oldest intact legible headstone.”

Her husband Benjamin kept the estate in his hands until 1695 when on August 14, he gave the court a tally of his expenses: “for Dyett washing and Lodging three years and halfe, for three Children of the deceased at 8 pounds p. a . . . 84 pounds for teaching said children to read 16 pounds, and sums due to Judath Sutton, Mrs. Auger (a legacy), Jonathan Ogden, John Taylor the smith, Benjamin Hull, Judith Hendrix the servant of the dec'd.”1695 is the same year that Mary’s daughter ancestor Mary Bishop filed for new guardianship.

It is not known what happened to Mary’s sons Charles and Joseph Gilman, age 7 and 4 respectively, when she died. It is doubtful they would continue to reside with their stepfather, Benjamin Jones. There is no mention of the guardianship of the two Gilman children, except for the reference to the expenses for the three children made by Benjamin Jones in 1695. It is assumed that the Gilman relatives took them in. Mary’s last husband Benjamin Jones died in the summer of 1717.

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Rev. John Drake was born about 1655 in Portsmouth, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. He was the youngest of three children born to Capt. Francis Drake and his wife Mary.  The family moved to Piscataway, Middlesex, New Jersey, when John was still a boy. Piscataway Township was formed on December 18, 1666, so his family was among the very first settlers there. He married Rebecca Trotter there on July 7, 1677, and she was the mother of all of his 14 children.

John was a lay preacher in the early days of Piscataway, owned and farmed land, was also a constable, overseer of the poor, and was a delegate to the New Jersey Assembly. On December 10, 1683, John Drake was one of the debtors mentioned in the estate of Francis Duke of Piscataway. In 1689, he was one of the founders of the First Baptist Society of Piscataway and served as its first pastor officiating for 50 years when his great age forced his retirement in 1729. He is reported to be the first ordained Baptist minister in America.

He is mentioned several times in the New Jersey Archives Deeds. On October 3, 1695, he purchased 80 acres adjoining his houselot on the North. On March 10, 1697/8, “Confirmation to John Drake, Edward Slater, Capt. George Drake, and several others, all of Piscataway, for a small tract of meadow there, on the North side of Rariton R . . .

His wife Rebecca died soon after childbirth, leaving him with 14 children. He married Elizabeth (Bonham) Slater, widow of Edward Slater, who died in 1702/3, and daughter of ancestors Nicholas Bonham and Hannah Fuller. As both John and Elizabeth had several small children, they probably married soon after the death of their respective spouses, probably about 1703/4.  Elizabeth had five children living at home with her, ranging in age from about 13 years old to age 2 and John had ten children at home, ranging in age from 20 years old to about 2 when they married. Ancestor Jacob was one of them. Howard E. Bonham and Jean Allin state in their book Bonham and Related Family Lines,  “In 1702/3, the combined households of Rev. John Drake & (2) wife, Elizabeth (Bonham) Slater Drake numbered 15 children of various ages - from Benjamin Drake, the eldest at ca age 20, to Alathea Slater, the youngest child at age ca 1 year old.”

On October 16, 1705, John acted as bondsmen for widow Elizabeth Peatt. In a deposition dated April 29, 1707, John Drake gives his age as about 50 years. Sometime during this time, John’s second wife Elizabeth died. Still having young children at home, he married Barbara Scott at the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia on July 8, 1707.

John wrote his will on April 7, 1740 in Essex County, New Jersey, and died prior to September 29, 1741, the date the will was proved in probate court. The will reads as follows:

