An American Family History

Peabody Family

  also spelled Paybody  
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.

The settlement of New Meadows was incorporated as the Town of Topsfield in 1650. The church "gathered" on November 4, 1663. The third Meeting House was built in 1703 with Rev. Joseph Capen as pastor.

Francis Peabody was born about 1614 in England.

He came to America in 1635 on the Planter.

His first wife was named Lydia.

Lydia Peabody (1640),
John Peabody (1643)
Joseph Peabody (1644),
William Peabody (1646),
Isaac Peabody (1648, married Sarah Estes),
Sarah Peabody (1650),

After Lydia died, he married Mary Foster.

Hepsibah Peabody (1652),
Mary Peabody (1656),
Ruth Peabody (1658),
Damaris Peabody (1660),
Samuel Peabody (1662),
Jacob Peabody (1664),
Hannah Peabody (1668), and
Nathaniel Peabody (1669).

On May 18 1642, he was made freeman at Hampton.

In 1645 he received a share in the common lands of Hampton.

In 1645

Eunice Cole is to sit in the stocks at Hampton and to make acknowledgement of her snanderous speech concerning Susan Parkings & lidia pebodye and to pay to the witnes Isaac Perkings 7d and the feas of the court

In 1650 he was assigned the first seat on the south side against the desk in the meeting house.

In 1651 he sued Thomas Bradbury for "issuing an illegal execution, for or in behalf of Mr. Batcheller, against the town of Hampton." The court ordered

in answer to a petition preferred by several of the inhabitants of Hampton, for relief in respect of unjust molestation from some persons there pretending power for what they do from Mr. Batchelor,

it is ordered, that whatsoever goods or lands have been taken away from the inhabitants of Hampton, aforesaid, by Edward Calcord or John Sanbourne, upon pretense of being authorized by Mr. Batchelor, either with or without execution, shall be returned to them from whom it was taken, and no more to be granted until there appear sufficient power from Mr. Batchelor to recover the same, to the County Courts, either of Salisbury or Hampton.

They moved to Topsfield before 1659 when he was made a selectman.

In 1664 the town gave him permission to set up a grist-mill, and eight years later he built a saw-mill.

On May 27, 1668, he was appointed lieutenant of the local militia.

In 1684 Francis Peabody was in full communion at the Topsfield Church.

Francis Peabody died in Topsfield on February 23, 1697/98,

Mary died on April 9, 1705.

The New England Meetinghouse was the only municipal building in a town. Both worship and civil meetings were held there. It was customary for men and women to sit separately and the town chose a committee once a year to assign seats according to what was paid, age, and dignity.

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.


Isaac Peabody was born about 1648. He ws the son of Lieutenant Francis Peabody.

He married Sarah Estes.

Francis Peabody (1694, married Dorothy Perkins),
Mary Peabody (1696, married William Jarvis),
Isaac Peabody (1697, unmarried)
Philadelphia Peabody (1698, married Daniel Reddington)
Matthew Peabody (1699, married Mehitable Averill).
William Peabody (1701, died young)
Estes Peabody (1702, married Mary Dwinnell Gott),
Joseph Peabody (1704)
Sarah Peabody (1706, married Luke Averill)
Anne Peabody (1707, married John Batchelder),
Hepsibah Peabody (1709, married Ephraim Wildes)
Samuel Peabody (1711, died young).

They lived in Topsfield on a farm Isaac inherited from his father. In 1684, he was listed as in full communion with the Topsfield Church.

Isaac's will was dated October 21, 1726, and proved January 2, 1727.

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.

Matthew Peabody was born on December 10, 1699 in Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts.

He married Mehitable Averill on April 12, 1726 in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts. Mehitable was born on April 26, 1702 and was the daughter of Ebenezer Averill and Mehitable Foster.

Ebenezer Peabody (1726/27),
Mehitable Peabody (1728, married Thomas Foster),
John Peabody (1730, married Hannah Smith),
Sarah Peabody (1733, married Daniel Porter) and
Infant Son (1738).

Mehitable died on June 6, 1740.

On April 13, 1743 Matthew married Sarah Dorman in Topsfield.

Seth Peabody (1744, married Abigail Kimball),
Isaac Peabody (1747),
Deborah Peabody (1750).

Sarah and Matthew both died on October 20, 1777 in Topsfield.

His will was probated on November 3, 1777.

Childbirth was was perilous. Around 1.5 percent of births ended in the mother's death. Since women gave birth to many children, chances of dying in childbirth were quite high.

Bimsley Peabody was born on Sept. 8, 1731,

He married Ruth Marston

Bimsley was a private in Major Preble's company during the French and Indian War.

Mehitable Peabody (1755)
Bimsley Peabody (1757, married Betsey Peabody)
Samuel Peabody (1759)
Francis, Peabody (1761, married Lucy Masury)
Jonathan Peabody (1763, married Lucy Morgan)
Amos Peabody (1765, married Rachael Berry
Dudley Peabody (1766),
Ruth Peabody (1769, married Jacob Gould),
Oliver Peabody (1775, married Sarah Estey),
Lydia Peabody




from The Descendants of Major Samuel Lawrence of Groton, Massachusetts by Robert Means Lawrence

Lieutenant Francis Peabody of St. Albans, Hertfordshire (b. in 1614), who came to New England in the ship Planter m 1635, lived for a time at Ipswich, Mass., and was one of the first settlers, in 1639, of Hampton, N. H., where he remained for about eighteen years.

He was made a freeman in 1642, and served several terms as one of the "selected men" of Hampton.

In 1657 he removed to Topsfield, Mass., where he had previously bought a farm. According to the town records, "Ffranees Pabodye " was first chosen a selectman of Topsfield in 1659, and was often reelected. He also served as town clerk many years, and was appointed lieutenant of the local military company, May 27, 1668.

In 1664 the town gave him permission to set up a grist-mill, and eight years later he built a saw-mill. The old Peabody house, "by the mill, where Lieutenant Peabody lived in 1660," was torn down in 1846.

His wife was Mary, daughter of Reginald Foster of Boxford, and their children numbered fourteen. Lieutenant Francis Peabody d. at Topsfield, Feb. 23, 1697-8, and his wife's death occurred there, April 9, 1705.


A grist mill is a building where a miller grinds gain into flour.

Connecticut's first European settlers were Dutch.

from Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Volume 2 by William Richard Cutter

Isaac Peabody, son of Lieutenant Francis Peabody, was born in 1648, and resided in Topsfield. He inherited the homestead from his father. His will was dated October 21, 1726, and proved January 2, 1727.

He married Sarah.

1. Francis, born December 1, 1694.
2. Mary, born February 5, 1696, married William Jarvis.
3. Isaac, born March 15, 1697, died January 13, 1739, unmarried.
4. Philadelphia, born September 28, 1698, married Daniel Reddington.
5. Matthew, born December 10, 1699.
6. William, born January 26, 1701, died young.
7. Estes, born September 28, 1702, married, May 19, 1746, M. Gott.
8. Joseph, born June 14, 1704.
9. Sarah, born March 10, 1706, married Luke Averill.
10. Anne, born May 31, 1707, married John Batchelder,
11. Hepsibah, born May 25, 1709, married, January 31, 1731, Ephraim Wildes.
12. Samuel, born January 3, 1711, died January 23, 1711.

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."
King Charles II ruled England from 1660 to 1685.

from The Descendants of Major Samuel Lawrence of Groton, Massachusetts by Robert Means Lawrence

Isaac Peabody (1648-1726), fourth child of the preceding [Francis Peabody], was a resident of Topsfield, and his name appears frequently in the early town records. It is also found in a list of residents who took the oath of allegiance and fidelity to their sovereign, Charles II., in 1677. At a " Lawfull Towne meeting ye 3 March, 1684, Isacke pebody and Isacke Estey were chosen fence Veveeres," and he was a selectman in 1693. His wife's Christian name was Sarah.

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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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