An American Family History

Sarah Dwinnell Foster

Essex County, Massachusetts was created on May 10, 1643 by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when it ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires."

Lush forests in Colonial America allowed settlers to build wooden homes.

Sarah Dwinnell Foster was born on June 20, 1697 in Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Dr. Michael Dwinnell and his first wife, Hannah.

She married a carpenter, Abraham Foster, on May 14, 1718 when she was 21. Abraham was born on January 12, 1695/96 in Ipswich. He was the son of Abraham Foster and Mary Robinson.

According to the Topsfield records their intention of marriage was dated April 5, 1718. She was admitted to the church at Topsfield on July 2, 1732.

Sarah and Abraham's children included:
Abraham Foster (May 4, 1719),
Sarah Foster Adams (May 4, 1721),
Captain Thomas Foster (August 11, 1724, married Mehitable Peabody),
Hannah Foster (September 18, 1726),
Amos Foster (baptized December 22, 1728),
Ruth Foster (baptized March 17, 1734), and
Abigail Foster (baptized April 3, 1737).

Sarah died July 17, 1753 at age 56 and Abraham died on April 23, 1767. They both died in Topsfield.

Chiildren of Dr. Michael
and Hannah Dwinnell
  • Thomas Dwinnell
  • Sarah Dwinnell Foster
  • Mary Dwinnell Gott Peabody
  • Michael Dwinnell
  • Stephen Dwinnell
  • Hannah Dwinnell Bowery Curtis
  • Jacob Dwinnell
  • Abigail Dwinnell Deering

  • of Dr. Michael and Elizabeth Fiske
  • Benjamin Dwinnell
  • Thomas Dwinnell
  • of Dr. Michael and
    Elizabeth Cave
  • Samuel Dwinnell
  • Elizabeth Dwinnell
  • 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.

    Various spellings of Dwinnell
    Doenell, Donell, Donnall, Donnell, Duenell, Dunnel, Dunnell, Dwaniel, Dwaniell, Dwainel, Dwennel, Dwinel, Dwinell, Dwinnel, Dwinnill, Dwonill, Dwynel

    The town common (commons) was a small, open field at the center of the town which was jointly owned. It was used as a marketplace, a place for the militia to drill, or for grazing livestock.


    American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.

    The settlement of New Meadows was incorporated as the Town of Topsfield by authority of the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1650. The church "gathered" on November 4, 1663 with the Rev. Thomas Gilbert. The third Meeting House was built on the Common in 1703 with Rev. Joseph Capen as pastor.

    Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts by William Richard Cutter, Lewis Historical Pub. Co., 1908

    Abraham Foster, son of Reginald Foster (1), born in Exeter, Devonshire. England, in 1622, died at Ipswich, Massachusetts. January 25, 1710-11, aged about ninety years. He came with his father to New England, when his age was given as sixteen years. He lived at Ipswich and joined the church there in full communion April 12, 1674. He was called yeoman on the records. He left no will but distributed his property by deed December 21, 1698.

    He married in 1655 Lydia Burbank. daughter of Caleb and Martha Burbank of Rowley, and granddaughter of John Burbank of Rowley. Children:
    1. Ephraim, born October 9, 1657.
    2. Abraham, October 16. 1659, mentioned below.
    3. James, January 12, 1662.
    4. Isaac, 1668. died February 13, 1717.
    5. An infant, December 27. 1668.
    6. Benjamin.15. 1672. married Mary Barman.
    8. Mehitable, October 12, 1675, married Ebenezer Averill.
    9. Caleb, November 9, 1677, married Mary Sherwin.
    10. Ruth, married, April 16, 1702. Jeremiah Perley, of Boxford.

    (III) Abraham Foster, son of Abraham Foster (2), born at Ipswich, October 16, 1659, died May 23, 1741. He was in the military

    and was wounded in the public service and is to receive eight pounds out of the public money for smart money.

    He resided at Ipswich and Topsfield, Massachusetts.

    He married, November 15, 1693, Mary Robinson, daughter of Robert Robinson, of Newbury. Children:
    1. Abraham, born June 12, 1696, mentioned below.
    2. Nathan, May 17, 1700, married Hannah Standish.
    3. Daniel, April 13. 1705, married, first, Hannah Black; second, Elizabeth Davis.

    (IV) Abraham Foster, son of Abraham Foster born at Ipswich, January 12, 1696, died April 23, 1767. He married Sarah Dunnell (or Dwinnell ), the intention being dated April 5, 1718. She was born in 1696, admitted to the church at Topsfield, July 2, 1732. and died April 10, 17—.

    He was a carpenter and lived at Topsfield. His son Thomas administered on his estate June 29, 1767. Children:
    1. Abraham, born May 4, 1719, married Priscilla Tod.
    2. Sarah, May 4, 1721, married Abraham Adams.
    3. Thomas, April 5, 1724, mentioned below.
    4. Hannah, September 18, 1726, died unmarried 1802.
    5. Amos, baptized December 22, 1728, bought land at Plymouth. 1858.
    6. Ruth, baptized March 17, 1734. died unmarried 1806.
    7. Abigail, baptized April 3, 1737.

    (V) Captain Thomas Foster, son of Abraham Foster (4), was born in Topsfield. Massachusetts. April 5. 1724. He married, April 5, 1748. Mehitable Peabody, born December 24. 1728, daughter of Matthew and Mehitable Peabody, the marriage intention being recorded November 2, 1728. She was admitted to the church April 29. 1750. He was captain of the militia and resided at Ipswich. Administration was granted on his estate December 8, 1789.

    A yeoman was a man who owned and cultivated a small farm. He belonged to the class below the gentry or land owners. A husbandman was a free tenant farmer. The social status of a husbandman was below that of a yeoman.

    A militia is a military unit composed of citizens who are called up in time of need.

    The Essex Antiquarian: A Quarterly Magazine Devoted to the Biography, Genealogy, History and Antiquities of Essex County, Massachusetts by Sidney Perley published by The Essex Antiquarian., 1899

    Selections from an account book that belonged to Abraham Foster of Topsfield, a descendant of Reginald Foster through three Abrahams. (Original spelling retained.)

    Preceler foster wors born Jeneary 16, 1726.
    Abner Todd was Born november 13 1737 and died october 12 in year 1749.
    thay was mareded may 10 in year 1744.
    Mehettebul foster wars born aprel 2, 1745.
    Martha foster wars born September 15, 1746.
    amos foster wors born august 28 1748.
    we builed the Barn in June in year 1750
    Maray foster wors born august 31, 1751.
    priscilar foster wors born august 4, 1753.
    Abraham foster wors born February 24 1755.
    Rachel Foster wors born September 23, 1756.
    october 4 wars the child born and octobur 21 the child died and buried 22 1758.
    we builed the hous in Juen in year 1759
    Abner Foster wors Born october 8 1760.
    Abiger Foster wors Born September 12 1762.
    Mother Foster Came to Live at my hous october 1762
    Mother foster died the 10 day of april in 1762 in 66 year of hur age.
    Sister hannar foster wars taken Sick in augest in ye 1764, and Cap hir beed 55 days
    Amos Foster went to Squre Actkins November 25 ye 1765 to Live with him.
    decken willyam fisk died Jenuery 23 1765 in the 77 year of his age

    ye is an archaic spelling of "the."