Court Records, Essex Co., New York

The following are extractions from the “Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County”, originally transcribed and abstracted from the original manuscripts by Harriet S. Tapley and published by the Essex Institute between 1911 and 1921.  These extractions are those records that contain the surnames Sheldon, Shelton, Skelton, as well as associated family names Alger/Allger/Auger/Augur and Rea.  The pertinent surname will be bold set for easier reading.

Vol 1: (1636-1656)

Page 69 – July 1644

“The ould house [In Salem] which once was mr Skeltons being in Eminent Danger of present falling to the endangering of the lives of Children & Cattell and others,” it was ordered that the house be taken down in ten days.  Transcript given to Mr. Browne, and another to be set on the meeting house.  Wit: Peter Palfrey and Elias Mason.

Page 348 – June 1654

Mr. Charless Gott, attorney to Mr. Hugh Peters v. widow Hardy.  For withholding a ten acre lot that was formerly Mr. Samll. Skelton’s. (*)

(*) – Gervis Garford of Salem, gentleman, for eighty pounds, conveyed to Elizabeth Hardee of Salem, widow, his dwelling house and ten acres of arable land, six and one quarter acres of meadow near Draper’s point on Bass river, adjoining to the house, and eighty acres of land lying between Lord’s hill and Birts plain on Bass river side in Salem, 26 : 7 : 1653.  Copied, 25 : 8 : 1653, from the records of the county in Salem, by Hilliard Veren, recorder.

Vol II: (1656-1662)

(no reference of our surnames in this volume)

Vol III: (1662-1667)

Page 205 – Nov 1664

[prior to this extraction are several pages regarding a trial for trespass held at court in Salem, 29 Sep 1664 by John Pickering v. Capt. Walter Price and Mr. Hen. Bartholomew, Jon. and Samll Gardner, proprietors of a new mill.  Judges, the “Worshipfull Mr. Simond Bradstreet”, Mr. Samuell Symonds and Major Wm. Hathorne.]

John Pickering’s pleas : that the land was plaintiff’s by deeds recorded, and when men’s lands are bounded upon a river, no common highway can lie between those lands and the river, moreover the law gives the bounds to low water mark to the proprietor of the land adjoining to any creek, cove or those places where it ebbs not above a hundred rods.  (See Law book, page 20, titles, conveyances, deeds and writings, and page 50, liberties common.). That this land had been possessed by the plaintiff and his grantors before Oct. 19, 1652 and enjoyed by them until June or July, 1664, and the law says that when lands are so possessed and not claimed and the claim entered, the proprietors shall enjoy the same; it was possessed by plaintiff from May, 1664, by Mathew Woodwell from Oct, 1660, by Mr. John Ruck from Feb., 1651 and by Mr. Thomas Ruck time out of mind, at least twenty or thirty years, it having been laid out to Mr. Skelton about thirty-four years ago, the latter being the first possessor, per testimony of Capt. Wm.

Page 206 – Nov 1664

Trask and Mr. Roger Conant.  (See Law book, page 65, titled possession, and page 81, title witness.). That the evidence says that the lots from John Sweet’s upward and downward, the land in question, is one of the next lots upward, but it is indeed the very next lot.  That if it can be proved that the land is defendant’s by any agreement made with the plaintiff, he answers that no alienation of land is good in law except under hand and seal, delivered, acknowledged and recorded or possession given by turk and twig, and if any such thing be produced by defendant, the plaintiff must be silent.  (See Law book, page 20, conveyances, deeds and writings.). That trespass upon the land is proved by testimony of John Horn, Bartholmew Gidney and John Reevs.

Deed, dated May 27, 1664, Mathew Woodwell of Salem, brick-maker, sold to John Pickering of Salem, about half an acre of land in Salem, which was part of that ground that said Woodwell’s house now stand upon, and next to the South river side, partly within the fence and partly without, bounded on the north by a strip of land and Mr. John Ruck’s that runs between it and a cove, and on the east and south by the South river and on the west by land of grantor.  Wit : John Prince and Barthlemew Gedney.  Recorded in the records of Salem, June 6, 1664 by Hillyard Veren, recorder.

Bill of costs of Capt. Price and company, 1li. 16s. 6d. in first action, and 2li. 1s. 10d. in the second.

Richard Davenport, aged fifty-eight years, deposed that, having lived many years in the town of Salem, from 1631 until 1643, it was the custom of the town to reserve, in the lots that bordered on the harbor or rivers, either North or South, two poles’ length at the least between the ends of such lots and the bank of the high water mark.  Deponent further said, concerning that land that was given to Mr. Samuell Skelton, sometime pastor of the church here, lying between the Governor’s field and Jon. Sweet’s, was by Sam. Skelton, jr., son and heir to the said Mr. Skelton, sold to deponent, and it contained about four acres.  Deponent sold this land to Mr. Thomas Rucke of Salem, and it was accounted to be laid out as all other lots were, that is, two poles from the top of the bank inward for a common highway.  Deponent also said that it was a very usual thing to make use of a highway along the South river side, and to that end there were stepping stones laid over a small creek which lay between the house of Jon. Sweet and that side of the land that was Mr. Skelton’s.  Sworn in court.

Wm. Hathorne deposed that it had been commonly said for nearly thirty years that there was a way of two rods broad upon the edge of the bank up the South river against Mr. Skelton’s lot, and that for many years there was constant use of a way below the bank to the stepping stones, which was some rods above the dam.  Sworn in court.

Vol IV: (1668-1671)

Page 403 – June 1671

More [accounts of bills due] by severall bills taken in Mr. John Parthridge’s name, yet due by severall in ye N. foundland & do; belong to Mr. Croad: by Wm. Daves, sr., 227li. 13s. 6d; Henry Pyn, 119li. 11s. 11d; George Piersey, 13li. 16s. 7 1-2d.; John Petton, 40li. 5s. 2d.; Thomas Fortune, 8li. 19s. 2d; Edward Horton, 97li. 6s. 5d; more by Robt. Shelton of Bay Robberts, 28li. 19s. 10d; total, 1533li. 9s. 10 1-2d.  Grand total, 5465li. 2 1-2d.

Vol V: (1672-1674)

Page 120 – November 1672

Jeremiah Bennett, alias Shelton, and Christian, his wife, for fornication before marriage, were to be whipped on the next lecture day or pay 5li.

Page 322 – June 1674

Nathaniell Robinson, aged about fifty years, deposed that he being at Salem and living with Mr. Townsend Bishop in 1636, and several years after, “in which tyme we liued at a farme about three myles from Salem, and at that tyme when first it was setled, and then he knew none bordring one sayd farme, but the Honoured Late Gouerner mr: Endicott and mirs Skelton, and during his tyme which was eight yeare in the farme

Page 323 – June 1674

and ye farmes thereabout he neuer heard or understood in the Least that this mr: Nath: Putnam who as it is now sayd lay clayme to it, or any other had any intrest, except sayd bishop, one this side of the brooke or Riuer, as ioyning to sayd brook or Riuer which goes from the head of the meadow belonging to ye sayd farme, to the salt water which ptes the Honoured Late Gouener mr: Endicott his Land, and the Land of mtrs Skeltons,”  Sworn, June 27, 1674, before Tho. Clarke, assistant.

Page 324 – June 1674

Benjamin Scarlett, aged about forty-nine years, deposed “that he living with mr Endecott did observe that when Nathaniell Putnam did First sett up his Fence on that End of the Land Next my mr his Lands the saide Putman did sett it short of the Brooke on that side of the Brooke his land Land Lay.  And after this sometime did Remove it to the Brooke, and Further saith that Capt. Trask about one yeare before his death told him that the Brooke was the Bounds Betweene this Land now in Controversie and mr Sckeltons Farme“. Sworn in court.

Zerabbabel Endecot, aged about thirty-nine years, deposed “that the land wch my father bought of Goodman chickering, he had the brooke for his bounds as farr as mr skeltons land did runn & then to my best remembrance it runn vpon a streight

Page 325 – June 1674

line to the vpper Corner bounds and this possest by my father wthout molestation of any man while he removed to Boston, but after that my father was removed to Boston, Nathaniel Putman or some by his order did fall or carry away timber of the said land, which is now in Controuersy.  Sworn in court.  Copy made from the files of the Court of Assistants by Edw. Rawson, secretary.

Vol VI: (1675-1678)

Page 183, June 1676

Agnes, relict and administratrix of the estate of Andrew Alger, presented the will and inventory of her said husband which were proved and allowed.

Will of Andrew (his mark) Alger, sr. of Scarborough, County of Yorke in New England, fisherman, dated Mar. 23, 1669-70, and proved 30 : 4 : 1676, in court; after payment of debt “I bequeath unto my dear & loving wife Agnes, fully, wholy, & solely to enjoy & dispose of, according as unto her shall seeme meet, & covenient (wheresoever any & every pcell of ye sd Estate, shalbe found being & lying) & if so be she dyeth as my widow, hereby she shall have full power to bestow upon leave unto & distribute among whom of my children she shall find to be most ready to be pforming their filiall duty unto her.  To wch end I hereby bequeath unto each & every one of my children ye summ of five shillings, viz To my sonn John, five shillings Andrew five shillings, Mathew five shillings, Elizabeth five shillings, & Joanna five shillings.  Onely it is to be understood, yt it is my will yt my interrest at blacke point Neck, my aforesd wife shall not have liberty to dispose of although she depart in her widdowhood, but after her decease, my will & bequeath is yt it shall fall into ye hands of my sonn John as his Inheritance.  But if it shall seeme meet unto my aforesd wife to enter into Wedlock then my will is that she shall have onely her thirds of the aforesd Es-

Page 184 – June 1676

tate, my sonn John as is abovesd my house & land to be equally devided betweene my other two sonns aboves, & my two daughers an equall portion ye remainder.  my intent being that the two thirds of ye estate shalbe equally divided among my aforesd five children, although I expresse it as my will, that all my sonnes should & shalbe thus seated as above.  To wch end & purpose I doe hereby make constitute & appoint my aforesd wife to be my whole & sole executrix, unto this my last will & Testament & that this my sd will to all true intents & meanings may be in all things fulfilled I doe hereby request my deare brother Arthur Alger & my loveing Neighbour Andrew Brown sen. both of ye Towne abovesd to supvize & to looke that this my last will & Testament by pformed.”  wit: She. Fletcher and Roger (his mark) Hill.

Inventory of such good as Agnis, widow of Andrew Algar, had in her keeping, allowed 30 : 4: 1676 in court: 2 beds, 1 boulster, 2 Ruggs, 4li.; 3 Iron potts, 1li. 16s.; 2 paire of pott Crooks, 3s.; a frying pan, 2s. 6d.; A grid Iron & old Iron, 3s.; meale sieve, 10d.; 2 bucketts & two Tubs, 5s.; 1 Hatt, 1li.; 1 paire of shoes, 3s.; A copper, 1li. 9s.; 1 Chest, 5s.; I cannot make oth of itt:” 1 Heiffer fower years old, 1 Steere fower years old, 1 old Horse, Land & Marsh, 40li.; House & Land Upon black point neck, 30li.

An Alger, relict of Arthur Alger, was appointed administratrix of her husband’s estate, and she brought in an inventory to which she made oath.

Inventory of the estate of Authur Auger of Scarbrough, taken June -, 1676, by Giles Barg and Ralphe Allison at Scarborough alias Blackpoint, who made oath June 10, 1676 before John Scottow, commissioner: land improved, 40li.; Marsh & land in Comon, 30li.; 4 oxen, 22li.; 1 Cow, 4li.; a yearling, 1li. 10s.; 2 Mares, 7li.; 1 hors Colt year old, 1li. 10s.; 1 gun without a lock, 16s.; Coulter & share & staple & Crooke, 10s.; 7 reap hookes & sickles, 7s; 1 pitch fork, 6d.; 1 fouling peece, 1li.; 2 nib rings & one staple & too paire of broken Crooks, 5s. 3d.; total, 108li. 3s. 6d.  Also a parcell of upland & meddow which was Brother Geles Roberts, in controversy, 30li.

Inventory of the estate of Arthur Augar of Blackpoint wounded by the Indians and dying of his wounds Oct. 14, 1675, taken at Marblehead June 26, 1676, by Thaddeus Riddan and Beniamin Radknap: his apparrell, 2li. 15s; three

Page 185 – June 1676

Featherbeds, 3 bolsters & 4 pillowes, 10li, 15s; Six blanketts, 2 rugges & 1 coverled, 2 li.’ two bearskins, 5s.; Eleven yds. Irish cloth, 13s.; pr. stockins, 3s.; Four Pewter dishes & 1 bason, 4 porringers, 1li.; one pewter pot, candlestick, 2 beakers, 7s.; Two salt sellars, 2 sawcers & 2 Lamps, 4s.; one hatt, 6s.; Two bushels, 1-2 wheat & 3 Indian, 1li. 1s. 6d.; Eight old bags, 8s.; four iron potts & 4 pothooks, 2li. 5s.; One old frying pan & trammell, 4s. 6d. one smothing iron, 2 heaters, 3s.; one brass ketle & 1 skillett, 1li.; one warming pan & 1 flesh forke, 15s.; tinnen ware & 2 pr. old wool cards, 12s.; morter & pestle & 1 old candlestick, 7s.; Trenchers & spoons, 5s; Four chests, & two boxes, 1li.; Two seives, 2s.; 1 Linnen wheel, 4s. 6d.; four pound cotton wooll & ye baskett, 3s.; Bucketts & 2 small tubs, 7s.; wooden ware, 15s.; one old 2li.; one shirt, 1 pr. drawers, 4 towels & 2 pillarbears, 12s.; sixteen yds. linsey woolsey, 1li. 4s.; three remnants of dinnin, 15 yds, 1li.; six yds. blew Linnen, 6s.; An old axe & 2 bagges, 7s. 6d.; one small Indian gun, 10s.; Powder & shott, 3s.; a chamb, pott, 4s.; 1 bagge silpee, 12d.; total, 35li. 1s. 9d.  Debts due from ye estate: To Mrs Walker att Boston, 3li.; to the portion fo ye 3 children of brother Giles, Abraham Roberts, 5li. 12s., David Roberts, 5li. 12s., Giles Roberts, 5li, 12s.; total, 19li. 16s.  Due to ye estate if it can be recovered: from Richd. Wilbire, 1li.; Mathew Augur, 1li.; John Augur, 16s.; Christopher Pickett, 6li.; total, 8li. 16s.

Robert Elliot, aged about forty-four years, deposed that about Oct. 14, 1675, Arthur Allger was at Wm. Sheldon’s house in perfect sense and memory and he desired deponent and the rest standing by to take notice that he gave all his goods to his wife An, she to pay the children their portions.  Sworn, Oct. 26, 1675, before John Wincoll, associate.

Christopher Picket, aged about sixty years, deposed the same.

Wm. Sheldon and John Cocke deposed the same.  Sworn, Oct. 26, 1675, before John Wincoll, associate.

Vol VII: (1678-1680)

Page 199 – June 1679

William Sheldon and William Beale, accompanied by some Gloster men, Goodman Persons, Goodman Glover, and Good-

Page 200 – June 1679

man Prince, at the request of Robert Knight, sr., of Marble-head, ran the line as follows: “wee began at Gloster meeting house; wee set the Compass uppon a south weast pointe & so wee ranged the woods as neere the same pointe as possible wee could on ye same pointe till wee came to A greate Rock beinge on ye north or north weast side of there aboute of A littlee ponde to the pointe of the same Rock, neere Adioyneinge to the path which goeth betwixt manchester & Gloster, wee founde it by Measure from Gloster meeting house to the Aforesayed rock beeinge measured as well as possibly wee Coulde ackcordinge to our best scill & iugdmente to bee foure miles in length from gloster meetinge house to ye pointe of the Rock Aforesayed goodman persons & goodman Glover carried ye line William Beale goodman Glover & goodman Prince kept ye ackcounte & all Agred in theire reckoninge at ye four miles end as aforesayed & ye Aforesayed William Sheldon set the Compass & ran the range.”  They also testified that upon Apr. 5, 1679, Robert Knighte, sr., requested William Bennit and some others of Manchester who were selectmen of Manchester to run the line between Manchester and Gloster, but they refused.  Sworn, May 10, 1679, before Moses Mavericke, commissioner.

Vol VIII: (1680-1683)

Page 5 – September 1680

William Sheldon and William Beale testified concerning the refusal of old Goodman Bennit and other selectmen of Manchester to go with them to measure the bounds.  Then they went to Gloster, where they stayed three or four days on account of bad weather, and Gloster men helped them.  They found the line took in about two-thirds of the little pond and the western neck.  Sworn, Sept. 27, 1680, before Moses Mavericke, commissioner.

Page 179 – September 1681

Jno. Blany, aged about fifty-one years, testified that he carted off wood for Capt. Jeames Smith, the later being with him, and Goodman Buckly employed him to cart firewood from Smith’s farm at Marblehead plains.  Deponent also carted wood from Mr. Maverick’s lot, which is now in controversy, for Philip Weltsh, Mr. Maverick’s tenant.  He saw Nicholas Merritt cut wood upon his lot and Goodman Pittman of Marblehead and his son cut and cart wood from there, and Eleazer and Jno. Linsy of Linn cut a frame which they said was for Jno. Codner of Marblehead.  Goodman Poate of Marblehead lately had a frame cut there by one Goodman Sheldoun, a carpenter of Marblehead, and carted off by Samuell Pike and George Darling’s son, Jeames Darling.  Deponent heard Major William Hathorne say that he “tould Marblehead men that if they was not Contented And could not give them a good title and did not make good what hee shouldthem; that it was his Bargaine to give them there monye againe which was a hundred pounds and to take the farme againe.”  Sworn, 26 : 7 : 1681, before Bartho. Gedney, assistant.

Vol IX: (1683-1686)


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About the Author:

Dale has been studying genealogy heavily for over 30 years, since the age of 10. Although he does not seek professional clients, he has helped a family regain property lost during the Holocaust, and has assisted to obtain historical preservation status for a building in San Francisco. He is a co-admin of the ftDNA Sheldon DNA Project. He lived most of his life in California but has recently moved to upstate New York. He works in the travel industry.

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