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Capt. Richard BRACKETT

Male Bef 1610 - 1690  (> 79 years)


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  • Name Richard BRACKETT 
    Title Capt. 
    Born Bef 16 Sep 1610  Sudbury, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Christened 16 Sep 1610  St. Gregory, Sudbury, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Immigration Bef 27 Aug 1630  MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 3 Mar 1690  Braintree, Suffolk [now Norfolk] County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Hancock Cemetery, Quincy, Norfolk County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • (1) Richard BRACKETT was a member of, and the first immigrant from, the largest kinship network as yet uncovered among the participants in the Great Migration of immigrants to New England.

      (2) Anderson, Robert Charles, The Great Migration Begins - Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Vol. 1, A-B, Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995, pp. 203-206:

      RICHARD BRACKETT

      ORIGIN: Sudbury, Suffolk

      MIGRATION: 1632

      FIRST RESIDENCE: Boston

      REMOVES: Braintree 1641

      RETURN TRIPS: Travelled to England in 1633 for his marriage, and then returned to New England in 1634.

      OCCUPATION: Husbandman. Boston jailkeeper, 1637-1640 [MBCR 1:217, 260; WP 4:175, 252].

      CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Admitted to Boston church as member #144, which would be shortly before 11 November 1632 [BChR 15]. On 5 December 1641 he and his wife Alice were recommended to Braintree church [BChR 35], and on 8 May 1642 Richard Brackett was dismissed to Braintree church "at their desire of him unto the Office of a Deacon amongst them" [BChR 36]. (Savage gives 21 July 1642 as the date of Brackett's ordination as deacon, hut the source for this has not been found.)

      FREEMAN: 25 May 1636 [MBCR 1:372].

      EDUCATION: Sufficient to be Braintree clerk of writs. Signed will with shaky hand.

      OFFICES: Deputy for Braintree to General Court (as "Capt. Richard Bracket"), 23 May 1655, 3 May 1665, 15 May 1667, 31 May 1671, 15 May 1672, 27 May 1674, 7 October 1674, 19 May 1680, 4 January 1680/1 [MBCR 3:373; 4:1:222; 4:2:142, 331, 485, 507; 5:2, 15, 266, 303, 426]. Commissioner to meet with men of Plymouth "to lay out that marsh lying at Connahassett," 29 May 1655 [MBCR 4:1:230; also MBCR 3:380, 438]. Commissioner to lay out land, 5 December 1683 [MBCR 5:426]. Appointed by General Court "to join persons in marriage in the town of Braintry also to administer oaths in civil cases," 15 October 1679 [MBCR 5:251-52].

      Braintree selectman, 1652, 1653, 1670, 1672, 1683 [BrTR 5, 6, 9-13, 21]. Braintree clerk of writs, 1646 to 1654 (The published volume of Braintree vital records is prefaced by a page, apparently part of the original record, which lists each of the persons who maintained the record book. The first clerk, in 1643, was Henry Adams, "then by Capt. Richard Brackett, then by Jno. Mills." Adams died in 1646, and Mills assumed the duty in 1654 [BrVR 627, 629, 635]). Appointed to various other town committees [BrTR passim]. Agent for Braintree in case against John Andrews and Benjamin Phippeny, 12 November 1659 [MBCR 4:1:401].

      Admitted to Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1639 [1-1AHAC 1:86]. On 15 October 1684 on "the request of Capt[ain] Richard Brackett, being above seventy-three years of age, & infirmities of age upon him, having desired formerly, & now also, to lay down his place as chief military commander in Braintry, the Court grants his request. . . ." [MBCR 5:459].

      ESTATE: On 21 March 1635/6 the Boston selectmen included Richard Brackett in a list of those who had been ordered on 30 November 1635 to build upon their allotments for habitation and had not done so [BTR 1:9]. On 18 February 1638/9 Richard Brackett was one of six men ordered to "make sufficient the cartway against Mr. Hutchinson's house, under which they drain their gardens" [BTR 1:38]. On 24 February 1639/40 Boston selectmen granted leave "to our brother Richard Brackett to mow the marsh lying in the New Field, which he hath usually mown, for this next summer time" [BTR 1:48].
      On 25 October 1667 "Richard Bracket of Braintry . . . husbandman" sold to John Hull of Boston, goldsmith, for £5 5s. thirty acres "within the woods in . . . Braintry, but belonging to the said town of Boston & about twenty-five years past by the said town of Boston granted & laid out, to other men" [SLR 6:237].

      On 13 July 1671 James Brackett of Boston, setcooper, sold to John Harris of Boston, mariner, for £12 "a parcel of land lying & being a part of the land purchased by him the said James Brackett & Richard Brackett his father of Jeremiah Bumstead of Boston aforesaid joiner, Richard Brackett his said father consenting thereto, & being a witness hereunto," the northwest bound being "the residue of land appertaining to the said James Brackett 8c his said father" [SLR 7:237-38].

      In his will, dated 29 January 1688/9 and probated 19 December 1690, Richard Brackett of Braintree bequeathed to wife Alice Brackett for life entire estate in Braintree and all income from estate in Billerica; to the children of his son John "by his wife Hannah Brackett" one-fourth of his lands and housing in Billerica; to son Peter Brackett, son-in-law Simon Crosbey and son-in-law Joseph Thompson the remaining three parts of the Billerica estate to he divided equally; to son Peter Brackett £5; to "the two daughters of my son Josiah deceased Elizabeth and Sarah, "£20 apiece at age of twenty (to be paid by Peter Brackett, Simon Crosby, Joseph Thompson and the children of John Brackett); to "the said Sarah daughter of my son Josiah" £5 and "the feather bed her mother carried away"; to "my son James Brackett all my now dwelling house, barn, orchards, lands & meadows lying & being in Braintrey"; to "my son-in-law Joseph Crosby" £10; to "my daughter Hannah Blancher" 20s.; "my great Bible to my daughter Rachell Crosby for her use during her life & at her decease to be to my grandchild Abigail Tompson"; to "Hannah Brackett the daughter of my son John" movable goods worth £20; to "my beloved wife Allice Brackett" the rest of the movables for her to dispose of as she wishes; "whereas I have given to my grandchild Sarah Brackett the daughter of my son Josiah Brackett deceased five pounds, my will is that it should be null void & of none effect as also the ten pounds given to Joseph Crosby 1 give to his daughter Anna Crosby" [SPR 8:9].

      BIRTH: Baptized at St. Gregory, Sudbury, Suffolk, 16 September 1610, son of Peter Brackett land his wife Rachel] [TAG 52:73].

      DEATH: Braintree 3 March 1690, aged 80 [BrVR 658].

      MARRIAGE: At St. Katherine by the Tower, London, 6 January 1633/4 Alice Blower [NEHGR 127:17], baptized St. Gregory, Sudbury, Suffolk, 30 June 1615, daughter of Thomas Blower [and his wife Alice Frost] [TAG 52:74]; she was admitted to Boston church 8 November 1635 [BChR 19], and was recommended to Braintree church on 5 December 1641, along with her husband [BChR 35]; she died Braintree 3 November 1690, aged 76 [BrVR 658].

      CHILDREN:

      i HANNAH, bp. Boston 4 January 1634/5 [BChR 278]; m. (1) by 1656 Samuel Kingsley (eldest child b. Braintree 27 July 1656 [BrVR 632]); m. (2) by 1665 John Blanchard [Ezra S. Stearns, Early Generations of the Founders of Old Dunstable . . . (Boston 1911), pp. 3-4; Granite Monthly 9:218-19].

      ii PETER, bp. Boston 7 May 1637 [BChR 281]; m. (1) Braintree 7 August 1661 Elizabeth Bosworth [BrVR 717]; m. (2) Billerica 30 March 1687 "Sarah Foster, wid., of Cambridge" (also recorded Cambridge).

      iii JOHN, bp. Boston 7 May 1637 [BChR 281); m. (1) Braintree 7 August 1661 Hannah French [BrVR 717 (also recorded Billerica)]; m. (2) Billerica 31 March 1675 Ruth Ellis [see TAG 24:154].

      iv RACHEL. bp. Boston 3 November 1639 [BChR 284]; m. Braintree 15 July 1659 Simon Crosby [BrVR 716].

      v MARY, b. Braintree 1 February 1641 [NEHGR 3:126]; m. Braintree 22 July 1662 Joseph Thompson [recorded Billerica].

      vi JAMES, b. Braintree about 1646 (d. Braintree 8 April 1718, aged 72 [NEHGR 11:298]); m. by 1675 Sarah Marsh. (On 11 May 1675 "James Bracket of Braintery . . . cooper and Sarah Bracket his wife" sold to Benjamin Lincoln of Hingham, maltster, four acres in Hingham "which said four acres of planting land the said James Bracket stand seized of in right of Sarah his wife it being a part of her proportion of the estate left by Thomas Marsh her father deceased and was formerly the land of Nicholas Jacob" [SLR 10:138-39].)

      vii JOSIAH, b. Braintree 8 May 1652 [BrVR 635]; m. Billerica 4 February 1672 Elizabeth Waldo.

      viii SARAH, b. Braintree say 1655; m. Braintree 1675 Joseph Crosby [BrVR 719].

      ASSOCIATIONS: Through his mother and his wife Richard Brackett became a member of, and the first immigrant from, the largest kinship network as yet uncovered among the participants in the Great Migration, a network worked out mostly by Mary Lovering Holman, John Brooks Threlfall and Douglas Richardson. (See John Brooks Threlfall, Fifty Great Migration Colonists to New England & Their Origins [Madison, Wisconsin, 1990], pp. 63-116, for a summary of much of this research.)

      Richard Brackett was son of Peter Bracket and his wife Rachel; another son of this couple was Peter Brackett who came to Braintree about 1636 [TAG 52:65-75, 92]. About 1618 Rachel, the mother of the two Brackett immigrants, married secondly Martin Sanders, and in 1635 Sanders, his wife, their Sanders children, along with Rachel (Brackett) Newcomb (sister of Peter and Richard Brackett), her husband, Francis Newcomb, and their children sailed for New England on the Planter [Hotten 48-49; TAG 55:215-217]. (A likely further connection arises through Martha Ray, wife of Peter Brackett. She was almost certainly first cousin to Simon Ray, who also came to Braintree, and the latter was in turn first cousin to Hester [Wells] Mason, wife of Hugh Mason who came to Watertown [TAG 56:94-96].)

