An American Family History

The John Perkins Family

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."

John Perkins, Sr. was baptized on December 23, 1583 in Hillmorton, Warwickshire, England.

He married Judith Gater.

John and Judith's children included:

John Perkins (1609, married Elizabeth Eveleigh),
Elizabeth Judith Perkins Sargent (1611),
Mary Perkins Bradbury (1615 ),
Ann Perkins (1617),
Thomas Perkins (1622, married Phebe Gould),
Jacob Perkins 1624 (married Damaris Robinson and Elizabeth Lovell), and
Lydia Perkins Bennett (1632).

They sailed from England in the ship Lion in 1631.

John and Judith Perkins and were admitted to the Boston church as members #107 and #108 in 1631.

He was made freeman in Ipswich.on May 18 1631.

In 1639 he laid out land for Henry Batcheller.

Europeans who made the voyage to America faced a difficult journey of several months.

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 Perkins was born about 1622 in England. His father was John Perkins.

He married Phebe Gould about 1640. Her father gave them 150 acres in Topsfield when they married.

John Perkins (1641, married Deborah Browning),
Phebe Perkins (1644, married Joseph Towne),
Zaccheus Perkins (1647, married Rebecca),
Martha Perkins (1649, married John Lamson),
Mary Perkins (1651, married William Howlet),
Elisha Perkins (1656, married Catherine Towne and Elizabeth Knight Towne),
Judith Perkins (1658, unmarried),
Thomas Perkins (1659, married Sarah Wallis),
Timothy Perkins (1661).

In 1656, he was chosen a selectman.

In 1660 he bought about 227 acres from Richard Swain.

In 1670 Joanna Towne testified for the Reverend Thomas Gilbert and described a Sunday dinner at the parsonage. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert had Captain and Mrs. John Gould, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Perkins, and Mrs. Towne as their guests. A rare gold cup of wine was passed. Mr. Gould alleged that Mr. Gilbert drank too freely.

In 1677 he was a tythingman and was made a deacon about that time.

In 1684, Phebe Perkins was in full communion at the Topsfield Church.

He died in 1686.

A tythingman was responsible for the moral behavior of a group of neighbors. He had the authority to bring problems to the court.

In 1688, during the Glorious Revolution, the Protestant king and queen,William and Mary, took the English throne from Catholic King James II. The bloodless revolution profoundly impacted the American colonies.

Thomas Perkins, Jr. was born in Topsfield, about 1659. He was the son of Thomas Perkins (1622).

He married Sarah Wallis on June 1, 1683 .

Sarah Perkins (1684-5, married William Makittrick)
Thomas Perkins (1688)
Hannah Perkins (1692, married David Balch)
Martha Perkins (1695)
Robert Perkins (1697, married Elizabeth Towne),
Samuel Perkins (1699, married Margaret Towne).

In 1684, Thomas Perkins, Jr. was in full communion at the Topsfield Church.

He and his brother Timothy inherited the farm, which they cultivated together until they separated in 1718.

He was one of the jurors on the Salem witchcraft cases, and expressed his regrets with others who had been carried away by the delusion over his participation in the shedding of innocent blood. He was a weaver.


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

Abraham Perkins was born in Ipswich in 1640. He was the son of John Perkins (1609).

He married Hannah Beamsley on October 16, 1661. Hannah was the daughter of William and Hannah Beamsley. She was born in December, 1643. . .

Abraham and Hannah's children included:

Hannah Perkins (1662, married Samuel Ingalls)
Abraham Perkins (1665)
John Perkins (1667)
Beamsley Perkins (1678)
John Perkins (1676)
Stephen Perkins (1683)
Abraham Perkins (1685)
Nathaniel Perkins
Martha Perkins (1669, married John Brewer),
Elizabeth Perkins

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.


Jacob Perkins was born about 1624 and was the son of John Perkins.

