ancestral chart father mother index home

John's signature from his brother Samuel's probate papers

John was a life-long resident of Beverly. He was a turner,and the following items in his estate inventory show he made at least tables, spinning wheels, beds and mostly inexpensive chairs:

To 6 chair bits & stocks 6/ [shillings] all & 1 inch 1/4 [prob. an auger] at 2/    8. [total]
To 1 hand saw 3/ & 1 old broad ax 3/ & 1 frame saw 18d
[pence]    7.6
To 1 large frame saw 14/ & 1 ditto very small 1/    15.
To 1 ringed beetle & 1 iron wedge 4/ & 1 hatchet at 2/6    6.6
To 1 nail hammer 1/ & 1 lathing hammer 18d & 1 small gimblet & 1 small hammer at 8d both    3.2
To 2 turning chissells at 3/ & 2 ditto at 18d    4.6
To 2 turning gouges 2/ & 5 tools for making heels & the blocks to them 9/ & 1 old adze at 1/    12.
To 1 shave 2/ & bung boarer 1/ & 1
[tur.?] bill 1/    4.
To 1 rasper 18d & 1 inch auger 1/ & piece of iron 4d    2.10
To 2 rabbitting plains & stocks 2/ & 1 three square file & 1 tap boarer 2/ & 1 chissell 8d & 1/2 a cord of poplar timber 10/    14.8
To 11 2 backed new chairs at ------    1.7.6
To 9 2 backed new chairs without bottoms at 18d p    13.6
To rungs & backs for chairs & stocks & spokes for spinning wheels & other stuff prepared in the shop 15/    15.
To 36 bundles of flags
[rushes] for chairs at 10/ all    10.

     There is listed among his own furniture a frame for an oval table. There isn't an indication that he made beds, but there were more elaborately furnished beds in his inventory than what would normally be found in such a household. Among the most valuable items in the inventory of personal goods was 8 yards of "garlix" (Gorlitz) holland linen. This was a fine fabric (although usually used for clothing and sheets), and with the appearance of tester beds with curtains, valences and head cloths, he may have constructed and furnished these for sale as well.
     Although John's wife is well-documented as being Elizabeth, her family origins are unknown. Rev. Hale of Beverly very likely refers to her when he recorded the death of widow Elizabeth Corning on 9 December 1753 at the age of 76. John Corning's widow was declared non compos mentis in October of that year. If this death record is accurate, she was born in 1677 (if born after 9 December, then the year was 1678). There is information circulating on the internet that she was Elizabeth Edwards, born about 1679 and died in 1747. No reason or source information is given. The dates are incorrect and the Edwards families living in Essex County at the right time are well-enough documented to eliminate her being among them. John Edwards and Mary Solart had a daughter Elizabeth born on 1 April 1671. Nothing further is known of her, but if she was Mrs. Corning, she would have been 82, not 76, when she died. More significant is that she would have been 4 years older than John, which was extremely rare for first marriages in New England in the 17th century. Mrs. Corning had her last known child in 1719. Women at that time very rarely had children after their mid 40s. The 1677 birth year fits more comfortably in this case than 1671, and it indicates a more normal age of about 20 or 21 when she married than 26 or 27.

Elizabeth's mark on a deed in 1739


children of John Corning and Elizabeth:

i. John b. 10 April 1699
ii. Benjamin b. 28 (prob. May) 1701
iii. Joshua b. 5 November 1703
iv. Ezra b. 22 March 1704/05
v. Malachi b. 4 December 1706
Nathan b. 11 March 1711, prob. the unnamed child in the vital records who d. 27 March 1712
Andrew b. 26 March 1715
Robert b. 19 November 1719

vital records sources: John's birth is in Vital Records of Beverly, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, Vol. I (Births) (Topsfield:1906), p. 89, "9:3m:1675," in turn taken from a First Parish Untarian record; his death is in Vol. II (Marriages and Deaths) (Topsfield, MA:1907), p. 407, "a[ged] about 59." Elizabeth's death is on the same page, taken from "P. R. 1," which refers to Rev. Hale's death records. She is called a widow with no further identification.


all text and photographs © 1998-2021 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted