The first in a line of Packards: the story of Elizabeth

Building off the last post in this blog, where I pledged to write about more female ancestors, countering past gender imbalances, I’d like to focus on Elizabeth, the wife of Samuel Packard, who came over with a child, likely Mary, in 1638 from Hingham, a town in Norfolk County, England, to Hingham, a settlement in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Many aspects of her life are an utter mystery. Her surname, long speculated to be Stream, is unknown, and is often given second billing, when it comes to efforts by Packard descendants to remember the past, elevating Samuel Packard above her, even by those than communicated with my grandfather, Bob Mills, or those that communicated with me in the past. The same is the case in contemporary records during the time her husband, Samuel, was alive, already implying was a second-class citizen. But, who was she, and why does she matter?

As I’ve written in the past, Elizabeth seems to have met Samuel when he moved to Norfolk County, which was north of Suffolk County, where he was born, reportedly in the Red House Farm. I am, to be clear, indirectly descended from both people. Apart from that, she had, at least nine children with Samuel, along with five grandchildren. [1] I tied to break this down into a listing so its much easier for you (and me) to understand those mentioned in Samuel’s will:

  1. Elizabeth X, wife of Samuel
  2. Samuel, son of Samuel and Elizabeth, eldest son
  3. Zaccheus, son of Samuel and Elizabeth
  4. John, son of Samuel and Elizabeth
  5. Nathaniel, son of Samuel and Elizabeth
  6. Mary, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth, wife of Richard Phillips
  7. Hannah, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Randall
  8. Jaell, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth, wife of John Smith
  9. Deborah, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Washburn
  10. Grandchild Israel Augur, son of ???
  11. Grandchild Caleb Philips, son of Richard? Phillips
  12. Grandchild Israel Packard, son of Zaccheus
  13. Grandchild Samuel Packard, son of Samuel
  14. Grandchild Daniel Packard, son of Samuel

In his will on October 29, 1684, Elizabeth received some money from her husband and much, much more. This included gobs and jobs of land, including:

  • his farm in the town of Bridgewater (36 acres), along with lands and meadows connected to the farm
  • share of meadow called Bullshole for life
  • all his goods and cattle
  • 40 pounds for life
  • 20 acres of land lying in Bridgewater between lands owned by James Keith and Joseph Hayward near Satuckett Pond
  • all money and chattle shall be divided equally among his children and grandchildren after she dies
  • a feather bed, which shall be given to his grandchild Deliverance Augur after her death
  • one of the joint executors of his estate along with her son Samuel

That’s a sizable amount!

After Samuel died, she married a man, likely in late 1684 or perhaps in early 1685, by the name of John Washburn, a long-time Bridgewater resident. He would die sometime after October 30, 1686, outlining the following in his will [2]:

to my Wife Elizabeth Washbourne one Bed one Boulster one Pillow two pair of sheets one Blanket one Coverlet two chests Six bushels of Indian Corne one bushell of Barley. ffarther with Respect to money which was my wives part whereof I have already laid out for her we are agreed that I should Returne to her two pounds and ten shillings which I have already done.

Of course, she is not mentioned at all in his inventory. [3]

Over ten years after Samuel’s death, on October 27, 1694, Elizabeth sold land given to her by Samuel: a 20-acre tract called “Satuckett Pond” or “Sehucket Pond,” selling the  the land to “an Indian” living in Bridgewater named Sam James for five pounds. [4] This agreement would be signed by Samuel’s son of the same name, Samuel Packard, Jr., along with two others, while identifying her as “Elizabeth Washburn Widow of the Town of Bridgewater”:

Most importantly, in this agreement she explicitly noted herself as married to Samuel, calling him her “first husband”:

“…by these presents convent with the said Sam James his heirs & assigners I…at the lime of making over and passing away said Land unto the said Sam James stood truley & lawfully peired and processed with the same & every part and parcel thereof of a good lure, lawfully & absolute Estate of Inheritance, by virtual of my first Husband, vis: Samuel Packard his will, and therefor, I have full power to Bargain, Sell, Grant, alienate, and pass away the piece onto said Sam James.

It goes on from there in legalise, basically saying she has the right to give Sam James the land. This transcription may not be completely correct, so I’d recommend you read the full page below, as I could have made errors:

Many years later, in April 1702, Elizabeth, still a “widow,” would sign a document about John Washburn’s heirs, receiving some rights. I came to the conclusion this is her as she is called “Elizabeth Solo” (widow):

“Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986,” images, FamilySearch, Bristol, Deeds 1699-1709 vol 3-5, image 304 of 806, page 83, county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.

That is the last record we have of her. What I have posed here goes far beyond what I wrote in the past. Further recommendations for how I can find more about Elizabeth are appreciated, as I’m planning to focus on later Packard ancestors in the future.


[1] Last Will and Testament of Samuell Packer, Oct. 29, 1684, Plymouth Colony Records, Wills Vol. 3, Part 2, Plymouth Registry of Deeds, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, Plymouth, p. 96-98, images 585586 of 616.

[2] “Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967,” images, FamilySearch, Probate records 1686-1702 and 1849-1867 vol 1-1F, image 49 of 490, pages 84-85; State Archives, Boston.

[3] “Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967,” images, FamilySearch, Probate records 1686-1702 and 1849-1867 vol 1-1F, image 50 of 490, pages 86; State Archives, Boston.

[4] “Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986,” images, FamilySearch, Plymouth, Deeds 1712-1714 vol 10, images 183-184 of 651, page 333, 334-5; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.

Original documents for Packard and related families

The “Original documents for Packard and related families” is an original publication of this blog. It was adapted from Ms. Lenker’s “Descendants of Moses Packard” which she sent me earlier this year. It was much longer, but I tried to just quote the original documents as there was a lot of waste/supposition. Below are the sections which relate to the Packards:

George Packard’s Will [1]

In the Name of God Amen, the first day of December, Anno Domine 1623, George Packard of Stonham Aspal in the County of Suffolk being of perfect mind and memory made his last Will and Testament nuncupative in form following, viz:

He did will and bequeath unto Mary Packard his wife all his moveable goods the paying his debts and bringing up his children and he appointed the said Mary Packard his wife the Executrix of this his Will.

The following are witnesses:



Robert Dennie.

Extracts from Samuel Packard’s Will on October 29, 1684 [2]

“Samuell Packer senir of Bridgwater…yeoman [made bequests:]

“unto my loveing wiff Elizabeth all that my farm in the said Towne of Bridgwater which I now Dwell upon Containing [36 acres] with all the houses Lands and Meddowes belonging to the said farme, During the tearm of her Naturall Life [also] all my Share of Meddow Lying att a place in Bridgwater Called Bulls hole ” for life; “end alsoe all my goods and Cattles [for life; also £40 in money for life]…unto Samuell Packer my eldest son [64 acres of land in Bridgewater] which his Dwelling house Now stands upon …. buting upon West meadow brook on the east side of the said brooke and Runing east & west [also 25 acres of land in Bridgewater] which is not yett Layed out [also] one Lott of Meddow [in Bridgewater] in the West meadow on the south east syde of …. the west meadow Brooke [also] “one Lott of Meddow [in Bridgewater] in the Great Meddow on the North east side of the pond Joyning to the pond…unto my son Zacheus Packer …. the house wherin hee my said son Zacheus Packer Dwelleth in with the Land therunto belonging which is [24 acres lying in Bridgewater, also] “my Lott of Meddow [in Bridgewater] in the west meddow on the Norwest syde of the brooke [also] a Lott of [50 acres in Bridgewater] by the Bay. Path bounded on the south side by Marke Laythorpes Land [also] one Lott of Meddow [in Bridgewater] in the Great meadow on the southeast side of the River…unto my son John Packer [70 acres in Bridgewater] on the Eastward side of the River; alsoe …. one lott of Meddow…Called Poor Meddow Lying in the said Bridgwater, alsoe …. all my lott of Land att Teticut…unto my son Nathaniel Packer …. two third prtes of my aforsaid farm lying in Bridgwater which I Now Dwell upon Containing [36 acres of land more or less] That is to say of all the houses Lands and Meddowes belonging to the said farme, to enter upon it emediately after the Decease of my said wife///The other third prte of my said farme that I Dwell Now upon in the said Towne of Bridgwater; That is to say one third prte of the houses Land and meddowes belonging to the said farme I give & bequeath unto my Grand Child Israell Agur and to his heires …. hee or they to enter upon it Imediately after the Decease of my said wife…unto my said son Nathaniell: Packer …. the one halfe of my lott of” 50 acres in Bridgewater lying “Next to Joseph Bassetts lott Neare to the Pond; alsoe I Give …. unto my said Grand Child Israell Augur and to his heires …. the other halfe of the said Lott of fifty acrees of land; to be equally Devided between the said Nathaniel Packer My son and the said Israell Augur; they and both of them to enter upon it Imediately after my Decease…unto my said son Nathaniel Packer and To his heires and assignes for ever the one halfe of my Share of meadow in Bridgwater lying there att a place Called Bulls hole; hee or they to enter upon it after the Decease of my said wife; alsoe I give and bequeath unto my Grand Child Issraell Augur and to his heires and assignes for ever, the other halfe of my said Share of meadow lying att Said bulls hole, hee or they, to enter upon itt after the Decease of my said wife…I Give and bequeath unto the said Elizabeth Packer my wife and to her heires and assignes for ever all my Lott Containing twenty Acrees of land lying and being in Bridgwater; between the Land of mr James Keith on the one side and the Land of Joseph haward on the other side, buting upon the pond Called Satuckett pond…unto my fouer sones (viz) Samuell Packer Zacheus Packer John Packer and Nathaniell Packer; and to my Grandchild Issrael . Augur …. all my Right & title of Comons and Comonage which I Now have in the Townshipp of Bridgwater to be equally Devided betwixt them them five excepting som prticular prsells of land already Given by will and are not yett Layed out and alsoe my will is that my five Daughters Mary Phillips the wife of Richard Phillips and hannah Randall The wife of Tho: Randall Jaell Smith the wife of John Smith and Daborah Washburn the wife of Samuell Washburn and Deliverance Washburn The wife of Thomas Washburn with my Grand Child Deliverance Augur shall have equally Devided amongst them six all what mony or Chattles shalbe left after the Decease of my said wife Elizabeth Packer; alsoe my will is That as Concerning my Daghter Jaell Smith the wife of John Smith that the prte of the Mony and Chattles above Named that shalbe Due to my said Daughter Jaell after the Decease of my said wife Elizabeth Packer shall not be Delivered to the said John Smith; but shalbe Desposed of to my said Daughter Jaell for her Comfort by the executors of my said Will; alsoe my will is that my Grand Child Deliverance Augur shall have a heifer; when shee my said Grandchild is of age; and alsoe I Give unto my Grandchild Deliverance Augur one bed; with such furniture to it as is now in the house; I Doe mean a feather bed after the Decease of My said wife, Elizabeth Packer…my said son Nathaniel: Packer shall pay unto my Executors heerafter mencioned [£10 in money] when hee …. shall Come to Injoy his prte of the farme that I have before mencioned and Given him in this My will…to my two Grandchildren Samuell Packer, and Daniell Packer the son of my son Samuell Packer ten shillings apeece in Mony…to my Grandchild Issraell Packer; the son of my son Zacheus Packer: ten shillings in Mony…to my Grandchild Caleb Phillipes the son of Caleb Phillipes ten shillings in Mony…To my Daughter Deliverance the wife of Thomas Washburn ten acres of land” in Bridgewater, “which said ten acrees is agreed on by the Towne; to lay it Conveniently to the Lott not yett layed out…my beloved wife Elizabeth Packer and my son Samuell Packer; to be Joynt executors. I Desire that mr James Keith and William Brett should be overseers to this my last will

“The will was signed by a mark and witnessed by John Field, John Ames, Jr., and Shadrack Wilbore. John Field and John Ames, Jr., testified on 3 March, 1684/5, and at the same time…Declared upon the oath they had taken as abovewritten that the said Samuell Packer senir Declared att the time hee signed and sealed this Will …. that hee Intented Thomas Washburne to be a Joynt executor of his Last will & Testament with the other two that in the said Will are Mensioned; and accordingly are alowed of by the Court…

“An Inventory of the estate of Samuall Packer of the Towne of Bridgwater Deceased the seaventh of November 1684 [No real estate is mentioned and the total is £133, 6s., 6d] A true and faire apprisall …. taken by us the eleventh of Novem: 1684 as witnesseth our hands Marke Laythorpe John ffeild Samuell Packer Junior made oath to this Inventory before the Court held att Plymouth [on 5 March, 1685. He had an estate probated on 29 Nov 1684 in Plymouth Colony, MA.]


[1] Taken from the book “The Packards” p. 34, #94, #96, #98, by Brigadier J. John Packard.

[2] From Bowman who transcribed it and Dale Cook who put the transcription online.