An American Family History

John Collins

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists."
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Early European settlers in the American colonies were mostly farmers and craftsmen. They had to work hard to provide daily neccesities for themselves.
Europeans who made the voyage to America faced a difficult journey of several months.

John Collins was born on January 14, 1631 in Stepney Parish, London, Middlesex County, England. His parents were Henry and Ann Collins. He immigrated to America with his parents on the Abigail in 1635. He was a carpenter.

He married Abigail Johnson about 1655 in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts. Abigail was the daughter of Richard and Alice Johnson and was born about 1635. Abigail's older brother, Samuel Johnson, married John's sister, Mary Collins.

John and Abigail's children included:
Mary Collins (1656),
John Collins (1657),
Samuel Collins (1659),
Abigail Collins Townsend (1661, married Andrew Townsend),
John Collins (1662),
Joseph Collins (1664),
Elizabeth Collins (1666, married Elisha Bassett, son of William Bassett),
Benjamin Collins (1667),
Mary Collins Norman Hooper (1670, married Joseph Norman and Henry Hooper),
Daniel Collins (1671),
Nathaniel Collins (1672),
Hannah Collins (1674),
Sarah Collins  (1675),
Lois Collins (1677),
Alice Collins (1678), and
William (renamed John) Collins

John died on December 22, 1679 when he was 48 years old, leaving Abigail a widow with 12 children. He was lost at sea along with his son John. The youngest son William was renamed John at this time. Abigail was the administratrix of his estate.

After John's death Abigail married Thomas Farrar in 1681.

Ralph and Thankful Shepherd and their children and Henry and Ann Collins and their children came to America together on the Abigail. She arrived in Boston about October 8, 1635. The passengers were infected with smallpox. 
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.

Children of Anne and
Henry Collins, Sr.

  • Anne Collins
  • Henry Collins, Jr.
  • John Collins
  • Margery Collins Williams
  • Hannah Collins Ingersoll
  • Joseph Collins
  • Mary Collins Johnson
  • Benjamin Collins
  • map
    1677 Map of New England
    click to enlarge
    Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts was first settled by English Puritans in 1629 and was first incorporated in 1631 as Saugus.
    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.
    English colonists from Salem were the first settlers in Lynn.

    Elizabeth Fones (1610) was a Puritan woman in New England. She married her cousin, Henry Winthrop, son of John Winthrop. After he died, she married Robert Feake and lived in Watertown and Greenwich, Massachusetts. Robert apparently suffered from mental illness and abandoned his family. She then lived with William Hallett in Long Island.

    Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts edited by William Richard Cutter, William Frederick Adams published by Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910

    John [Collins], second son of Henry and Ann Collins, was born in London, England, January 14, 1631 (O. S.) and was lost by shipwreck with his son John in 1679. In a list of names returned of Quakers in Lynn for the year 1703 appear the names of Samuel Collins, Samuel Collins Jr. and John Collins. The estate of John Collins was valued at £365 1s 6d. and letters of administration were granted to the widow, June, 1680.

    John Collins married, at Lynn, Massachusetts, Abigail Johnson, daughter of Richard Johnson.

    Richard Johnson came over in 1630 and lived with Sir Richard Saltonstall at Watertown. He was admitted freeman in 1637. He came to Lynn the same year and settled as a farmer on the eastern end of the commons. He died in 1666, aged 54.

    Abigail Collins married (second) March 3, 1681, Thomas Farrar.

    The children of John and Abigail Collins were sixteen, twelve of whom survived him. Mary (died young), John (died young), Samuel, Abigail, John, Joseph, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Mary, Daniel, Nathaniel, Hannah, Sarah, Lois, Alice and William (John), next mentioned.

    John [Collins], youngest child of John (1) and Abigail (Johnson) Collins, was born June 28, 1679, and named William. After the death of his father John and brother John in the same year, his mother renamed him John, by which name he was ever afterward known.

    John Collins was one of six persons who bought, May 22, 1710, three thousand acres of wild land in what is now the northeastern part of the town of Hopkinton, Rhode Island. In religious faith he was a Quaker. He died in Charlestown, Rhode Island, "20th day, 10th Month, 1755."

