An American Family History

The Cummings Family

Selections from The Cummings Memorial: A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Isaac Cummings, an Early Settler of Topsfield, Massachusetts, by George Mooar, published by B. F. Cummings., 1903
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.

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.

Isaac Cummings appears on a list of the "Commoners" of Ipswich, Mass., on the last day of the year 1641. He is said to have had, as early as July 1638, a planting lot in "Reedy Marsh," and a house lot in town....In 1666 he was constable, and his son Isaac was his deputy, and in a deposition he states his age to be 65. The same year he was assessed 4s 7d to pay the town's indebtedness. He was deacon of the church, and in 1676, at least, moderator of the town meeting. No mention remains of his wife nor of her name. She was not living when his will was made, May 8, 1677. It is on file in the probate office, but unrecorded...

i. John [Cummings], born about 1630. On the list of Freemen, 1672, his name precedes Isaac's. 1673, he testified in court to being 40 years old; in 1678, 43 (47?) ; in 1679, 50.
ii. Isaac [Cummings], born about 1633. In 1692 he testified to being 60 years; in 1696, 63.
iii. Ann, born perhaps 1629, as she was said to be 60 years of age at her death, June 29, 1689. She married, Oct . 8, 1669, John Pease, his second marriage.
iv. Elizabeth, born , married Feb. 2, 1661—"same month and day of marriage of Abraham Jewett"—John Jewett, bom about 1637

Abraham Cummings (John2, Isaac1) married Feb. 28, 1686-7, Sarah Wright, of Woburn. The marriage was by Rev. Jabez Fox. She was daughter of Dea. Joseph and Elizabeth (Hassell) Wright and born Feb. 25, 1669-70. His children's births are recorded in Woburn, with the exception of Josiah's, which is recorded in Dunstable. He was a contributor to the wood-rate there in 1699, when there were but twenty heads of families to contribute.

Abraham, born Oct. 7, 1690 .
Joseph, born Sept. 1, 1692. [married Sarah Estey]
Sarah, born Feb. 10, 1693-4.
Jacob, born Jan. 3, 1695.
Josiah, born July 12, 1698.
Eleazer, born Apr. 9, 1704.

20. Capt. Joseph Cummings (Abraham, John2, Isaac1) married, Dec. 1, 1714, Sarah, daughter of Isaac and Abigail (Kimball) Estey, sister to Abigail, who married Joseph Cummings, (20).

. . . Joseph who was born in Woburn, went at the age of 12, to live with his Uncle Howlet. This was about the year 1704. The uncle William had married Oct. 27, 1671, Mary Perkins, daughter of Thomas and Phebe (Gould), born 1651; died, 1728. They had but one child, Thomas, who married, 1695, Rebecca Cummings (3, viii). Thomas having no child, adopted Joseph Cummings, whose mother was Sarah Howlet. . .

Capt. Cummings became quite a large operator in real estate, for between 1719 and 1763 as many as twenty-three deeds were recorded as passed between him and various parties, principally purchases by him of tracts of land. After a good deal of negotiation, the part of Ipswich where he lived was set off to Topsfield. This was in 1774. . .

. . .a part of the notice of him which appeared in the Salem Gazette, May 13, shortly after his death . . .

In early life he made a public profession of religion, and, by a uniform piety, integrity, temperance, cheerfulness and benevolence, he supported an amiable and unblemished character. He was not favored with the advantages of education; but strong mental powers, inquisitive turn of mind, and a tenacious memory had enabled him to acquire and retain a good knowledge of the principal events and public transactions of the last hundred years. Possessed of a rich fund of interesting and entertaining anecdotes, he was a living history of nearly a century. Within his memory the people in his neighborhood were in fear of the Indians, and he had himself stood sentry at a small fortress in the town.

Employed from his youth in cultivating a valuable farm, not with excessive labor, but steady industry—living in a plentiful, but plain and simple manner—and enjoying a uniform cheerfulness—the powers of his body and mind continued in great vigor to a very advanced age. When nearly a hundred, he would readily mount his horse from the ground; and his reason continued to his last moments. Satisfied with living, and with little appearance of any other disease than senility, he closed this mortal scene, in the cheering hope of a blessed immortality.

His descendants were 2 children, 23 grandchildren, 116 greatgrandchildren, and 32 great-great-grandchildren, total, 173.

In a statement made by Mrs. Susanna Randall, is found the following tradition:

The day he was a hundred years old, he put his foot in the stirrup from the ground, seated himself in the saddle, rode to Andover on a cold wintry day to visit his grandson, Stephen, my father, and about that time Stephen had a son born whom he named Joseph for his grand-sire.

