Great Book on Early Watertown, MA

For anyone interested in the dynamics of the early Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers, check out Roger Thompson’s “Divided We Stand:  Watertown, Massachusetts 1630 – 1680”

I have just finished reading it and was very impressed with the detail and insight into the every day lives of the settlers during the first 50 years of the towns existence.

Write Up From Book:

“Established in 1630, Watertown was among the original six towns of Massachusetts. Its early history was marked by frequent disputes, a penchant for questioning authority, and an atmosphere of tension and discord. In recounting the story of Watertown’s formative years, Roger Thompson examines how the community managed to avoid descending into anarchy. He also explores the ways in which English settlers preserved their habits of behavior in a new-world environment, even as they were obliged to innovate and embrace change.

Thompson describes Watertown’s early government, its relations with Native Americans and neighboring communities, its religious and economic affairs, and the day-to-day experiences of its people. Conflict occurred over a wide variety of issues: land allocation, administrative accountability, religious orthodoxy and exclusivity, generational and gender differences, livestock and fencing, haves and have-nots.

Thompson brings these disputes to life through a series of vivid case studies drawn from the unpublished Middlesex County Court Records. Among others, we meet John Sawin, who despite his best efforts at subterfuge was convicted of stealing and selling a neighbor’s horse; Susanna Woodward, whose pregnancy resulted in a fiercely contested paternity case; and Edward Sanders, whose punishment for child abuse was both a whipping and a ruling that when in public he must “wear a rope round his neck openly to be seen hanging down two feet.”

Throughout the book, the same themes reappear: continuity and change, the persistent conflicts of the first two generations, and the countervailing forces of communal cohesion.”

Roger Thompson himself teaches American studies at the University of East Anglia, England. He is also the author of Sex in Middlesex: Popular Mores in a Massachusetts County, 1649–1699, and Mobility and Migration: East Anglian Founders of New England, 1629–1640

The Garfield Connection:

While this book does not give any real new or useful information directly on our Garfield heritage, it does give us a great insight into how our first two generations, Edward and his children, would have lived along side their neighbors.  It seems that the early Garfields must have been somewhere in the middle of society, not getting as much attention as the more notable members of the town or as the more notorious members of the town, but quietly going about their business and livelihoods.

The few mentions of the family appear from Joan Buckminster Garfield (Edward’s third wife), Joseph Garfield and his wife Sarah Gale.

Definitely a must read for history and genealogy lovers.

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Article From April 2005 Newsletter

From the English Garfield Newsletter Section

contributed by Sylvia Lagah

Elizabeth’s request to be granted administration of Henry’s estate.

The other document is the bond she had to enter as a guarantee that she would administer the estate properly.


Petition for Administration of Estate of Henry Garfield


Gloucestershire Record Office ref Garfield/1712/401 

14th October 1712

Before the distinguished Charles Brereton, Bachelor of Law, Surrogate of the worshipful Henry Penrice, Doctor of Letters, Chancellor of the Diocese of Gloucester, 

There appeared personally Elizabeth Garfield, widow, and alleged that Henry Garfield, late of Great Dorsington Magna in the diocese of Gloucester, yeoman, departed this life intestate, no will having been made by him, and that she was and is the relict of the said deceased, 

For which reason she sought that administration of the goods, rights and credits of the said deceased [be granted] to her, under a suitable caution to be imposed by him, and asked for right etc, 

Whereupon the said Surrogate charged her with an oath and decreed administration to be granted to her, In the presence of me, Ro. Moore, Notary Public.



Administration Bond re Henry Garfield dec’d, 1712


[May all men know, by these presents, 

That we, Elizabeth Garfield, of Great Dorsington in the County of Gloucester, widow, Henry Garfield of the same, yeoman, and Toms Mealing of the same, yeoman, 

Are held and firmly bounden unto the Reverend Father in Christ, the Lord Bishop of Gloucester,

In the sum of three hundred pounds of good and lawful money of Great Britain, to be paid to the same Bishop or his certain Attorney, Executors or Administrators;

To which payment indeed, well and faithfully to be made, we oblige ourselves, and each of us by himself for the whole, our and each of our Heirs, Executors and Administrators, firmly by these Presents, Sealed with our Seals,

Dated the fourteenth day of the month of October and in the eleventh year of the reign of our Lady Anne, by the grace of God, Queen of Great Britain, France and Ireland, defender of the faith etc, and in the year of our Lord 1712.]