In the Name God Amen the Seventh Day of April in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty, I John Drake sener of the County of Essex and Province of New Jersey yeoman being in perfect health and memory thanks be to amighty God therefore and knowing the certainty of Death therefore Do make and or Dain this my Last will and Testament and firs of all I recommend my Soul into the hands of God that Gave itt and I Recommend my body to the earth to be Buried Decently by my Executors and as touching such good as God hath blest me with I give and Dispose of the same In manner and form as following and first of all I orDain and appoint hat all my Lawfull be paid by my Executors afternamed,
Item I give unto my son Benjamin Drake sixteen pound
Item I give unto my son Isaac Drake nineteen pound
Item I give unto my son Abraham Drake sixteen pound
Item I give unto my son Sammuel Drake Twenty pound
Item I give unto my daughter Sarah Fullsom seaven shilling
Item I give unto my grandson Abraham Drake seaven pound
Item I give unto my grandson John Drake six pound
Item I give unto my grandson Phillip Drake seven pound
Item I give unto my grandson Gersham Drake seven pound
Item I give unto Samul Davis and Thomas Davises Children he had by my daughter Mary Davis five pound Each of them.
Item I give unto Mary Davis Daughter of the said Mary Davis Deceased £ 3.
Item I give unto Edward Slater six pound
Item I give unto Allirhiah Skibbo Eight pound
Item I give unto Elizabeth Hull Wife of Benjaman Hull Esqr. three pound
Item I give unto Filibrates Martain the wife of Benjaman Martain £ 3.
Item I give unto my daughter in Law Patience Drake
Item I give unto my daughter Sarah Drake three pound
Item I give unto Moses Fitz Randolph Thirty Pound
Item I give unto Christian bebout five pounds
Item I give unto the poor of iscataqua five pounds.
Item I will that if any of the above mentioned Legatorys shall be uneasy turbulent or trouble
to my Executors that he or they shall forfit their Respect Leagaies there of which said Leagaies shall be disposed of as the rest of my Estate there after mentioned
I will that the remainder ofmy Estate if any there be to be Devided Equilly  a mongstt my own Children onely my Daughter Sarah Fulson which I give nothing by the seven shilling and I do hearby make apoint  Constitute and Ordain my well beloved Gransons Sammuel Drake and Jonas Drake And Hannah Drake there mother to be my only and Sole Executors of this my Last Will and Testament Revising Disannulling all other testaments or wills hereto fore By me made in word or writing and this one to be taken for my Last Will and Testament and no other. In Witness where of I have hereunto set my hand and Seal the …
 And the year first above written
Dealed and Delivered and published by the said John Drake to be his Last will and John Drake L.S. Testament in the presents of us.
James Manning
Grace Manning
David Drake

It should be noted that Christian Bebout is his deceased son Jacob’s wife, ancestor Christian Molleson, who had married Peter Bebout by this time. Also note that he mentions four of his second wife’s (Elizabeth Bonham-Slater-Drake) children in his will: Edward Slater, Allizhia Skebow, Elizabeth Hull, and Fillratea Martin.

Rev. John Drake was buried in the First Baptist Church of Piscataway cemetery, now the Stelton Baptist Church Cemetery. This is the same cemetery where his first wife Rebecca was buried. Although there is no headstone for John, there is a plaque at the church (see image above) where he is shown as being the first pastor, continuing for fifty years. He is called nephew of Sir Francis Drake. Also listed are Nicholas Bonham, possibly grandson of ancestor Nicholas and Edmund Dunham, brother-in-law of ancestor Hezekiah Bonham.

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Rebecca Trotter was born on July 5, 1655, in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, the second child of at least six children born to William Trotter and Cutbury Gibbs. (Mouse of image right for more about the birth record.) She married John Drake, on July 7, 1677, in Piscataway, New Jersey, and they had at least fourteen children, all born in Piscataway – John was born on June 2, 1678, married Sarah Compton there on December 9, 1697; Francis born on December 23, 1679, married Patience Walker on November 10, 1698; Samuel born in 1680, married Elizabeth Hull on September 19, 1700; Joseph on October 21, 1681, married Annie Walker about 1703; Benjamin was born about 1682/83, married twice, Mary Runyon and then Hannah Seabrook; Abraham in April of 1685, married Deliverance Wooden about 1704; Sarah was born in 1686, married Benjamin Hull about 1704; Isaac was born on January 12, 1687/8, married Hannah Blackford about 1710; ancestor Jacob; Ebenezer on July 19, 1693, married Anna Dunn on November 10, 1723; Ephraim in 1694/5, married Mercy Piatt about 1725; Rebecca on November 21, 1697, married Joseph FitzRandolph on May 22, 1712; Abigail on May 29 1699; and Mary was born about 1700, and was married to Thomas Davis. Rebecca’s life must have been a hard one, taking care of 10 sons and four daughters!

Rebecca Trotter Drake died shortly after the birth of their fourteenth child Mary. She was buried in Piscataway at the First Day Baptist Society Church (where her husband preached) Cemetery, now known as the Stelton Baptist Church Cemetery. There is no headstone or any other marker for Rebecca at the church. The photo right shows the general area of her grave. (Mouse over photo.)

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John Molleson was baptized on December 10, 1661, at Saint Nicholas Church in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland His sister Elsbet was also baptized on that same day, which may mean he was a twin.  He was the ninth or tenth of eleven children born to parents Gilbert Molleson and Margaret Smyth.  His mother who died when he was about eight years old, was a devote Quaker, so he was raised a Quaker. Some researchers say that John was apprentice to his sister Margaret's husband David Falconar, a merchant of Edinburgh.

John Molleson came to the New World and settled in New Jersey sometime prior to 1688. (There is a John Molleson recorded as living in Piscataway, Middlesex County, in 1669, this is probably his uncle who was born in 1620.) On April 23, 1688, ancestor John married Sarah Howell in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey and they had at least seven children. His name is mentioned several times after 1684 in the New Jersey Deeds records, but it is not clear which John it is.  On May 30, 1688, the New Jersey deeds states that John Mollesone of New Perth received 30 acres in Piscataway from Hugh Dun and wife Elizabeth (the parents of Mary, ancestor Hezekiah Bonham’s first wife; Elizabeth was the daughter of ancestor Frances Drake). In The Original Scots Colonists of Early America Supplement 1607-1707, John is listed as being the “servant to Robert Barclay in East New Jersey” and references a deed dated 1688. (In 1682, John’s brother-in-law Robert Barclay was appointed governer of New Jersery, but never lived in the colony-he stayed in Scotland. John probably helped take care of Barclay’s business dealings in New England.) The only deeds we clearly know belong to our John are dated November 1, 1693, and December 2, 1699, because they refer to “John Molleson of Piscataway and wife Sarah.” The deeds go up to August 28, 1701, and call him a yeoman, merchant, and one researcher says he was a vestryman of St. James Protestant Episcopal Church. Unfortunately we may never know what his occupation was.

John Molleson is believed to have died in Piscataway soon after May 12, 1731. On May 7, 1731, he gave his youngest daughter a dowry “in consideration of love he bears his dau. Jean Molleson.” A few days later on May 12th he gave his eldest daughter ancestor Christian a lot in New Windsor by deed of gift. This seems to be a father making sure his daughters are taken care of after his death.


Sarah Howell’s birth is unknown. Some researchers say she was born on August 22, 1672, in Woodbridge, New Haven, Connecticut, others say it was in New Jersey. What is documented is that she came to Piscataway, Middlesex County, New Jersey in January of 1683, with her father Simond Howell and brother John. Where she came from is not known. Being that her mother is not mentioned, it is assumed her mother had died previously. Sarah met and then married John Molleson on April 23, 1688, in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey.

Her father’s given name has been spelled different ways, including Symour, and Simon. Their arrival into Piscataway is documented in a petition dated July 19, 1693, made by her husband John for 100 acres of land. This petition is documented in Orra Eugene Monnette’s, First Settlers of Ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge, Olde East New Jersey, 1664-1714. It states that the Howells imported themselfs free into this Province in Jan. 1683. This document also states that at this time, her brother and father, Symour were deceased. This petition was confirmed and became a deed on November 1st of that year.

John and Sarah had at least seven children, all born in Piscataway, Middlesex, New Jersey – ancestor Christian; Sarah born on March 8, 1692, married David Fitz Randolph in 1712, and died at 45 years old on January 16, 1738; Margaret born on August 22, 1695, married Thomas Fitz Randolph about 1713; Gilbert born on September 30, 1697, died before his ninth birthday; John born on April 26, 1700, married Kezia Blackford on October 7, 1724; Joan, called Jean, born on December 31, 1703, received her dowry on May 7, 1731, and then married Thomas Smalley, who died the same year, leaving his wife pregnant; and another Gilbert born on March 31, 1706.  Most of these children were named after John’s brothers and sisters.  

It is said that Sarah Howell Molleson died in 1720 in Woodbridge Oaks, Middlesex County, NJ and is buried in the Stelton Baptist Church Cemetery. Others say she died about 1738 in Piscataway. There is no documentation to support either date or place. Some researchers say her father Simond died in 1693, but again, there is no documentation for this. It is probably referred to like this, because it is documented that he was dead by July 19, 1693. Nothing more is known about him.

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Thomas Alger was probably born in the 1640’s, possibly the son of Thomas Alger and nephew of Arthur and Andrew Alger. The elder Thomas came from Newton Ferrers, England, about 1630. This was 10 years after the Mayflower arrived and marks the beginning of a ten-year period called the Great Migration when approximately 20,000 colonists came to New England.

Thomas Alger is called a First Settler of Woodbridge in Orra Eugene Monnette’s book First Settlers of ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge, Olde East New Jersey, 1664-1714. She goes on to say that he was “there as early as 1669, if not before, owned land, etc., and hence must have been born before 1650.” In Charles Henry Pope’s book The Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire, 1623 to 1660, he states that there was a Thomas Alger “from Newton Ferrers, Eng. came to Casco; worked for John Winter a year about 1630.” Casco in Maine, is the same town that brothers Arthur and Andrew Alger (who “came in the service of John Winter with Capt. Hawkins in 1653 . . .” lived.  In volume 1 of The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Robert Charles Anderson writes “there is probably some relation between Thomas and Andrew. Newton Ferrers, the home of Thomas Alger according to Winter, and Yealmpton, the home of Andrew Alger, are neighboring parishes. Thomas Alger has not been found in any New England record after 1634.” These men are considered the fathers of all the Alger’s in America. Our Thomas could be related to them and possibly the son of the Thomas who was there in 1630. Unfortunately there are no documents to support any of this. What is documented is that the name was pronounced Auger. In 1633, Butler wrote his English Grammar book and states that in his time ‘a’ before ‘l’ sounded like ‘au.’ Monnette tells us that our Thomas’ family always used the Alger spelling, while others spelled it as Auger.  Records were kept in both spellings among others!

Thomas met and married Susannah, maiden name unknown.  They had three known children – ancestor Mary; William, who married Rebecca Avirill on March 13, 1684; and Susannah, who married John Allen about 1683. None of their birth records can be found, but from their 1680’s marriage dates, it would seem they were all born in the 1660’s.

The family settled in Woodbridge, New Jersey. The New Jersey Archives, Volume XXI tells us that on March 18, 1669/70 a patent to Thomas Awger for land in Woodbridge included “a houselot of 12 acres on a neck in the fork of Bradhe's Brook; 2, 120 acres of upland, W. of the houselot; 3, 35 acres of Raratons meadows adjoining Robert Rogers and John Pyke.” On May 15, 1678 he purchased “68 acres along Raraton meadows, bounded W. by grantee, formerly Governor Carteret's land, N. and E. by the commons, S. by said meadows.” On February 18, 1685/6 a deed is recorded for “12 1/2 acres on Rariton R. at the mouth of the great creek, W. Charles Gillman, W.S.W. the main creek, S.E. Abraham Tappin, N. open land.” This all adds up to over 247 acres.

Thomas wrote his will on January 4, 1687/8.  It reads as follows: “Thomas Alger of Woodbridge Corporation, yeoman; will of. Wife, Susannah, executrix; son, William, daughter Mary Gilman, grandchild John, son of John Allen, of Woodbridge. A plantation, a homelot in Woodbridge, share in the mill by John Dennis.” It was witnessed by Edward Slater, Richard Worth, and Charles Gilman, who was ancestor Mary’s husband at the time. (It should be noted that Edward Slater married Elizabeth Bonham, as his second wife. She was the daughter of ancestors Nicholas and Hannah (Fuller) Bonham, and sister of ancestor Hezekiah Bonham, Sr., who married as his second wife Mary Bishop, who was the daughter of David and Mary (Alger) Bishop.)

Thomas Alger died just prior to January 16, 1687-8, the date the inventory was taken which reads as follows: “Inventory of the estate (113 pounds, 3 shillings and 3 pence, including 30 pounds for his share of the grist mill), made by Samuel Moore and Edward Slater.”The will was proved on January 24, 1687/8. Letters of administration were granted on the estate to his widow Susannah on February 17, 1687/8. Son-in-law Charles Gilman was one of the two bondsmen involved in the process. In Gilman’s will written on January 18, 1691/2 he mentions his “wife’s mother Susana Alger.” So although we don’t know where or when Thomas’ wife Susannah died, she was alive in January 1691/2.

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Captain Francis Drake’s ancestry is uncertain. There isn’t a consensus of who his parents are. Some believe he is a descendant of one of the 11 brothers of the famous navigator Sir Francis Drake, possibly Robert. It seems that this Robert, and his sons Abraham and Nathaniel, lived in Portsmouth, on the banks of the swift-flowing Piscataqua River, Rockingham County, New Hampshire at the same time as Francis. Drakes had lived in this area since 1635. Nathaniel and Francis owned lots next door to each other in an area called Old Strawberry Bank in the 1660’s. Unfortunately, Robert only acknowledged Abraham and Nathaniel as his sons in his will, so there is no proof that Francis was their brother or even cousin. Some say that Francis was left out of the will because he was a Baptist, and that Nathaniel received less inheritance because of his association with Francis. This researcher believes he is not Robert’s son, as in the Portsmouth records, where a signature is required, Francis didn’t sign his name, he only made his FD mark. Nathaniel signed his name in full, so you have to ask why would a father not educate all of his sons? He could probably be somehow related to Nathaniel, but how is unknown. There are many other opinions on his parentage. Oliver B. Leonard states the following in his History of the First Baptist Church of Piscataway, Stelton, New Jersey, 1889: “Both Robert and Sir Francis belonged to the original family of Devonshire, Eng., where the Drake estate was established shortly after the conquest of William of Normandy. In 1556 there was a Robert Drake living, who suffered as a martyr-minister in a neighboring county for conscience's sake, and was burned at the stake April 23 of that year. It is record of him that he said, when exhorted by the priest to renounce his faith: ‘As for your Church of Rome, I utterly deny its works and defy its power, even as I deny the devil and defy all his works.’

Francis married about 1648, in Portsmouth, Mary, some say her surname was Walker, but again, there isn’t any documentation to support this. The surname Walker comes from the fact that a Samuel Walker lived in the Piscataqua region of New Hampshire at the same time as Francis and Mary; in 1690, a few years after Francis’ death, land had been surveyed for George Drake, John Drake, Capt. Francis Drake, and Samuel Walker; and in 1693, when payments were paid from the estate, Samuel Walker of Boston, merchant, was one of the recipients. These are probably the reasons it is assumed that Samuel was the brother of Mary, and both possibly the children of George Walker.

Francis and Mary had at least three known children, all born in Portsmouth— George, born about 1651, married Mary Oliver on November 13, 1677, and died in the Fall of 1710; Elizabeth born about 1653, married Hugh Dunn on December 19, 1670, and had a daughter Mary who was the first wife of ancestor Hezekiah Bonham; and lastly, ancestor John.

Frances was involved in the early Portsmouth land allotments, was a juror, a surveyor, and devoutly religious. His name appears at least nine times in the early Portsmouth records, from April 5, 1646, to May 13, 1688. He owned “37 acres, a house lott upon the poynte of Rogers Knights Island at the mouthe of a fresh water creeke.”   Each year he was allotted more land and in 1688, he owned 64 acres. (Mouse over and click on the image right to enlarge in a new window/tab.) There was a land ownership dispute and in July of 1665, Frances and others signed three separate petitions to the King of England to remove Portsmouth from the jurisdiction of Massachusetts to protect his property and religious rights. Leonard states, “But the province being settled entirely as a trading interest, all laws were disregarded and a permanent residence there by peaceful citizens became unendurable.” This did not go over well with the powers in charge and several men were jailed. Albert Drake, in his book, Jersey Blue Spirit: Pioneer Courage, states that “Francis Drake was a leader in the stand against oppression and maybe escaped being jailed in return for leaving the area.” Francis, Mary and the children moved to Newbury, Massachusetts, but didn’t stay there very long. He sold his NH property on August 5, 1668, but the deed wasn’t recorded until 1717. The village of Piscataway, named after their New Hampshire home, was established in 1666 with 40,000 acres and proclaimed liberty of conscience in matters of religion. In 1668 the Francis Drake family moved to Piscataway, in the second wave of settlers.

Francis soon became an outstanding figure in Piscataway. He was a founder and first commander of The Jersey Blues, the first militia in America. In 1677, the local Indian tribe confronted the Piscataway residents for going beyond the previously agreed borders. Under his command, a non-conflict negotiated settlement was agreed upon. Francis resigned from the militia on May 30, 1678. In addition to being a land-owner, he was one of the first selectmen of Piscataway, he owned and managed a tavern, was constable, justice of the peace, and in 1682 was county judge. He is credited with the ownership of 245 acres of land in 1690.

