An American Family History

John Richards and Mary Brewer

Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts
English colonists from Salem were the first settlers in Lynn.

John Richards and Mary Brewer married on November 18, 1674 in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts. 

Their children were all born in Lynn. Mary Richards Darling Shaw was born on October 16, 1675. Shortly after she was born, on December 10th, 1675, John marched against the Narragansett Fort.

Captain John Richards, Jr. was born on May 1, 1677. Edward Richards was born on July 13, 1679. 

Crispus Richards was born on October 20, 1681.  Elizabeth Richards Kent was born on October 15, 1683. Joseph Richards was born on January 10, 1685. William Richards was born on March 8, 1687.  Abigail Richards Collins was born on March 23, 1689/90.

Mary died in 1706 and John died in 1713.            

Lynn Meeting House 1682
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.
Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts was first settled by English Puritans in 1629 and was first incorporated in 1631 as Saugus.

The name Crispus is Latin in origin and its meaning is crisp or curly. Crispin was the chief of the synagogue at Corinth.



Understand the Puritans better:
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 name Crispus is Latin in origin and its meaning is crisp or curly. Crispin was the chief of the synagogue at Corinth.

Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England.

Genealogical Register of the Descendants of Several Ancient Puritans, by Abner Morse

John [Richards], who m. Nov. 18, 1674, Mary Brewer. John, was a soldier in Philip's war; and 1685, petitioned for a grant in the Nipmuck country as compensation. He settled in Lynn, took the freeman's oath 1691, and Jan. 12, 1705-6, made his will, giving to his wife Mary the use of one end of his house, and all his goods and movables to be at her disposal; and
to his son Crispus, all his remaining real and personal estate, not otherwise bequeathed, requiring him to provide a comfortable maintenance for his mother, so long as she remained a widow.
To daughter Abigail he gave £13;
to Elizabeth £10; to Mary £8.
To grd. sons Joseph, Benjamin, and David Darling, and Joseph Richards, son of Crispus, and John Richards, son of Edward, he gave each one sheep
To his son John, 40s.;
to Edward, 20s.;
to Joseph, 20s.; and
to William, 20s., and "no more," because

he had already given John a good trade, as well as some of his other sons, whereby they are in good ways for a living in this world, and have not in time past done for me as my son Crispus hath, who hath borne the burden of my work and taken care of me in all my long and tedious weakness and lameness for many years past.


i. Mary, b. Oct. 16, 1675, m. Darling.
ii. John, b. May 1, 1677, m. Mary; Boston. 23.
iii. Edward, b. June 13, 1679, d. Feb. 11, 1747-8, was buried at Copp's Hill, Boston, m. Mary Kidder.
iv. Crispus, b. Oct. 20, 1681, m. Sarah Collins.
v. Elizabeth, b. Oct. 15, 1683.
vi. Joseph, b. Jan. 10, 1685, d. s. p., 1745, m. Sarah; to whom by will he gave, Oct. 28, 1741, all his estate.
vii. William, b. March 8, 1687-8; no further reported.
viii. Abigail, b. March 23, 1690-1.

from The Descendants of William Witter and Hannah Churchman of Lynn, Massachusetts by Harold John Witter, Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, 1991

The Quarterly Court of Essex County, MA describes the case of Josiah Witter vs John Richards of Swampscott which was a case of trespass. John had received Mulliner's Right from his father, Edward Richards, and John and Josiah became embroiled in a boundary dispute of the land.

Josiah came all the way from Stonington for the dispute. Perhaps due to the distance, Josiah was nonsuited the first time, and Richards was awarded 1 pound 16 s costs.

Josiah came right back at the next session of the Court and this time got a verdict. John appealed to the Court of Assistants.

John Richards' reasons of appeal;

  • that he had held the land for above forty years, as by evidence of Henry Collins, sr., and Henry Collins, jr., and had a legal title
  • that Witter, under pretence of a recorded grant by the town of twenty acres of land, dated Mar. 13, 1676, lays claim to this parcel which the town had no right to dispose of;
  • that he had his twenty acres and more unless he had conveyed it to another, and "theirfore cannot but Judg him Insatiable that he canot be contented to run loose In his own pasture but he must break over fences and feed down mine also;"
  • that Witter's conscience in former years would not allow him to claim it, although he had an "Itching desire after It," as appeared by the testimony of Henry Collins and John Lewise, who affirmed that Witter would have borrowed a yoke of oxen of said Lewise to purchase the land now in controversy which he then acknowledged to be Thomas Joyes;
  • that Thomas Wheeler, father-in-law of Witter, etc.;
  • that Capt. Marshall testified that Witter never sold any land within the fence, which Richards owns to be true, for he sold not all of Mulliners right to Oliver purchase, for he reserved some part to himself within fence which after ward he sold to Edward Richards, as appears by a deed from Thomas Joy to Capt. Marshal which bears date May 30, 1661, which deed is now made over to Edward Richards;
  • that Edward Kibby gave a different testimony two years before, etc.
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.
King Philip’s War was a bloody and costly series of raids and skirmishes in 1675 and 1676 between the Native American people and the colonials. King Philip was the Native American leader Metacom.
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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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