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Rev. Zechariah SYMMES

Male 1599 - 1671  (71 years)


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  • Name Zechariah SYMMES 
    Title Rev. 
    Born 5 Apr 1599  Canterbury, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Christened 8 Apr 1599  St. George the Martyr, Canterbury, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Immigration 18 Sep 1634  Boston, Suffolk County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Will 20 Jan 1665  Charlestown, Suffolk County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 4 Feb 1671  Charlestown, Suffolk County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Probate 31 Mar 1671 
    Notes 

    • (1) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, International Genealogical Index ®, Copyright © 1980, 2002, data as of November 29, 2010, Batch No.: P015161, Dates: 1538 - 1800, Source Call No.: 0973137 IT 2, Type: Film, Printout Call No.: 6906393, Type: Film, Sheet: 00:

      ZACHARIE SYMMES
      Male
      Event(s):
      Christening: 08 APR 1599 Saint George The Martyr, Canterbury, Kent, England

      Parents:
      Father: WILLIAM SYMMES

      (2) Torrey, Clarence Almon, "The Symmes Family in England," The American Genealogist, Vol. 12 (1935), pp. 67, 69:

      Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part 1, vol. 4, p. 76

      SYMMES or SYM, WILLIAM. Matric. pens. from CLARE, Easter, 1577; B.A. 1580-1 ; M.A. 1584; B.D. 1591. Fellow. Ord. deacon and priest (Peterb.) Mar. 5, 1586-7. Beneficed in Kent. Doubtless father of the next and Zechariah (1617).

      SIMMES, WILLIAM. Adm. pens. at EMMANUEL, Easter, 1619. Doubtless s. of William (above). Matric. 1619; B.A. 1622-3; M.A. 1626. V. of Harlington, Beds., 1627-38. Married at Harlington, Mary Crawley, May 17, 1627. Brother of Zechariah (1617).

      SYMMES, ZECHARIAH. Adm. pens. at EMMANUEL, Apr. 25, 1617. Doubtless s. of William (1577). B. at Canterbury, Apr. 5, 1599. Matric. 1617; B.A. 1620-1 ; M.A. 1624. Lecturer at St. Antholin's, London, 1621-5, resigned owing to persecution in the Bishops' Courts. R. of Dunstable, 1625-32. Went to New England with his wife and family, 1634. Settled at Charlestown, Mass. Ordained there as teacher of the Church and Colleague of Rev. Thomas James, 1634. Disputes arose and an ecclesiastical council was called to settle the difficulty - and Mr. James departed. Became pastor of the Charlestown Church, 1638-71. Married at St. Saviour's, Southwark, Surrey, to Sarah Baker, Aug. 13, 1622. Died Jan. 28, 1670-1, aged 71. Brother of William (1619). (J. G. Bartlett.)

      The Symmes line . . . is as follows:

      1. William Symmes, apothecary, m. (1) Catherine _____, who was buried April 18, 1560, at St. George's, Canterbury. Perhaps he was the William Symmes who was buried Sept. 19, 1582, at St. Andrew's, Canterbury.

      2. Rev. William Symmes, undoubtedly the William Symmes baptized April 7, 1559, at St. George's, Canterbury; m. _____.

      3. Rev. Zechariah Symmes, b. Apr. 5, 1599; bapt. Apr. 8, 1599, at St. George's, Canterbury; m. Aug. 13, 1622, at St. Saviour's, Southwark, Surrey, Sarah Baker, who d. in 1676, at Charlestown, Mass. He d. there Jan. 28, 1670/1.

      (3) Vinton, John Adams, The Symmes Memorial, Boston, MA: David Clapp & Son, 1873, pp. 1-17:

      Rev. ZECHARIAH SYMMES was the ancestor of most of those who bear the name in America, so far as is known. He was born in England of most respectable and worthy parents, who had been steadfast in the faith of the gospel, even in the worst of times.

      His grandfather, WILLIAM SYMMES, was a truly religious man, and a firm protestant, in the reign of the bloody Queen Mary, from 1553 to 1558. His wife was like-minded. Their son,

      Rev. WILLIAM SYMMES, was ordained to the ministry of the gospel in that famous year 1588. He exercised his office faithfully, at a time when it exposed him to great suffering. Queen Elizabeth was afraid of carrying the Reformation too far. She had set up a standard of her own in things ecclesiastical, retaining many of the old Popish rites, and she determined that all her subjects should conform to it. She inherited the stern, unrelenting spirit of her father, and was fond of the old ceremonies in which she had been educated. The year after her accession, the parliament made her the supreme head of the Church of England, and conferred on her the right of regulating all its affairs. Her authority was thus made to supersede the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the power thus conferred she was not slow to exert. She was in effect the Pope of England.