      From his admission to Boston church we learn that Richard Brackett was certainly in Boston by 1632, but he must have returned to England in 1633, for on 6 January 1633/4 he married at St. Katherine by the Thwer, London, Alice Blower [NEHGR 127:17]. She was daughter of Thomas and Alice (Frost) Blower; she may have had two brothers who came to New England, and her father certainly came to New England in 1635, but apparently died soon [TAG 52:73-75; see also NEHGR 139:148-49]. Her mother, Alice Frost, was sister of Thomasine Frost, who married Edmund Rice, immigrant to Sudbury, and also of Elizabeth Frost, who married first Henry Rice and then Philemon Whale, the latter also an immigrant to Sudbury [TAG 15:227, 26:10-11; TG 6:131-41; Stevens-Miller Anc 143-44].

      Taking into account all these persons and their children, then, there were more than forty future immigrants to New England who were related to Richard Brackett by blood or marriage before their departure from England.

      (3) Threlfall, John Brooks, Fifty Great Migration Colonists to New England and Their Origins, Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 2008, pp. 65-71:

      RICHARD BRACKETT (Peter, Richard, William) was baptized 16 September 1610 at Saint Gregory's in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. At the age of six, he was left fatherless, but his mother soon remarried to Martin Saunders. At the age of about 20, he sailed off to New England with the Winthrop Fleet, for he was in Massachusetts as early as 27 August 1630, when he was among the organizers of the First Church of Boston, being 144th on the list of members.

      He returned to England, perhaps in 1633, for in the register of Saint Katherine by the Tower, London, is the 16 January 1633/4 marriage of Richard Brackett and Alice Blower. Alice, like Richard, grew up in Sudbury, but her parents had moved to London about this time. They surely knew each other in Sudbury. A year later they were in Boston where their daughter, Hannah, was baptized on 4 January 1634/5. Presumably they sailed for America shortly after their marriage. On 8 November 1635, "Alice, wife of our brother Richard Brackett signed the covenant", thus joining the church in Boston. He was admitted freeman in Boston on 25 May 1636 and on 23 November 1636 he joined the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.

      On 21 March 1636, he was granted a lot on which to build. He chose a lot now on Washington Street, nearly midway between the present West and Boyalston Streets. He lived there until about 20 November 1637 when he was appointed by the General Court to keep the prison. His salary was £13.6s.8d. (increased 6 June 1639 to £20) and the use of a house. The next year, he sold his Washington Street property, permission to sell being granted 11 June 1638.

      About 1637-8, his older brother Peter joined him in New England at Boston, his mother and step-father having crossed over in 1635. They all later settled in Braintree.

      On 12 February 1639, leave was granted "to our Bro. Rich. Brackett to mowe the Marsh lying in the Newfield which he bath usually mowen, for the next summer time". The marsh was at Mount Wollaston in Braintree, at that time a part of the town of Boston. Braintree was incorporated in 1640. Richard Brackett moved there about 1641 or 1642, for the records of the First Church of Boston under 26 June 1641 read:

      "Richard Brackett was with wife Alice and his sister dismissed from the First Church in Boston with letter to church connected therewith at the Mount."

      His sister referred to above was Rachel Newcomb. Under 8 May 1642:

      "Our Bro. Richard Brackett was granted by the church to be dismissed to ye church at Braintree at theer desire with ye Office of Deacon amongst you."

      He was ordained a deacon on 21 July 1642 at Braintree and held the office until he died.

      A Suffolk, Massachusetts Deed of 25 October 1660 reads:

      Richard Brackett of Braintree, husbandman, sells 30 acres of woodland in township of Braintree but belonging to Boston, and about 25 years past by sd town of Boston g'td and laid out to other men as by record of said town appeareth - (Deed 6:237)

      There were tracts of land in Braintree that were claimed by the town of Boston. It appointed Captain Richard to oversee these tracts as its agent, as:

      "Agreed with Captain Richard Brackett of Braintree that he should, in the town's behalf, take care that noe vast or strip of woods or timber be in the land belonginge to this town lying neere their towne, but do his utmost to prevent it, or give information to the Selectmen. In consideration whereof he hath libertie to cutt out of the wood already fallen to the value of 40 cord. - 25 December 1676".

      Richard was granted by the town of Boston:

      "Libertie to cut soe much Tymber upon the Common land of Braintree as may serve for ye buildinge of a ¼ pte of a vessel of 25 tun, in consideration of his care of the timber lands".

      Clearly, Richard was a trusted agent of the town of Boston.

      There was another tract of considerable extent in Braintree, which the town of Boston claimed. Quite all, or a large part of the tract, the town of Braintree purchased from an Indian chief. It was the desire of a great portion of the people to commence action for the recovery of the tract from Boston. This was opposed by a few of the town, notably by Richard Brackett and Edmund Quincy.

      In March 1682, they were appointed to a committee to deal with the town of Boston. Ultimately, the committee secured for Braintree what is known as the six hundred acre lot.

      He became the first town clerk of Braintree. In 1652, he was chosen selectman, and again in 1670 and 1672. The highest office his townsmen could bestow on him was deputy to the General Court. He was first elected to this position in 1643, next in 1655 and again in 1665 and 1667. In 1671, he was elected again and continued for four years until there was a greater need for his services in another capacity. In 1675, King Philip's War commenced. No lasting peace was secured until 1679. In 1680, he again returned to his seat in the General Court for the last time.

      He was chosen sergeant on the organization of the train band in Braintree. In a few years he rose to Lieutenant. About 1654, he was appointed Captain.

