An American Family History

Rebecca Bradstreet Bonfield

The town of Ipswich was established on August 5, 1634, from common land called Agawam. On October 18, 1648, that portion called the "Village" at the New Meadows was set off as Topsfield. The boundary line between Ipswich and Topsfield was established, February 28, 1694.

Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England.

Rebecca (Rebekah) Bradstreet Bonfield was born about 1639 in Ipswich (now Rowley), Essex County, Massachusetts. Her parents were Humphrey and Bridget Bradstreet.

In 1655 she received 40 pounds from her father's will. She was 16 years old and chose Joseph Jewett as her guardian. Her mother was not made her guardian because in 17th century colonial America women did not have full civil rights.

She married, fisherman, George Bonfield (Bondfield, Bonfeild) on April 13, 1657 in Marblehead. George was born in 1638 in Marblehead where they made their home.

Their children included:
George Bonfield (1658),
Martha Bonfield (1660),
Mary Bonfield (1662),
Jemima Bonfield (1666),
Sarah Bonfield (1666) and
Rebecca  Bonfield (1668). 

In 1666 Sarah inherited a black serge petticoat, shawl? (baring chulh), a pewter dish, and the two best iron pots from her grandmother, Bridget Bradstreet.

In 1673 George and Rebecca were sued by for slander by her sister, Martha, and her husband.

She died on April 30, 1687 and George died in 1709. Rebecca was buried on the Old Burial Hill in Marblehead, Massachusetts with her son George.

tombstone tombstone

ye 3   1690/1

Children of Humphrey and Bridget Bradstreet
  • Hannah Bradstreet Rolfe Holt
  • John Bradstreet
  • Martha Bradstreet Beale
  • Mary Bradstreet Kimball
  • Captain Moses Bradstreet
  • Sarah Bradstreet Wallis
  • Rebecca Bradstreet Bonfield
  • A Puritan woman's clothing consisted of underpants, stockings, linen, shift, petticoat, chemise (underblouse), bolster (a padded roll tied around the hips under the skirt), bodice, skirt, apron, coif (cap), outer gown and shoes. A woman might wear a ruff or bow and an apron. Cloaks were worn instead of coats. Women carried a small cloth draw-string bag or reticule and perhaps wore a chatelaine.

    Old Style Calendar
    Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.
    Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts was first settled in 1629 and incorporated in 1649. It was originally a fishing village. Before the Revolution it was home base for privateers who plundered European ships.
    Guardianship is when a court gives an adult custody of a child and/or the responsibility of managing the child's property. Before women could own property, guardians were appointed for their minor children if their husband died.




    Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.

    Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1672-1674 published by Essex Institute, 1916

    Court Held At Salem, September 9, 1673,

    Judges: Mr. Samll. Simonds, Deputy Govr., Major Daniell Denison and Major Wm. Hathorne.

    Wm. Beale and Martha, his wife v. George Bonfeild and Rebecka, his wife, in behalf of themselves and children. Slander. Withdrawn.

    Writ: William Beale, and wife Martha v. George Bonfield, and wife Rebecka; slander, for themselves and their children maliciously raising and commonly reporting several pernicious and false slanders on him and Martha, his wife, on set purpose to provoke them; dated 17-9-1673; signed by Hilliard Veren't for the court; and served by Henry Skerry, marshal of Salem, by attachment of house and land of defendant.


    from Genealogical and Family History by William Richard Cutter

    The record of the Jewett family in America begins with the settlement of Rowley, Massachusetts. In 1638 about sixty families, led by Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, came from Yorkshire, England, and began the settlement of Rowley early the following season. Among these pioneers were the brothers, Maximilian [Jewett] and Joseph Jewett, men of substance from Bradford, Yorkshire, England. It is from Joseph that the Jewetts of Buffalo descend.

    (I) Edward Jewett, of Bradford, Yorkshire, England, died 1615; married, 1604, Mary Taylor. Children: William, Maximilian, Joseph and Sarah.

    (II) Joseph, son of Edward Jewett, was born in Bradford, England, December 31, 1609, died February 26, 1660. He came to America, landing in Boston, Massachusetts, December 1, 1638, accompanied by his brother Maximilian. He married Ann Allen, and had a son Joseph.


    Deacons played a respected and important role in early New England churches. They sat in a raised pew near the pulpit and had special duties during communion.

    Pewter is an alloy composed mainly of tin, but can include lead. It was used for dishes and utensils. Some colonists suffered lead poisoning from using it. It dents easily and lasted about ten years. It was expensive and wooden dishes were used most often.

    This narrative has to deal chiefly with Joseph Jewett, the youngest brother of

    Maximilian [Jewett], yet as the latter was the senior in years he naturally took a more leading part in the affairs of the town. He was made freeman in 1640, was an early deacon of the church, filled various town offices and several times was representative from Rowley to the general court. He brought with him from England his wife Ann, mother of all of his children, and who died in November, 1667. He married second, August 30. 1671. Widow Ellen Boynton. Maximilian Jewett died October 19. 1684. He had nine children.

    (I) Joseph Jewett, younger of the two immigrant brothers who came from England in 1639. was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, and was baptized December 31, 1609. He married there, October 1. 1634. Mary Mallinson, who was born in England and came with her husband and their first child to this country.

    He was made freeman in Rowley May 2, 1639. and in 1643 had a two acre houselot on Bradford street in that town. His wife Mary was buried April 12, 1652, having borne him six children.

    He married again, in Boston, May 13. 1653, Ann Allen, widow of Bozoan Allen, and by her had three children. He died in March, 1660-61. leaving a good property to his children, his eldest son, Jeremiah, receiving a double portion, according to the custom of the times. Joseph Jewett's children by wife Mary Mallinson:
    1. Jeremiah [Jewett], born about 1637;
    2. Sarah, married June 24, 1657, Captain Philip Nelson.
    3. Hannah, born April 15, 1641 : married first, John Carleton; second. August 5. 1674, Christopher Babbage, of Salem.
    4. Nehemiah, born February 6, 1643; married Exercise Pierce
    5. Faith, twin, born March 5, 1645, died young.
    6. Patience, twin, born March 5, 1645; married, in Lynn, May 29, 1666, Shubael Walker, of Bradford.
    Children by wife Ann:
    7. Mary, born February 4, 1654, died young.
    8. Joseph, born February 1, 1656, married Ruth Wood.
    9. Faith, married in Ipswich, May 20, 1678, John Pingry, of Ipswich.

    Anne Dudley Bradstreet (1612-1672) was the first women poet published in America and England. She was the wife of Governor Simon Bradstreet, a probably relative of Humphrey Bradstreet.