      She claimed, and pretended to exercise, supreme authority in matters of faith, to determine what every man between the four seas should believe, in what manner he should worship God, and what should be the terms of his acceptance with his Maker. To enforce these high claims a court was erected, called the Court of High Commission, which was little else than the Spanish Inquisition in disguise. If any persons did not conform precisely to the orders and decrees of this tribunal, the court were authorized to punish them by fine or imprisonment, at their discretion. This power was exercised with the most unrelenting severity. Many of the best people in England, both ministers and laymen, were fined far beyond their ability, and to their utter ruin; others were shut up in prison without a trial, and kept there for months and even years, none of their friends, not even their wives, being allowed to speak to them except in the presence of the jailor, and twenty or more excellent ministers perished in jail. Many hundreds of faithful ministers, whose only offence was that they chose to obey God rather than man, were turned out of their parishes, and their families left to starve. Some, of whom the world was not worthy, were executed as felons.

      Such things rendered the condition of upright, conscientious men in England intolerable. To escape the sufferings which awaited them there, great numbers went over to Holland, and thousands at length sought refuge beyond the stormy Atlantic. It was such a state of affairs which, in the reign of the weak and bigoted Charles Stuart, compelled ZECHARIAH SYMMES and his family to emigrate to America.

      Amid all these dangers our Symmes ancestors stood firm. Cotton Mather relates that Rev. William Symmes charged his sons Zechariah and William never to defile themselves with any idolatry or superstition, but to derive their religion from God's holy word, and to worship God as he himself has directed, and not after the devices and traditions of men. He says, in a passage preserved by Cotton Mather: "I went to Sandwich in Kent to preach, the first or second year after I was ordained a minister, in 1587 or 1588, and preached in St. Mary's, where Mr. Rawson, an ancient godly preacher, was minister, who knew my parents well, and me too at school." How long he remained at Sandwich we do not know.

      He had at least two sons, ZECHARIAH and William. It is uncertain whether William came to America. There is no evidence that he did come, as we have found his name in no early record, save his brother's will. He was living in 1664, as we learn from the document just mentioned. From that document we infer that he possessed some property, some of which had been used for the relief of the suffering brother and his family.

      Rev. ZECHARIAH SYMMES, son of Rev. William, and grandson of Mr. William Symmes, already mentioned, was born at Canterbury, in England, April 5, 1599. He gave evidence of piety at an early age. He was educated at Emmanuel College, in the University of Cambridge, where he was graduated in 1620. The next year he was chosen lecturer at St. Anthony, or Antholine's, in the city of London. Being frequently harassed by prosecutions in the Bishop's courts for his nonconformity, he removed to Dunstable in Bedfordshire, thirty-four miles N.W. from London, in 1625 where, as rector, he continued for eight years his labors in the gospel. Still annoyed by prosecutions of this nature, he at length determined to remove to America.

      He arrived in Boston, with his wife and seven children, in the ship Griffin, September 18, 1634. This ship brought over about two hundred emigrants, among whom were William and Anne Hutchinson and Rev. John Lothrop. Mr Lothrop, after preaching in Scituate, settled in Barnstaple in 1639. This emigration, and others that took place in the six years following, were greatly promoted by an apprehension now entertained by godly people in England, that there "was a special providence of God in raising this plantation, which generally stirred their hearts to come over." Mr. Lothrop, for instance, was accompanied in his voyage by about thirty of his former charge in London.

      Mr. Symmes, and his wife Sarah - of whom more in the sequel - were admitted to the church in Charlestown, December 6, 1634. On the 22nd of the same month, on a fast-day appointed for the occasion, he was elected and ordained their teacher.

      There is no reason to doubt that Mr. Symmes was set apart to the ministry of the gospel by the church in Charlestown themselves, on the very day of his election. He had received Episcopal ordination in England; but our fathers, on their arrival in this country, threw off entirely the yoke of bishops, which had set so uneasily on their necks. The churches of New England, in the early times, claimed and exercised the power of ordaining their own officers - pastors and teachers, as well as deacons and ruling elders. Rev. John Wilson, the first minister in Boston, was set apart to his office, August 27, 1630, by imposition of the hands of the church. "This was done," says Gov. Winthrop, "only as a sign of election and confirmation, not of any intent that Mr. Wilson should renounce his ministry received in England." Rev. John Cotton was chosen teacher of the church in Boston, October 10, 1633, and on the same day, immediately after, the pastor, Mr. Wilson, and two ruling elders, laid their hands on him, in behalf of the church, solemnly designating him to his holy office. Rev. Thomas Carter, the first minister of Woburn, was ordained by the laying on of hands of two private members of the church, one of whom probably was Edward Johnson, the author of the "Wonder-Working Providence." The transaction, which took place December 2, 1642, is minutely related both in the town records and by Johnson in the Wonder-Working Providence. Nine ministers were present, one of whom was Mr. Symmes, the nearest minister, yet none of them took part in the ordination. Mr. Carter himself preached and prayed. Other instances of this sort might be mentioned, all of which show that such was the prevailing, as it was the primitive practice.

      The First Church, Boston, was originally formed in Charlestown, July 30, 1630. But it being found difficult to cross the river, especially in winter, the church was removed to Boston, where a majority of its members resided, and a new church, consisting of sixteen men and their wives, and three unmarried men living on the north side of the river, organized in Charlestown, November 2, 1632. Of this new church, Rev. Thomas James, who arrived in Boston with Rev. Stephen Batchelor and Rev. Thomas Welde, June 5, 1632, was chosen the first pastor. It being customary for each church to enjoy the labors of two ministers, Mr. Symmes, in December, 1634, was ordained as colleague with Mr. James, taking on him the work of teacher, while Mr. James confined himself to pastoral labors. Difficulties soon arose between the two ministers, a majority of the people adhering to Mr. Symmes, which occasioned the calling of an ecclesiastical council. This council, on the 11th of March, 1636, advised Mr. James to ask a dismission, which was accordingly done. He went to Providence in 1637, and thence to New Haven, where he engaged in teaching. In October, 1642, he accompanied Rev. Messrs. Knowles of Watertown and Tompson of Braintree, in their unsuccessful mission to Virginia, returning with them in June of the following year. Not long after this, he returned to England; was resettled at Needham in Suffolk; was deprived of his parish for non-conformity, and died about 1678, aged 86. In all his trials he approved himself as a faithful servant of Christ, and appears to have been a truly good man.

      The Rev. John Harvard, who, with Anna his wife, came over in 1637, was with her admitted a member of the Charlestown church, November 6 in that year. He graduated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1631, and took his second degree there in 1635. He must have been, therefore, at this time, a young man. He has usually been reckoned one of the ministers of Charlestown, and a colleague with Mr. Symmes. But though a resident in Charlestown, and a member of that church, it is next to certain, says Rev. Samuel Sewall, that he never was called to office in that church. The only notice to be found of him in the church records is of his admission as a member, at the date already mentioned. He died of consumption, September 14, 1638; and this fact appears, not from the church records, but from Danforth's Almanack for 1649, printed at Cambridge. But his generous bequest to the college, which has long borne his name, has insured to him a perpetual remembrance. The legacy amounted to ??779 17s 2d - a large sum for those days, and one half of his property. Johnson speaks of him as an earnest Christian and as an impressive preacher.

      Rev. Thomas Allen was admitted a member of the church in Charlestown, December 22, 1639, O.S., answering to January 1, 1640, N.S., and soon after, if not at the same time, became the colleague of Mr. Symmes. He was the teacher, whereas Mr. Symmes, from the time of the dismission of Mr. James, 1636, was the pastor. Mr. Allen was born in Norwich, England, 1608; graduated at Caius College, Cambridge, 1627; was minister of St. Edmund's Church in his native city, but was deprived for nonconformity, 1636, and came with his wife Anne to New England in 1638. It is supposed that she soon died, and that he married the widow of John Harvard. In 1651 Mr. Allen visited England, spent the rest of his life there, and published several books. In 1659, he was again minister in Norwich. He was again ejected, as were two thousand other faithful ministers, in 1662, but still preached to his people, as opportunity offered, till his death in that city, September 21, 1673, aged 65. He was called "a holy man of God and faithful servant of Christ."

      Mr. Symmes had one other colleague, in the person of Rev. Thomas Shepard, born in London, England, April 5, 1635, eldest son of eminent Thomas Shepard, of our Cambridge; grad. H. C. 1653; was ordained teacher of the church in Charlestown, April 13, 1659. The imposition of hands was by Mr. Symmes, Rev. John Wilson of Boston, and Rev. Richard Mather of Dorchester, at the express desire of the church, and acting in their behalf. He died suddenly, of smallpox, caught while visiting one of his flock, December 22, 1677. President Oakes, in a Latin oration, pronounced at the Commencement after his death, extolled him "as holding the first rank among the ministers of his day."

      Mr. Symmes was admitted freeman of the colony, May 6, 1635.

      Not long after his settlement in Charlestown he became involved in the celebrated controversy with Mrs. Ann Hutchinson and the Antinomians. As already observed, he was a fellow-passenger, 1634, with Mrs. Hutchinson in the voyage from England. Mrs. Hutchinson had startled him and other passengers by some eccentricities and speculations of her own in matters of religion, and especially by "revelations" which she professed to have received. According to her statement, revelations from heaven were with her matters of frequent occurrence. After his arrival, Mr. Symmes felt it his duty to inform Boston church of what he had heard her say during the passage. This caused some delay in her admission to that church, which, however, took place in November.

      Soon after her arrival, she began to hold meetings once or twice a week, at first for women only, afterwards meetings at which men as well as women were present. Sixty or eighty or even one hundred women attended these meetings, some of them from the principal families of the town. On these occasions she urged her peculiar opinions with great earnestness, and with no small measure of success. Among them were such sentiments as these: - That the outward life is not a sure test of character; that the evidence of our acceptance with God, need not, any part of it, be exhibited to the view of others; that the evidence of a man's piety is and must be shut up in one's own breast, and cannot be increased by any outward manifestation. She insisted very strongly on an inward witness of the Spirit, amounting to an immediate revelation from God, that the person is in a state of favor and acceptance with him. Of course, if I have a promise coming immediately and specially from God that I shall be saved, what need of further evidence?

      The ministers of the colony, who held that the evidence of a man's piety must, partly at least, be furnished by a holy life, and must therefore be patent, thus far, to the eyes of others; that a man must be a good man outwardly in order to be a true Christian - she denounced, in no measured terms, as holding a "covenant of works," and therefore as preaching no gospel at all. As she made herself very prominent in this affair, she was of course opposed by the ministers whom she thus misrepresented, and by none more decidedly that by Mr. Symmes.

      The promulgation of Mrs. Hutchinson's views, in the manner and style which she chose to adopt, soon raised a prodigious ferment. The whole colony was shaken to its centre. Her teachings were regarded by the most judicious and sober-minded persons as not only dangerous to the souls of men, but as tending to revolution in the state. If, as she claimed, revelations from God were to be expected, and were actually enjoyed by her, not only in the affair of our salvation, but in reference to the more important concerns of life, these revelations having equal authority with the Scriptures, who could tell how far they might extend, what direction they might take, or what line of conduct they might prescribe for her followers? Suppose Mrs. Hutchinson to have a revelation requiring her followers to take the sword; what then?

      Serious apprehension existed, therefore, that the whole fabric, civil and religious, for the erection of which our fathers had left their native land and incurred all the toils and perils of the wilderness, might be overthrown. The followers of this able and daring woman appeared likely to carry the controversy, thus awakened, to the most dangerous extremes. It became necessary, therefore, to resort to extreme measures. The General Court, impressed with the belief that the peace of the civil community and of the churches demanded a decisive course, found Mrs. Hutchinson and a large number of her adherents guilty of sedition, and proceeded to disarm, disfranchise and banish from the colony seventy-five of the more prominent men, and banished Mrs. Hutchinson herself. If this measure was a stretch of power, it at least saved the country from ruin. Mr. Symmes took part in these proceedings.

      Mr. Symmes appears to have been held in esteem by his contemporaries, and when we remember who they were, this is no small praise. In regard to literary attainment, he appears to have been respectable. He had for those times a good library, containing the works of the able divines of his day. But so far as we can now discover, he was more distinguished for practical talent and general usefulness than for intellectual eminence. He must have been a man of no small ability to retain a firm hold of such a parish for so many years. He wrote his sermons, and left a large number of manuscript, most of them bound up in volumes. "He knew his Bible well," says Cotton Mather, "and he was a preacher of what he knew, and a sufferer for what he preached."