As will be seen from comparison of records, the grand-sire was born Sept. 1, 1692, and his name-sake, Dec. 6, 1792.

Capt . Cummings married for his second wife, Nov. 10, 1751, Priscilla Lamson [daughter of John Lamson]. In his will, dated July 29, 1785, and proved May 5, 1794 (he died Apr. 22 preceding), he mentions

the heirs of my last wife's two brothers, viz.: The heirs of John Lamson and the heirs of Peter Lamson, deceased; the heirs of Abigail Edwards, also deceased. Mary Davis, daughter to my granddaughter, Hannah Adams.

Among his granddaughters he also mentions Sarah Wiggins and Lydia Wiggins. To his son Thomas, with whom he had spent his declining days he devised the residue of the estate. Priscilla, the second wife, had died Aug. 19, 1780.

i. Thomas, baptized July 15, 1716.
ii. Sarah, born Aug. 20, 1720, published Sept . 18, 1736, to Benjamin Lamson, son of William [son of John Lamson and Martha Perkins] and Lydia, of Ipswich, and born Apr. 8, 1710. He died in the spring of 1753, his will dated March 29. His wife was then alive. She is mentioned too in her father's will, July 29, 1785, as then living as well as three of her children, Benjamin, Sarah, and Lydia.

Cummings Home
The Cummings Memorial is available on Amazon.com.
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.
European and indiginous American fought fierce battles as the Europeans expanded their territory.

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

Isaac Cummings (John,2 Isaac,2 Isaac1) married, Jan. 5, 1720-1, Hannah, daughter of Isaac and Abigail (Kimball) Esty.

Our sister, Hannah Cummings, wife of Isaac, of Sutton, Mass., died about a month after they moved there of lung fever.

Diary of the Rev. Mr. Morse, of Canton. She died June 23, 1743. He may have married second, Mar. 13, 1743-4, in Sutton, Susanna Holden, and had Susanna, born Apr. 14, 1746. We read of an Isaac of Douglas as buying lands in that town, April 23, 1752. Isaac was the first selectman in Douglas. The children mentioned below were recorded in Stoughton, Mass.

i. Hannah, born Oct. 26, 1721, married Mar. 23, 1743-4, Phineas Rice, (Dorchester record). On June 9, 1773, Daniel Cummings and Phineas Rice were among families petitioning to be erected into a new precinct.
ii. Isaac, born Feb. 12, 1723, died Dec. 19, 1745.
iii. Mary, born Sept. 30, 1726.
iv. Mehitabel, born Aug. 8, 1730.
v. Rebecca, born Aug. 7, 1735.
vi. Ebenezer, born June 17, 1738.
vii. Sarah, born July 17, 1740.
viii. Noah, born Sept. 14, 1742.

In early New England towns policy was set by a board of 3 to 5 selectmen. They oversaw public responsibilities such as the policing, roads, and fences.


Thomas [Cummings], second son of Lieutenant Thomas and Lydia (Richardson) Cummings, was born in Ipswich, February 12, 1741, and died March 27, 1806. He lived with his grandfather, Captain Joseph, until the death of the latter in 1794, and then became heir to all his real estate. He was a soldier in the revolution and sergeant of the company which marched from Topsfield under command of Captain Stephen Perkins in consequence of the alarm of April 19, 1775; and perhaps saw other service.

Thomas Cummings married, April 16, 1763, Lois Boardman, of Topsfield, who died December 6, 1792. He married (second), September 3, 1797, Elizabeth Perkins, of Topsfield, who died December 6, 1825. His children, all by first wife, were: Jonas, Joseph, Thomas, Nathaniel, Daniel and John Boardman.


The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.


31. Jacob Cummings (Thomas,3 Isaac,2 Isaac1) married, 1745, Mary. She died in Boxford, Mass., Dec.2, 178-. He died there Mar. 26, 1803. He was selectman ten times between 1751 and 1771 inclusive. He was a private in Capt. Jacob Gould's company, which marched to Lexington on the alarm of Apr. 19, 1775.

i. Mehitabel, born Sept. 21, 1746, died Dec. 5, 1752.
ii. Dudley, born Feb. 18, 1748, died June 25, 1815. He was not regarded as of sound mind. He, as well as his brother Thomas, who was similarly unsound, lived many years with Mr. John Sawyer. Dudley hung himself being in Willis Woods, E. Boxford, at a locality known as "the college." He went there

to gather herbs, carrying with him a line with which to tie his bundle. Taking the line, he stretched it from one tree to another, several feet from the ground, near a large ledge, whose perpendicular side rose up in close proximity to the trees. Letting his feet lie on the top of the ledge, he placed his neck on the line, and there lay till he died.

Perley's History of Boxford, Page 401.
iii. Jacob, born Apr. 17, 1750, died Apr. 10, 1757.
iv. Polly, born Apr. 15, 1752. She was received into covenant in First Church, Boxford, and baptized Oct. 1778. Published for marriage, Mar. 29, 1785, to Thomas Andrews.
v. William [Cummings], born Sept. 19, 1755. He was in the same company with his father in the summons to Lexington, 1775. He was also in the Northern army, near Ticonderoga, in the fall of 1776, and died Nov. 10, 1776.
vi. Jacob, born Jan. 10, 1762, died Apr. 13, 1769.
vii. Thomas, born Oct. 12, 1765, see above, died May 29, 1834.

Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont edited by Hiram Carleton
John Cummings (3), son of Isaac Cummings, Jr., was born in Topsfield, Massachusetts, and married Miss Susannah Towne, daughter of Joseph Towne. His death occurred between-May 8 and July 16, 1722.

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


Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts is approximately 25 miles north of  Boston. Boxford was set apart from Rowley Village and incorporated in 1685.

Cutter's Historic Homes is available on Kindle.
Learn more about the Towne family.

A cornet is the officer who carried the colors in a cavalry troop.

Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Volume 2 edited by William Richard Cutter

Cornet David Cummings, fourth son and child of John (3) and Susanna (Town) Cummings, was born in Ipswich. Massachusetts, April 15, 1698, and died at Topsfield, same state, April 2, 1765. David Cummings and his brother John gave the land for the burying ground on the South Side. He also owned land in Middleton, Massachusetts.

He married (first) Anna . . born 1710. died February 9, 1741, by whom he had children:
1. David, born March 26, 1729.
2. Jonathan, born March 14, 1730-1; died April 6. 1731.
3. Samuel, see forward.
4. Anna, born October 20, 1734; married, April 11, 1754, Moses Perkins.
5. Susanna, born May 8, 1737; married, December 8, 1763, Edmund Town.
6. Elizabeth, born September 17, 1739. died February 13, 1741.

He married (second), published October 30, 1741, Sarah Goodhue, daughter of John and Sarah (Sherwin) Goodhue, and they had children:
1. Jonathan, born October 14, 1743.
2. Stephen, born January 27, 1744-5.
3. Elizabeth, born January 19, 1746-7. died February 13, 1746-7.
4. Daniel, born August 30, 1749.
5. Archelaus, born January 1, 1652. Sarah (Goodhue) Cummings married (second), May 25, 1769, Deacon George Bixby, and died June 30, 1776, aged sixty-four years.


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.

(V) Samuel Cummings, third son and child of Cornet David (4) and Anna Cummings, was born in Topsfield, Massachusetts, February 28, 1731-2, and died in the same town March 29, 1796.

He purchased land at Andover, February 27, 1777, of Abiel Abbot, and later added considerably to his extensive holdings in that town. [Lieutenant in Joseph Gould's Company]

He married, April 25, 1756, Eunice Bradstreet, born in Topsfield, April 15, 1733, died there July 20. 1810, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Clark) Bradstreet, and great-granddaughter of Governor Simon Bradstreet [and Anne Dudley Bradstreet], and they had children:
1. Sarah, born March 27, 1759: married Francis Peabody, of Middleton.
2. David,rd.
3. Mehitable, born August 3, 1767; married Thomas Emerson, Jr.
4. Samuel, born September 10, 1774.


Abraham Cummings (John2, Isaac1) married Feb. 28, 1686-7, Sarah Wright, of Woburn. The marriage was by Rev. Jabez Fox. She was daughter of Dea. Joseph and Elizabeth (Hassell) Wright and born Feb. 25, 1669-70. His children's births are recorded in Woburn, with the exception of Josiah's, which is recorded in Dunstable. He was a contributor to the wood-rate there in 1699, when there were but twenty heads of families to contribute.

Abraham, born Oct. 7, 1690 .
Joseph, born Sept. 1, 1692. [married Sarah Estey]
Sarah, born Feb. 10, 1693-4.
Jacob, born Jan. 3, 1695.
Josiah, born July 12, 1698.
Eleazer, born Apr. 9, 1704.

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.