The Piscataway Town records show Francis died on September 24, 1687, his wife, listed only as the widow of Francis Drake, died the next year on July 29, 1688. An inventory of his estate was taken five days after his death on September 29th, totaling £67.7. Apparently Francis did not have a will, as it took over a month for the administration on the estate, to be granted to his son George Drake. On February 27, 1692-3, an account of the payments made from the estate, totaling £68.3.6, was made by George Drake. Recipients were his mother, sister Elizabeth Dunn, his brother John Drake, Samuel Walker of Boston, merchant, Benjamin Hull, Charles Follet, Walter Robeson, Hugh Stonnels and John Goning. The bulk of the estate was accounted for on August 20, 1688, a month after his mother died, showing George made payments to his brother Hugh Dun and brother John Drake, in all £62.14.4.

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William Trotter’s ancestry is very uncertain. Some researchers believe he was born on May 1, 1636, the son of George Trotter, of Byers Green, Durham County, England. Unfortunately Sir Bernard Burke, in his book A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 2, Edition 4, tells us that this William stayed in England and married a woman named Elizabeth in 1678. Other researchers say he was born in Auckland in Durham County on April 4, 1630, the son of Anthony Trotter. A christening record exists for a William Trotter baptized on this date to this father in Auckland Saint Andrew, which we interpret as The Parish Church of Saint Andrew Auckland, which today is in Bishop’s Auckland in Durham County, just south of Byers Green. So this is a good possibility, but no other documentation exists linking our William to Anthony. Still even others say he was born in Newburyport, Essex County, Massachusetts, to George Trotter and Gertrude Wren of Byers Green. Being that Newbury wasn't settled until the spring of 1635, and there is no mention of these folks in any of the Newbury records, this is highly unlikely. Christening records show us that there were two Gertrude Wrens baptized about the same time in the same area of Durham that could be her. The first was the daughter of Charles Wren, but she became a nun. The second was the daughter of Ralph Wren, who could be the mother of William, possibly married to Anthony.  We will probably never know who William Trotter’s parents were.

Bernard Burke tells us in his book Burke's Distinguished Families of America that William was “a Quaker, believed to have left England owing to religious persecution, .  .  .” He was in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts in 1652.  In Volume 1 of John James Currier’s book, History of Newbury, Mass., 1635-1902, he states, “The towns men with the rest of the Committee above said, meeting January the 10th 1652 about their comission found that all inhabitants was freeholders according to towne order except those whose names are here under written and these also the committee according to their power do order that they may purchase the priveledge of Commonage, each man Conditionally; every man do either lay eight akers of divident land to the Comon which they may do by purchase or else pay fifty shillings to the townsmen to purchase such land for the towns use, and no other person upon any Condition whatsoever.” William's name is among those listed, with the notation "hath not liberty to purchase.

William married Cutbury Gibbs on December 9, 1652, in Newbury. (See her bio for more on her name.) There are many records, including the original hand written entry pictured right (mouse over image for more info) to confirm this. Their first child Mary was born on January 22, 1652/53, less than two months after the marriage. This may be the reason why on September 27, 1653 the Quarterly Court of Essex County, Massachusetts, declared that, “William Trotter and wife be fined or to be whipped for defiling the marriage bed.” See her bio for information on their other children. They probably lived near Trotter's Bridge.

On September 29, 1657, William deposed before the Ipswich Quarterly Court (Essex County) that he was at work with Francis Walker and they discussed “. . . the beast now in controversy with John Poore, . . .” On March 29, 1659, he was again before the Ipswich Court. But this time he was being charged “for slanderous speeches, ordered to make public confession after next lecture at Newbury or pay fine of forty shillings and fees.” The next month on April 16th he testified that John Johnson “. . . had drunk too much . . ” and he was to appear again at the next meeting of the court. Later that month, on the 28th, John and William’s “bond of five pounds forfeited, as they did not appear.” On June 2nd of the same year, the court ordered John to pay William for his forfeited bond. The last entry found for William in Essex County is on September 27, 1664 when the widow Susannah Rogers requested from the court the Plum Island land that she lived on which William and her late husband Robert Rogers purchased and sold parts of together. The records of this account are very long and involved. In the court records for 1661, there is an interesting entry. “Martha Trotter testified the same as Naomi Hull.” It is not known who Martha was, or what her relationship to William, if any, was. Being that she was heard in court, she probably was too old to be William’s daughter or daughter-in-law, so she may have been a sister, sister-in-law or cousin. Naomi, “aged twenty years and upward” was the daughter of Rev. Joseph Hull.

Some researchers say that William was the one who proposed in 1665, and led the Newbury people to Woodbridge, New Jersey. If this is so, it is not documented, but William Trotter appeared in what is now Elizabeth, NJ and took the first oath in 1665. He was one of the 80 men, along with Robert Rogers, the son of the deceased Robert of Newbury mentioned above.  He owned 180 acres of land: his house was on four acres; two acres on the river; 13 acres of Upland by the Elizabeth Town brook; 138 acres of upland by a swamp, and unsurveyed land; and 23 acres of meadow in the Common Meadow. He either built or had built a bridge, once again called Trotter’s Bridge in the northern part of the town. In 1914, Warren Rogers Dix wrote in his book Historic Elizabeth, 1664-1914, that “Parker Road, which before the Revolution was called the ‘Road leading to Trotter’s Bridge.’ That was a bridge across the river where a bridge now stands, south of the dam of the upper reservoir. It is a tradition that during the Revolutionary War there was a smart skirmish at this bridge.”  Parker Road still exists today and leads into Trotter Lane that crosses the river with a modern cement bridge.

Some researchers believe that William’s wife died and he remarried in New York, an Alice Ebel on September 28, 1667, in New Amsterdam (New York City), as a record exists for this marriage. This is not correct; it is not the same William Trotter.

William Trotter’s death date is uncertain, but most researchers believe he died on September 7, 1676, in Piscataway, Middlesex County, New Jersey. This is supported by the East Jersey warrant dated December 27, 1676 where his eldest son Samuel Trotter received 180 acres in Elizabeth Town “in right of his father William Trotter Deceased and his Mother.”  Note the mother is not deceased.

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Cutbury Gibbs’ given name is probably Catherine, as listed on her daughter’s marriage record. The name Cutbury comes from her marriage record, pictured above, to William Trotter. It is not known if Cutbury is a nickname, or a derogatory name given to her because she was late in her pregnancy when she married. James Savage in volume 4 of A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England states about her given name, “Herein I follow Coffin, with resolute protest of incredul. against the unchristian name . . .” Her ancestry is also uncertain.  Most researchers say she was born July 8, 1635, in Newbury Old Town, Essex County, Massachusetts, the daughter of John Gibbs and Joan Scott. (Because Newbury was settled and incorporated in 1635, records are scarce for this time, so none have been found.) But others say she was born anytime between 1626 and 1631 in Exeter, Devonshire, England the daughter of Giles and Katherine Gibbs, who settled in Windsor, Connecticut. There are no documents to support any of this; their wills never mention a daughter with any name like Catherine or Cutbury. In the Essex County Quarterly Court records there is mention of Robert and Benjamin Gibbs aged in their 30s from 1663 to 1671; and a William, age not given in 1657. These could be her brothers or even her father.  We may never know.

What we do know for sure is that Cutbury Gibbs married William Trotter on December 9, 1652, in Newbury and they had at least seven children, all born in Newbury – Mary was born on January 22, 1653; ancestor Rebecca; Samuel on June 5, 1657; Benjamin in June of 1659, married Hannah, and died in 1726; and Sarah on May 3, 1665, who at 14 years-old married Joseph Martin on November 25, 1679 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Records exist forall six children born to father William; the mother’s name is not given. Some researchers believe she also had a daughter named Martha and two sons named Robert and William, whose birth years are unknown. If this is so, they were probably not born in Newbury.

Many researchers say she died in 1667 because of a marriage record found for a William Trotter in New York in that year. This researcher believes that Cutbury Catherine Gibbs Trotter outlived her husband and died after December 27, 1676, in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. This is based on the warrant in the New Jersey records mentioned above. It is believed she is buried, probably with her husband, in the Saint James Episcopal Church Cemetery, also known as the Piscatawaytown Burying Grounds, which is now in Edison, Middlesex County, New Jersey.

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