An American Family History

John Kitchen

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists."
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

A cordwainer (or cordwinder) made shoes from fine, soft leather. There was a distinction between a cordwainer, who made shoes, and a cobbler who repaired them.

ye is an archaic spelling of "the."

John Kitchen was born about 1619 in England.

He arrived in Salem in 1635 as the servant of Zachery Bicknell. He made his living as a cordwainer.

On April 23, 1642, he was granted a 10 acre lot at Salem, and he joined the First Church on December 26, 1642. He was made freeman on February 28, 1643. He was on the jury and was chosen constable on September 19, 1649.

In 1650 he was "presented" for beating Giles Corey. He was also presented for playing shuffleboard.

His first wife was name Elizabeth. Their children are described in the section on John and Elizabeth Kitchen.

His second wife was the widow Elizabeth Grafton Saunders. Their children and life together are described in detail in the section on John and Elizabeth Kitchen.

On April 8, 1661,

John Kitchen, shoemaker, and John Saunders, seaman, son in law [step-son] to ye said John Kitchen,

sold land to John Williams of Salem in the North Fields.

On September 25, 1662 the Salem Court ruled

considering ye unworthy and malignant speeches and carriages of John Kitchen in Open Court doe see cause to displace his form ye office of sargent of ye foot company [infantry].

He died in 1676.

Children of John Kitchen
and Elizabeth Grafton

Robert Kitchen
Benjamin Kitchen
Abigail Kitchen Guppy
Priscilla Kitchen Hunn

The Society of Friends (Quakers) began in England in the 1650s, when they broke away from the Puritans. Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, as a safe place for Friends to live and practice their faith.

To be presented to the court meant to be charged or indited.



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.

from The Essex Antiquarian by Sidney Perley

John Kitchen presented for beating Giles Corey. Continued.
[Deposition of Gilles Cory: That Mr. Edwa: Moris and I were going toward the brickkiln; John Kiching, going with us, "ffell a niping and pinshing of us;" and when we were come back again, John Kiching struck up Mr. Edwa Noris his heels and mine,

& ffell upon me & keched by the throat & held me so long till he had almost stopped my breath & said to John Kiching this is nothing— I do owe you more than this of oald. This is not half of yt wh you shall have

afterwards, after this we went into his house and he took stinking water and threw upon us, and took me and thrust me out of doors, and I went my way and John Kiching followed me half the way up the lane or thereabouts, perceiving him to follow me I went to goe by the Rayles. He took me again, and threw me down off the Rayles, and fell a beating me until I was all bloody, and Tho Bishop was present. Sworn 12: 26: 1650, in court.

John Kitchen and Rich Graves, presented for playing at Shuffleboard at Mr. Gednyes, discharged, not being proved.

A constable was an elected official who was responsible for keeping the peace. His duties were more limited than the sheriff's. He apprehended and punished offenders, helped settle estates, and collected taxes.
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.

Salem is in Essex County, Massachusetts and was a significant seaport in early America. John Endicott obtained a patent from England and arrived there in 1628. Salem originally included much of the North Shore, including Marblehead. Salem Village also included Peabody and parts of Beverly, Middleton, Topsfield, Wenham and Manchester-by-the-Sea.

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

from Essex Institute Historical Collection by Essex Institute, Peabody Essex Museum

1. John Kitchen, the first mention of whom we have on 20 March, 1635, when he embarked at Weymouth, England, as the servant (apprentice) of Zachery Bicknell (later of Weymouth, Mass.), aged 21 years, appears to have been born in or about the year 1619, for on 10-10-1661, he, aged about forty-two years, testified in the case of Burton v. Porter.

On 23- 4 -1642, he was granted a 10 acre lot at Salem, and he joined the First Church on 26: 12: 1642. He was a freeman 28 Feb., 1643.

From the first, Kitchen appears to have been a stirring and bold character and appears frequently before the Court for his boldness in speaking out his opinions. In Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts it is recorded that he was fined for showing books "which he was bidden to show the Governour and no other."

In spite of his quarrels with the Puritan authorities, he was frequently on the jury, and on 19-9-1649, he was chosen constable of Salem. A strong character and frequently at war with the Bay government, Kitchen eagerly embraced the doctrines of the Quakers, of which sect his wife was a devoted adherent, and their names constantly occur among those fined for failure to attend the Puritan Church. His wife was the victim at this time of a brutal and ruffianly attack at the hands of that zealous saint, Edmund Batter, whs found her, as he supposed, returning one morning from a Quaker meeting. On 25-9-1662, the Court,

considering ye unworthy and malignant speeches and carriages of John Kitchen in open Court doe see cause to displace him from ye office of sargerit of ye foot company [infantry].

and fined him 30 shillings. The persecution inflicted upon Kitchen and his wife for their religious opinions was very severe, and he paid upwards of £40 sterling in fines for the sin of being a Quaker. John Kitchen was a cordwainer by trade, and died in 1675-6, leaving a goodly estate including considerable realty. His will was dated 20 Dec., 1675; proved 30-4-1676. In it he leaves his house and land to his wife Elizabeth, his orchard and other lands to his son Robert, and mentions his other children. His inventory was taken on 30-4-1676, and amounted to £398 : 4: 00.

Kitchen appears to have had two wives, each named Elizabeth, for upon 26-12-1642, John Kitchen and wife were admitted to the First Church. After the word "wife" in the record is written the word "dead."

Now on 10- 3-1640, Elizabeth Saunders was admitted to the First Church, and after her name is written, evidently later on, "i. e. Kitchen." On 8: 5 mo. 1661,

John Kitchen, shoemaker, and John Saunders, seaman, son in law [step son] to ye said John Kitchen,

sold land to John Williams of Salem in the North Fields. The will of John Sanders, dated on 12 Oct., 1643, proved 28 : 10 mo. 1643, mentions "my father in law Joseph Grafton." The will of Joseph Grafton being defective, was not allowed, but the heirs, on 26 June, 1681, agreed to divide the property according to the will, and in the division we find a bequest to Robert Kitchen of £5, and to his three sisters of 20 shillings each.

On 1 November, 1675, Elizabeth Kitchen, aged 50 years, testified thus, showing she was born in or about 1625. From the above it will appear that she was undoubtedly the child of Capt. Joseph Grafton, although somewhat older than most of his children, and was probably the child of a first wife in England. Elizabeth Kitchen, who should be venerated for her sufferings at the hands of the Bay authorities because of her Quaker principles, was alive as late as 3 March, 1678-9.

Children by first wife Elizabeth:
2. Elizareth, bapt. 12 : 1: 1643, First Church, Salem.
3. Hannah, bapt. 12:1: 1643, First Church, Salem.

He also had probably by this first wife:
4. Joseph, bapt. 20: 2: 1645; probably d. young.
5. John, bapt. 12: 4: 1646; probably d. young.
6. Mary, bapt. 23: 2: 1648; m. 20 Feb., 1665, Timothy Robinson.

John and Elizabeth Sanders (Grafton) Kitchen had:
7. Robert, bapt. 15: 2: 1655.
8. Benjamin, b. 26: 6: 1660; d. 15: 7: 1660.
9. Abigail, m., 3:4: 1669, John Gnppy.
10. Priscilla, m., Oct., 1672, Nathaniel Hunn of Boston.

Understand the Puritans better:
The First Church in Salem, Massachusetts was founded by English Puritan settlers in August, 1629. Both accusers and accused were members of First Church during the witchcraft hysteria.

Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England.


from Priscilla Kitchen, Quakeress of Salem, Mass., and Kent County, Del., and Her Family by George Valentine Massey II, New England Historical and Genealogical Register Volume CVI January 1952, pp. 38-50

John Kitchen (1619-1676), a stirring, bold character was, since his arrival in 1635, ofttimes at odds with the Bay government, frequently in court for speaking out opinions, one fined for showing books "which he was bidden to show the Governour and no other." In spite of this he was often chosen juror and in 1649 named constable.


After the death of his first wife, Elizabeth, whose surname is not known, he married Elizabeth (Grafton) Saunders . . .

The Court, on 25:9:1662,

considering ye unworthy and malignant speeches and carriages of John Kitchen in Open Court doe see cause to displace his form ye office of sargent of ye foot company [infantry],

fined his 30 shillings. For their religious opinions the persecution of John and Elizabeth Kitchen was severe, in fines alone John paid upward of 40 pounds sterling for being a Quaker. He, nevertheless, prospered as cordwainer, and at his death, by will proved 30:4:1676, bequeathed a good estate, including considerable realty, to his wife, and son, Robert, mentioned "ye rest of my children."

Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2019
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