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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

John Ayers and Quaboag MA

(Note: this is a long post, but it didn't seem to have a dividing place, so I've left all the information together.)

Following the death of John and other inhabitants of Quaboag MA, in 1675, in the battle with the Indians as part of King Phillips War, everyone left Quaboag, Massachusetts  (See below for more details of the battle)

Quaboag or Brookfield battle in 1675
Captain John Ayres, immigrant ancestor, was born in England, and settled as early as 1648 at Ipswich, Massachusetts. He was accompanied by two brothers-in-law, William Lamson and William Fellows, who married his sisters. Ayres married Susanna, daughter of Mark Symonds, of Ipswich. Mark Symonds was born in 1584 in England and died April 28, 1659, leaving wife Joanna and daughters, Susanna Ayres, Abigail, wife of Robert Pierce; Priscilla, wife of John Warner and had Mary, wife of Edward Chapman, who died before her father
Yet another sentence reminds us that Mark Symonds was his father-in-law.
John Ayres removed to Brookfield, Mass, when the settlement of that place was commenced, and in Nov. 1672, sold all his rights at Ipswich, including those "belonging to my father-in-law Mark Symonds,"
He was also listed as an inhabitant of Ipswich in 1648, and married Susanna, daughter of Mark Symonds of who’s (Mark Symonds) estate he was appointed administrator. In such capacity, on November 24, 1659, he sold a house and a three acre lot to another son-in-law of the deceased, Edward Chapman (Ipswich Deed 3:351) 

Quaboag Plantation

During the 10 years it existed, 14 families settled at Quaboag Plantation. They were a hardy group of pioneers, willing to settle a new land, in what was then a wilderness, 25 miles from the nearest town.  Source:
When the survivors of the battle who had fled Quaboag, and their descendants wanted to come back, the ownership of the property seemed to be in question.

A petition was sent to the Governing House of Representatives of Massachusetts...
"A petition of Thomas Ayres, Joseph Ayres, Mark Ayres, Natt'll Ayres and Edward Ayres, Sons & Heirs heretofore of Quaboag alias Brookfield, Dec'd Intestate, Shewing that in or about the Year 1660, the Petitioners Father with others bought & purchased of the Indian Natives a Tract of Land of about Eight Miles square then known & called by the name of Quaboag, After which, Viz. in the year 1673, the General Court erected the said Land into a Township by the Name of Brookfield, That in the Year 1675, A War broke out with the Indians, who kill'd Petitioners Father & several other Inhabitants, And the Rest being drawn off by Order of the Government, the whole Town was left desolate, and all the Houses burnt Down by the Enemy, After Which, about, 1690, the said Town of Brookfield was in a likely Way to be settled.

There's a lot more to the petition, which tells how one court set up a committee, which then didn't act at all to settle the issue.

The result of this petition...
Read in the House of Representatives October 26, 1717 and ordered that the Committee of Brookfield be served with a copy of this and the petitioners former petition, and that they appear before this Court on the second Thursday of the next May session, to show reason why they declared the petitioners land to be forfeited.
Sent up for concurrence.  Read and concurred.
Consented to: Samuel Shute
Source: 33. Whitmore (A Record of Descendants...), pp. 10-12. 

At the time of the petition in 1717, Susanna Ayers, wife of John, had already died in 1683.  Since the Ayers family had come from Ipswich to Quaboag, that is probably where they had fled to.  The original petition from Susanna had stated she had 7 sons and one daughter.

  1. John;
  2. Samuel, 
  3. Thomas;
  4. Joseph;
  5. Edward, born February 12, 1658, at Ipswich;
  6. Mark, December 14, 1661;
  7. Nathaniel, July 6, 1664;
  8. Susanna.

It is also interesting to me that Susanna is noted as having received a small compensation from a fund from Rebecca Symonds, an unknown relation of Mark Symonds.
In 1682, a former resident of Massachusetts Bay Colony, named Samuel Hall, left a bequest of 100 Li to be distributed among the victims of the great fire in Boston and of the Indian wars in the Colony. Suzannah received 33s of this, but died soon after on February 2, 1682-3  Source: Felt, Joseph B.  History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton. Cambridge, Mass, 1834, p. 62. and Ipswich Vital Records, Vol. II., p. 485.
John had built a tavern in Quaboag, and it was the most secure building from which to fight the Indians, until it was burned down, with the rest of the town.

John Ayres was owner of much land within the Plantation.  The amount which he paid John Pynchon for his original grant was 5 Li 12s 6p, or four and a half times the value of a single house lot with its usual allowance of meadow and planting ground (9).  In addition to this, he leased a large meadow (Matchuk-19 acres) from John Pynchon from June 28, 1671, until the time of his death.  Record of this appears in his account on: June 28, 1671; November 28, 1672; October 23, 1673; and, August 18, 1674 (10).  This large acquisition and usage of land indicates that he had grown sons, that he was relatively wealthy, and that he was capable of maintaining such an amount of this most precious commodity.  He can certainly be classified as a substantial husbandman.
Although his first actual license for maintaining a tavern was not granted until the Fall of 1671, the following entry leads us to believe that he offered food and shelter prior to that time. On June 28, 1671, the following: “By my expense at his house last summer and once this Spring 00 12 00”. That Ayres was a respected planter is confirmed by the following found in the Record of Hampshire County Court for September 26, 1671: “Goodman Ayres of Quabaug licensed to sell wine, etc.”. This permit was renewed on September 24, 1672: “Goodman Ely of Springfield hath his license continued for the year ensuing to keep ordinary and to sell wines and strong liquors, providing he keep good rule in his house. Also Goodman Ayres of Quaboag hath his license continued on the same terms”. And for the last time on September 29, 1674: “John Ayres of Brookfield hath his license renewed for the year ensuing”. As we know, this tavern was still in operation at the time of the Indian assault on August 2, 1675, and being the strongest building at the Plantation, was converted into a fortified house to provide protection during the siege which followed.
In addition to his other activities, Sergeant Ayres was commander of the small detachment of militia. Although he held the rank of captain during his residence at Ipswich, he had had to accept the lower rank at Quaboag because of the small size of the military contingent. He was assisted in his duties by Second Sergeant William Prichard and Corporal Richard Coy. 
John Ayres, as commander of the local detachment of militia, and his subordinate non-commissioned officers Sgt. Prichard and Corp. Coy, were the ones to accompany Captain Wheeler and Captain Hutchinson in the mission of peace to the Indians on that fateful August 2, 1675. All three of these valiant men were to die with others of the military troops sent from Marlboro to treat with the Indians. Even the death of John was not to end the contribution of this man to the welfare of the community, since it was to be his house which was to provide a haven of relative safety and to be occupied and defended by the surviving inhabitants and soldiers through those three gruesome days in August 1675. After the Indian siege of Brookfield had been relieved by the arrival of Major Willard and his troop, the inhabitants left for scattered areas, looking for security and peace. Suzannah Ayres and her children returned to the familiar surroundings of Ipswich where still remained some of her kinship. She presented to the Court at Salem an inventory of the estate of her deceased husband amounting to 195 Li 13s and 6p. In 1678, she is found as the owner of a house in Ipswich. Among those of the family listed as residents of Ipswich in 1678, in addition to Suzannah, we find John Jr., Joseph, Samuel Sr., Samuel Jr., and Thomas Ayres.
In 1703, Samuel, John and Thomas were appointed executors of the estate of John Sr. On January 14, 1716, as recorded in Worcester in 1741, the land formerly possessed at Brookfield by John Ayres Sr., was conveyed to Joseph Ayres of Ipswich by Thomas, Mark, Edward, and Nathaniel, sons of Sgt. John; and by Samuel, son of Samuel and grandson of Sgt. John; and by Robert Day, son of Suzannah (Ayres) (Day) Waite and grandson of Sgt. John.
Source:West Brookfield Historical Commission: Meet the Planters - AYRES 

The Brookfield Massacre, August 2, 1675
Gordon Harris / August 2, 2014
This is the story of William Prichard, John Ayres, John Warner and Daniel Hovey and their families, who left Ipswich to establish the doomed plantation at Brookfield, Massachusetts.
In May 1660, a group of colonists moved from Ipswich to the Indian town Quaboag in Western Massachusetts, which they renamed Brookfield. Indian attacks known as “King Phillips War” resulted in the destruction of Brookfield and the deaths of a dozen settlers on August 2, 1675. English soldiers accompanied by Mohegan allies were eventually able to break the siege at Brookfield, with casualties on both sides. Hatfield, Deerfield and Northfield were attacked in September, and Springfield was burned on October 5th.
The protagonist of the Indian attacks was Metacomet (aka Metacom) leader of the Pokanoket tribe, known by the English as King Phillip.  Major Samuel Appleton of Ipswich led a two-hour attack against Metacom’s fighters in Springfield which resulted in the first setback by the Indians. Appleton is credited also with capturing the Narraganset fort during the Great Swamp Fight in 1675. After returning to public life in Ipswich, he was imprisoned in Boston for his role in defying taxes imposed by the crown-appointed Governor Andros.
William Prichard arrived in the colony in 1630 and settled in Ipswich in 1649.  In the summer of 1660. By 1675 he was a selectman of Brookfield and serving as Sergeant in the military. On August 2, 1675,  Sergeant Prichard, Corporal Coy, and Sergeant Ayres, were slain in an ambush at Braintree.  William Pritchard’s son was outside the garrison at Brookfield when the attack began and was slain by the Indians. They cut off his head, tossed it about like a ball in sight of the settlers, and then set on a pole against his dead father’s house.
John Ayres Sr. was a prominent Ipswich resident who promoted the settlement in Quaboag. He also was killed in the ambush by the Indians in New Braintree the same day as the Brookfield massacre. His wife Susannah Ayres survived the attack at Brookfield and  moved back to Ipswich with her six sons and one daughter.
Daniel Hovey and his wife Abigail joined the new town in 1668 accompanied by their five younger children, Thomas aged 20, James 18, Joseph 15, Abigail 13, and Nathaniel 11. Their older children, Daniel Jr. and John remained in Ipswich. Daniel Hovey moved again to Hadley and returned to Ipswich after the massacre.
In the early moments of that siege, Daniel’s son James was overtaken and killed by the Indians somewhere near his house. His wife Priscilla and their children took refuge in a tavern surrounded by hundreds of hostile Nipmucs, who tried unsuccessfully to  burn it. After three days Major Simon Willard arrived with 46 troops, and they chased off the attackers.  James Hovey was buried with the eleven other victims, and the traumatized survivors returned to Ipswich or dispersed to other better-protected communities along the Massachusetts frontier.
After the attack on Brookfield, Priscilla took her three children to join James’ brother Daniel Hovey in Hadley. She left her eldest son also named Daniel in Hadley to be raised and educated by James’ other brother Thomas. The widow returned to Ipswich with her daughter Priscilla and the infant, James Jr. She filed an inventory of the estate in March 16,  1676 and received a small stipend as a war widow from the General Court of Ipswich. James’ death was officially listed as a military casualty. (Source: The Hovey Book, page 30.)
John Warner and his father William Warner were among the first settlers in the Ipswich Colony, arriving in 1635. The father died in Ipswich in 1648.  John Warner married Priscilla, daughter of Mark Symonds of Ipswich where they continued to live  for about twenty years. In 1670, he sold to John Woodam his property in Ipswich, consisting of his dwelling house, barn, orchard, and 7 acres of upland “which formerly was part of my father Warner’s meadow in Ipswich.” and he and Priscilla moved to Brookfield. He was one of three men there who arranged the transfer of land with the Indians, built the first house in the new town and is referred to as the “Father of Brookfield”. John and Priscilla survived the attack and retreated with their younger children to Hadley, Massachusetts to join their oldest son Mark Warner. Priscilla died in 1688 and John died in 1692.
 Included source:
Following the death of John Ayers, Susanna married a man named Mr. Day, and had another son,  "Robert Day, (who) resided in 1716, New Roxbury," who also became part of the petition for the land belonging to John Ayers in Brookfield, MA in 1717.