      The raids by the Indians induced the colony to establish a garrison near the line between Braintree and Bridgewater. The military committee of the General Court appointed Mr. Richard Thayer to take charge thereof. He raised an alarm on the most meager of rumors and stalked every phantom of the forest. Night and day, the people of Braintree lived in terror of being attacked by King Philip and his braves.

      One day, one of King Philip's men, John George, a poor half starved wretch, came through the snow on his hands and knees to the garrison house to surrender. He was too weak to walk. He was the only Indian seen by Thayer and his garrison during their campaign. The capture of John George was loudly proclaimed as an instance of Thayer's vigilance and as evidence that real Indians were in the country. Thayer kept John George in the garrison house for five weeks at the expense of the town, apparently wanting to get the Indian in good physical condition as an exhibit. What with being constantly on the alert for weeks, marching at all seasons, night and day, with one false alarm but passing away before another was raised, Richard Brackett's patience was sorely strained. He had to put up with it because Thayer was the General Court's man. However, when Thayer got a live Indian whom he kept in the garrison house at the expense of the town, an opportunity was presented to do something. The old jailer thought the jail was a good enough place for John George. He went with a detail of men to where Thayer was boarding John George, took the Indian away from his keeper and carried him forthwith to Boston. Thayer protested and petitioned. He said that he had a grievance and that all his bills were not paid by the town. Richard had ready the evidence of his men in support of the course he had taken, which was approved by those in authority.

      The General Court, in its might, took upon itself to banish the poor Indian from the country. That is, he was sold into slavery. It is indeed sad that Richard did not free the poor fellow.

      There is evidence that Captain Richard Brackett taught the school in Braintree.

      On 15 October 1679, he was appointed to take oaths in civil cases and perform marriages.

      As he grew older, he sought release from the burdens of public office. On 15 October 1684, the General Court recorded the following:

      On request of Captain Richard Brackett being 73 years of age and the infirmities of age upon him: having formerly desired, and now again to- day, to lay down his place as chief military commander of Braintree, the court granted the request and appointed Lieut. Edmund Quincy to succeed him.

      At that time, he had been connected with the company for about 43 years and for 30 years had been its Captain.

      In Braintree he was a farmer and was described as a husbandman. He acquired a considerable estate in Braintree and when the town of Billerica was formed, he became a proprietor there. Two sons and two daughters settled there.

      He died 5 March 1689/90 and Alice Brackett died eight months later on 3 November 1690, aged 76. No stone marks her burial place but he is buried in the old North precinct of Braintree, now the city of Quincy. His grave is marked by a stone cut about 150 years after his death. However, the inscription seems to be a duplicate of what had been on the original stone.

      Here lyeth buried
      ye body of
      Captain Richard Brackett
      Deacon
      Aged 80 years
      Deceased March 5
      1690

      The town record says he died 3 March.

      A silver cup inscribed B / R & A and used in the Unitarian Church in Braintree (which in early days was Congregational) at communion service, is the gift of Richard Brackett and his wife, Alice, to the church.

      His will follows:

      January 29, 1689 - In the name of God, amen.

      I, Richard Brackett of Braintree in New England, being mindful of my mortallyty and being of memory and a disposing mind a trusting in God through Jesus Christ, my only savior for eternal life salvation, revoking and making null all former wills by me made, do make and ordain this my last will and testament as followeth.

      My will is that all my just debts, if any, be first paid, and funeral charges be defrayed.

      Item. I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife, Allice Brackett, all my estate in housing, orchards, lands, and meadows in Braintry for her comfortable subsistence during her natural life, as also the income of my estate at Billerica.

      Item. I give to the children of my son John Brackett one-fourth part of all my land and meadows and housing in Billerica, as it shall fall by equal division, to be equally divided to them and their heirs. My meaning is the children that he had by his wife, Hannah Brackett.

      Item. I give and bequeath the remaining three parts of my housing, and lands, and meadows in Billerica to my son Peter Brackett and son in law, Simon Crosby, and son in law, Joseph Thompson, and to their heirs, to be equally divided between them.

      Item, I give to my son Peter Brackett five pounds in current pay, to be paid by my executors.

      Item. My will is that the division of my lands in Billerica, as above disposed, shall be made by indifferent men, the persons concerned in each part to choose one man.

      Item. My will is that the children of my son John, and Peter Brackett, Simon Crosby and Joseph Thompson, shall pay unto the two daughters of my son Josiah, deceased, Elizabeth and Sarah, twenty pounds a piece in good pay when they shall attain the age of twenty years respectively: and in want of the payment of said forty pounds, they the said Elizabeth and Sarah shall have one half of the land above mentioned, to them and to their heirs, to be equally divided to them. And in case either of said Elizabeth or Sarah shall die without issue, the legacies to her given shall be to the survivor. I give to the said Sarah, the daughter of my son Josiah, five pounds in current pay and the feather bed her mother carryed away.

      Item. I give to my son James all of my now dwelling house, barn, orchard, land and meadows, lying and being in Braintry aforesaid, next and immediately after my wife's decease (excepting what may be necessarily expended for her mainten-ance during her life) to him and to his heirs forever.

      Item. I give to my son in law, Joseph Crosby ten pounds in good pay which ten pounds with the five pounds given to my son Peter Brackett as above, is to he paid within two years after myne and my wifes decease.

      Item. I give unto my daughter Hannah Brackett twenty shillings in good pay. I give my great Bible to my daughter Rachel Crosby for her use during her life, and at her decease to be to my grandchild Abigail Thompson.

      Item. I give to Hannah Brackett, daughter of my son John, the feather bed which she lyeth on, and bolster what belonged to it and my bedsted in Billerica, with as much movable goods as shall amount to twenty pounds.

      Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Allice Brackett, all the rest of my movables for her comfortable sustenance while she lives, and to be disposed of by her to whom she please at her death.

      Item. I appoint and nominate my son James Brackett to be sole executor to this my last will and testament.
      I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

      /s/ Richard Brackett

      Signed sealed and published in presence of us
      John Ruggles, Senr.
      John Ruggles, Jr.
      John Parmenter

      Whereas I have given to my grandchild Sarah Brackett, the daughter of my son Josiah Brackett, deceased, five pounds, my will is that it shall be null and void and of none effect; as also the ten pounds given to Joseph Crosby, I give to his daughter Anna Crosby.

      Christopher Webb (seal)
      Boston, December 19, 1690
      Approved John Ruggles, Sen. John Ruggles, Jr., both at Braintree appearing at Probate

      * * *

      Children:

      [i] HANNAH, bapt. 4 Jan. 1634/5 in Boston; m 1, Samuel Kingsley who d 21 May 1662. in Billerica; 3 ch.; m 2, John Blanchard who d 1693 in Dunstable (now Nashua, N.H.). She was killed by Indians in Dunstable 3 July 1706; 11 ch.

      [ii] JOHN, bapt. 7 May 1637 in Boston; m 1, at Braintree 6 Sept. 1661, Hannah French, by Peter Brackett who was his uncle; 9 ch.; she d 9 May 1674; he m 2, at Billerica, 31 March 1675 widow Ruth Ellis, nee Morse; 4 ch.; he d 18 March 1686/7.

      [iii] PETER, bapt. 7 May 1637, twin to John; m 1, 7 Aug. 1661 Elizabeth Bosworth; she d 30 Nov. 1686; m 2, 30 March 1687 Sarah Foster of Cambridge, nee Parker; 5 ch.; she d 18 April 1718 at Billerica.

      [iv] RACHEL, bapt. 3 Nov. 1639 in Boston; m 15 July 1659 at Braintree, Simon Crosby of Billerica, son of Simon & Ann, b Aug. 1637; 9 ch.; he d 22 Jan. 1725 æ 87 - g.s. at Billerica.

      [v] MARY, b 12 May 1641; m at Braintree 22 July 1662 Joseph Thompson; 5 ch.; she d 23 March 1671; he d 13 Oct. 1732; res. Billerica.

      [vi] JAMES, b about 1645 at Braintree; m about 1674 Sarah Marsh; he was a cooper; d April 1718 in "ye 73rd year of his age"; she d 6 Oct. 1727 aged 77; 6 or more ch.; res. Braintree.

      [vii] SARAH, m 1 June 1675 at Braintree, Joseph Crosby, b in Feb. 1638/9, brother of Simon; sev. ch.; he d 26 Nov. 1695; she m 2, at Billerica, 26 Oct. 1700, William Rawson of Braintree; he d there 20 Sept. 1726.

      [viii] JOSIAH, b 8 May 1652 at Braintree; m at Billerica 4 Feb. 1672/3 Elizabeth Waldo, dau. of Cornelius of Chelmsford; 2 daus: Sarah b 1674 Billerica, and Elizabeth b 1678/9 at Braintree; he d before 1689.

      (4) www.findagrave.com:

      Capt Richard Brackett
      Birth: Sep. 16, 1610, Sudbury, Suffolk, England
      Death: Mar. 5, 1690, Braintree, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA

      Captain Richard Brackett was one of the first of the name in America. With certainty it is known that he was in the colony of Massachusetts Bay as early as 1630. Richard Brackett died March 5, 1690 "after an eminently useful, active and pious life." He is buried in the north precinct of Braintree; now Quincy. On the stone you can read:

      "Here lyeth buried
      ye body of
      Cap. Richard Brackett
      Deacon
      Aged 80 years
      Decd March 5
      16 and 90"

      His wife, Alice(Blower) Brackett, was his lifelong companion from the time of their marriage. Her death occurred in 1690. No stone marks her place of burial but it is presumed that it is near Richard's grave. This appears to be part of the original stone but appears to have been set in cement or affixed to another stone. His son James is also set next to his.

      In the year 1629, the year they probably came to America, Richard was only seventeen years old. There is his oath of affidavit on July 2, 1668 that he is 56 years old. If this is true he was born in 1612. His tombstone reads: "Died March 1690 80 Years Old"; if this is true he was born in 1610. This is important as it bears on the question of whether or not he was accompanied to America by a guardian. It is believed that Peter was his elder brother and his guardian.

      Captain Richard enjoyed the confidences of the ruling, Puritan, power of the colony at an early age. He agreed with them on all matters pertaining to religion and politics. He took a decided stand with a large majority of the people of Braintree. His life can be described as typical in quite all particulars pertaining to his conduct as a man and a religionist. The mundane rewards, which were his to enjoy, seem to have been quite all the honors and favors that fall to one who followed rather than led. He followed closely on the heels of those who led. He seems to have gotten his fair share of those favors the colonists had to divide amongst themselves. He seems to have been very successful in his undertakings and to have possessed a good mind at the time of his death.

      On August 27, 1630, he was among the colonists that were instrumental in and with whom Governor Winthrop organized the First Church of Boston, the instrument is dated at Charlestown. Mr. Jeffery Richardson, a descendant of Captain Richard, wrote in his Brackett Genealogy, in 1860, that the church structure "was at first a low thatched-roofed building which was soon removed and one was built where Brazier's building is". Captain Richard remained with this church for twelve years; he then removed to Braintree. Under the date of September 8, 1635 one can read in the church records that "Alice; wife, of our brother Richard Brackett, signed the Covenant.

      He was but twenty-three years old in 1635 and had probably been with the Church for a short time when his wife joined the Church. They were married, in St. Katherine by the Tower, in London in 1633/34. His wife's maiden name was Alice Blower. He was admitted freeman in Boston May 25, 1636 and on November 23, 1636 he became a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. Prior to March 21, 1636 he was granted a lot upon which to build. His choice was limited to lots "not being built upon (and) is free to be otherwise disposed of". He made the selection of a lot now on Washington Street (1860), nearly midway between the present West and Boylston Streets. He erected a house about which was a garden and there resided until about November 20, 1637. He was then appointed by the General Court to be the keeper of the prison. His salary and prerequisites were thirteen pounds and six pence, increasing to twenty pounds June 6, 1639. He was also given the use of a dwelling house. The following year he sold his property on Washington Street. In volume one, page twenty-five, of the Boston Town Proceedings, it is recorded:

      "Granted to our Brother Richard Brackett to sell his howes and yarding, June 11, 1638". The property was sold to a Mr. Jacob Leger."

      The town proceedings give some information as to Captain Richard's occupation. Prior to his removal to Braintree, under the date of February 12, 1639, it is recorded that leave was granted "to our Brother Richard Brackett to mowe the marsch lying in the newfield which he hath usually mowen, for the next summer time." It is clear that he had something to do in addition to his duties as jailer. He had an eye open for municipal windfalls and a yearning for agriculture.

      He had a strong desire to lead the life of a husbandman, in preference to the other calling so many of his fellow compatriots followed; fishing. Many acquired a great deal of wealth as fishermen. Richard decided to turn his attention to farming. To accomplish this he would need to leave Boston.

      In relating the period of his life when he is about to change his place of residence, to take leave of Boston, it is proper to mention the reference to Richard Brackett by S.G. Drake, in his History and Antiquities of Boston. It occurs in his picture of Spring Lane, at it's conclusion, as he recalls the first settlers visiting the spring, he wrote these words:

      "And grim Richard Brackett, the jailer, may have laid down his halbred to quaff a morning draught."

      The quote's briefness tells how pressed for data pertaining to those early days and the settler's activities the author was. It is known that he had only those few words to present relating to "Grim Richard". Mr. Jeffery Richardson had heard it stated that the jailer in Hawthorne's Scarlett Letter was grim Richard. It seems certain that the description is not of the individual (Richard) nor that the author had in mind any particular individual as he wrote.

      Mr. Jeffery Richardson mentions that Captain Richard was jailer for many years. It is certain that he held the position to the time of his removal to Braintree. Whether he held it subsequently to this move, there is no evidence. The "marsch lying in the newfield which he hath usually mowen" and which Richard was granted to mow February 12, 1639 was at Mount Wollaston where Thomas Morton; some seventeen years earlier, had set up his business, much to the annoyance of the Plymouth Colony. Morton's Maypole exercises were of the merriest kind and these and other doings brought the merrymakers such ill repute that they were driven out of the county by enraged saints. Braintree was incorporated in 1640. Captain Richard was associated with it's incorporation. He moved to Braintree perhaps in 1641 or 1642. The time is fixed by the date of his dismissal by the church in Boston. There is some uncertainty about this date. In some publications it is December 5, 1641 and in others May 8, 1642. Under the latter date, the records of the First Church of Boston read:

      "Our Brother Richard Brackett was granted by the church to be dismissed to ye church at Braintree at their desire with ye office of Deacon amongst you."

      The saints of the First Church of Boston entertained a high opinion of the integrity of the young Deacon and this opinion was shared by the Boston town authorities. The church in Boston appears to have exercised a parental care over the new church in Braintree and insured it's well being by patronizing it with one of it's model members as a Deacon. He was ordained Deacon July 21, 1642. This office was held by Richard in the church at Braintree until he died.

      There were tracts of land in Braintree that were owned or claimed by the town of Boston. Boston appointed Captain Richard to oversee these tracts of land as it's agent:

      "Agreed with Captain Richard Brackett of Braintree that he should in the town's behalf, take care that noe wast or strip of wood or timber be in the land belonginge to this town lyinge nere theier towne; but do his utmost to prevent it or give information to the Selectmen. In consideration whereof he hath libertie to cutt out of the wood already fallen to the value of 40 cord. 25 December 1676."

      Another time Captain Richard was granted by the town of Boston:

      "Libertie to cut soe much tymber upon the common land of Braintree as may serve for ye buildinge of ¼ pte of a vessel of 25 tun. Inconsideration of his care of the tymber lands."

      Volume 6 page 237 of the Suffolk County Deeds reads:

      "Richard Brackett of Braintree, husbandman, sells 30 acres of woodland in the township of Braintree but belonging to Boston, and abt 25 years past by sd town of Boston gtd and laid out to other men as by record of said town appeareth, 25 Oct 1660".

      There was another tract of considerable extent in Braintree, which Boston claimed. A large part of that tract was purchased from an Indian Chief. It was the desire of a great portion of the people of Braintree to commence action to recover that tract from Boston. This was opposed by a few in the town, notably Richard Brackett and Edmund Quincy. They and Samuel Thompson, in March 1682, were appointed to a committee to meet with the town of Boston. The contest was a prolonged one and as late as 1687 Richard was still opposing the proceedings against Boston. A committee secured for Braintree what is known as a six-hundred-acre log.

      Richard Brackett was one of the town's early officials, was it's first town clerk and held that office for some years. In 1652, he was chosen selectman and again in 1670 and 1672. The highest office his townsmen should bestow upon him was that of Deputy to the General Court. He was first selected to that position in 1643, again in 1655 and 1665.

      In 1665, the colony had need of the services of it's ablest men in it's contest over the Province of Maine with the heir of Georges'. It required the counsel of such men as Richard to successfully steer the ship of state during the stormy period of restoration.

      Again in 1667, Captain Richard was Braintree's Deputy to the General Court and also in 1671. In the year 1675 King Philip's War commenced and continued into the following year. The war ended but there was no lasting peace with the Indians until 1679. Richard once again represented the General Court in 1680.

      Richard served his people in a military as well as a civil and religious way. He was chosen Sergeant of the organization of the train-band in Braintree and held that rank for a few years. He was promoted to Lieutenant and was the second to hold that position in the company. About 1654 Richard was promoted to be the Captain of the company, the third person to be so honored. This is where the title Captain Richard Brackett is derived from. For promotion to this office it was necessary that the approval of the candidate should be made by the General Court; himself being a member of the court.

      Judging from the propriety he exercised in his own and the town's affairs and the regularity he observed in all his business transactions, it is believed that there was not a better drilled and more thoroughly capable Train-Band in the province. Though Braintree was near Boston, it did not escape the battles of King Philip's War. On February 25, 1675 the Indians raided Braintree and killed four persons. In March 1676 another person was killed. Richard's men responded to these and other alarms. They collected the women and children, scouts were dispatched to observe the enemy, messages were sent to neighboring towns to give them warning and summon aid and an energetic pursuit was organized. It is regretted that hardly a scrap has been preserved of the part taken in this war by Captain Richard and his men. The only record that has been handed down to us is:

      The raids by the Indians caused the colony to establish a garrison on or near the line between the towns of Braintree and Bridgewater. The military committee of the General Court appointed Richard Thayer to take charge. This Thayer was ambitious to earn his wages and a name for vigilance. He raised an alarm on the most meager of rumors, stalked all phantoms of the wilderness and stampeded at the approach of a horse or a cow of any color. Night and day he had the people afraid of an immediate prospect of being swooped down upon by the braves. He had Richard Brackett stirred up and his anger thoroughly aroused and his men were worn out by keeping constant vigil and Watch. At last what Thayer had prayed for took place. One of King Philip's men, "John George, a poor half starved wretch, on his knees went through the snow to the garrison house and surrendered. He was too weak to walk. He was the only Indian that was seen by Thayer and his garrison". Thayer took advantage of the situation to proclaim his vigilance. He kept John George in the garrison house for five weeks at the expense of the town. Richard was sorely strained but he had to put up with it all as Thayer was also a General Court's man. The old jailer thought the jail was a good place to keep the Indian and took him from his keeper. Thayer protested and said he had a grievance and that all his bills had not been paid by the town. Richard had already prepared the evidence of his men in support of the course he had taken, which was approved by the men in authority.

      The General Court took it upon themselves to banish the poor Indian (John George) from the county and it's records read that he was sold into slavery. It is to be regretted that Richard did not turn the poor Indian loose.

      In Braintree Captain Richard Brackett was among the first in its church, military and civil affairs. He was held in high esteem in Boston and other adjoining towns to Braintree. In all of these towns he had an extensive acquaintance of men of prominence, of residents and by some he was appointed to administer their wills and estates. He was nominated by the court to administer the estates of many people. Upon petition of members of their respective families his name is frequently mentioned. His selection for such trusts attests to his high standing in the community.

      There is another position the Captain Richard filled, of which mention should be made, and that is of schoolmaster. Mr. Jeffery Richardson is authority that Richard was one who taught school in Braintree.

      As he advanced in years he sought to disburden himself of the offices whose duties were too cumbersome and brought him little or no returns. He looked after positions where pay was attached for his services. He could disclaim all sinister motives for this action as he had frequently devoted the best years of his life to the common cause.

      In the records of the General Court read:

      "On request of Captain Richard Brackett being 73 years of age and the infirmities of age upon him; having formerly desired and now again today, to lay down his place of Chief Military Commander in Braintree, the Court granted the request and appointed Lieut. Edmund Quincy to succeed him."

      At the time he had been connected with the company for upwards of forty-three years and was it's Captain. On the petition of the inhabitants of Braintree he was appointed in October 1679 to perform marriages and to take oaths in civil cases.

      In Braintree his pursuit of farming is recorded as in deeds and other records he is described as a husbandman. He had his choice of the best land in the town and acquired a considerable estate for that time period. When the town of Billerica was incorporated he became a freeholder there and two of his sons and two of his daughters settled in Billerica. His years following his move to Braintree and until his mid-life were devoted to the breaking and clearing of his farm. Once this was done he had time for other pursuits such as teaching school, administering estates and performing other services of a semi-clerical and professional nature. At whatever age, he was busy and had his daily duties in one or another capacity. At all times he was a highly honored and respected person in Braintree. He attained such positions as he could along all lines; military, civil and religious.