    He married, in Lynn. Massachusetts, January 13, 1704, Susannah Daggett, daughter of William and Rebecca Daggett. She was born in Saco, Maine, 1685, and died at Charlestown. Rhode Island, 14th day, 1st month, 1753. The history of Richmond, Rhode Island, contains the following account of her:

    When a small child she was taken to the wigwam of an Indian chief by his sxxxx [indigenous woman] who found her lost in the woods. Late at night the chief returned home and told the sxxxx of a plan adopted to exterminate the whites. She cautioned him, saying there was a little paleface sleeping in a bed of skins in the wigwam. The chief then told her the child must die, to which she remonstrated, saying that she had promised to take her home in the morning. The chief passed a firebrand over the face of Susannah, and observing signs of consciousness, spared her life, and she was able to afterwards give her friends timely warning and thwart the plans of the Indians.

    The children of John (William) and Susannah were: Rebecca, Hezekiah, Sarah, Jedediah, Lydia, John, Ebenezer, Benjamin, Samuel and Abigail

    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.

    Daggett is also spelled Dogged, Doged and Doggett.
    death's head
    Detail of Winged Death's Head from Samuel Blanchard's tombstone.
    Early Quakers were persecuted. In the Massachusetts Bay colony, Friends were banished on pain of death.
    European and indiginous American fought fierce battles as the Europeans expanded their territory.
    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."

    The Probate Records of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1675-1681 by Massachusetts. Probate Court (Essex County), George Francis Dow, Essex Institute

    Attested in Salem court 30:4:1680, by Abigail Collens, who was appointed administratrix of her husband's estate and an agreement being presented to the court, of the widow and all persons concerned, as also with the approval of the eldest son, it was allowed and confirmed.

    John Collins of Lynn who died, intestate, having been cast away at sea, and leaving a wife and twelve children, the widow with her relations, judging it most meet, desired Abigail Collins, Samuel Collins, Joseph Collins, Andrew Mansfield, Henry Collins, sr., and Henri Collins, jr., to divide his estate, which they have done as follows:

    to the widdow all the moveable estate, both stocke & store within dores and without as her free estate, 11 li. 11s. 6d., which being taken out of the sum of the inventorye,

    the houses, Lands & medow remain to be disposed, which amount to 253 li. 10s., of which, one third part to the widow during her life, and the other two thirds to the two eldest sons, Samuell and Joseph Collins, equally, as they come to age.

    Samuell having a good trade as a gunsmith, maketh up to him his double portion;

    and this to be understood the widow to have the use of the whole estate until the two said sons come of age, and then to have only her thirds, and at her death the whole estate to the two sons,

    they to pay to each of their brothers and sisters, namely, Benjamine, Daniell, Nathaniell and John, Elizabeth, Marye, Hannah, Loes and Alice Collins, ten pounds in current pay, as they come to age, their sister Abigaile Townsend having already received her portion.

    If any of the children should die before they come of age, then their portion equally to the surviving children, also that Samuell and Joseph Collins are not to leave their mother, but to live with her and carry on her business for her upon the consideration of their having the housing and lands as abovesaid, the house and lands to stand bound for the payment of the children's portions.

    The eldest son giving his consent to the above agreement in the Salem court 30: 4:1680, it was allowed and confirmed. Essex County Quarterly Court Files, Volume 33, leaves 100, 101.

    The Salem witch trials were between February, 1692 and May, 1693.
    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.

    from History of Lynn by Alonzo Lewis and James R. Newhall

    Thomas Farrar was a farmer, and lived in Nahant street. He died 23 Feb. 1694. His wife Elizabeth, died 8 Jan. 1680. [And he married his second wife, Abigail Collins, 3 March, 1681.]

    He had one son, Thomas [Farrar, Jr.], who married Elizabeth Hood, 6 Dec. 1682., and had four daughters; Hannah, Sarah, Susanna, and Elizabeth. [He also had Peleg, and Mehitabel, twins, born 6 Oct. 1660, who died young. Susanna married Joseph Newhall, son of the Thomas who was the first white child born in Lynn. This Joseph settled in Lynnfield, and had eleven children; among them Samuel, who was adopted by his uncle Thomas Farrar, who was a farmer and lived on Nahant street. Thomas Farrar, the elder, was familiarly called "old Pharaoh," and was one of those accused of witchcraft, in 1692.



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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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