Copied footnotes (The numbers that they refer to may be found throughout the text as I've quoted above.)
 1. Whitmore, William Henry. A Record of the Descendants of Captain John Ayres of Brookfield, Mass. Boston: T. R. Marvin & Son, 1870, p 9.
A xerox copy of this book is in the possession of Gloria ODOM (55 pages total).  
A copy of this book is in the Pennsylvania State Library, Harrisburg, PA and in  1984, the book was litteraly crumbling; in 1997 the book would be 127 years old.

2. Whitmore, William Henry. Article “The Ayres and Ayer Families” from New England Historical & Genealogical Register, Vol. XVII (17), Oct. 1863, pp. 307-309.  A xerox copy of this article is in the possession of Gloria ODOM (pp. 307-310).

3. Waters, Thomas Franklin.  Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.   Two volumes, published by Ipswich Historical Society, 1905, p. 490.

 4. Hammatt, Abraham.  The Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, Mass., 1633-1700.  Printed Ipswich, MA, 1880, p. 13.

 5. Waite, Henry E., Esq.  Article “Early History of Brookfield, Mass.” from New England Historical & Genealogical Register, Vol. XXXV (35), Boston, p. 337.  A xerox copy of this article is in the possession of Gloria ODOM (pp. 333-339).

 6. Waters, p. 365. 
 7. Hammatt, p. 14.
 8. Pynchon, John.  Account Books of 1651-1705, six volumes. Vol. III, p. 118.
 9. Ibid., Vol. V, p. 324.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid., Vo. V, p. 325.
12. Pynchon, John.  Hampshire County Court Records (Wastebook).  Apr. 1663 - Jan. 1672.  Connecticut Valley Historical Society Library, Springfield, Mass., p. 89.
13. Ibid., p. 103.
14. Ibid., p. 120.
15. Account Books, Vol. III, p. 26.
16. Ibid., p. 27.
17. Ibid., Vol. V, p. 325.
18. Ibid.
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid., Vol. V, p. 324.
21. Pynchon, John, Magistrate Book, 1639 - 1702.  Photostats courtesy
Connecticut Valley Historical Society, Springfield, Mass., p. 255.
22. Wastebook, p. 114.
23. Ibid.
24. Magistrate Book, p. 255.
25. Whitmore, p. 9.
26. Account Books, Vol. V, p. 324.
27. Magistrate Book, p. 149.
28. Ibid., p. 159.
29. Hammatt, p. 13.
30. Waters, p. 94.
31. Felt, Joseph B.  History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton. 
Cambridge, Mass, 1834, p. 62.
32. Ipswich Vital Records, Vol. II., p. 485.
33. Whitmore (A Record of Descendants...), pp. 10-12.
This data transcribed by Gloria ODOM 1/98. NOTICE: This information is provided freely on the Internet for personal use only. The data may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit.


I appreciate the research that those who have worked on this before me have left for me to share with you...and I hope it is accurate. It seems to be well documented.

A main source of this information is an extensive quotation from:
[... Vol. III, pp. 1317-1319 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45.

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