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Thomas Danforth
(Abt 1560-1621/1621)
Jane Sudbury
Nicholas Danforth
Elizabeth Barber

Jonathan Danforth


Family Links

Elizabeth Poulter

Jonathan Danforth

  • Born: 29 Feb 1628, Framlingham, Suffolk, England 154,161
  • Baptized: 2 Mar 1268, Framlingham, Suffolk, England
  • Marriage: Elizabeth Poulter on 22 Nov 1655 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, British American Colonies 154,161
  • Died: 7 Sep 1712, Billerica, Middlesex, Massechusetts 161
  • Buried: Sep 1712, Old Cemetery, Billerica, Massachusetts 605

bullet  Noted events in his life were:

• Emigration: from England to New England, 1634. 161
Joathan Danforth emmigrated February, 1635/6 on the "Griffin" along with his father, Nicholas, his brothers and sisters.

• Background Information.
On 4 April 1671 Robert Parker of Cambridge sold to Jonathan Danforth of Billerica thirty-five acres "according to the grant of the same to myself by the town of Billerica"; signed by mark by Robert Parker and "Judee Parker"

Original Source:
Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Deeds

• Background Information. 605
Jonathan Danforth was born 29 Feb 1628 and was baptized on 2 Mar 1728 at Framlingham, England, and died 7 Sep 1712 at Billerica at the age of eighty-five. He was married in Boston on 22 Nov 1654 to his first wife, Elizabeth Poulter. Elizabeth died at Billerica 7 Oct 1689 at the age of sixty-five. Jonathan was only a year old when his mother died, he was five or six when he came to the colonies with his father, and his father died when he was ten years old. Their older sister from that time raised him and his other siblings on.

Jonathan settled on outlying lands of Cambridge once called by their Indian name of Shawshine or Shawhinnock, and that named for the old English town Billerica. He met his first wife, Elizabeth Poulter. Elizabeth lived with her mother and stepfather, John Parker, with whom Jonathan Danford enjoyed a very close friendship. He married Elizabeth on 22 Nov 1654.

A month before his marriage, Jonathan and twelve other petitioned for their settlement to become a separate town from Cambridge. Cambridge responded on 29 Jan 1655 in agreement with their request. As late as 1675, Jonathan was granted certain land in and by Billerica because he had "expended a thousand and a half shingles to purchase Cambridge land for the town."

Billerica records show that Jonathan was willing to serve the town in all matters, where they were small or great matters. In 1655, he became the town clerk and served in that position for twenty-one years, until 1686. He served as selectman in 1660-1661, 1665-1668, 1670-1685, and in 1698. In 1684-1685, he represented the town at the General Court.

A service that Jonathan excelled at was surveying. His descriptions of his surveys fill two hundred pages in his own writing in the first volume of Land Grants. He often was referred to as an "Artiste" in this line of line of endeavor in various records. Even at the age of seventy-four, he was still called upon for surveying advice. During his forty years service, Jonathan ran thousands of boundary lines and the survey of large tracts of land. He often received payment for his services in land or a flat rate of two and halfpence for every acre. He served as surveyor in Haverhill, Dracut, Dunstable, Groton and Townsend in Massachusetts and even to Amherst and other New Hampshire towns.

Jonathan was active in the defense of Billerica and around 1675 the town officially organized a military company under the command of Captain Jonathan Danforth. On 17 Jun 1689, at a time when an election of military officer was in order, "Captain Danforth led the Company out, gave them liberty of choice, manifested his own unfitness for the place and willingness that another be chosen. They took Captain Danforth at his word, and gave him only twelve votes to thirty-five for Lieut. Joseph Thompson . . ." The clerk made this report to the "onered Goviner and cousel and jentlemen representatives," craving confirmation of the Company's choice. The representatives accepted and confirmed the report, but the governor and council was of another mind and disregarded the vote and decided to "consent not" and to "insist that Danforth remain Captain and Thompson Lieutenant . . ."

Jonathan, at the age of eighty-two, made his will in Apr 1709, and on 4 Sep 1711, he made out a list of his previous gifts to his children. Jonathan Danforth died on 7 Sep 1712, and his will was probated on 27 Oct 1712. He was buried in the old Cemetery at Billerica with both of his wives lying at either side.

Children of Joanthan and Elizabeth, all born in Billerica:

• Mary, b. 29 Jan 1666; m. 4 Jun 1678, Billerica, John Parker of Chelmsford.
• Elizabeth, b. 27 May 1657; d. before her father; m. 7 Mar 1687, Billerica, Simon Hayward of Concord
• Jonathan, Jr., 28 Feb 1659; d. 17 Jan 1711 (before Jonathan Sr.)
• John, b. 23 Jan 1661; 7 Feb 1661
John, b. 22 or 24 Feb 1662; d. 4 Jun 1662
• Lydia, b. 1 Jun 1664; d. 4 Nov 1758, Concord at age 92; m. early 1694, Edward Wright of Concord
• Samuel, b. 4 Feb 1666; d. 19 Apr 1742, Billerica; m. 8 Jan 1695, Billerica, Hannah Crosby
• Anna, b. 8 Mar 1668; d. 13 Aug 1737, Billerica; m. 22 Jan 1690, Billerica, Oliver Whiting
• Thomas, b. 29 Apr 1670; d. 32 Jul 1670
• Nicholas, b. 2 Julay 1671; d. 8 Mar 1694, aged 23, Billerica
• Sarah, b. 23 Dec 1676; d. 15 Oct 1751, Concord, age 74; m. first at Billerica, 22 May 1695, William French, second, Billerica, 2 Jun 1729, Ebenezer Davis of Concord

~Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines, Vol. I, pp. 254 - 264

• Background Information. 154
Captain Jonathan, youngest of Mr. Nicholas Danforth's sons, was born in Framlingham, England, and was baptized 2 Mar 1628. As a child, he came with his father, brothers and sisters to Cambridge where he was raised. When he reached the age of manhood, the community was planning on building a new town, Billericia. He showed interest in this from the onset, and gave his best planning and executive ability to the enterprise. The house he and occupied was extant until 1878.

Jonathan was a selectman, town clerk, representative, captain of the militia company, and was a surveyor. His description of his surveying jobs fill 200 pages, "in his clear, handsome writing in the Billerica volumne Land Grants."

Jonathan made his will when he was 82 years old, 23 Apr 1712, which was probated 27 Oct 1712. In it he bequeathed to his wife Esther and his seven children, giving a double portion, according to the custom of the day, to the eldest son; as well as to his grandchildren, Mary Parker and Samuel Danforth, who lived with him. In the the inventory of his estate, he is called "Captain Jonathan Danforth, Gentleman."

His first marriage took place in Boston, 22 Sep 1654 to Elizabeth Poulter. Elizabeth was born in Raleigh, 2 Sep 1633 and she died in Billerica, 7 Oct 1689. Captain Danforth married for a second time on 10 Nov 169 to Esther, dauther of Richard Champney of Cambridge, and the widow of Josiah Converse of Woburn. Esther died soon after her husband on about 5 Apr 1713.

Danforth Genealogy, pp. 27-28

• Grave:

Old South Burying Ground
Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusett

Jonathan married Elizabeth Poulter, daughter of John Poulter and Marie Pope, on 22 Nov 1655 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, British American Colonies 154.,161 (Elizabeth Poulter was born on 1 Sep 1633 in Rayleigh, Essex, England,154 died on 7 Oct 1689 in Billerica, Massachusetts 154,605 and was buried in 1689 in Old Cemetery, Billerica, Massachusetts 605.)


© Nancy Lucía López

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