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.

Looking at Samuel Packard and John Washburn

In my family history, I wrote multiple chapters on Samuel Packard, including one that specifically focused on his will. I plan to expand on those writings here and talk about John Washburn, the second husband of Elizabeth (who was first married to Samuel Packard). Below is a synopsis of what I wrote about Samuel Packard, for starters:

Samuel Packard (d. 1684) (also spelled Packer, Packerde, Packeard, and varied other spellings) married Elizabeth (died aft. 1702) and had 11 children (with the last name of Packard)…After Moses reportedly died in 1606, his 26-year-old son, George P., took of [over] his estate. He married Mary Whither (1574-1672), and had seven children…[including] Samuel (?-1684)…While the Packards had often lived in Suffolk County, Samuel moved to Norfolk County, which was north of Suffolk, at a date not yet known. While there he met his wife Elizabeth…The Packards, among the hundreds on the ship were not coming to Massachusetts for new opportunities…The Packards were not the first, but were part of a considerable wave of new settlers, living in crudely and quickly built houses…The Packards were part of a society in Hingham but [part of] the growing colony in New England…On December 4, 1662, he [Samuel] was noted as a purchaser of land and landowner in Bridgewater…In the 1670s, Samuel continued to expand his land holdings…In the years before Samuel’s death in 1684, he continued to acquire land as his children went their separate ways…If he was a small-scale farmer, he was a strange one indeed, because he owned 339 acres of land at his death. Samuel’s many acres of land…was concentrated mainly in Bridgewater…He dispensed 41 pounds, ten shilling to Elizabeth [his wife], his five daughters…and his grandchildren…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.

The above is further proven through SAMUEL PACKARD’S WILL extracts and Samuell Packer will and inventory 1684, the latter of which comes from the original record. From this, one can try to map his land holdings, a helpful visualization to the best of my ability as some places can’t be found:

Comes from this map. This shows West Meadow but not bulls hole,land near mark laythorpe’s land, near Satuckett pond (which may be “Saughtuckett Pond”), Poor Meadow, or the SE side of river. He apparently had a farm named Nitpicket.

Map overlap, using this map and Google Maps, seems to say that he was living somewhere between Charles St and Howard St in West Bridgewater.

As for John Washburn, the following is noted in my family history:

Likely in late 1684, Samuel’s wife, Elizabeth, would marry a man named John Washburn Jr. who had been living in Bridgewater for years…On October 30, 1686, John Washburn, Jr. would write his will. Other than grants to his children, undoubtedly from a previous marriage, he would give Elizabeth one bed, one booster, one pillow, one pair of sheets, and one blanket for starters. He would also give her one coverlet, two chests, six baskets of Indian corn, one bushel of barley, and two pounds, two shillings, which he had already given to her at the time. Like Samuel, John Washburn owned numerous farm tools and supplies, such as Indian corn, rye, scythes, iron wedges, chains, hoes, pitchforks, cart, wheels, whipand saws. He also mirrored Samuel in his show of status not with brass, iron, and pewter spoons, his bees wax or ammunition, but through table cloths, napkins, and five beds, to name a few possessions…On October 27, 1694, almost eight years after John’s death, she would sell land given to her by Samuel. It would be a 20-acre tract called “Satuckett Pond” or “Sehucket Pond” given to her by Samuel in his will…saying explicitly that Samuel was her first husband as she sold the land to “an Indian” living in Bridgewater named Sam James. The land agreement would be signed by Samuel’s son of the same name, Samuel Packard, Jr., along with Thomas Washburn and Edward Fobes…It is not a coincidence that this Samuel Packard and Thomas Washburn were executors of Samuel Packard, Sr.’s estate. Years later, in April 1702, Elizabeth, again a “widow,” would sign a document about John Washburn’s heirs, receiving some rights.

But there is more in John Washburn’s will and inventory in 1686 than what is is noted above. He (called John Sr. in the rest of this paragraph) gave his son John four (unreadable) “upland” acres where he had already built a structure, which sat the easterly side of his land, a lot of meadow in Coster’s Kitchen (an area also partially owned by certain Packards), two lots of meadow above Gwat? Island (which one?). He was also given a cow of John Sr.’s brother Philip to provide for him, certain rights in “undivided lands,” a lot of meadow near John Ames, along with dividing land with his other children. As for John Sr’s son Joseph, he gave him 20 acres in “Satucket Pond” (seemingly Robbins Pond) and a lot on “Black Brooke,” while he gave his other son Samuel 34 acres on which he already has built a structure, land on Poor Meadow River (really a brook?), and a lot of meadow in Coster’s Kitchen. He also gave his son Jonathan fifty acres of land which sat on the “South Brooke,” his son Benjamin 50 acres which was formerly his father’s lot in Coster’s Kitchen along with a young horse and a cow, among other farm animals. He later said that James, his younger son, would get certain land, noted his “dwelling house” apparently sitting in Coster’s Kitchen, his two daughters (Mary and Elizabeth), his land on Satucket River and Bear Swamp.

Likely none of these children are the sons or daughters of Elizabeth, but of John Sr’s previous wife. Even the other varied records can’t solve that genealogical dilemma or find out what rivers are referred to.

For now, that’s all that can be said, but this adds more info about the Packard family (and related families) without a doubt.