An American Family History

Humphrey and Bridget Bradstreet

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists."
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Ipswich, Essex County, England
Ipswich (now Rowley), Essex County, Massachusetts

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

Rowley, Essex County, Massachusetts was first settled in 1639.

Humphrey and Bridget Bradstreet were married in 1622 in Capel Saint Mary, Suffolk County, England.  

Their four oldest children were born in England. Hannah Bradstreet Rolfe Holt was born in 1625. John Bradstreet was born in 1631. Martha Bradstreet Beale was born in 1632. Mary Bradstreet Kimball was born in 1633. 

They immigrated to America in the ship Elizabeth in 1634 from Capel Saint Mary, Suffolk County.

They settled in Ipswich. Besides being given a town lot in Ipswich in 1635, Humphrey was also granted one hundred and thirty acres of outlying land, eighty of which were north of the North River also called Egypt, Rowley or Wharehouse) and fifty acres on the south side of the river. They were located on the southern border of Rowley and were

were associated almost wholly with Rowley, having their membership in the Rowley church, burying their dead in the Rowley cemetery, and training with the Rowley military company.

Captain Moses Bradstreet was born about 1636, Sarah Bradstreet Wallis was born in 1638 and Rebecca Bradstreet Bonfield was born about 1639. 

Several of their children had problems with the Puritan laws. John was accused of "familiarity with the devil" and Martha married at 16 and the marriage was annulled.

Humphrey died in 1655. He made his wife the exector of his will, Joseph Jewett was Rebecca's guardian.

Bridget died in 1665.
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.

The ship Elizabeth sailed from Ipswich, England in April, 1634 with William Andrews, Master. On board were Richard and Ursula Kimball and their children, Ursula’s mother Martha Whatlock Scott and her brothers Roger and Thomas Scott. Humphrey and Bridget Bradstreet sailed on the same ship. They arrived in July at Boston.

King Charles I ruled England from March 27, 1625 to 1649.
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.





Goodman was a courtesy title before the surname of a man not of noble and Goodwife or Goody was the courtesy title for a married woman not of noble birth.

History of Essex County, Massachusetts edited by Duane Hamilton Hurd published by J. W. Lewis & Co., 1888

An immigrant named Humphrey Bradstreet came in the ship Elizabeth, from Ipswich, in England, in 1634, with his wife Bridget and four children, one son and three daughters,—John, Hannah, Martha and Mary; and there were subsequently born to them, in this country, three more—a son and two daughters—Moses, Sarah, and Rebecca.This Humphrey was, I am satisfied, the Goodman Bradstreet who was one of the first two settlers mentioned.

Humphrey Bradstreet was made freeman, May 6,1635, and was thereafter entitled to be called Mr. Previously, he was, of course, termed Goodman. He was undoubtedly the Bradstreet who came to Chebacco, and, according to the Ipswich records, had a house-lot granted to him, not long after his arrival, the precise locality of which, however, is not mentioned. Ten years afterwards, he had another houselot granted him, which was in the central or western part of Ipswich; and still later he owned a farm, which was subsequently annexed to Rowley; in which latter place he died in 1665, leaving several children, one of whom, Moses, became a physician.

Any man entering a colony or becoming a a member the church, was not free. He was not forced to work, but his movements were carefully observed to see if they followed the Puritanical ideal. After this probationary period, he became a "freeman." Men then took the Oath of a Freeman where they vowed to defend the Commonwealth and not to overthrow the government.

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

Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine, Volume 1 by Henry Sweetser Burrage, Albert Roscoe Stubbs

Humphrey Bradstreet came from Ipswich, England, in the ship Elizabeth, William Andrews, master, the last of April, 1634, bringing with him his wife Bridget and children as follows: Hannah, aged nine; John, aged three; Martha, aged two; and Mary, aged one year. At that time his age is given as forty years, and that of his wife as thirty years.

He settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts, where he received a considerable grant of land on the north side of Egypt river, his being the most northerly grant made by the town of Ipswich; the northerly boundary of this farm was the southerly boundary of the town of Rowley, settled in 1639, and in 1784 the farm for the convenience of its occupants was set off from Ipswich to Rowley.

From the location of this farm, after the Rowley settlement, the Bradstreets were associated almost wholly with Rowley, having their membership in the Rowley church, burying their dead in the Rowley cemetery, and training with the Rowley military company. In the following lists of children, where not otherwise stated, the births are from Ipswich records and the baptism from the Rowley church record. 

Humphrey Bradstreet was made a freeman May 6, 1635, and was a representative for Ipswich to the general court in the same year; he died in the summer of 1655.

His will, dated July 21, 1655, proved September 25, 1655, directs, among other things, that son Moses is to have the home farm after the decease of his mother; "son John is to have the farm at Muddy river. His wife Bridget Bradstreet died in November, 1665. Her will is dated October 16, 1665. The children of Humphrey and Bridget Bradstreet were: Hannah, John, Martha, Mary, Sarah, Rebecca and Moses.

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.

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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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