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.

An addendum unfinished: Bob’s “sentimental journey to Massachusetts”

Bob Mills’s caption: This was Uncle Tom Packard’s home in Plainfield on Maple Street. It is a shingled shack on a deserted gravel road in the country. The barn has been converted to a modernistic solar home by a young couple. West Hill Cemetery is adjoining.

Editor’s note: This  is an essay, titled “Addenum” at the end of Bob’s original version of his family history booklet, seemingly written in a tone that it was meant to be read by his siblings (Helen and Carol), along with other relatives perhaps, The Packard/Mills Family History, which was sent to relatives in December 1979 as a Christmas present. However, this essay was likely written in July or August 1980. This text, in this post was assembled by this editor almost 38 years after Bob went there, as an interest coincidence. The text is printed below, with only additions of the photos he mentions. My family history trip is recounted  at the end of this post.

In July, 1980 I made a sentimental journey to Massachusetts to visit the grave-sites described in this book, and to learn more about the family. In the Berkshires, I visited West Cummington, Cummington, and Plainfield. I did not visit Shelburne Falls, or Heath. South of Boston, I visited Hingham, drove along Hingham Bay, and visited West Bridgewater and Bridgewater. I will report these adventures in the order in which they occurred. The Berkshires are extremely beautiful, and I had lunch in Pittsfield, a busy town which hosts the Tanglewood Musical Festival nearby. However, all the little towns in which the Packards have lived are nothing more than wide spots in the road. Everybody is friendly, and almost anyone I  asked knew about the Packard family in astonishing detail. Considering the exotic nature of my purpose, I was quite dependent upon asking directions to the obscure little cemeteries scattered around on the hillsides, and got good information from passerby and general stores.

Having found a few recent Packard graves at a roadside cemetery in West Cummington, I drove a few miles further to a general store which marked the center of Cummington. Incidentally, West Cummington boasts the Berkshire Snow Basin, which is ski tow alongside the main highway. It looks about 1000′ feet through wooded slopes. Anyway, a pleasant lady gave me some rather complex instructions to the Dawes Cemetery, and to ask for a Rev. McEwen. Apparently, almost nothing in New England has proper signs, so that one proceeds carefully searching for local landmarks described by residents.  I found Rev. McEwen cutting the grass, and he allowed as he didn’t know the cemetery well enough to point out Packard markers, but there was an old lady next door to the cemetery, etc. Again, I found this several times, there is usually an elderly woman living next to the cemetery who knows the place, and is a kind of guide and carekeeper. There was one row of Packards. Families are usually planned in rows, with plots running either East or West, or North and South. Often later residents are uniformly buried in a given direction, with the early gravesites running at 90 degrees contrary to the rest of the cemetery. It turned out that William Henry Packard and Rachel Bartlett Tilson, and some of their children, are buried here, a fact which had not been discovered by Tommy Adkins, who had compiled much of the family history. Since this couple’s third child was Cyrus Winfield Packard (our grandfather), much more information was added to the family history.

I then went over a gravel road which was quite hilly, strewn with rocks and ferns. This is Packard Road, the original connection between Cummington and Plainfield, about five miles apart. Plainfield is basically an intersection with a few old houses and a few rundown businesses. Everything else is widely scattered and one-family farms marked by stone walls and trees which are beginning to reclaim the whole place. So-called Maple Street, my own guidepost, is not a street at all, but an unpaved dirt road between rural mailboxes and farms. Without a lot of persistence and the extremely solicitous assistance of neighbors who seemed to know everything about Tom Packard and the West Hill Cemetery, I would have missed the place entirely. So far as I could tell, the local population is either retired gentleman farmers or young couples who work in the cities, with occasional vegetable gardens in the side yards. By Midwestern standards, the soil looks terrible for farming.

I finally found Tom Packard’s farm, which is now owned by a young couple whose Italian name escapes me. They weren’t home, so after snooping around I went next door to an ultra-modern solar-type house which it turns out had been constructed from Tom Packard’s former barn. There an extremely pleasant woman, whose name I never learned,  told me of the subdivision of the farm by Atty. Doris Alden from Springfield, and directed me to the West Hill Cemetery next door. Incidentally, Tom Packard’s house is little more than a tar shingle shack without central heating, and was constructed in 1946 after the old home much further up the hill had burned to the ground. The main product of the farm  appears to be maple syrup.

West Hill Cemetery must have originally been a family-owned cemetery, since it seems to contain virtually nothing but Packard names. It was tended throughout Tom  Packard’s life by him personally, and a $30,000 bequest was used to maintain the cemetery, which appeared to be well-kept. Uncle Tom is buried here, and he was 73 at the time of his death in 1975. Bert’s father, Cyrus Winfield Packard, was buried here with Clementina Cheney, his 3rd wife. Also there is a marker for Joseph Winfield Packard, who was said to be killed while “working on the railroad” in 1910. The grave of Bert’s younger sister, Mabel Hattie Packard Whitley Landstrom, is also here, as shown in the photo.

Reposted from Find A Grave, where I uploaded Bob’s photo.

While I was photographing these stones, a battered van drove up, disgorging a middle-aged woman, a somewhat larger man with a huge beer belly, and rather impassive son. I was never introduced to the men, but she turned out to be Mabel Landstrom‘s daughter, Frances M. Rae, who lives in Shelburne Falls nearby. She was rather surprised to discover who I was (Does that make her my cousin?), and regaled me with tales about Uncle Rob, who seems to be the reigning success figure in the family. She was bitter about not getting part of “Uncle Rob’s” estate, and also bitter about not getting a bigger share of “Tom’s” estate. She was bitter about Douglas Packard getting 20%, claiming he was adopted, and not entitled to such a large share. She also noted that she had been married twice, “but never again”. In the midst of this harangue, which was carried out in front of her beer-bellied boyfriend, who offered me a beer from a case in the van, a 4th figure suddenly emerged from the van, almost knocking me down in the process. He was introduced as her mentally retarded son, almost 30 years of age, and after shaking hands, he retired again to the van.

I excused myself from this scene, and sped on to Boston. The next day I went to Hingham, seeking information about Samuel and Elizabeth Stream Packard, the original settlers. Hingham is a rather exclusive little town, with large houses set back from the street, and it proved impossible to locate anything easily there in the general rush through Hingham to get to the beaches beyond Hingham Bay. I drove to the beaches and Hull, and had a delightful lunch on top of an abandoned artillery form which had a splendid view of the whole bay. Afterward, I took the Interstate down to West Bridgewater, and searched through three graveyards in this busy little community without success, except that I found a clutch of Haywards in a very old pioneer cemetery. However, driving five miles into Bridgewater, which is a really charming  old community, I found the old cemetery in the heart of town which contained most of  the original Packards. The oldest was the gravestone of Judith Willis Packard, married to the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Packard, whose name was John Packard. She was born in 1681, and died in 1761 at the age of 90. Most fascinating was Deliverance Packard, whose second marriage was to Capt. Abiel Packard after her first husband, Capt. Joseph Washburn, died. However, she was buried with her first husband! I noted three marriages between the Washburns and the Packards in those early days, as well as a possible marriage between Abigail Hayward, as the second wife of Jonathan Packard. Abigail died in 1760. The Bridgewater Cemetery is well-tended, and is a fascinating treasure trove of the old families of Massachusetts.

Some of Bob’s other photos in July 1980:

Dividing town line between Cummington and Plainfield

Presumably Maple Street, or another wooded street.

Bob’s caption: Packard Road connects Cummington to Plainfield over steep hills. It is mostly a gravel road with lots of ferns, rocks, and trees, but nothing else but a few random farmhouses. Only Plainfield has a few restored old homes – the area is rather poverty-stricken.

West Cummington, Mass. A ski tow (Berkshire Snow Basin) is located here. The mountains and streams are beautiful, but the soil, rocks, and growing conditions seem very marginal for farming.

West Cummington

Gravestones of Barnabas I and Mary his wife in West Hill Cemetery. As Bob writes, the cemetery was tended by Tom Packard “until his death in 1975, and actually on his property, now sold and subdivided.”

Packard gravestones in West Hill Cemetery

Dawes Cemetery, Cummington. “A row of Packards” as Bob described it. It is not like Bridgewater’s First Cemetery where “most of the early Packards are buried” as Bob wrote in his book

Dawes Cemetery, Cummington. Wm. Henry Packard (father of Cyrus Winfield Packard) died on Aug 21, 1898, at the age of 74 years. His wife, Rachel, nee Tilson, died Jan. 30, 1881, at age 56. This marriage produced 10 children.

My August 2017 family history tour

Plainfield Town Hall, photo  taken in August 2017. Originally posted in my “From Samuel to Cyrus: A fresh look at the History of the Packard Family” post.

This expands on what I wrote in my ““Introduction” to my Packard family history“, while also drawing from “Chapter IX: Barnabas, Mary, and Plainfield.” [1] These are my reflections almost a year after this trip occurred.