Elizabeth Perkins (1649, married Thomas Borman),
John Perkins (1652, married. Mary Fisk),
Judith Perkins (1655, married Nath. Browne),
Mary Perkins (1658, married. Thomas Wells)
Jacob Perkins (1662, married Elizabeth Sparks and Sarah Treadwell),
Matthew Perkins (1665, married Esther Burnam),
Hannah Perkins (1670),
Joseph Perkins (1674, married Martha Morgan),
Jabez Perkins (1677, married Hannah Lathrop and Charity Leonard)


Elisha Perkins was born about 1656 in Salisbury, Essex County, Massachusetts. His parents were Thomas Perkins and Phebe Gould.

He married Catherine Towne.

Thomas Perkins (1681, married Mary Wildes),
Elisha Perkins (1683),
John Perkins (1685, married Mary Estey),
Katherine Perkins (1688),
Phebe Perkins (1690, married Thomas Goodhall),
Jacob Perkins (1692, married Hannah Boardman),
Ruth Perkins (1695) and
Joseph Perkins (1702).


Robert Perkins was born on  February 28, 1697 in Topsfield. he was the son of Thomas Perkins.

He married Elizabeth Towne on February 24, 1719-20. She was the daughter of Samuel Towne and Elizabeth Knight.

Elizabeth Perkins (1723, married Isaac Perkins),
Sarah Perkins (1725, married Elizur Lake, Jr.),
Rebecca Perkins (1726),
Robert Perkins (1727-28),
Amos Perkins (1730-31, married Keziah Kimball),
Phebe Perkins (1732-33, married Jonathan Knight)
Martha Perkins (1734-35, married Archibald Dwinell and Samuel Carter),
Mehitable Perkins (1736-37, married Solomon Gould and Andrew Foster), and
Anna Perkins (1739, married Thomas Gould Jr.).

Robert died on June 15. 1750. Elizabeth died on November 26, 1772.


Robert Perkins was born Topsfield in 1727-28. He was the son of Robert Perkins (1696/7) and Elizabeth Towne.

He was a soldier in the Revolution, in Captain Stephen Perkins' company and answered the Lexington alarm, April 19, 1775.

He married Hannah Cummings

Ruth Perkins (1753, married, John Gould, 3rd)
Hannah Perkins (1755)
Lydia Perkins (1757)
Robert Perkins (1760)
Asa Perkins (1762, married Hannah Johnson)
Mehitable Perkins (1767)


Timothy Perkins was born in Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts in June 6, 1661. He was the son of Thomas Perkins. (not to be confused with Timothy Perkins born in 1658, son of William Perkins)

The children of wife Hannah were:

Timothy Perkins (1690.
Hannah Perkins
Jonathan Perkins (1692, married Elizabeth Potter and Sarah Wildes)

Children of wife Abigail were:
Abigail Perkins (1695, married Thomas Dwinnell),
Hannah Perkins (1697-8)
John Perkins (1700)
Ester Perkins (1703)
Elisabeth Perkins (1709-10, died young)

Child of Ruth Dorman was:
Ruth Perkins (1714)




from Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Volume 4 edited by William Richard Cutter

Thomas Perkins, son John Perkins, was born in England in 1616, and came to America with his parents in 1631, when he was fifteen years old.

At Ipswich he owned Sagamore hill, a tract of land one hundred and seventy feet high. He exchanged this land with his brother John for a house and lot in town.

After a few years he removed to Topsfield and married there, about 1640, Phebe Gould, daughter of Zaccheus Gould. She was born in England in 1620, baptized at Hemel Hempstead, September 20, 1620. Her father gave them one hundred and fifty acres of land. 

Thomas Perkins was chosen deacon of the Topsfield church, and was probably the first deacon. He was often selectman and tythingman, and on the committee to choose a minister. His farm was next that of his brother-in-law Redington, not far from the Newbury port turnpike.

His will was dated December 11, 1685, and proved September 10, 1686. He died May 7, 1686, and his wife survived him.

1. John, born 1641; married, November 28, 1666, Deborah Browning; died May 19, 1668.
2. Phebe, born about 1644; married, 1665, Joseph Towne.
3. Zaccheus, born about 1647; married Rebecca .
4. Martha, born about 1649; married, December 17, 1669. John Lamson.
5. Mary, born about 1651; married, October 27, 1671, William Howlett; died 1728.
6. Elisha, born about 1654; married, February 23, 1680, Catherine Towne.
7. Judith, born January 28, 1658, died unmarried before 1719.
8. Thomas, born about 1659; mentioned below. 9. Timothy, born June 6, 1661; married (first) Hannah; (second) Abigail .



from Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Volume 4 edited by William Richard Cutter

Thomas Perkins, son of Thomas Perkins, was born about 1659, in Topsfield, died in April, 1722. He was a weaver by trade. He received by will part of his father's farm, which it was his father's wish the brothers should conduct together. In 1718 they divided the property and separated. He was on a jury at the time of the Salem witchcraft trials, and was one of those who afterwards signed a declaration of regret for their part in the trials.

He married, June 1, 1683, Sarah Wallis.


1. Sarah, born January 20, 1684-85; married, January 28, 1722/23, William Makittrick.
2. Thomas, baptized December 9, 1688.
3. Hannah, baptized March 12, 1692; married David Balch.
4. Robert, born February 28, 1697; mentioned below. 5. Samuel, born November 22, 1699; married Margaret Towne.


from Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Volume 4 edited by William Richard Cutter

Robert Perkins, son of Thomas Perkins, born Topsfield, February 28, 1697, died June 15. 1750. He was baptized by Rev. Mr. Capen, March 7, 1697.

He married, February 24, 1719-20, Elizabeth Towne, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Knight) Towne. She died November 26, 1772, "aged."

Children: 1. Elizabeth, born June 7, 1723; married, August 30, 1742, Isaac Perkins.
2. Sarah, born September 9, 1725; married, February 24, 1744. Elizur Lake, Jr.
3. Rebecca, born January 12, 1726, died May 15, 1774.
4. Robert, born January 16, 1727-28;
5. Amos, born February 16, 1730-31 ; married, 1756, Keziah Kimball, of Wenham ; died September 18, 1814.
6. Phebe, born February 3, 1732-33; married, December 18, 1750, Jonathan Knight.
7. Martha, born January 8, 1734-35: married (first), February 5, 1754, Archibald Dwinell: (second), April 4, 1774, Samuel Carter, of Manchester.
8. Mehitable, born February 6, 1736-37; married (first), July 2, 1761, Solomon Gould; (second) Andrew Foster.
9. Anna, born June 24, 1739; married, December 29, 1757, Thomas Gould Jr.

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.

A tythingman was responsible for the moral behavior of a group of neighbors. He had the authority to bring problems to the court.

from The Family of John Perkins of Ipswich by George Augustus Perkins

Deacon Thomas Perkins8, the second son and second child of John, sen., and Judith Perkins, was born in England (probably in the town of Newent, in Gloucestershire) in 1616, and, with his parents and their entire family of four children beside himself, came to Boston in 1631. The family removed from Boston to Ipswich in 1633. He resided there only a few years, during which time he had received a grant of land in Ipswich from the colony; this he shortly alter sold to his brother John and others, and removed to "New Meadows" or what is now the town of Topsfield, where he engaged in farming.

He married Phebe Gould about 1640. She was the oldest child of Zaccheus and Phebe Gould of Topsfield. She, like her husband, was born in England; her baptism is recorded at Hemel Hempstead, Sept. 27, 1620, and it is probable that her birth was only a few days before this date, as it was the custom of that time to baptize children within a week or two of the time of their birth.

At the time of the marriage of Thomas Perkins with Phebe Gould, her father gave them, by "deed of gift," a farm of 150 acres of land in the central part of Topsfield upon which be probably resided until July 6, 1660, when he purchased a farm of Richard Swain containing 227 acres, "more or less," and upon this farm it is probable he spent the last days of his life. This farm was bounded on the west by the land of Zaccheus Gould, his father-in-law. Other bounds fix this farm as being mostly to the eastward of the road now leading from Topsfield to Wenham and upon Ipswich river; upon a road passing through this farm many of his descendants have resided and do so to this day; old bricks are ploughed up upon the spot where his house is believed to have stood.

Thomas Perkins was a farmer during the whole of his life; he certainly had the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens who elected him to fill many honorable positions in the church and town.

He was chosen to be one of the selectmen of the town in 1656 and was also one of the "tything men" in 1677.

He was chosen Deacon of the Church in Topsfield about 1677 (the date of this choice is not exactly ascertained); after this he was known as "Deacon Thomas Perkins" upon the records of the town. He died in the year 1686.

We give a copy of his will, which was found in the probate office of Suffolk County, where it was recorded by order of Sir Edmund Andros.

The children of Dea. Thomas Perkins and Phebe (Gould) Perkins were:

4 (17)John [Perkins], b. 1641; m. Deborah Browning Nov. 28, 1666; d. May 19, 1668.

5 (18) Phebe [Perkins], b. ab. 1644; m. Joseph Towne 1665; d. after 1680.

6 (19) Zaccheus [Perkins], b. about 1647; m. Rebecca about 1704; d. Dec, 1732.

7 (20) Martha [Perkins], b. about 1649; m. John Lamson Dec. 17, 1669; d. after 1728.

8 (21) Mary [Perkins], b. ab. 1651; m. Wm. Howlett, Oct. 27,1671; d. 1728. [Mary and William raised Captain Joseph Cummings.]

9 (22) Elisha [Perkins], b. about 1656; m. 1st, Catherine Towne [daughter of Jacob Towne] Feb. 23, 1680; 2nd, Wid. Elizabeth (Knight) Towne.

10 (23) Judith, b. 28 Jan., 1658; unmarried; d. before 1719.

11 (24) Thomas [Perkins], b. about 1659; m. Sarah Wallis June 1, 1683; d. 1719.

12 (25) Timothy [Perkins], b. June 6, 1661; m. 1st, Hannah; 2nd, Abigail; 3d, Ruth Dorman.

Timothy (Thomas1, John1) was born in Topsfield, Mass., June 6, 1661. He married, first, Hannah , about 1688-9. She died about 1693. He married, second, Abigail , about 1694. She died about 1710-11. He married, third, Ruth Dorman about 1712. The dates of the several marriages of Timothy Perkins are very unreliable, as the early records are exceeding defective; we only base a conjecture upon the mention of the births of their children. In the last will of Ephraim Dorman of Topsfield, he mentions the fact that his daughter, Ruth, had married Timothy Perkins, and was then dead, leaving a daughter, Ruth, to whom he gives "Ten pounds if she live to the age of eighteen years." This will was signed in July, 1720. He died Dec. 18, 1751.

He was a farmer and received a portion of the farm of his father, as will be seen from his will.

The children of wife Hannah were:
32 Timothy, bapt. July 6, 1690.
33 Hannah,
34 Jonathan [Perkins], bapt. Jan. 29, 1692-3; d. Jane 2, 1749.

Children of wife Abigail were:
35 Abigail, b. June 7, 1695.
36 Hannah, b. Jan. 21, 1697-8.
37 John [Perkins], b. June 2, 1700.
38 Ester, b. July 22, 1703.
39 Elisabeth, bapt. Jan. 7, 1709-10; d. Dec. 8, 1710.

Child of Ruth [Dorman] was:
40 Ruth, bapt. Aug. 29, 1714.

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.

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.

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.
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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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