Administration Bond re Henry Garfield dec’d, 1712


The Condic[i]on of this Obligac[i]on is such;

That if the Above bounden Elizabeth Garfield, widow, Administrator of all and singuler the goods, ch[att]ells and credits of Henry Garfield, late of Great Dorsington, Yeom[an], deceased,

Doe make or cause to be made a true and perfect Inventory of all and singuler the goods, chattells and credits of the said deceased, which have or shall come to the hands, poss[ess]ion or knowledge of her, the said Elizabeth Garfield, or into the hands and possession of any person or persons for her;

And the same soe made doe exhibit or cause to be exhibited into the Registry of Goucester at or before the last day of November next ensuing;

And the same goods, chattells and credits, and all other the goods, chattells and credits of the said deceased at the time of his death which at any time after shall come to the hands or possession of the said Elizabeth Garfield or into the hands and possession of any other person or persons for her, doe well and truly administer according to law;

And further doe make or cause to be made a true and just accompt of her s[ai]d Ad[ministra]c[i]on at or before the last day of October 1712;

And all the rest and residue of the said goods, chattells and credits which shall be found remaining upon the said Administrators accompt, the same being first examined and allowed of by the Judge or Judges for the time being of the said Court, shall deliver and pay unto such person and persons respectively as the said Judge or Judges by his or their decree or sentence (p[ur]suant to the true intent and meaning of a late Act of Parliament made in the two and twentieth and three and twentieth yeares of the raigne of o[u]r Late Soveraigne L[or]d King Charles the second, Intituled An Act for the better settling of Intestates Estates) shall limit and appoint,

And if it shall hereafter appeare that any last will and Testament was made by the said deceased, and the Executor or Executors therein named doe exhibit the same into the said Court, makeing request to have it allowed and approved accordingly, if the said Elizabeth Garfield above bounden, being thereunto required, doe render and deliver the said L[ett]res of Ad[ministra]c[i]on (approbac[i]on of such Testament being first had and made) in the said Court,

Then this Obligac[i]on to be void and of none effect, or else to remaine in full force and vertue.

Sign[um] Eliz[abethe] Garfield

[The mark of Elizabeth Garfield]

Sign[um] Henrici Garfield

[The mark of Henry Garfield]

Sign[um] Tomsii Mealing

[The mark of Toms Mealing]

Sealed and delivered in the presence of

Cha: Brereton

Ro. Moore N[otary] P[ublic]

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Document of the Week: Likely Record for Edward Garfield’s First Marriage

I found this record in the Bulkington Parish register a few years ago and unfortunately with all the things that were going on I wasn’t able to give it the attention it deserves.  Now that I am back in research mode and updating the site I saw it again and feel that it is very possibly the missing first wife of Edward Garfield who came to America in 1630.

Below is the full page of the parish register for Bulkington, which is northeast of Coventry where his children were christened and northwest of Hillmorton where Edward himself was baptized.


The date for the entry is October 20, 1610.  As you can see below in a close up of the exact entry, you can not read the whole first name, but are given

“__ward Garfeild and Ann Dunkly married Octob 20”

VRGBPR_WAR_BUL_pg(33) Clip

There are no other Garfield recordings in the parish registers in that area prior to 1630 other than this one at Bulkington and at Coventry including Edward’s children and  his brother Henry Garfield and wife Agnes.

The date of the marriage would put it almost exactly one year prior to his son Jonathan’s christening at Coventry.

While there are no other Garfield’s in the Bulkington register at that time, there are Dunkly’s leading me to believe they were married in the parish of the wife’s family.

So far I have not been able to find a burial record for an Ann Garfield between 1616 and 1630 (the date of the birth of her last child and the date when Edward sailed to America).     Let the search continue.

I am interested in feedback on this find as it fills an important gap in our records, leave your comments below and let us know what you think.

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