In August 2017, like Bob, me, my dad, and my mom went on a family history trip across Massachusetts. I will tell this story in the order in which it occurred. Unlike him, since he was driving from Cincinnati, we started in the eastern part of the state, after staying in Cape Cod for a few days, hitting Hingham first. While there, I talked to the archivist of the Hingham Historical Society Michael Achille, which Bob, according  to his above story, did not get to do at the time. While he was not able to find anything about the Packards in their database, except for some tangential connections, he was very nice, friendly, and was about my age, going to graduate school which was a bit of an inspiration for me to pursue the same path. We also walked around one of the worst parks in the world, World’s End. The scenery was nice, but there were passenger jetliners flying above almost all the time. Despite this, I did take a few pictures which I used to represent Bear’s Cove, where the first settlers of Hingham landed. The town of Hingham was relatively well-off, with many small shops and was bustling, filled with history. It would be different from what was to come.

Mapping places visited in Hingham. 1.3 miles  between the two locations.

From Hingham, we went to Bridgewater. The town itself was a little-run down and not as well-off as Hingham. While there, we didn’t visit the historical society but we went to the First Cemetery and took some photos. Looking around, we counted how many Packard graves there were in this cemetery, which sat behind a Unitarian church. Some gravestones were sinking into the ground more than others. Others were leaned up against a fence. No person who would tend the grave was there. The gravesite sits near the corner of two streets. However, it was, if I remember correctly, protected by a sort of stone wall around it. Oh, I almost forgot. Later on that day we ate in a restaurant and I told the waitress what I was doing in Bridgewater and she said she knew a friend whose last name was Packard! So the Packards are everywhere!

Hingham Historical Society to Bridgewater’s First Cemetery, 18.4 miles away from each other

Moving on from Bridgewater, we went to Western Massachusetts, where Cummington and Plainfield resided. Before going into Plainfield, I went into a local post office in Cummington, where I asked a postal worker to help us find the Dawes Cemetery. I don’t think I asked for the Dawes Cemetery exactly, but maybe for a local landmark, but regardless she gave directions to the cemetery. It is at the top of a hill, where people zoom along in their cars since its some type of thoroughfare. There’s only a few nearby houses. There’s a nearby creamery nearby called Grace Hill Dairy, which sits at, as I looked up later, on 47 Potash Hill Road. This may help those who read this find it in the future. While there, we took some pictures, and my mom drove the car through a path going through the cemetery, something Bob seems to have done as well. We did not meet any overseer of the cemetery or anything, but it seemed somewhat well-tended, much more than the cemetery in Bridgewater! There was a marker across the street where someone was buried, but I’m not exactly recalling who it was exactly.

Cummington locations visited are mapped above. The Kingman Tavern Museum will be talked about later in this story, for obvious reasons as you’ll see later

After visiting that cemetery, we went back down the road and stopped at the Old Creamery Grocery which has a big cow on top if my memory serves me right. They had some local music act playing a guitar. It seemed like a bit of a community meeting area. We ate our packed lunch there at some picnic tables they had set up and then moved on to another cemetery: West Hill Cemetery. Like Dawes, this cemetery has a sign, and even though it has less Packards than Dawes (20  in West Hill, 33 or 34 in Dawes). While there, we put some flowers in front of graves of Packards and looked at the Packards as a whole. There were a few houses around, but its generally wooded there, with not much activity around.

Locations in Plainfield visited. The Plainfield Historical Society does not have a fixed location, but this is about where I met Matthew Stowell

With that, Plainfield was the next stop. I was set for a meeting with the archivist Matthew Stowell of the Plainfield Historical Society. He was not a permanent resident of the area, working and living somewhere else during the year and was a teacher. I won’t go into his political affiliation here, but he was very friendly, as he met us on the street, walking his dog, before my appointment was set to occur. His house was a bit of a mess inside because of renovations. His dog kept trying to lick me, as dogs always go to those who dislike them the most! Anyway, he had some local history books such as Only One Cummington (vol 1 and 2), and Vital Records of Cummington. He also had a genealogy of someone related to the Packards which had been recently given to the Plainfield Historical Society. I looked through that and found many photographs, pictures, and other documents I hadn’t seen previously! After talking to him, we walked around a bit more of Plainfield. The town almost seemed deserted. There seemed to be no visible industry in Plainfield. There are historic houses, sure, but its basically a one street town, at a crossroads, literally. They were debating medical marijuana in the town hall from what I could see.

Courtesy of the Town of Cummington

Mr. Stowell recommended that we visit Cummington to find out more. We went into Cummington and lo and behold, a place called the Kingman Tavern Museum was open, which is run by the Cummington Historical Society. People were dressed in period costumes of the 19th century, I believe. One local girl, whose ancestors were a wealthy family known as Tillsons (Rachel Bartlett Tillson, the wife of William Henry Packard, was part of this family) if I remember correctly, was a tour guide inside the museum, dressed in clothing that  women would have worn at the time, showing visitors around. Everything inside could be photographed. My phone wasn’t working that well at the time, but I still got to take photographs. Most amazing of all was a room in the tavern called the “Packard room.” I was so overjoyed by this as I wasn’t expecting it whatsoever. Later on, an older man who seemed to know Tom Packard showed me to their family files,which were in a building across the street, one of which, of course, they had on the Packards. I took some photographs and notes, but felt a bit shortchanged. We had to go onto another destination and I had to say goodbye. Still, it was worth it.

It was then that the family history tour ended. After staying at a friend’s house for the night, we went into a bit of Western New York, visiting Olana and other sites along the Hudson River. We then took Interstate 90 back home, back into Maryland.

While this family history trip was great, after doing much research since then, I know so much more than I knew then. Sometime in the future I’d like to go back and visit Hingham, Plainfield, and Cummington once again. Until next time!


[1] In the first post I added a family story: “as the story goes, he [Bob] entered a store in Plainfield, and friendly town residents asked him why he was there. He said he was researching family genealogy of the Packard family. One person responded saying “I’m a Packard, he’s a Packard, she’s a Packard, we’re all Packards here.” Another one of his cousins had a similar experience but slightly different in Pittsfield, asking about the Packards at a local library and they had a whole section dedicated to the family.”

The story of Capt. Abiel Packard

Screenshot of my profile for Capt. Abiel Packard on I call him Abiel Packard Sr. to distinguish from his son, also named Abiel.

On this blog, I have briefly written about Capt. Abiel Packard, but mostly in passing. Pages 25 and 26 of Moses Cary’s book, A Genealogy of the Families Who Have Settled in the North Parish of Bridgewater, which Mr. Dale Cook put online, describes him as follows:

[Abiel] lived where Captain Nathaniel Wales now lives; he m[arried]. an Ames, was a Captain in the militia, had eight s[on]s. Abiel [who died in his youth], Josiah [a militia captain who died in 1793 at age 70], Joshua [moved to the state of Maine], Thomas [had varying children], Timothy [died in 1780, age 48], Daniel [moved westward], Eliab [moved westward], and Benjamin [died 1808, aged 59]; and two d[aughter]s. Sarah, and Betsey.   Sarah m[arries] Deacon Ebenezer Snell.   Betsey m. Jacob Edson. Captain Abiel Packard was the greatest land-holder in the North Parish; he owned a thousand acres of land in one body, aud [sic] settled seven of his sons on the same. Captain Abiel Packard died 1776, aged 76.

However, there are some problems with this description. For one, his gravestone clearly lists him as dying in 1774, two years before the Revolutionary War began. Secondly, he is described on Find A Grave as “the son of Zaccheus and Sarah (Howard) Packard” and as marrying “Sarah Ames on January 11, 1722/23 in Bridgewater, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts.” Only seven of his children are listed on Find A Grave, apart from his son Abiel, not the ten that Cary claims were the children of Abiel and Sarah. [1] One article in Access Genealogy, which misstates hid death date as 1776 adds to this narrative by noting that

Capt. Abiel Packard, the youngest child of Zaccheus and Sarah (Howard) Packard, was born April 29, 1699, in West Bridgewater, and later became one of the first settlers of the North Parish of Bridgewater, where he was engaged in farming, owning the land afterward known as the Capt. Nathaniel Wales place. He was the largest land owner in the neighborhood, having over one thousand acres in one tract, upon which he settled seven of his sons. He was a captain in the militia. He married Jan. 11, 1723, Sarah Ames, daughter of John and Sarah (Washburn) Ames, and they became the parents of ten children…[Abiel’s] wife died in Bridgewater, in 1790, aged eighty-three years.

His birth date on Apr 25, 1699 is definitely confirmed, as I noted in a previous post.

With this, I looked at my entry for Abiel Packard, in which I said at the end that “due to the date of his death, he was NOT a famous captain in the Revolutionary War as some sources claim.” I found, from this profile that Abiel, age 37,  on December 31, 1736, signed a petition to the Massachusetts legislature (General Court), as an inhabitant of the Northern section of Bridgewater’s “West Precinct,” requesting to be a distinct township. [2] This shows where he was living at the time, along with the other nine Packards who signed the petition: David, David Jr., James, John, Jonathan, Seth, Solomon, William, and Zaccheus. Also, in that profile I cited Massachusetts, Marriages, 1633-1850 showing that Abiel married Deliverance Washburn on November 16, 1771 in Bridgewater, using the same resource to show he married Sarah Ames on January 11, 1723 in Bridgewater. I extracted information from Bradford Kingman’s 1866 book, History of North Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, From its First Settlement to the Present Time with Family Registers, showing that he was a militia captain (originally he was ensign in 1762) with Issac Packard (pp 94, 201, 292-293 at most). [3] In the same book, I found that in 1750/51 he was a selectman (p 203), that he voted to furnish the meeting house and fund school on 15 Aug 1748 (pp 88, 113), with a number of votes concerning him in 1747 (p 112). I also found that for many years he was on the committee of the North Parish (p. 206), specifically 1746-1748, 1750, 1752, 1754, 1756-1758, 1760-1761, 1763-1769, that he sold pews in 1744 (pp 88, 113), and the same year paid a higher tax than David, Solomon, Deacon, Zachariah, Seth, William, Lydia (Widow), and Jacob Packard, possibly indicating that he owned more land than them (pp 211-212). Finally, the book also said that he helped, from 1739 to 1740, along with his brothers David and Solomon, to approve certain preachers, sell of pews, and other improvements to the local church (pp 20, 85), and that he was a treasurer of the North Parish from 1738-1743 and in 1762 (p 206).

If Kingman is right in his assessment than Abiel was an active churchgoer. Clearly he lived in Bridgewater for all of his life. Most importantly, were the original sources I cited on the profile. At age 24, he was mentioned in the dividing up of the estate of his father, Zaccheus Packard, who had died that year (1723). [4] Furthermore, he was mentioned in the inventory and division of his father’s estate (all the people who sign it were Zaccheus’s children) in May 1725, noting that Zaccheus died on August 3, 1723. He was also mentioned in the settling of the estate the same month, which was signed in the presence of Joseph Edson and Nathaniel Brett. The original documents, linked above, are posted below. Specifically focus on pages 74, 75, and 76, which have the information relating to Zaccheus Packard and his children surviving.

Yellow underlines are my emphasis of the inventory. This showing that Abiel has 7 siblings: Jonathan Packard, David Packard, Solomon Packard, James Packard, John Packard, Sarah Packard (wife of Josiah Edson), and Israel Packard. There is a later picture just focusing on what Abiel got.

Focus on Abiel within the division of the estate. It shows him granted some land, specifically a part of “undivided lands” of Cedar Swamp and twenty aces. Not much, but something!

Yellow underlines are my emphasis. A “Sarah Packard” is mentioned at the top, who is obviously Sarah Howard, who married Zaccheus. All the other children, and the husband (Josiah Edson) of Sarah Packard, signed the document at the time. A whole group of Packards!

I also uploaded Abiel Packard’s will which he wrote on June 19, 1773, saying he is weak in body, giving his wife one cow, 30 pounds, and estate while his son Josiah gets his lands in Bridgewater. The original documents of that will are reprinted below. Interestingly, one of the pages mentions another Packard, we’ve written about on here before, Zachariah Packard!

Yellow underlining is my emphasis. This page shows that Deliverance, Abiel’s wife, gave him the estate on which he currently lives! It also names his son, Josiah.

Yellow underlining is my emphasis. This lists his other children, including his sons Joshua, Thomas, Timothy, Daniel, Eliab, and Benjamin, daughters Sarah (widow of then-dead Ebenezer Snell) and Betty (wife of James Edson), to name all of them. I missed some areas to underline, but I got most of them.

This shows he had nine children, not ten children as others claimed.

Later on, Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991 lists him as dying in 1774, and was buried in Brockton.

And that’s all I’m writing on Abiel for now.


[1] This was also noted by other sites (also see here), including another local historian. and a genealogical database, but they are wrong on his death date as being 1776. For other similar mistakes in genealogical accounts, see here. For other accounts, see here, and here.

[2] 1736 petition, “Archives Collection (1629 – 1799) ,” Vol 114, p 212.

[3] I also said that “other militia captains included: David Packard in 1780, Robert and Lennel Packard in 1783 (Robert again in 1796), Adin Packard (1817), Abiel Packard (1819) & Charles T. Packard (1862).” I added that “Kingman claims that Abiel served until the revolutionary war but this is not true as the war began, by claims of most historians, in 1775. If one uses Ray Raphael’s claim that the war began in 1774, this is true. Likely Kingman is not referring to this however.”

[4] The pages I cited on an note titled “Dividing up real estate pages” are here, here, here, and here.

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.

Massachusetts tax inventory and two Packards

This post reprints a post on my sister blog, History Hermann, about a new Massachusetts tax inventory, with some changes, like eliminating the part about the hists.

Recently, Dick Eastman, wrote about a new online database titled “1771 Massachusetts Tax Inventory” which also includes Maine since it was, then, “the Province of Massachusetts Bay.” This database, as he describes it, has the names of nearly “38,000 individuals who resided in 152 Massachusetts towns in 1771” and data such as the “type and value of real estate and buildings, as well as tabulation of livestock and farm commodities produced” and it further has features allowing you to “browse the data by selecting items to view and “drilling down” through totals for counties and towns to the holdings of individual taxpayers.” Furthermore, there is an “interactive map [that] helps you locate towns and counties in the state” which is based “upon a map of Massachusetts drawn in 1792 and scanned from the Harvard University map collection.” Using this, I went to the database and searched for the Packards, which is the focus of this blog.

There were over 40 Packards listed, many of whom were living in Bridgewater.

Of these, I focused on two in particular: Barnabas and Zechariah, both subjects of my family history, as noted on Packed with Packards! Barnabas was described as a resident of Bridgewater who owned a dwelling house, half a gristmill, 8 acres of pasture for  4 cows, 3 acres which were tilled, 4 acres of upland mowing land, 3 acres of fresh meadow while producing 26 bushels of grain a year, 2 barrels of cider a year, 2.5 tons of hay from the upland area a year, and 2 tons of hay from the fresh meadow area a year. It also said that Barnabas had 1 horse, 6 goats and sheep, 1 swine, did not own a servant, had 26 pounds lent at interest, and had a property worth only 13 pounds! This meant that in total Barnabas owned 18 acres and was doing moderately well, but was not in the gentry of the Massachusetts colony, as one would expect for the Packards:

Then there’s Zechariah Packard, who was a slaveowner. He had a different situation. He was also living in Bridgewater. While he had one dwelling house, he had 5 acres of pasture for 6 cows, 6 tilled acres, 4 acres of upland mowed land, 3.8. acres of fresh meadow, while producing 71 bushels of grain, 2 tons of hay from his upland mowed land, and 8 tons of hay from his fresh meadow land. Additionally, he had 1 horse, 4 oxen, 6 goats & sheep, and 3 swine, along with one servant “for life” (a slave), with his real estate worth 14 pounds. He was definitely doing better than Barnabas, owning 18.8. acres compared to Barnabas’s 18, but was still not the most prosperous in the colony of Massachusetts.

Then there’s the interactive map (from 1792 but still can be used to find towns noted in the 1771 database itself) Using the available features, one is able to focus on Plymouth county:

From there, you can focus on Bridgewater, in the northwest corner of the county.

This is a good resource, on the whole of learning more about Massachusetts and one’s ancestors, without question.

Chapter VI: Zaccheus and Sarah’s family

This is the 8th in a series of articles which serializes my family history, which I wrote in November 2017, titled “From Samuel to Cyrus: A fresh look at the History of the Packard Family.” Below is the 6th chapter of that history:

… the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. The lifelong union of a man and a woman always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons…Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons…Since the dawn of history,

marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together”- Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority opinion of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), a Supreme Court case which requires all states to enforce same-sex marriage [88]

Exploring the family of Zaccheus and Sarah continues the story of the Packards. Zaccheus (sometimes called Zacheus or Zacheas) Packard, the third child of Samuel Packard, Sr. and Elizabeth, was reportedly born in Hingham, between 1643 and 1646. As the story goes, in April 1682, he would marry a woman named Sarah Howard, the daughter of John Howard and Martha. [89] They would have nine children, named Israel, Sarah, Jonathan, David, Solomon, James, Zaccheus (II), John, and Abiel, who will be talked later in this chapter more in-depth.

In the years after Samuel Packard, Sr.’s death, Zaccheus would increase his standing in the town. He would purchase land in Bridgewater with a Packard named Sarjeant (relation unknown) in 1686, and be part of the “ways over” committee the same year as John Packard was allowed to build a horse bridge in the town. [90] In the 1690s, Samuel Packard, Jr., Samuel Packard Sr.’s son, would buy 10 acres in the town which sat above the saw mill. He would buy them for Zaccheus, a surveyor of highways in 1696 or 1697, who would “improve” 10 of his 50-acre lot in Bridgewater in 1697. [91] He would continue to live in Bridgewater for years to come as he acquired more land. This would include a land agreement with Josiah Edson in September 1714, and mentioned in passing as Jonathan Packard and Joseph Lathrop agreed on a dividing line of their property. [92] The nine children of Zaccheus and Sarah would have a different experience than he did in Bridgewater.

Israel Packard, the first child of Zaccheus and Sarah, was reportedly born on April 27, 1680. Some claim that Israel married “Hannah” in 1703 and Susannah Fields on November 30, 1735. Varied records point to this as well, with Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 indicating that he married a woman named Hannah Grosman in 1701. Furthermore, the Family Data Collection says he married Susannah Fields in November of 1735. However, these two sources could have incorrect or have distorted information. Nothing else is known about this man.

On the other hand, Sarah Packard, the second child of Zaccheus and Sarah, was born in 1682, reportedly on August 19. She would marry a man named Josiah Edson  supposedly in 1704, who would become a militia captain. [93] One source indicates that Josiah was a town selectman, a Christian man of “large stature, rather above medium height, of dignified deportment, of easy and colciliation [sic] manners” while Sarah was described as a “lady of domestic and retiring habits, amiable and forgiving in her disposition, and ambitious only to promote the welfare and happiness of her husband and children.” The dignified Josiah and “domestic” Sarah would have seven children named Sarah (b. 1705), Abidah (1706 -1749), Josiah (1709-1778), Huldah (1713-1800), Abiezar (b. 1715), Elijah (1720-1781), and Freelove, all with the last name of Edson. [94]

The description of Sarah was in keeping with the norms of the time. British colonial law, specifically the law of coverture, required that women were legally dependent on their husbands, losing their original last names and gaining no civil rights. [95] At the time, almost all women married, with men being the only ones would could vote, and women were supposed to obey their benevolent “protectors.” Some women did not accept the definitions of their lives “by motherhood and domesticity,” rebelling against being “Tyed to a Man,” but this was limited by the fact that hard work within and outside the home restricted lives of women, as did the expectations that women had to tend several children by their twenties or thirties. [96] Even though women performed work which was essential to the working of the household, the husband or father owned the “fruits of that labor” and when they worked in urban areas as “seamstresses, laundresses, and domestics,” they received half of the wages which men were paid. Sarah Packard seems to fall into the “traditional” domestic role if the description of her, as one with “domestic and retiring habits,” who wanted to promote the welfare of her children (and husband), is accurate and correct.

Jonathan Packard, Sr., the third child of Zaccheus and Sarah was a bit different. He was born in 1684, reportedly on December 7, and died on June 7, 1746. [97] He would, as story goes, marry a woman named Susannah Hayward on Dec. 24, 1719, and would marry again to a woman named Abigail Thomson in 1723. He would have a son named Jonathan who would be born in 1730 and live until 1805. In 1708, Jonathan Sr. would make a land agreement with David Packard to gain, for 120 pounds, 127 acres of land on the Northeast side of the Matfield River, near the land of Joseph Hayward, in Bridgewater. [98] Seven years later, in June 1715, he would be part of an agreement with the Snell family. He and his brother James would buy hundreds of acres from Thomas Snell. [99] In 1725, he would become administrator of his father’s estate. After his father’s death, he would expand his political role and land holdings. In the 1730s, he would be implied in agreements between varied Packards (John, Samuel, Jonathan, and Daniel). [100] He may have endorsed the establishment of West Bridgewater as an independent township and advised that West Bridgewater be exempted from ministerial taxes if he was a legislator within the Massachusetts legislature from 1737 to 1738.

In 1746, Jonathan Packard was dead. Abiel, his brother, helped delineate his possessions. [101] On July 4, his inventory would show his lifestyle. While lands with buildings on them would be most of his property value, he would also have books, apparel, arms & ammunition, tables and table linen, tackling and husbandry tools, shoe maker tools & leather, a weavers loom, six ox hides, and nine cow hides, to name a few. [102] His probate would be finalized on May 7, 1747. Four years later, in May 1751, his real estate would be divided up. His wife Abigail, Joseph Edson, Jonathan Howard, David Packard, Abiel Packard, and Josiah Small would all be involved in this process. [103] There is a further historical context to these possessions, just like the possessions of Zachariah outlined in Chapter 3, which needs to be explored in order to further understand the story of the Packard family.

Such land possessions would be in line with what many other Puritan colonists, who were farming in a “cold and infertile region.” They were raising “cattle, sheep, and grain on thousands of small, rocky farms,” shipping modest surpluses of these supplies, after fulfilling their family needs, to  the “West Indies to feed planters and their slaves” while New England merchant ships would return with “molasses, rum, and sugar” or carry such cargo to Great Britain where they could be exchanged for manufactured goods. [104] This means that while these Packards did not own enslaved people (except Zachariah Packard, his children named Nathan, Nathaniel, and Abigail, and wife of the same name as discussed in Chapter 3), they participated in the system of slavery in British America through interconnected trade networks. This is further the case considering that slavery was legal in every British colony, with Quakers as one of the only groups that objected to the practice, with the colonies simply a “land of black slavery and white opportunity,” with relatively small port cities. [105]

David Packard was the fourth child of Zaccheus and Sarah. Reportedly born on February 11, 1687, he would marry Hannah Ames, and die on November 3, 1755. [106] Through the years, he would gain prominence in the town of Bridgewater. In September 1725 he would be one of 11 people who would agree to build an “Iron Works or forge” in Bridgewater on the Packard’s Mill Dam. [107] Eleven years later, he may have signed a petition requesting that the northern part of Bridgewater’s West District be established as its own township, along with numerous other Packards. In 1738, he would also lead an effort to change Bridgewater’s boundaries. [108] In 1739 and 1740, he would reportedly serve as part of a gospel ministry. He helped to furnish the meeting house and approve certain preachers. [109] If this is accurate, he may have been an influential part of the community. By the later 18th century, the king was be seen as a “champion against their Catholic enemies” and colonists, seeing themselves as “free-born Englishman” would be “proud of their British liberty,” holding up the political consensus which constituted a British constitution. Ministers in established churches preached the “sacredness of social stability” and deference to authority, which would be disturbed by Evangelical religious revivals. This means that David, who would have a son of the same name who acquired gobs of land, was part of this established order and loyal to the British crown. [110]

Solomon Packard was the fifth child of Zaccheus and Sarah. He would be born in 1686, reportedly on March 20th, and would be married to Sarah Lathrop in November 1715, married Susanna Kingman in 1717, and Dorothy Perkins in October 1760. [111] Other sources noted that had a similar role to David in the Bridgewater community. In 1739, he reportedly served as part of the Gospel ministry, listing him as a church member, like his brothers David and Solomon, helping to maintain the local church. [112] He would also be listed as a private in the Revolutionary War. He would serve as a private in the Second Massachusetts Regiment, in Adam Bailey’s company from July 10, 1780 to January 10, 1781, with David Packard enlisting the same day also for a 6-month term. [113] A scanned copy of the History of North Bridgewater would note that he was one of those raised in July 1780 for Continental service, marching on “alarm to Rhode Island” by the order of the Massachusetts legislature. This same resource noted that varied Packards served in Massachusetts units throughout the Revolutionary War. [114] His life after that point is not known. His date of death is reportedly 1782, and is clear that he participated in varied land transactions for years to come. [115]

James Packard was the sixth child of Zaccheus and Sarah. Born in 1691, reportedly on June 1, he would marry Jemima Keith, and die on November 22, 1765. [116] He would buy and sell large amounts of land. This ranged in the hundreds of acres. [117] Little else is known about his life. While his probate estate file is empty, there are available probate records issued after his death. [118] On September 24, 1765, he wrote a will in which he says he was in a “declining state of bodily health” but of perfect mind and memory; says he is a Christian, and asks for a “decent Christian burial.” Within this will, he gives his son James 1/8 part of a sawmill which is not far from Packard’s Forge in Bridgewater, one half of his right and interest in the Old Cedar Swamp, and a piece of meadow on the Salisbury Plain River, and a meadow lot, formerly belonging to his deceased brother John who will be discussed in the next chapter. [119] He also gave his son James half of his wearing apparel, half of his husbandry tools and implements. For his son Reuben, who he makes the sole executor of his will, he gives 1/8 part of the sawmill near Packard’s Forge, his right in the grist mill near Salisbury Plains River, half of his stake in the Old Cedar Swamp, his dwelling house to live in, his quick stock, and half of his wearing apparel. [120]

Zaccheus Packard II was the seventh child of Zaccheus and Sarah. Born in 1693, reportedly on September 4, he would marry Mercy Alden in 1725 and would die in 1775. [121] Zaccheus II and Mercy would have three children. They would be Eleazer Packard (1727-1803) who was later a revolutionary war veteran, Simeon Packard (1726-1815), and Mercy Packard (1738-1775). [122] Little is known about him otherwise. Other than land agreements, he lived in Bridgewater, among 13 other Packards. [123] He was one of the nine Packards who signed a petition in favor of creating a West Bridgewater township.

John Packard was the eighth child of Zaccheus and Sarah. Born on Oct. 6, 1695, he would marry Lydia Thompson in Feb. 1725, and die in 1728. [124] He will be explained more in the next chapter. Abiel Packard was the ninth and final child of Zaccheus and Sarah. Born on Apr. 29, 1699, he would die in 1774, not in 1776, and hence would not be a “famous captain in the revolutionary war” as is asserted in some sources. [125] More about his role as a Captain will be explained later. Other sources would confirm his birth and deaths dates and assert he married Sarah Ames in 1723 and Deliverance Washburn in 1771. [126] Like David and Solomon, he would have a role in the local church, if Bradford Kingman’s History of North Bridgewater has any merit. Specifically, he would be a treasurer of the North Parish in Bridgewater (1738-1743, 1762), approve certain preachers, sell pews, and help improvement the local church (from 1739-1740). [127] In 1744, he would pay a higher tax than other Packards, possibly indicating he owned more land than them, and would confirm the sale of pews the same year. He would also serve on the committee of the North Parish (1746-1748, 1750, 1752, 1754, 1756-1758, 1760-1761, 1763-1769), vote to furnish the meeting house in 1748, serve as a selectman (1750-1751), and serve in the militia from 1762 to 1774, going from the rank of ensign to captain by the end of his service. [128] On June 19, 1773, he would write his will while he was “weak in body.” He gives his wife Deliverance one cow, 30 pounds, and his estate. His son Josiah received his lands in Bridgewater. He distributed his other possessions to his three of his children, dividing his estate with the following each getting a third: his daughter Sarah (widow of Ebenezer Snell), his daughter, Betty/Bettie (wife of Jacob Edson), and his son Benjamin. [129] He also made Benjamin the executor of his estate. The land acquisition by Abiel was continued by his children. [130]

Joshua, Luther, Thomas, Josiah, Daniel, and Timothy were among those who acquired land. Their land acquisitions were wide and ranging. While the probates of these children and others is not known, it was evident for Timothy. Dying on November 22, 1782, as a “yeoman” his wife Sarah Alden and son Bethuel managed his estate, which was ultimately divided between his children. [131] His inventory, when listed in February 1783, consisted of books, varying apparel, quick stock, hay & oats, hayseed and flax in straw, outdoor movables, and charcoal, among other possessions. It would not be until August 1783 when his estate was settled, by which time Sarah Alden had become the guardian of her three sons Josiah, Timothy, and Perez, and one daughter Sarah Packard, mostly under age 14.

Some talk about how the father of Zaccheus’s wife, Sarah Howard, was one of the first settlers in Massachusetts, settling in Duxbury and becoming “one of the town’s original proprietors and settlers” in Bridgewater, there’s no need to expand upon that here. Zaccheus was described in the same history as dying on August 3, 1723, and was said to be married in Bridgewater, dates which were supported by varied records, including Find A Grave entries. [132] Within the division and inventory of Zaccheus’s estate in May 1725, it used this same date, so it is clear that he died on August 3. His inventory, also reprinted in his estate files, notes that he owned sheets & table linen, a box, chests, barrels, loom with tackling, iron candlesticks, a brown cow, a black cow, an old horse, a cow, and steer, among much more. [133] Like the other Packards mentioned in previous chapters, he was a farmer. There are many more records I could have looked at for this chapter, including land records. [134] Even without using those records, it is my hope that this chapter shed more light on another part of the Packard family’s story. With available resources I was able to add necessary historical context in order to improve the family story. The next chapter will move onto the next generation, focusing on the family of John Packard and Lydia. Not as much about them is known as the children of Zaccheus and Sarah, but they have the distinction of being the first generation of Packards who participated in the Revolutionary War since most of the Packards of the generation, noted in this chapter, would have been too old to hold any position with a few exceptions. Let us move forward to the story of John, Lydia, and the children of the second generation removed from Samuel Packard, Sr.


[88] Majority opinion of Anthony Kennedy, Obergefell v. Hodges, Justia, accessed July 8, 2017. It is relevant to the story of the Packards, including the family described in this chapter.

[89] See the Find A Grave entry for Sarah Howard Packard.

[90] Town Records Vol. 1-4, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, p. 107, image 42 of 654; Town Records Vol. 1-4, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, p. 112, image 44 of 654. Who Serjeant Packard is, and his relation to other Packards, is not known.

[91] Plymouth, Bridgewater, Land Records, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Town and Vital Records, p. 257, image 149 of 767; Town records vol 1-2, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, p. 34-35, image 14 of 285; Town Records Vol. 1-4, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, 1626-2001, p. 129, image 58 of 285; Plymouth, Bridgewater, Land Records, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Town and Vital Records, p. 255-256, image 148 of 767. Also in the 1690s, Nathaniel Packard made an agreement for 10 acres with Samuel Lathrop.

[92] Town records vol 1-2, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, p. 131, image 59 of 285; Plymouth, Bridgewater, Land Records, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Town and Vital Records, p. 258, image 149 of 767; Plymouth, Bridgewater, Land Records, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Town & Vital Records, p. 259, image 150 of 767.

[93] See the Find A Grave entries for Sarah Packard Edson and Josiah Edson. He would live from 1682 to 1762. For the  source listed in the next sentence, see Kippy Spinelli, which confirms he was a militia captain, but provides information describing Josiah and Sarah. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 says that Sarah was born in 1682 and other records indicate that she died in 1754, confirmed by her gravestone which says she was 72 years old, called “Sarah Edson.” That is all that is known at this time.

[94] See the Find A Grave entries for Sarah, Abidah, Josiah, Huldah, Abiezar, and Freelove. Abiezar would have one child named Pollycarpus who would marry a woman named Mary Packard who was the child of Samuel and Anne with Samuel being another child of Nathaniel Packard (1657-1736), discussed in a previous chapter.

[95] Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016), p 27.

[96] Ibid, 27-28. This may have been the situation for many of the Packard women.

[97] Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 indicate he was born in 1684 and that he died on June 7, 1746. Mayflower Births and Deaths, Vol. 1 and 2 and U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 claims he married Abigail Thomson in 1723. Other sources noted here come from a Packard Family History and cannot be independently verified at the time of this writing. Also see his Find A Grave entry.

[98] Land Agreement between David Packard, Jonathan Packard, and Josiah Snell, 1708, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds vol 6-8, p. 283-285 images 317, 318, and 319 of 504.

[99] Land Agreement involving Snell and Packard families, July 1715, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds 1714-1717 vol 11-12, p. 212-213, images 416 and 417 of 439. The Estate of Zaccheus Packard, 1725, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, Probate Records vol 5-5 T, p. 72-77, images 66, 67, and 68 of 256. In May 1725, a document is signed in the presence of Joseph Edson and Nathaniel Brett. Many Packards signed this document, including Zaccheus Packard II. Proceedings ended on May 19.

[100] Petition Submitted to the General Court by the inhabitants of the Northern Part of Bridgewater North Precinct, Dec. 11, 1736, series 228, Massachusetts State Archives, Vol. 114, p. 212; Agreement between varied Packards, 1730-1731, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Land Records, p. 259-260, image 150 of 767; General Court committee report advising that the inhabitants of the Northern part of Bridgewater West Precinct be exempted from ministerial taxes, Jan. 29, 1737, Massachusetts State Archives, series 228, Vol. 114, p. 216; Notice for a precinct meeting of Bridgewater West Prinict, Dec. 13, 1737, Massachusetts State Archives, series 228, Vol. 114, p. 215. Later that year, this same Jonathan would sign a notice of meeting about if West Bridgewater is to separate.

[101] A True Inventory of Jonathan Packard, May 7, 1747, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records vol. 10-10A, p. 408, image 222 of 611. Courtesy of Family Search; Land agreement involving Jonathan Packard and Jonathan Lopeland, Sept. 7, 1757, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds vol 56-57, p. 147-148, image 446 of 575. In later years, his son would be buying land, in an agreement with which the Snell family was involved.

[102] He would also own spinning wheels; sheep wool, flax and yarn; iron vessels & iron utensils; some pieces of cloth woolen & linen; sheep shine; beds & furniture; pewter glass, earthen vessels; indian corn, rye, and other grain; meat tubs, wooden barrels; brass vessels, forks & knives; home furniture, bridles, saddles, and pillory; looking glasses, some silver and knives; and one sled. There are undoubtedly more items not listed here.

[103] Division of Jonathan’s estate, Nov. 15, 1753, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records vol 13, p. 85-91, images 5455, 56, 57 of 298.

[104] Alan Taylor, American Revolutions, p 19, 25. As Taylor explains on page 25, colonial farms produced crops for “household needs and for the external market” which burst the myth of colonialists as self-sufficient “yeoman farmers.” He later adds on page 66 that most “free [white] men” in the colonies owned land by “freehold title” meaning that this “promised a cherished independence from a landlord, employer of master” but that that cost of land grew exponentially between 1750 and 1770 with only one of big families inheriting a whole farm in many cases.

[105] Ibid, p 21-22. Small port cities included Boston, Philadelphia, and many others.

[106] David’s gravestone on Find A Grave and Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records assert that he died on Nov. 3, 1755. The date of his marriage to Hannah Ames was reportedly 1612, but nothing verifies or disproves this date.

[107] Agreement to build an iron works or forge, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds vol 18-20, p. 142-143, images 396 and 397 of 679; Petition Submitted to the General Court by the inhabitants of the Northern Part of Bridgewater North Precinct, Dec. 11, 1736, series 228, Massachusetts State Archives, Vol. 114, p. 212. Another Israel Packard mentioned. His relation is not known.

[108] Petition submitted by David Packard and others requesting for their land to be annexed to the North Precinct of Bridgewater, Nov. 24, 1738, Massachusetts State Archives. Series 228, Vol. 114, p. 234; Petition submitted to the General Court by Jacob Allen and others of Bridgewater West Precinct, Massachusetts State Archives, Vol. 114, p. 247.

[109] Bradford Kingman, History of North Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, From its First Settlement to the Present Time with Family Registers (Bradford Kingman: Boston, 1866), p 20, 85.

[110] For this paragraph, see Alan Taylor, American Revolutions, p 13, 29-32, 55. For David’s son (1713-1783) see book 44, p. 2-3; book 47, p. 39; book 51, p. 252-253; book 55, p. 117; book 65, p. 251 of Massachusetts Land Records for a source for the “gobs of land” assertion.

[111] The Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots; Volume: 3; Serial: 11999; Volume: 8 says he was buried in East Bridgewater. Massachusetts, Marriages, 1633-1850 says he married Dorothy Perkins in Oct. 1760 and Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 says he was born in 1689. The New England Historical & Genealogical Register, 1847-2011 says he married Sarah Lathrop in Nov. 1715, and U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 says he married Susanna Kingman in 1717.

[112] Bradford Kingman, History of North Bridgewater,  p 85

[113] U.S., Revolutionary War Rolls collection on Ancestry, which consists of scanned original documents.

[114] The scanned copy of the History of North Bridgewater also says that “Solomon Packard was in service in Captain Benjamin Edgell’s company, Colonel John Jacobs’s regiment, five months and sixteen days, 1777.” This book notes that the following Packards served in varying Massachusetts units throughout the war: Nathan Packard (1st Lt.), Reuben Packard (Sgt.), William Packard (Corporal), Silvanus Packard (Drummer), Jonathan Packard (Private), Lemuel Packard (Private), Luke Packard (Private), Asa Packard (Fife), Oliver Packard (Private), Daniel Packard (Minuteman), Elijah Packard (Private), Ichabod Packard (Private), Josiah Packard (Private), Jonas Packard (Private), Ephrahim Packard (Private), Benjamin Packard (Private), Simeon Packard (Private), Shepard Packard (Private), Hezekiah Packard (Fifer), Thomas Packard (Private), Abiah Packard (Private), Levi Packard (Private), Adin Packard (Private), Phillip Packard (Private), and many more. It is hard to know if any of these men are the same ones as written about in this family history.

[115] Agreement between Jonathan and Solomon Packard, May 1, 1721, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds vol 38-39, p. 169, image 183 of 585; Agreement between Zacheus Packard and Jonathan Packard, Mar. 1, 1721, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds vol 38-39, p. 114-115, images 414 and 415 of 585; Agreement between Solomon Packard and Icabod Edson, Apr. 24, 1765, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds vol 50-51, p. 35-36, images 47 and 48 of 576; Agreements involving Solomon Packard, Feb. 13, 1770, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds vol 54-55, p. 93-94, images 388 and 389 of 593.; Agreement between Solomon Packard and Matthew Belcher, Nov. 1, 1773, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds vol 56-57, p. 196, image 495 of 595.

[116] See the Find A Grave entry  for James Packard. Massachusetts, Marriages asserts that James Packard married Jemima in 1722. One source says he married her on June 22, 1722. Hence, no date is put in the main text.

[117] Land Agreement involving Snell and Packard families, July 1715, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds vol 11-12, p. 212-213, images 416 and 417 of 439. Also see  book 30, p. 138; book 33, p. 131; book 44, p. 148; book 51, p. 160 within Massachusetts Land Records 1620-1986.

[118] Probate of James Packard of Bridgewater, 1765, Case no. 15107, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Estate Files, Plymouth, image 460 of 1362. File is empty, only says “see records.”

[119] Will of James Packard, Sept. 24, 1765, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967, Probate records 1763-1771 vol 19-20, p. 356-358, images 212 and 213 of 641. Courtesy of Family Search. In the last two pages is a letter by the estate’s administrator, Reuben Packard on Dec. 3, 1785. He also issued an executive account in 1766, showing who had been paid from the estate’s funds, the following year.

[120] He also gives him half of his husbandry tools, all of his household goods and indoor movables, and all of his estate other than what he has given his son James. He gives his daughters Hezia, Jemima, and Rebecca 24 pounds, five shillings collectively plus four pence a piece to be paid to them in cattle or iron bars at market price in cash, meaning that they would receive six pounds, one shilling each for the next four years, along with all the money which is due to him.

[121] See Zaccheus Packard II’s gravestone on Find A Grave which says he died in his 82nd year of age. U.S. and  International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 says he was born in 1693 and married Mercy in 1725. There is also a gravestone for his wife Mercy saying she died in May 12, 1775, while he died in Nov. 8, 1775 and was married to Zaccheus.

[122] See the gravestones for Eleazer, Simeon, and Mercy. They apparently had three other children.

[123] Plymouth, Bridgewater, Land Records, 1672-1834, Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Town and Vital Records, 1626-2001, p. 260, image 150 of 767. Courtesy of Family Search; Tax List of the Inhabitants of the Northern Part of Bridgewater West Precinct, 1738, Massachusetts State Archives, Vol. 114, p. 230; List of Inhabitants of Bridgewater West Precinct, Feb. 1738, Massachusetts State Archives, Vol. 114, p 226; Petition submitted to the general court by inhabitants of West Bridgewater, June 15, 1738, Massachusetts State Archives, Vol. 114, p. 203; Tax valuation of inhabitants of Bridgewater and Stoughton, 1739, Massachusetts State Archives, Vol. 114, p. 207. Abiel, David, David (Jr.), George, James, John, Jonathan, Seth, Solomon, and William Packard signed the petition.

[124] This comes from Family Data Collection – Individual Records. Also see his Find A Grave entry.

[125]  See his gravestone on Find A Grave. This proves he died in 1774.

[126] The Family Data Collection – Births and Family Data Collection – Individual Records says he was born in 1699, the latter asserting he married Sarah Ames. Massachusetts, Marriages, 1633-1850 and the Millennium File says he married Sarah Ames in 1723. Massachusetts, Marriages, 1633-1850 says he married Deliverance Washburn in 1771. Massachusetts, Town Death Records, 1620-1850 says he died on June 1, 1774. Mayflower Births and Deaths, Vol. 1 and 2 just gives general information. Mayflower Deeds and Probates, 1600-1850 summarizes his deeds and probates. Also see the gravestones of Sarah Ames and Deliverance Washburn.

[127] Kingman, History of North Bridgewater, p 20, 85, 88, 113, 206, 211-212.

[128] Ibid, 88, 94, 112-113, 201, 203, 206, 292-293. By 1774, he was militia captain (originally he was ensign in 1762, serving from that point) with Issac Packard. Other militia captains included: David Packard in 1780, Robert and Lennel Packard in 1783 (Robert again in 1796), Adin Packard (1817), Abiel Packard (1819) & Charles T. Packard (1862).

[129] Probate of Abiel Packard of Bridgewater, 1774, Case no. 15026, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Estate Files, images 159 and 160 of 1563; Last will and testament of Abiel Packard, 1774, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records vol 21-23, p. 624-625, images 299 and 300 of 827. His probate estate records are non-existent, just saying “see records” but other records as noted here and here fill in the gaps. He calls Joshua a yeoman, gives him 5 shillings to be delivered within 12 months of his death, the same for Thomas, Timothy, Daniel, and Eliab?. Betty also gets a bed and case of drawers. He also gave Benjamin a land grant 2 miles north Bridgewater called [something] brook and he gives his son Timothy the orchards, buildings, and such on the same premises as his house. Elizabeth Edson and Josiah Packard not mentioned. Neither is Abiel Packard, Jr., since he is dead by this point.

[130] Within Massachusetts Land Records see: Book 24, 95; book 47, p. 144; Book 51, p. 67-69; Book 52, p. 170; book 56, p. 92; Book 57, p. 155, 165, 178-179, 218; book 58, p. 41, 56; book 62, p. 13; book 68, p. 113; book 69, p. 165; book 71, p. 83; book 89, p. 10.

[131] Probate of Timothy Packard of Bridgewater, 1782, case no. 15185, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Estate Files, images 266, 268, 270, 273, 277, 278, 279, 280, 284, 286, 288, 290, 291, 293, 296, 298, 300, 302, 304, 306, 308 of 1333. On April 3, 1783, his estate was divided between Abiah and Ebenezer Packard, Matthew Kingman, Sarah Packard (Timothy’s wife), Bethuel Packard (a son), Calvin Packard (a son), Luther Packard (a son), and Josiah Edson Packard (a son). As a result of this agreement, in Aug, 1783, Sarah sold ten acres of land given to Josiah but since she is a guardian she has the legal right to sell it. In June 1793, there is a sale of Timothy’s estate which consists of 22 acres of land, paying her son Josiah the money from the land even though she is the guardian. Bethual Packard becomes Luther’s guardian in Feb. 1783, being under 14 years of age. See the Find A Grave records for Timothy, Luther, Sarah, and Sarah Alden.

[132] Some cite The Mayflower Descendants, Vol. 14, 1921, p. 206 as a source for his death. The varied records I am referring to are Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records and North America, Family Histories, along with the Find A Grave entries for Zaccheus and Sarah respectfully.

[133] Probate of Zaccheus Packard consisting of his inventory and division of lands, May 1725, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, Probate Records vol 5-5T, p. 74-76, images 67 and 68 of 596; Probate of Zaccheus Packard of Bridgewater, 1725, case no. 15193, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Estate Files, images 454, 456 of 1333; Giving his land to his sons, July 13, 1723, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, Deeds vol 15-17, p. 101, image 579 of 709. He also owns books and apparel, the bed of a widow (his late wife), other beds and furniture, tables, chairs, tubs, trays, wooden dishes & other lumber, iron and brass vessels, fire tools, pewter, glass, and earthen vessels and spoons, iron objects, lot of meadow, part of lots in Cedar Swamp, fifth part of two twenty acre lots. He must have known he was sick because on July 23 he divided his land up with four of his sons (Solomon, James, Zaccheus, and John): The land is that which follows the East side of the Salisbury river, consisting of 11 acres, which is divided up, and 2 which are not. All of those acres are part of the Meadow & Meadowish Grand. Solomon gets six acres, Zaccheus and John get four acres, and James gets three acres.

[134] Here are the records that were not used in this text, relating to Abiel, Jonathan, David, Joshua, Zachariah, Daniel (1682-1731), Jonathan (1684-1746), and likely Abigail (married to Jonathan) which can be found within Massachusetts Land Records 1620-1986, clicking on Plymouth County, on Family Search: book 3, p. 147-148; book 22, p. 216; book 28, p. 134; book 33, p. 45, 153-164, book 36, p. 105; Book 37, 116-121; book 38, p. 165-168; book 39, p. 25-27, 39, 113-117; Book 40, p. 111, 180-181; Book 41, p. 143; book 42, p. 119, book 49, p. 26-27; book 51, p. 261; book 60, p. 74; book 62, p. 13; book 67, p. 76. These are just a few examples of the available records.

Chapter IV: Samuel, the Bridgewater yeoman

This is the 6th in a series of articles which serializes my family history, which I wrote in November 2017, titled “From Samuel to Cyrus: A fresh look at the History of the Packard Family.” Below is the 4th chapter of that history:

In 1913, within the Mayflower Descendant, George Ernest Bowman highlighted deeds by Samuel’s wife, Elizabeth, and abstracted Samuel’s will with all of its specifics. [49] Even with this, none of those who have reprinted the last will and testament of Samuel, including the varied genealogists who have written about the Packard family in the past, have actually analyzed this document. Using the citations provided by some genealogists, I was able to locate the last will and testament of Samuel Packard, which consists of three pages, two of consist of his will, and the last page outlining his inventory which is very hard to decipher. As Dale Cook notes, in the comments below, I located “the copy of that will in the Plymouth Colony records. The original holographic will is long lost, and it is apparent to the experienced researcher that the copy in the Colony records may contain at least one error.” While that is valid, I still contend that one can learn genealogical information about the Packard family from these three pages, confirming the long-held determinations by researchers of the Packard family. While no birth dates or ages are listed in the document, it tells who Samuel Packard was as a man in Bridgewater (where his ancestors would still be living in 1848), within England’s Plymouth Colony, which would later become Massachusetts, and his family.

By 1684, Samuel Packard, called “Samuell Packer” in his last will and testament, had been living in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, for 22 years, if the town clerk, John Cary, is right. Other  genealogists claim that he lived in Hingham and Weymouth before arriving in Bridgewater, as noted in previous chapters. He had reportedly been a Constable, Surveyor of Highways, and Collector of Minister’s Rates over the years. Within his will, he was described as a “yeoman.” [50] This term has many meanings. Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines it as person in a social class below the gentry, who owns and cultivates a “relatively small tract of land.” While some of those in this class, possibly including Samuel, wanted to become part of the gentry since they considered themselves in a sort of “middle class” position, in reality they were diametrically opposed (in terms of class position) to the gentry of early New England and in other parts of British America. [51] Hence, Samuel was like many other settlers who were yeomen (or claimed to be) who came with their wives and children to New England to start a “new life” free from the pressures they had faced in “old” England.

Before moving onto the genealogical information delineated in his will, specifics of his life can be determined just by looking at his inventory. [52] Currently one tortured transcription of his inventory, by Brian Lightfoot, is available online. Using this in conjunction with analysis of this record, one can visualize his life. On November 11, Samuel’s inventory was proven in a local court in Plymouth. [53] This consisted of his personal property, not his real (or immovable) property as manifested in his land holdings, of 133 pounds, 6 shillings, and 6 pence. This would be worth £19,210.00 or about $31,300 in US dollars in the present-day.

Samuel’s personal property tells about his agricultural lifestyle. His most highly valued, monetarily, possessions are his four cows, three steers, three young cattle, one horse (with harness and rope for a cart), and “Indian corne” a type of maize which is more freeze-resistant than other planted vegetables. It is also called flint corn or calico corn, with its original name coming from the fact that indigenous people began planting it in New England and elsewhere going back to as far as 1000 B.C.E., especially among those in the Mississippi river region. These possessions consisted almost 1/5 of his personal property value! [54] Additionally, Samuel held, on hand, apart from his one pound of debt, 58 pounds, 15 shillings, in bills and other money, about 44.4 percent of his personal property value. [55]

While his farm animals, crops, and money on hand constituted more than 63% of his property’s value, looking at these values alone does not completely tell about his life. Clearly, these and other possessions show he was a small-scale farmer, selling yarn and sheep’s wool. He also tilled the land, likely with help of his immediate (and extended) family, planting corn, rye, and barley (some of which was “malted”), using his two “plow shares” and old “plow shares” sending it to market in the cart(s) described in numerous places within the inventory. He also had, within his possession, cedar logs, cedar “clabords” (possibly referring to cedar clapboard siding), and a tinning and dripping pan and tunnel. This could possibly imply that Samuel (and anyone who worked on the farm) used the wood to either improve the “dwelling house” and the tinning materials to store food if “tinning” is used in the inventory to mean the preserving foodstuffs in tins or canning. Additionally, leather, from the cows he owned, ground corn (or other grains) using the grindstone/millstone and crank, honey from the bee hive, and cider in a barrel (likely for drinking since water was not purified at the time) was also sold to nearby towns or perhaps just in Bridgewater itself. Considering that there are two whip saws, hooks, a hide for a steer, lumber, a broad ax, and narrow ax, it is likely that sawed lumber was sold from his farm. Samuel is also noted as owning an unnamed number of pigs (“swine”) and nine sheep, the latter two which he likely fed straw and possibly excess corn, among other grains grown on the farm.

Samuel tried to be somewhat “respectable” as shown by the possession of “wearing clothes,” brass and iron vessels, blankets, pillows, and pairs of sheets. This is further shown by the ownership of varied “feather beds” (down comforter), wooden chests, a table with chairs, pillow cases (called “pillow coates”), table cloths, and half a dozen napkins. The possessions used to make the farm function and sell to broader markets, among others not named and those “unseen and forgotten” as the inventory puts it, are only 36.6% of his property value. Collectively, his possessions indicate he was, seemingly, a small-scale farmer who sold varied grains, products from his farm animals, lumber, honey, and varied drinks (cider and malted liquor), some of which were weighed, using a scale and pair of feathers, in his possession. This only tells part of his story and collective ancestry since Samuel was my 9th great grandfather, with a “posterity” of “beyond 50,000” descendants by 1876.  [56]

Samuel’s last will and testament fills in the gaps, but also tells about his physical state and his religious beliefs. While was, when he wrote his will on October 29, 1684, “weak of mind” and faltering in memory, this is still an accurate genealogical record which shows firm relationships between father and son, father and daughter, husband and wife, grandfather and grandchildren. [57] With many genealogists saying that he was baptized in England in 1612, it would interest them greatly that he was a dedicated Christian. In his will, he states that he “prayed to God” for his family, committed his soul to the “hand of the Almighty” and prayed for his “salvation” after death. These Christian references accompany his desire for a “decent burial” and funeral after his death.

If he was a small-scale farmer, he was a strange one indeed, because he owned 339 acres of land at his death. This comes from the adding up of all of the land granted to his immediate and extended family in his will. Using the amount of land as a basis and looking at land deeds in 1684 and 1685, the land he owned at his death could have been worth between about 65 shillings an acre and 2.72 pounds an acre. [58] If one uses the lower number, his land would be worth 220 pounds, 35 shillings or £32,300 in present-day relative values (about $26,256 US dollars). If one uses the higher number, his land would be worth 922 pounds, 8 shillings or £134,400 in present-day relative values (about $109,251 US dollars). Either way, his land would have be worth a lot of money. However, since his mind was faltering he may have misstated the acreage he owned in some cases.

Samuel’s many acres of land,  sitting on the Satucket River (or Satuccut), Meadow Brook (likely along Poor Meadow Brook), possibly near present-day Robbins Pond (then called Satuckett Pond?) was concentrated mainly in Bridgewater. This included his 36-acre tract of land for his farm. This was granted to his wife, Elizabeth, and he delineated that this land be divided between his son Nathaniel/Nathaniell (who received 2/3) and his grandchild Israel/Israell Augur (who received 1/3) when Elizabeth died. [59] He also owned 169 acres in Bridgewater which he granted to his “eldest son” Samuel, son Zacheus (or Zaccheus) and son John, even granting Zacheus the house he lived in, which he was seemingly renting from Samuel. He owned 54 acres where his son Samuel was living, 20 other acres called Satuckett Pond, in Bridgewater, which he gave Elizabeth. He willed 50 acres in Bridgewater to be divided in half between his son Nathaniel and grandchild Israel Augur, and gave 10 un-surveyed acres in Bridgewater to his daughter, Deliverance, but not her husband Thomas Washburn. Samuel owned shares of “meddow” in Bulls Hole (divided between Nathaniel and Israel to commence after Elizabeth’s death), lot within “Great Meddow,” a lot called “West Meddow Brooke,” a lot called “Poor Meddow,” and a lot “att Tehicut.” There were other rights and title of “commons and comage” in Bridgewater, granting them to his family. He dispensed 41 pounds, ten shilling to Elizabeth, his five daughters (Mary, Hannah, Jaell, Deborah, and Deliverance) and his grandchildren (Samuel Packard, Daniel Packard, Israel/Israell Packard who was the son of Zacheus, and Caleb Philips). [60]

Within his will, Samuel gives a special gift to one member of his extended family. This is his grandchild Deliverance Augur, child of his daughter Deliverance and Thomas Washburn. He gives her a heifer, when she is “of age,” and a “feather bed” after the death of Elizabeth. He also required that his son, Nathaniel, pay 10 pounds to the executors of his estate. He appointed Elizabeth and his son Samuel as joint executors while making James Keith and William Pratt overseers of his estate. [61] On March 3, 1685, John Field and John Ames, Jr., said that Samuel Packard desired Thomas Washburn or  Washbourne to be another executor. Samuel Packard, Sr. would be dead by November 7, 1684.


[49] For years, the Packard family has been writing about an immigrant ancestor, Samuel Packard, who came over on the Diligent in June 1638. Article after article has appeared online, and almost all of the records are secondary. Such individuals have little to show for themselves in terms of hard, primary sources. Others are either impossible to access without ordering, are inaccessible fully online without a subscription to certain magazines (“Hobart’s Journal”) or sourced incorrectly to
records (Plymouth County Records: Wills) which have been digitized and are online. Hence, the current basis for Samuel Packard’s life, as manifested in this Find A Grave entry (for example) is shaky at best. This does not take away from the work done by Mr. Cook and by Karle S. Packard, who died two years ago, among others who wrote for the short-lived Packard’s Progress publication from 1987 to 1998, both of whom used certain primary sources. A lack of primary sources, rather relying with citations of transcriptions, abstracts, and other derivative documents, or those documents which are not in the original form they were created (including the will analyzed in this post), creates a number of problems. Secondary sources can help tell a story, but too much reliance on them could open a person’s story to possible distortions and inaccuracies.

[50] 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, image 585 of 616. A surveyor helped lay out roads in the town. A constable acted as a sheriff, executing warrants.

[51] Diane E. Davis, Discipline and Development: Middle Classes and Prosperity in East Asia and Latin America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 21, 254, 270; Allan Kulikoff, The Agrarian Origins of American Capitalism (London: University Press of Virginia, 1996, second printing), p. 1, 34-39, 47, 66; Martha L. Finch, Dissenting Bodies: Corporealities in Early New England (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), p. 65, 87, 97, 208; James L. Huston, The British Gentry, the Southern Planter, and the Northern Family Farmer: Agriculture and Sectional Antagonism in North America (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015), p. 1, 4-5, 12-14, 30, 34-35, 45, 78, 255, 273, 284. Some chronicling the Packard genealogy cite an article titled “Samuel Packard and the English Origins of the Packard Family” by Karle S. Packard. However, no article of that name exists within the scanned issues by Packard’s Progress by Dale Cook. As he notes in the comments below, this name “is likely the result of initial sloppiness in one citation, followed by much cut-and-paste copying, which the unaware believe constitutes “online research.” The correct citation is Karle S. Packard, “Samuel Packard of Bridgewater, Massachusetts and His Family” (Packard’s Progress, 17 (Feb., 1991):9-12).”

[52] Inventory of the estate of Samuell Packer of Bridgewater, November 7, 1684, Plymouth Colony Records, Wills Vol. 3, Part 2, Plymouth Registry of Deeds, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, Plymouth, p. 99, image 587 of 616. Inventories are helpful in telling about people’s lives.

[53] Abstracts of his will, which come from George Ernest Bowman’s 1913 article, seem to indicate that it is strange that the lands he owned are not included in his inventory. This analysis ignores the fact that inventories refer to personal property not to real property manifested in land holdings, generally, with land owned is noted in the will, but not in the inventory. This requires two conversations of money from 1684 to 1970 and again from 1970 to 1971 since the British monetary system changed. Another conversion was needed to turn the money from its 1970 form into 2014 relative values, and then converting it ($30,826.95 in 2014) to 2016 relative values in US dollars. Both of these figures use 2016 relative values, referring to the relative value or historic standard of living as noted by Measuring Worth.

[54] These possessions specifically were a total of 25 pounds and 4 shillings or £3,662.00 in present-day relative values.

[55] Using the conversations put forward in note 40, excepting those for conversions into dollars, his money on hand is£8,531.00 in present-day relative values.

[56] Hiram Barrus, History of the Town of Goshen, Hampshire County, Massachusetts: From Its First Settlement in 1761 to 1881 with Family Sketches (Boston: Hiram Barrus, 1881), 162. The same source quotes a genealogist at the time calling the  the Packards “a thrifty, well-stocked race.”

[57] Last Will and Testament of Samuell Packer, p. 96. This record, using the last name Packer, specifies the following people, without giving them birth dates: his “loving” wife Elizabeth; his “eldest son” Samuel Packer, Jr.; his son Zacheus Packer; his son John Packer; his son Nathaniel/Nathaniell Packer; his grandchild Israel/Israel Augur; his daughter Mary Packer; married to Richard Phillips; his daughter Hannah Packer, married to Thomas Randall; his daughter Jaell, married to John Smith; his daughter Deborah, married to Samuel Washburn; his daughter Deliverance, married to Thomas Washburn, with a child named Deliverance Augur; his grandchild Caleb Phillips, claimed to be son of Caleb Phillips but this is not the case; his grandchildren Samuel Packer, Daniel Packer, Israel/Israell Packer who was the son of Zacheus.

[58] Land Purchase of Samuel West from William Clarke, May 14, 1684, Plymouth County, Deeds, Vol. 1, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, p. 6-7, image 11 of 652; Land Purchase of Rowland White from Samuel White, May 25, 1685, Plymouth County, Deeds, Vol. 1, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, p. 37-38, images 28 and 29 of 652; Land Purchase of Joseph Waterman from John Barber, Jan. 29, 1685, Plymouth County, Deeds, Deeds Vol. 1, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, p. 50-51, images 36 and 37 of 652; Land deed involving Sarah, Ephraim, and Joseph Warren, March 28, 1685, Plymouth County, Deeds, Deeds Vol. 1, Massachusetts Land Records, Plymouth, p. 91-92, image 58 of 652. Sometimes people dealt in silver as well, but this wasn’t as likely. Land records differed. The price of three pounds, ten shillings for three acres was rounded down to 3 pounds for this calculation (meaning a pound and acre), while the others came out easily: 2.5 pounds an acre (25 pounds for 10 acres of land), 2.94 pounds an acre (Fifty pounds for 17 acres of land), 0.3 pounds an acre (15 pounds for 50 acres of land). Furthermore, the highest (2.94 and 2.5) and lowest numbers (.3 and 1) were added together and divided to create two numbers for the lowest (0.65) and highest (2.72).

[59]  Last Will and Testament of Samuell Packer, p. 96. This section also uses some information from page 97 as well.

[60]  He even specified for Jaell that the money and “chattles” (not meaning slaves but property in this instance) would go to her, after Elizabeth’s death, not to her husband, John Smith, so it could be used for “her comfort” with the money distributed by the will’s executors. Many genealogists repeat the claim that Caleb Phillips was the son of Richard Phillips. This is because Mary Packard, his daughter, is married to Richard Phillips. This would make Caleb his grandchild.

[61] Last Will and Testament of Samuell Packer, p. 98, image 586 of 616. Since Samuel died sometime between October 29, 1684 and November 7, 1684, these oaths must be in 1685.