William King, Sr.
WILLIAM KING was a freeman as early as 1636 and was granted forty acres of land by the Town of Salem in the fall of that year.1 On February 4, 1638/9, he petitioned the Salem Selectmen 'to have the land layed out that the Town had granted him.' 2
The land granted to Mr. King was bounded east and south by Bass River, the northerly point being at about the junction of Matthies and McKay Streets and from that point, southwesterly as the wall runs; thence southeasterly to the river at a point west of the School for the Deaf on Elliott Street, near Herrick's Bridge. The cove running into the land at this point was formerly called 'King's Cove.'
Mr. King chose wisely in selecting this site for his settlement. The land is of high elevation, surrounded by water on the south and east, and, though some of it could be used only for grazing purposes, a large portion of its acreage contained as good tillage land as can be found in the district.
The territory within the boundaries of the granted lands is now traversed by Echo Avenue, Pierson Street, Glidden Street, Sturtevant Street, Matthies Street, and a portion of McKay Street.
Within the lands assigned to King, John Friend obtained two acres of land on which he erected his dwelling-house,
1 Salem Town Records, volume 1, page 21.
2 Salem Town Records, volume 1, page 80.
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the site of which is the present junction of McKay and Elliott Streets, and near by he located his cornmill.
Estate Proceedings Name Children
The acreage exceeded forty, as an early instrument contains an estimate of fifty acres. Mr. King built a house near the river on the north portion of his land and lived there until he died in 1650, intestate. The widow, Dorothie, and William, the eldest son, were ordered by the Court on February 3, 1650,1 to dispose of the estate, which was appraised at one hundred and twelve pounds, from which William, the eldest, was to have a double portion of twenty pounds; Samuel, John, Hannah, Mehitable, and Deliverance were to have ten pounds each, and Mary, wife of John Scudder, and Katherine, wife of John Swaysy, five pounds each.
John was to serve his brother, William, seven years, and Samuel was to serve him three years. By agreement with his mother, William had the homestead.2 The agreement was sworn to by John Weston, July 1, 1685.
William King, Jr.
William King, Jr., who became possessed of the estate, improved the farm of his father and also worked as a cooper. While yet a very young man, he became at his father's death the main hand of support for his mother and several children.
On December 14,
1665,3 he sold to Robert Stone,
for forty-seven pounds, 'About twenty acres upland and one and one half
acres salt marsh adjoining it being ye one half of my forty acres upland
and three acres marsh
1 Records of the Quarterly Courts for Essex County, volume 1, page 206.
2 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 13, leaf 246.
3 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 4, leaf 48.
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adjoining situated and lying at ye head of Basse river and bounded with ye said river to ye east and with the land of Abram Warren to the northwest and west, on ye South west with ye land of John Bachelor ... being the one half of all ye land I have lying in that place at Basse River Head the whole containing forty three acres with one half of all the housing.'
The half of this property conveyed by this deed lay on the east side of the granted lands and was bounded by Bass River on the east and south. The house stood near the river, near the junction of Matthies and McKay Streets, and was occupied by the Kings and Stones until William built for himself, about ten years later, a new house on his own division on the west side of the lane which ran south to the cornmill.
King had two neighbors, Thomas Robbins and John Kitchin, both of whom had acquired house lots of King, and, as they appear to have been well situated, he purchased land of Robbins, June 2, 1676,1 on which he built his house, the deed describing the lot purchased as a 'part of land adjoining dwelling house of Thomas Robbins and lyes next vs the lane and adjoins to ld of John Kitchin about eight, one half poles-17, upon wch sd land William King having lately built a dwelling house... so that the bounds are sd lane east and fence of Kitchin south and land of sd Robbins north and west.'
These three houses were thus located on the west side of the lane (King's Lane) which ran from Elliott Street, north along the west side of the wall which runs parallel with Pierson Street.
1 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 4, leaf 138.
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King took an active part in questions concerning the laying-out of the highways in the early days of the settlement. His dispute with Roger Haskell, 'about a highway from the mill to the meeting house,' was settled by the Salem Selectmen September 14, 1657,1 and resulted in the laying-out of Mill Street.
A short time prior to this event, King was a party to another dispute about a way, which was disposed of at a meeting of the Selectmen, June 8, 1657:2
Its agreed that John Porter Jacob Barney & Jefferie Massey haue hereby full power and authoritie to heare and determyne a Certaine Difference depending betwixt William King John Bachellor Nicholas Heaward &c on the one ptye & Ensign Dixey Josiah Roots & Samuel Corning on the oth(er) ptie concerning a drift way from the head of bass riuer into Royalls neck & the pties are hereby required to meete together at the house of William Kings the 16th of this p'sent month wch will be on the third day Come seavenight at 8 a clock in the morning.
To conform to this requirement the committee would have met at King's house on a Tuesday morning seven nights after the date of the vote. No report of this committee appears in the records, but it is evident that there was no highway from northern territory to the Wooleston River prior to this time. The early necessity for such a way for these families is easily seen and its location is readily determined, as it passed through the lands of the parties in interest except that of King, but his lane was connected with it.
It was brought from the 'Countryway' from nearly
1 Salem Town Records, volume 1, page 207.
2 Salem Town Records, volume 1, page 201.
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the junction of Cabot and Dodge Streets and passed through the Raymond, Dodge, Haywood, and Batchelder lands to Abraham Warren's house lot, and, coming out of what is now the golf grounds, passed on through the Green lands to the shore lands of Corning and Dixie at Salt House Point. This was 'the way into Royall Side.'
William King Persecuted as a Quaker
There were four families living at the northern part of the King lands, that of William King, of Robert Stone, of John Kitchin, and of Thomas Robbins. These, with other families living adjacent, comprised a small colony of Quakers, who, it appears, gave the authorities no end of annoyance. Attendance at religious service was compulsory in the early days, but it was not without the service of the constable that the rule was respected in many cases and the continued absence of these people indicated total disregard or disrespect for the established Church. In the records of the Quarterly Courts, there are nearly a score of recorded prosecutions against these people for this offense.
As an instance: in November, 1660,1 Katherine, wife of William King, Sara, wife of Robert Stone, and Elizabeth, wife of John Kitchin, were presented at Salem Court for 'frequent absence from the public ordinances; and as a member of the jury, Thomas Robbins was obliged to pass judgment on the conduct of his neighbors. Mrs. King and Mrs. Kitchin were persistent absentees, and as all were apprehended and fined on so many occasions, they were finally threatened with 'imprisonment at the gaol at Ipswich.'
1 Records of the Quarterly Courts for Essex County, volume 2, page 265.
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William King [Jr.] seems to have been regarded by the Court as the chief offender and his influence over his neighbors was the probable cause for this attitude of defiance, for, on October 8, 1659, he was sentenced to be whipped and banished from the colony. He was not allowed to return to his home until May 22, 1661, and, upon signifying his willingness to withdraw from the Quakers, was pardoned.
A short time after King was pardoned, the authorities relaxed from their severe intolerance of the Quakers, but the records show that in this neighborhood for several years, there was a ceaseless and brutal persecution of a small community of people, who, aside from their religious conflicts with the authorities, were industrious, peaceable, and law-abiding.
Vagabondage was prevalent to some extent in these times, but those who practiced this manner of living were complained of by the inhabitants and dealt with severely by the Court. They were a source of considerable annoyance to the planters, from whom they would steal food, milk their cows, and by sleeping in barns subject the property to the liability of fire.
King had a thrilling session with this element of society, and, in the interest of peace, complained of the intruders. At Salem Commissioners' Court, January 30, 1679, complaint was made of one Samuel Foster and his wife for being at William King's house, disturbing the family, and using very threatening words. The Court found them 'to be wandering vagabond persons and the man was ordered to be whipped out of town at the carts tail 10 stripes and the woman to ride in the
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cart.' They were to be passed along to 'constables of Salem, Linne, Boston, Roxburee and Dedham' and so conveyed out of the colony.
William King, Jr Estate Proceedings
William King [Jr.] died in 1684, possessed of the house in which he lived, a one-half interest in the house occupied by Robert Stone, and one half of the lands granted to his father.
By will, proved November 25, 1684, he devised one half of his real estate to his wife, Katherine, for her life, and at her death this portion was to go to whom his wife by will should appoint. In her will, dated June 11, 1708, proved January 1, 1718, she gave to her nephew or cousin, Samuel Stone, and to her niece, Sarah Manning, wife of Jacob Manning, of Salem, all her estate real and personal.
The other one half was devised by William King to his brother's sons, 'either the eldest or the youngest as that hath most need of it as my brother shall judge meet.'
The estate was divided
June 18, 17191: 'And whereas William
and Katherine left a dwelling house and about 12 or 13 rods of land in
Salem bounded South West & North on land of Bethia Kitchen & east
on ye lane yt leads to ye North River & also a tract about 40 or 50
acres Upland & Marsh, situated in Salem at or near a place called Royall
side bounded by land of John Green decd on northwest with straight line
from stump in fence to Oak tree standing by ye Mill Pond and otherwise
mostly with the Mill Pond & river yt runs up befor ye house yt was
& formerly stood on sd land. Now for Amicable settling of the estate.'
1 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 36, leaf 106.
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To Samuel Stone there was given one quarter part; to Jacob Manning, in right of his wife, Sarah, one quarter part; to Samuel King, of Southold, Long Island, a brother of William King, one quarter part, and the remaining one quarter part was divided among the heirs of his deceased brother, John, as follows: to Samuel and William, one sixteenth each; to six children of a son, John, deceased, one sixteenth; and to seven children of a son, Jonathan, deceased, one sixteenth.
The instrument of partition, June, 1719, shows that the house built by William King, Jr., in 1675, was still standing on the west side of the lane, but the house built by his father in 1636, which stood near the river, was gone. It stood for about eighty years and was one of the earliest erected on the Cape Ann side. As the old house stood at the northern end of the granted lands of William King, Sr., and 'river yt runs up befor ye house,' its location was probably near the house of Mr. Stuart M. Leach.
On November 29,
1710,1 Samuel King, the second
brother of William, quitclaimed to his youngest son, John, all right, title,
and interest 'as he ye sd Samuel King hath or ought to have' in the property.
'Whereas William King decd eldest brother of sd Samuel at time of his decease
in possession of several tracts of Upland & Meadow in Salem and whereas
sd William did not leave issue of his body to inherit neither did in his
lifetime make any legal conveyance from ye said Samuel King his second
brother who is ye undoubted heir to ye same.'
1 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 36, leaf 106.
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In the same year of the settlement of the King estate, all the property devised by William King and his wife, Katherine, was sold by the various heirs and came into the possession largely of the Herricks and Dodges.
Katherine, the widow, probably did not live on the farm for several years prior to her death, for she leased the house to Ebenezer Woodberry, who owned the cornmill in 1702, and who worked with his father-in-law, John Dodge, as a miller prior to that time. Mr. Woodberry died in 1714, but, as the house was under lease to him, his widow occupied it at the time it was sold, 1719.
On January 8, 1718/19,1 Samuel King, the eldest son of a deceased brother, sold to Jonathan Dodge 'All interest and right in a certain house and about forty acres of land in Salem, bounded by land of John Green on the northwest as the wall now standeth and east and south upon ye Mill pond and ye land of Ebeneezer Woodberry decd or howsoever bounded, being that house and land leased by Katherine King ye widow of William King to Ebeneezer Woodberry, Miller, and now in occupation of Hannah the widow of Said Ebeneezer.'
June 24, 1719,2
William, a brother of Samuel, conveyed to Jonathan Dodge his share of one
sixteenth, and on June 29, 1719,3
John King sold to Mr. Dodge the one quarter part which his father, Samuel,
had quit-claimed to him in 1710. Mr. Dodge sold the property acquired under
these deeds to William Elliott, July 10, 1719.
1 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 35, leaf 94.
2 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 35, leaf 209.
3 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 37, leaf 21.
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The heirs of Jonathan King, and other holders of smaller parts, sold their interest to Jacob Manning, who, with Samuel Stone, sold to Captain Joseph Herrick, Samuel Herrick, and Joseph Tuck, February 22, 1719,1 'All that moiety or one half of a certain farm in Salem at or nigh a place known by ye name of Royall Side called King's farm.'
The King Lands After Leaving the King Family
Joseph Herrick sold one quarter part of his right to Moses Gage, fisherman, in 1720. John Tuck, in 1721, sold to Joseph Herrick and his son, Henry, his rights in the salt marsh, and, in 1727, he conveyed to Henry Herrick his upland, 'bounded by land of Moses Gage and Andrew Elliott on the east and upon the same line thirty five poles and one third to a stake between Jonathan Green and the premises and from thence southwest twenty poles to a stake and from thence southeast by ye said Herricks fence to ye salt marsh.' On this lot the buildings of the Beverly School for the Deaf now stand.
These lands were later sold by Henry Herrick to William Elliott, and from this purchase, Mr. Elliott sold to Andrew Elliott, gentleman, June 10, 1789,2 about fifty-five rods of upland, 'southeast by road between my house and Woodberrys mills, nine poles, twelve feet, northeast by land of Zachariah Gage, six poles, by my own land, eight poles-twelve feet, southwest by my own land six poles to the road.'
On this lot Andrew
Elliott built his house, and it still stands at what is now the easterly
corner of the junction of Echo Avenue and Elliott Street.
1 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 35, leaf 239.
2 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 238, leaf 8.
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William Elliott's house was on the site of the Beverly School for the Deaf. The west boundary of the Herrick lot was marked by a wall, the bed rocks of which are still in place, running to the salt marsh at about the location of the bridge on Green Street, which was known for many years as 'Herrick's Bridge.' This wall was the western boundary of the King grant.
The farm of William Elliott passed to the possession of William Elliott, 2d, whose widow, Hitty Elliott, sold to Edith K. Dodge, wife of William E. Dodge, on November 30, 1836,1 'two thirds of an undivided farm formerly belonging to William Elliott,' containing about forty acres, with the dwelling-house, and on the same date the remaining one third was sold by Hitty Elliott to William E. Dodge.2
The house which Andrew Elliott built on the land he bought from William Elliott in 1789 remained his home until his death. His heirs sold their interest in the estate to Nathaniel Friend, March 22, 1825.3
On April 8, 1825,4
Nathaniel Friend conveyed to Joseph Friend and his wife, Ruth, an undivided
one half 'of the homestead of the late Andrew Elliott near Davis Mills...
also all the chambers in the dwelling house,... an undivided one half of
the cellar, one half of the garrett and one half of about two acres of
land around the house to use in common, the cellar stairs, back chamber
stairs and entry and garrett stairs.'
1 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 295, leaf 247.
2 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 295, leaf 246.
3 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 238, leaf 26.
4 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 239, leaf 64.
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February 19, 1829,1 Mr. Friend sold the remaining one half to Joseph Masury.
The Friends sold their interest on April 27, 1829,2 to Aaron Cressy, and on November 11, 1830,3 Nicholas Dodge, administrator of the estate of Joseph Masury, sold to Mr. Cressy an undivided one half of the land with the lower part of the dwelling-house, 'subject to those restrictions and privileges set forth in the deed of Nathaniel Friend to Joseph Friend and wife Ruth.'
Aaron Cressy conveyed the property to his son, George H. Cressy, January 12, 1873.4 Alterations and improvements in the house and grounds have changed the old Andrew Elliott estate into an attractive and well-appointed homestead.
1 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 253, leaf 138.
2 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 253, leaf 48.
3 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 257, leaf 302.
4 Essex Registry of Deeds, book 873, leaf 137.
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