      About 1610 Richard Brackett was born to Peter and Rachel Brackett in Sudbury, Suffolk County, England. About 1630 Richard and his older brother, Peter, came to New England and settled in what was to become Boston. Richard returned to England briefly, as on 06 June 1633 in St. Katherine by the Tower, London, Richard married Alice Blower. They came back to live in New England in Boston and later Braintree. Alice died 03 November 1690 and Richard 05 March 1691 in Braintree.

      Richard and Alice Brackett's Children were:

      1. Hannah, bapt. 4 June 1634 in Boston, mar. 1st Samuel Kingsley, who died 21 May 1662 in Billerica, Mass. Mar. 2nd Deacon John Blanchard who died in Duntable in 1693. She survived her husbands and was killed by Indians in Dunstable 3 July 1706.

      2. John, bapt. 7 May 1637 in Boston, mar. 1st 6 Sept. 1661 Hannah French, who died 9 May 1674. Mar. 2nd 31 May 1675 Ruth Ellice. John Brackett in Billerica was allotted land, in 1660, which adjoined the land allotted to his brother Peter. After the death of his wife, he and his four children went to Dedham to live.

      3. Peter, bapt. 7 May 1637 in Boston, was a twin with John. Mar. 7 Aug.1661 Elizabeth Bosworth, who died 30 Nov. 1686. Mar. 2nd 30 March 1687 Sarah Foster (nee) Parker, who died 8 Apr. 1718. Peter lived in Billerica and was a farmer.

      4. Rachael, bapt. 3 Nov. 1639; in Boston, mar. 15 July 1659 Simon Crosby of Billerica.

      5. Mary born 12 May 1641; mar. 1 Feb. 1662 Joseph Thompson.

      6. James born about 1645 in Braintree, mar. Sarah Marsh in 1674.

      7. Sarah mar. 1 June 1689 Joseph Crosby who died 26 Nov. 1695.

      8. Josiah bapt. 8 May 1652 in Braintree, mar. 4 Feb. 1673 Elizabeth Waldo. They had two daughters; Sarah and Elizabeth (mentioned in Richard's will).

      Richard was the son of Peter and Rachel Brackett of Sudbury, Suffolk County, England. After Peter died Rachel married 2nd to Martin Saunders and they immigrated to America. Some Saunders researchers give Rachel's maiden name as Wheatley.

      (William Brackett - borrowing liberally from the Brackett Genealogy by Herbert I. Brackett published in 1907 as well as my own research.)

      Family links: Parents: Peter Brackett (1585 - 1616), Rachel Brackett Saunders (1595 - 1651); Spouse: Alice Blower Brackett (1615 - 1690); Children: Hannah Brackett Blanchard (1634 - 1706), John Brackett (1637 - 1687), Rachel Brackett Crosby (1639 - 1735), Mary Brackett Tompson (1641 - 1678), James Brackett (1645 - 1718), Josia Brackett (1652 - ____), Sarah Crosby Brackett (1655 - 1690); Siblings: Peter Brackett (1608 - 1688), Richard Brackett (1610 - 1690), Rachel Brackett Newcomb (1614 - 1684), Martin Saunders (1621 - 1622)*, Leah Saunders Parmenter (1623 - 1707)*, Judith Saunders (1625 - 1651)*, Daniel Saunders (1632 - 1634)*

      Inscription:
      Here lyeth Buried ye Body of Cap. Richard Brackett, Deacon, aged 80 Years, Decd March 5, 1690.

      Burial: Hancock Cemetery, Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA

      Maintained by: William Brackett
      Originally Created by: Dan Silva
      Record added: Aug 14, 2005
      Find A Grave Memorial# 11534942
    Person ID I37224  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 10 Sep 2018 

    Family Alice BLOWER,   b. Bef 30 Jun 1615, Sudbury, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Nov 1690, Braintree, Suffolk [now Norfolk] County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 75 years) 
    Married 6 Jan 1634  St. Katherine by the Tower, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Hannah BRACKETT,   b. Bef 4 Jan 1635, Boston, Suffolk County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Jul 1706, Dunstable, Middlesex County, MA [now Nashua, Hillsborough County, NH] Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 71 years)  [natural]
     2. John BRACKETT,   b. Bef 7 May 1637, Boston, Suffolk County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
     3. Peter BRACKETT,   b. Bef 7 May 1637, Boston, Suffolk County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
     4. Rachel BRACKETT,   b. Bef 3 Nov 1639, Boston, Suffolk County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
     5. Mary BRACKETT,   b. 1 Feb 1641, Braintree, Suffolk [now Norfolk] County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
     6. James BRACKETT,   b. Abt 1646, Braintree, Suffolk [now Norfolk] County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Apr 1718, Braintree, Suffolk [now Norfolk] County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 72 years)  [natural]
     7. Josiah BRACKETT,   b. 8 May 1652, Braintree, Suffolk [now Norfolk] County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1689  (Age < 36 years)  [natural]
     8. Sarah BRACKETT,   b. Abt 1655, Braintree, Suffolk [now Norfolk] County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
    Last Modified 10 Sep 2018 10:37:02 
    Family ID F16091  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart