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Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-33



High Laver, Essex

1631 on second trip of Lyon



"James and Lydia Pennyman" were admitted to Boston church as members #117 and #118, which would be late in 1631 [BChR 15]. On 16 February 1639/40 "James Pennyman and Lydia his wife" were "recommended to the Church of Christ at Mount Wollystone" [BChR 27].

6 March 1631/2 [MBCR 1:367].

On 12 August 1636 "James Pennyman" paid 5s. for the support of the schoolmaster [BTR 160]. He signed his will. His inventory included "books" valued at 18s.

Boston fenceviewer, 9 February 1634[/5] [BTR 1:3]. Petit jury, 19 February 1635[/6] [BTR 1:8].

   Braintree selectman, 1640, 1645, 1651-53 [BrTR 1, 2, 5, 6]. Commissioner to end small causes for Braintree, 10 May 1643 [MBCR 2:35].
   On 27 January 1639[/40] James "Pennyman" and five others represented their neighbors at Mount Wollaston in an agreement with the town of Boston for 4s. an acre for every two acres of the seven acres formerly granted "to diverse, then of Boston, upon expectation they should have continued with us; and 3s. an acre for every acre that hath been, or shall be, granted to any others who are not inhabitants of Boston and ... all the said lands shall be free from any town rates or charges to Boston, and also from the country charges when the Mount shall be rated by the court ..." and liberty to accept the court's permission to become a town [BTR 1:47; MBCR 1:291].

On 21 March 1636[/7] it was agreed "that our brother James Pennyman shall have leave for this year to mow that part of the marsh on the neck near unto his garden which he hath wontedly mown" [BTR 1:16]. On 2 June 1637 it was agreed "that James Pennyman shall have the Hilsteade and the marsh ground under it as it shall be measured and bounded out at Charles Ryver, he allowing out of his allotment at Mount Woollystone seven acres for five" [BTR 1:18].

   On 22 February 1640[/1] "brother Peniman" had two and a half acres on the Knight's neck at Braintree for which he was to "pay after the rate of 12s. per acre for the town stock of Boston" [BTR 1:59]. On 29 July 1644 land within the common fence at Braintree near the Knight's neck was sold to Sergt. Matson, James Penniman, Moses Payne, Francis Eliot for 5s. per acre to be paid to Mr. Henry Flint of Braintree for his own use "on consideration of his late great loss through the hand of God's providence by fire" [BTR 1:80]. He was again ordered to pay for this land to Mr. Flint at the town meeting 30 September 1644, having failed to do so in a timely manner [BTR 1:81].

   In his will, dated 18 December 1664 and proved 31 January 1664[/5], "James Pennyman of Braintree" bequeathed "half my uplands, half my meadows, half my orchard, half my barns & outhousing, and all my dwelling house I do give unto my beloved wife, for her support & my lesser children with her"; "the other half I give unto my son Joseph, & if he think good, to improve it all for his mother's comfort ... I think it will be best if he marry & build near my wife"; "my moveable estate I also give wholly to my wife for her support & the education of my lesser children"; "and because God hath blessed me with many children I do commit it to my wife's discretion to do good unto them all, in as near a proportion as she can & to be most helpful to them that have most need"; at her death, to "my children so as to make them as equal sharers as she can"; "my first born, James, having been educated into such a way of living as he is having already had a portion ... [to] answer his double portion"; to "my youngest son Samuel & my three youngest daughters, I give 20 apiece if it be to be had at my wife's decease, or afore if need be, & such as are married, to be made up to such a sum if it be to be had" [SPR 1:439-40].

   The inventory of "James Pennyman" was taken 27 September 1664 and totalled 505 3s., including real estate valued at 370: "his part of his lease of Mr. Hoffe's Necke," 15; "dwelling house," 45; "barn & stable & old house & orchard," 70; "thirty acres of land or thereabout lying near the mill pond," 70; "fifteen acres near Knight's neck," 30; "about eighteen acres nigh Weymouth Ferry," 55; "three acres by Goodman Parmenter's," 15; and "2 parcels of salt meadow being about 8 acres lying in the neck," 70 [SPR 4:211].

   On 23 May 1666, the General Court, in "answer to the petition of Lyddia, widow of James Pennyman, the Court, having read & perused her petition, as also the imperfect will of her late husband, with the order of the County Court of Suffolk made thereupon, see no cause to make any alteration in the premises, but leave the petitioner to act in this her trust according to the power already committed to her" [MBCR 4:2:302]. On 13 October 1680, in "answer to the petition of Mrs. Margery Flynt, the Court do judge, that the payment & bond mentioned in the petition appearing to the administrators of James Pennyman's estate to satisfaction, the administrators are hereby empowered & ordered to pass deeds of sale in said Pennyman's name" [MBCR 5:297].

   In her will, dated 22 December 1673 and proved 27 July 1676, "Lidia Wight" noted that "as for that small portion of worldly goods which the Lord hath graciously given & left by the last will of my former husband James Penniman I have according to my best understanding faithfully performed his will & have truly paid unto my five daughters which are married, the full sum of twenty pounds to each of them," and bequeathed the 80 which was due to her from "my son Samuel Penniman which is the remainder of the price of the several parcels of land which I have sold to him as appears by deed" as follows: 20 to "my daughter Mary Penniman"; 10 to "my daughter Lydia Addams"; 10 to "my daughter Sarah Robinson"; 10 to "my daughter Bethiah Allen"; 10 to "my daughter Hannah Hall"; 10 to "my daughter Abigail Carie"; and 10 and a great kettle to "my daughter Mary Penniman"; "my son Samuel Penniman" to be sole executor and "my loving cousins Jacob Eliot and Theophilus Frary" to be overseers [SPR 6:160].

   The inventory of the estate of "the late deceased Lidiah Weight which was formerly the wife of James Penniman" totalled 109 11s., with no real estate included [SPR 12:46].

Baptized Chipping Ongar, Essex, 29 July 1599, son of James and Annis (Wilcock) Penniman [TAG 71:12-14].

Braintree 26 December 1664 [BrVR 639].

High Laver, Essex, 26 July 1631 Lydia Eliot, sister of JOHN ELIOT and JACOB ELIOT, and daughter of Bennet Eliot of Widford and Nazeing, Essex. (The High Laver parish register omits her maiden name [NEHGR 107:236; Waters 904-05].) She married (2) Medfield 7 [December?] 1665 as his second wife Thomas Wight.

   i   JAMES, bp. Boston 26 March 1633 [BChR 277]; m. Boston 10 May 1659 Mary Cross [BVR 71].

   ii   LYDIA, bp. Boston 22 February 1634/5 [BChR 279]; m. by 1653 Edward Adams (eldest child b. Medfield 12 July 1653; see COMMENTS below).

   iii   JOHN, bp. Boston 15 January 1637[/8] [BChR 281]; m. Braintree 24 February 166[4/]5 Hannah Billings [BrVR 717].

   iv   JOSEPH, b. Braintree 1 August 1639 [NEHGR 3:247], bp. Boston 29 September 1639 [BChR 283]; m. (1) Braintree 25 September 1666 Waiting Robinson [BrVR 717]; m. (2) Braintree 10 May 1693 "Sarah Stone, widow of Deacon John Stone of Watertown" [BrVR 720].

   v   SARAH, b. Braintree 16 May 1641 [NEHGR 3:247]; m. Dorchester 19 January 1663/4 Increase Robinson [DVR 21].

   vi   BETHIA, b. say 1643; m. by 1673 John Allen [SPR 6:160; TAG 71:1-6].

   vii   SAMUEL, b. Braintree 14 November 1645 [NEHGR 12:107]; m. Dorchester 6 January 1673/4 Elizabeth Parmenter [DVR 23; BrVR 718].

   viii   HANNAH, b. Braintree 26 May 1648 [BrVR 632]; m. (1) Taunton 4 February 1671 John Hall; m. (2) Taunton 4 June 1702 Samuel Haskins [TAG 28:253-54].

   ix   ABIGAIL, b. Braintree 27 December 1651 [BrVR 632]; m. Bridgewater 7 December 1670 John Cary [TAG 71:18].

   x   MARY, b. Braintree 29 September 1653 [BrVR 632]; m. Braintree 4 April 1678 Samuel Paine [BrVR 719].

ASSOCIATIONS: His wife was sister of Rev. JOHN ELIOT and Philip Eliot of Roxbury, JACOB ELIOT of Boston, Francis Eliot of Braintree, Sarah (Eliot) Curtis, wife of WILLIAM CURTIS of Roxbury, and Mary (Eliot) Payson, wife of Edward Payson of Roxbury and Dorchester [Eliot Gen 3-9].

COMMENTS: He was one of those Boston men to be disarmed in the Wheelwright controversy, 20 November 1637 [MBCR 1:212]. On about 22 November 1637 "James Paniman" affirmed "that I have never consented to have my hand set to the Petition which gave offense to the Court, neither do I allow of it but do think it was done without warrant" [WP 3:514].

   In 1660 "James Penneman" was one of the inhabitants of Braintree who petitioned the General Court for the establishment of a new plantation, which became the town of Mendon [MBCR 4:1:445].

   The early Braintree vital records have been published in two different places, and the birth date for Samuel Penniman, son of James and Lydia, is given differently in the two locations [NEHGR 12:107; BrVR 632]. The vital events for several years were recorded at one time, and as a result four of the Penniman children were entered together - Hannah, Abigail, Mary and Samuel, in that order. The information on the three daughters is identical in the two published versions, but the son is said in one place to be born "14:9:45" (i.e., 14 November 1645) [NEHGR 12:107] and in the other "(1) (9) (1655)" (i.e., 1 November 1655) [BrVR 632].

   The earlier date is preferred here, even though it would mean that the children were entered out of birth order. If Samuel really was born in 1655, then there would be an unexplained gap in the list of children of about five years, from about 1643 to 1648, and he would be marrying at age eighteen. Neither of these circumstances is impossible, but a birth year for Samuel of 1645 is more likely. Reference to the original would settle this matter.

   In 1977 Benjamin Parker Richardson Jr. entered a caveat against the identification of Edward Adams as the husband of Lydia Penniman [TAG 53:37-38], since the will of her father does not name her at all and the will of her mother merely calls her Lydia Adams without naming her husband, and an alternate claim that the wife of Edward Adams was a Lydia Rockwood or Rockett had been made by Abner Morse. We do know from the mother's will that Lydia did marry an Adams, and a search of Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700 reveals no other Adams this early with wife Lydia. The only evidence in favor of the Rockwood identification is the choice by two of the children of Nicholas Rockwood of Edward Adams as their guardian. This could happen for other reasons than an Adams-Rockwood marriage, and so Edward Adams is retained as the husband of Lydia Penniman.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Clifford L. Stott has discovered the origin of James Penniman in Chipping Ongar, Essex, and has also provided evidence and careful arguments for the identity of the spouses of James Penniman's daughters [TAG 71:12-18].