An American Family History

Edward Richards and Ann Knight

Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts
Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.

Edward Richards and Ann Knight married about 1650. They lived on the eastern part of Essex street in Lynn. Edward was a joiner.

Their children were all born in Lynn. John Richards was born about 1652. Abigail Richards was born about 1655. Mary Richards Nick was born about 1660. William Richards was born on June 7, 1663. Daniel Richards was born in 1665. Deborah Richards was born about 1667. She died December 24, 1679 when she was about twelve years old.

In 1688 Edward and Ann wrote to their son William and asked him to come home and to never leave.

Edward died in 1690.

Lynn Meeting House 1682

Lush forests in Colonial America allowed settlers to build wooden homes.




from A Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England by John Farmer published by Carter, Andrews & Co., 1829

Richards, Edward, Dedham 1639, freeman 1641, had a son John, b. in 1641. There was an Edward Richards of Lynn,who d. 26 Jan. 1690, K. 74, leaving a son John.


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.

from History of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts by Alonzo Lewis, James Robinson Newhall, published by J. L. Shorey, 1865

Edward Richards, born in 1616 was a joiner, and was admitted a freeman in 1641. He lived in the eastern part of Essex street. On the third of April 1646, he sold to Daniel King, "one parcel of land, called Windmill Hill," being the eastern mound of Sagamore Hill. He died 26 Jan. 1690, aged 74.

His descendants remain. His wife's name was Ann, and they had children, William, born 7 June, 1663; Daniel; Mary; Abigail; and, it is thought, John. William was living abroad in 1688, as appears by a parental letter superscribed

These for my loveing sonn William Richards Liveing att Philadelphia in pensylvanah or elsewhere present, [and] sent ffrom Lin in New England this 12th of June, 1688.

The letter urges him to return to Lynn, as his parents are getting old, and much desire his presence. And they want him to make up his mind never to leave the place again; the father agreeing, for his encouragement, to give him half of his place.

In 1678 Mr. Richards made oath that he had lived here forty-five years. The inventory of his estate, taken about a month after his decease, by William Bassett, jr. and Samuel Johnson, gives an amount of £180.

A joiner is a carpenter skilled in finished woodwork.

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."

from Descendants of Thomas Wellman of Lynn, Massachusetts by Joshua Wyman Wellman, George Walter Chamberlain, Arthur Holbrook Wellman published by A. H. Wellman, 1918

Indenture made, 12 Dec. 1653, between Edward Richards of Lynn, joyner, of the one part and Thomas Wellman and John Knights of the same town on the other part,

witnesseth that Edward Richards with the consent of Ann his wife for £8 and three days works sells the aforesaid Thomas Wellman and John Knights a farm of upland and meadow in Lynn containing three score acres, bounded on the south by the land of Nicholas Potter, westerly and northerly upon the brook which runeth out of Stone's meadow, and upon Mr. Humphrey's land, upon Francis Ingall's land, and with a straight line south eastwardly bounding upon Lynn Town Commons.
Signed by Edward Richards and Anne Richards in the presence of Samuel Hart and Andrew Mansfield.
An indenture is a legal contract for labor or land. Two copies on the same sheet were separated with a jagged edge so that the two parts could be refitted to confirm authenticity. An indentured servant worked without wages for a specified time to pay a debt and was bound to the employer. In the 17th century, nearly two-thirds of settlers came as indentured servants to pay for their passage.

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.
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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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