      Of his wife, Edward Johnson, in the Wonder-Working Providence, writes as follows: "Among all the godly women that came through the perilous seas to war their warfare, the wife of this zealous teacher, Mrs. Sarah Symmes, shall not be omitted. This virtuous woman, endued by Christ with grace fit for a wilderness condition, her courage exceeding her stature, with much cheerfulness did undergo all the difficulties of those times of straits, her God through faith in Christ supplying all wants, with great industry nurturing up her young children in the fear of the Lord; their number being ten, both sons and daughters; a certain sign of the Lord's intent to people this vast wilderness. God grant they may be as valiant in fight against sin, Satan, and all the enemies of Christ's kingdom, following the example of their father and grandfather, who have both suffered for the same; in remembrance of whom these following lines are penned:

      "Come Zachary, thou must re-edify
      Christ's churches in this desert-land of his,
      With Moses' zeal, stamped unto dust, defy
      All crooked ways that Christ's true worship miss.

      With Spirit's sword and armour girt about,
      Thou layedest on proud prelate's crown to crack,
      And wilt not suffer wolves thy flock to rout,
      Though close they creep, with sheep-skins on their back.

      Thy father's spirit doubled is upon thee, Symmes!
      Then war: thy father fighting died.
      In prayer then prove thou a like champion!
      Hold out till death, and Christ will crown provide."

      If these lines have little poetic merit, they aptly express the spirit and life of the Charlestown pastor.

      Woburn was settled from Charlestown in 1641. The first settlers had been members of Mr. Symmes's church and congregation. The first sermon ever preached in Woburn was by Mr. Symmes, November 21, 1641, from the text Jer. 4: 3: "Thus saith the Lord, break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns." Very appropriate, certainly, to the occasion. Mr. Symmes was present at the formation of the church, August 24, 1642. On that occasion he "continued in prayer and preaching about a space of four or five houres." He was also present at the ordination of Mr. Thomas Carter, the first minister, December 2, following.

      He preached the Election Sermon in 1648.

      In July 1656, the Quakers first came to Boston. The sect then bearing that name were not the peaceable, order-loving citizens now known to us under that designation. They were people who, professing to have revelations and impulses directly from heaven, made it their special business to disquiet all who differed from them, to the utmost of their power. In England John Fox and others travelled through the land, declaiming against the ministers and churches, interrupting public worship, and refusing any respect the civil magistrate. Some of them, even females, went into meetings for public worship stark naked. Many opened their shops on the Lord's day, in defiance of the laws. Others went about the streets of London denouncing the judgments of God against the government.

      The advent of these people to New England was dreaded as among the worst of evils. But in 1656, two Quaker women came from Barbados to Boston, as they expressly stated, to propagate their contempt of the ministry and of the civil power. A month later, several other Quakers arrived with similar intent. They continued to come. They would not have been molested, if they had been quiet and peaceable. But they were not peaceable. On Martha's Vineyard they tried to induce the Indians not to hear Mr. Mayhew, and not to read the scriptures. In other places their conduct was in the highest degree riotous, turbulent and provoking. They were continually disturbing congregations assembled for public worship. Margaret Brewster went into a meeting-house with her face smeared over with black paint. Deborah Wilson went through the streets of Salem naked, as a sign to the people. Lydia Wardwell went into a meeting-house in Newbury, as naked as she was born. The Quakers in those days were not so much a religious sect as a band of miscreants. Bishop Burnet, whose opinion is worthy of respect, says they were dangerous to the peace of the community.

      The General Court of Massachusetts passed an act against the Quakers, imposing heavy fines, sentencing offenders to prison and banishing them from the colony. Some of them, after being sent away, returned a second or third time, notwithstanding that the penalty of death was denounced upon them in case of their return.

      The government were very reluctant to proceed to extremities. But exercising the right which every householder has to clear his house of disorderly persons, and finding that these wretches, after being sent away, would still return, and, as some of them avowed, for the express purpose of defying and trampling upon the laws of the land, the executive authority made use of the last resort: they hanged four of these Quakers. But they were not hanged for being Quakers; they were not thus dealt with, nor were they fined, imprisoned or banished, for opinion's sake, but for riot and sedition, for endeavoring the overthrow of the civil authority, and for disturbing the public peace.

      While some of these Quakers were in prison, Mr. Symmes visited them for religious conversation suited to their need. For this and similar efforts he was grievously reviled by the Quakers.

      The latter part of the life of Mr. Symmes was embittered by the conduct of some of the members of his church, who were among the founders of the First Baptist Church in Boston. This church was originally gathered in Charlestown, about the year 1665. Thomas Gould, a member of Mr. Symmes's church, had a child born to him in 1655, which he withheld from baptism. For this, and for absenting himself from the worship and ordinances of that church, in disregard of covenant vows, he was repeatedly admonished, and at length, with some others, excommunicated. They were also prosecuted in the civil courts. The Baptist historians blame Mr. Symmes for the part he took in these proceedings. But he, in common with his brethren, honestly regarded Mr. Gould and his associates as disturbers of the public peace. They remembered the disturbances and murders caused by the Anabaptists in Germany the century previous. They feared the influence of the principles now held by the Baptists in common with those incendiaries. Mr. Symmes and those who acted with him are not to be blamed for not possessing the light we now enjoy. Moreover, the Congregationalists of that day supposed that as they had, at the cost of much labor, expense and suffering, procured on those shores an asylum for themselves and their brethren of like faith, it was a grievous wrong for persons of a different faith and maintaining other forms of worship, to intrude among them, when there was room enough elsewhere. They considered themselves as acting in self-defence. These considerations should shield them from the charge of persecution. The charge is utterly groundless.

      In 1648, and about that time, the salary of Mr. Symmes was ninety pounds sterling. Only one other minister in the colony, the eloquent and eminent John Cotton, of Boston, had as much. Thomas Weld of Roxbury, John Knowles of Watertown, and Ezekiel Rogers of Rowley, had eighty pounds each. Others had from seventy pounds each down to twenty pounds. Thomas Allen, the colleague of Mr. Symmes, had sixty pounds. These salaries and public taxes generally, were paid, for the most part, not in cash, but in the produce of the farm.

      The church of Charlestown was gathered November 2, 1632, and the records, still in existence, and in good preservation, begin at that time. From that date till 1677, it appears that five hundred and twenty persons were admitted to full communion in this church, of whom two hundred were males. Of this period of forty-five years, thirty-seven years belonged to the ministry of Mr. Symmes. It is probable, therefore, that during his ministry more than four hundred persons were added to his church.

      A synod, assembled in Boston in 1662, introduced into New England churches what has long been known as the "half-way covenant," whereby persons baptized in infancy, on coming to maturity and owning the covenant made by their parents at their baptism, were entitled to have their children baptized, without themselves coming to the communion. This new practice was strenuously resisted by many, while others, among whom was Mr. Symmes, were its zealous advocates. The practice was immediately introduced into his church. In this affair, as in others, he acted in concurrence with such men as Richard, Eleazar and Increase Mather, Thomas Shepard, John Wilson, John Allin, Samuel Whiting, Thomas Cobbett, John Higginson and John Ward.

      The town of Charlestown gave Mr. Symmes a tract of three hundred acres of land, extending from the north end of Mystic Pond to the borders of Woburn. In his will he calls it "my farm near Woburn". It continued for a long time within the limits of Charlestown, but is now included within the town of Winchester. A more particular description is reserved for the notice of his eldest son William, who owned it after his father's death. Part of it, fifty or sixty acres, remains in the possession and occupancy of his descendants to this day.

      The town of Charlestown also granted to Mr. Symmes three hundred acres in the "Land of Nod," the history of which is as follows:

      The town of Woburn was separated from Charlestown in 1642, but the divisional line between the two towns was not established till eight years after. There had been some misunderstanding about the line, which was at length quieted by an arrangement entered into July 29, 1650, by a committee mutually chosen. By this arrangement Charlestown relinquished to Woburn five hundred acres of land, beginning at the east corner of Edward Convers's farm, which was in Woburn, and running north to Charlestown Head Line; in exchange for which Woburn ceded to Charlestown three thousand acres lying further north.

      Edward Convers lived near where the Orthodox church in Winchester now stands. His farm, of course, was in the neighborhood of his house, including what was long known as Convers's Mill, on the Mystic River, in the present village of Winchester, and now in the occupation of Joel Whitney, or very near it. Mr. Symmes's farm lay immediately west of the farm of Convers. The arrangement now entered into gave to Woburn the farms and lots on "Richardson's Row," now Washington Street, in Winchester, respecting a part of which there had been some dispute. But Woburn relinquished to Charlestown three thousand acres of land, of which the rights of property were to be vested in Charlestown, though considered to be within the bounds of Woburn. When Woburn was incorporated, October 1642, it was four miles square, and the three thousand acres lay at its northern extremity, within the limits of the present town of Wilmington. It was long known as the "Land of Nod," and is so called by many at the present day. This name was probably suggested by its forlorn condition, so far from church ordinances, which seemed to justify a comparison with that distant region to which Cain banished himself when he went from the presence of the Lord - Gen. 4:16. This tract of land lay for many years in a neglected, uncultivated state. It was divided by Charlestown, in 1643, among twelve of her prominent citizens, of whom Mr. Symmes was one. The share given to him was three hundred acres; none had more that this, some had less. But the lots were not surveyed nor staked out till 1718, and were still considered of so little value, that several of the gentlemen resigned their grants to the town again. In 1671, Mr. Symmes's three hundred acres were valued at only five pounds.

      Mr. Symmes continued to be pastor of the church in Charlestown till his death, which took place February 4, 1670-1 at the age of 71 years and ten months. His wife Sarah survived him, dying in 1676. Mather says his epitaph represents him as having lived with his wife forty-nine years and seven months, and as having had by her five sons and eight daughters. According to this statement he must have been married to her as early as July, 1621, the year after he graduated at college. He resided in London from 1621 to 1625, and his two eldest children seem to have been born there. We have the names of twelve children, none of whom were born previous to 1625.

      He was honorably interred at the expense of the town. His grave was "covered and set comelie" by a stone-work laid in lime, together with a tomb-stone, procured by the selectmen of the town. The epitaph, which has been wholly effaced by the ravages of time, contained the following lines:

      "A prophet lies beneath this stone:
      His words shall live, though he be gone."

      His will is dated January 20, 1664-5; it was proved March 31, 1671, and is recorded Midd. Prob. 3, 234. I have carefully examined the original document, written with his own hand, which I shall here quote exact and entire.

      ["]The twentieth day of January 1664, I Zechariah Symmes of Charlestown, New England, being at present through God's mercy in some competent measure of health, yet daily wayting for my change, have revised the last former draught of my will, but revoking it, do establish this following as my last will and testament, and do hereby appoint my dear and faithful wife Mrs. Sarah Symmes sole executrix thereof.

      ["]First, I commit and commend what I am and have into the hands of my most loving Father and Gracious God in Christ Jesus : my soul immediately upon my death to be received into those heavenly mansions which my blessed Saviour hath prepared for me ; my body to be for a time, in a comely, but not over costly manner, interred, in assured faith and hope that my Saviour will in his time raise up my vile body and make it like his glorious body, and, uniting it to my soul, will continue them forever with himself in perfect blessedness and glore.

      ["]For my temporal estate wherewith the Lord hath blessed me, it is already in good parte disposed of by reason of the mariage of my eldest sonne William, and of six of my daughters, viz., Sarah, Marye, Elizabeth, Huldah, Rebeckah, Deborah. To each of these seven I have already given such a portion, as our own necessities would permit, and that without any partialitie farther than a legacy given to my daughter Brock, and daughter Savage did equity require ; therefore my earnest desire and will is that none of them grudge at any of the other, or trouble their mother in the least wise any further demand, or motion about what is already disposed of.

      ["]For Ruth, my wife hath already set by for her a portion as with a very small enlargement (which I leave to my widow's discretion) may equal her portion with her sisters.

      ["]For my two sonnes Zechariah and Timothy, to the former upon his going to Rehoboth I gave some books, with some household stuff, and to make up his first dividend, I assign unto him all my library, except what is after mentioned, and provided that soone after my death he oblige himself in a bonde of eighty pounds, together with his heirs and assigns, to pay unto his brother Timothie fourty pounds sterling in money, or merchantable goods at money price, within one year after my decease, or in case his brother Timothy dye before the year expired, then to pay it to my other children surviving, in equal portions, reserving a double portion to my eldest sonne William.

      ["]Other legacies doe some of my dear friends deserve, and therefore may probably expect, but considering my dear widos probable necesseties, and that farr most of our estate came by her, I trust they will take it well though I do dispose of the remainder of my estate in the manner following.

      ["]First, my debts being discharged (which are none that I know of but what my wife is privye unto) and one legacy of five pounds to my dear brother Mr. William Symmes, to which I know my wife will be as willing as myself, it being but a small remembrance of his very great love and costs to us and ours, I then give and bequeath to my faithful and dearly beloved wife, the whole use and benefit of all my temporal estate, consisting in lands, houses, cattell, moneye, plate, with all other goods and moveables which the Lord hath given, to her own proper use, to have, hold and enjoy during the whole time of her widowhood. In case she shall see good to marry, which I suppose she will never do without good advice, then I take it for granted that it will be with one that may bring some comfortable outward estate with him, and therefore in case she shall marry I give a third part of my whole estate to be equally divided among my children then living, only a double part to my eldest sonne, and at her death the other two thirds to be alike divided, only I give her liberty and power at her decease to dispose of fifty pounds sterling to any of her children or any other of her relatives or friends as she shall see mete. Further, out of my books and papers, I give her that large English Bible wch was her mothers, also such books as I have of Doc Sibs or Doc Prestons, also a book of Baynes letters, and about comfortable walking with God. Also all my notes and sermons, one book in octavo upon 16th Matthew 24 and 17 cap of John, 2 small books of my latter sermons, one in decimo sexto, the other hath yet but a few sermons. Also I give to my eldest sonne Fulke on Rhem. Test. with 4 books in quarto of Mr. Bolton's works, as also a fourth part of such manuscripts either mine owne or my father's sermons, as are in papers or stitch, but not bound up. All my written books besides I give to Zech: with the rest of the manuscripts, yet so as upon their requests not to deny the lending of them for a small time to any of their brethren or sisters to peruse for their owne private use only, for I never intended or prepared anything of mine to be put in print.

      ["]Item. At my wives death I give my farm neere Woburne and land at Nottimos to my eldest sonne, provided that he bynde it over to pay onto the rest of my children a hundred pounds in equall portions in two years time: 50 pounds per annum.

      ["]Item. I give to all my sonnes in law, at the death of my wife, to each of them thirty shillings for a ring, or any other meanes of remembering my love to them ; and to each of my grandchildren, by nature or by law, thirteen shillings four pence for a spoone.

      ["]Witnesses. Francis Norton, Joshua Teed [Tidd].

      * * *

      Mr. Symmes had by his wife Sarah, according to Cotton Mather, thirteen children, five sons and eight daughters. We find but ten mentioned in the foregoing will; the same number assigned to him by Johnson - this being the number living in 1652, the date of the "Wonder-Working Providence." Eight were born in England, of whom seven accompanied him to this country. Five were born afterwards.

      Born in London, Eng. . . .

      [i] A son, born about 1623. This must be supposed, to make out the number assigned to him by Mather. Died early. . . .

      [ii] SARAH, b. about 1625; m. first, Rev. Samuel Haugh; m. second, Rev. John Brock, both of Reading.

      Born in Dunstable, Eng. . . .

      [iii] WILLIAM, bapt. Jan. 10,1626-7; m. first, Sarah (?) _____; m. second, Mary _____. . . .

      [iv] MARY, bapt. April 16,1628; m. Thomas Savage. . . .

      [v] ELIZABETH, bapt. Jan. 1,1629-30; m. Hezekiah Usher. . . .

      [vi] HULDAH, bapt. March 18,1630-1; m. William Davis. . . .

      [vii] HANNAH, bapt. Aug. 22,1632; unm.; d. early. . . .

      [viii] REBECCA, bapt. Feb. 12,1633-4; m. Humphrey Booth.

      Born in Charlestown, New England. . . .

      [ix] RUTH, b. Oct. 18,1635; m. Edward Willis, June 15,1668. . . .

      [x] ZECHARIAH, b. Jan. 9, 1637-8; m. first, Susannah Graves; m. second, Mehitable Dalton. . . .

      [xi] TIMOTHY, b. May 7, 1640; d. Sept. 25, 1641. . . .

      [xii] DEBORAH, b. Aug. 28, 1642; m. Timothy Prout, Dec. 13, 1664 - his second wife; his first wife's name was Margaret. . . .

      [xiii] TIMOTHY, b. 1643; m. first, Mary Nichols; m. second, Elizabeth Norton.

      The baptisms of the children born in Dunstable appear in Mr. Savage's "Gleanings."
    Person ID I23958  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 8 Dec 2017 

    Family Sarah BAKER,   b. Abt 1604,   d. 10 Jun 1673, Charlestown, Suffolk County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 69 years) 
    Married 13 Aug 1622  St. Saviour, Southwark, Surrey, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. William SYMMES,   b. Bef 10 Jan 1627, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Sep 1691, Charlestown, Suffolk County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 64 years)  [natural]
    Last Modified 8 Dec 2017 17:00:28 
    Family ID F10578  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart