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John Farnum house, Uxbridge, MA, now a house museum


copyright 2004, Doug Sinclair

John's headstone in the Quaker Meeting House cemetery, Uxbridge. "In his 78th year" means he was 77, which is accurate.


     Further information on this family can be found in a new Farnum genealogy by Russell C. Farnham. However the book is surely mistaken in the information given for the parents of John's daughter-in-law Abigail Sanford and the mother of John Read, husband of his granddaughter Hannah Farnum. The following is my research to date.
     The Tyler family, John Farnumís in-laws, moved often but seemed to be based in Andover. Perhaps due to the witchcraft hysteria of 1692-3 in which the Tylers were involved, Hopestill Tyler, Johnís father -in-law, moved permanently away from Andover. His father and brother Moses had already moved to Mendon and it is possible that Hopestill was there as well before settling in Preston, CT, by 1697. This may explain why John and Mary Farnum were not obviously settled in this period. Their marriage is recorded at Andover. Their first child was born in Boston but recorded in the Mendon vital records. Another child was recorded at Andover in 1697. Although it is likely that the family lived in Mendon, however impermanently, before 1701, John purchased from his brother-in-law Moses Tyler the house lot of his father-in-law Job Tyler in Mendon in July 1701 for 61 lbs.(1) This appears to establish the Farnums in Mendon.
     John was elected a constable for Mendon on 1 March 1703. A tax list for the town reported at a town meeting in January of 1704 lists John with the rate of 3 shillings, 8 pence. He appears in the 7th division of town lands in 1707. He bought Thomas Jewellís house lot in 1709 and 20 more acres in 1710.
     Deacon William Warfield had been the schoolmaster for Mendon for many years. He was replaced in 1712 by Robert Husse who was given a 6 month contract and 5 lbs. for his service and "Diet." He was to "begin [presumably boarding] at John Farnumís and ther continue untill the 28th of January."      In December of 1718 John was granted his share in Shockolog (cedar) Swamp. In the same year he bought 40 acres of land belonging to the Tyler family. John was elected a selectman for the town along with fellow-ancestor Thomas Sanford on 21 March 1721. The town of Uxbridge, MA, was formed from Mendon in 1727. The first town meeting was held at "Coronet" John Farnumís house on 27 July of that year. His was likely one of the few residences in that part of Mendon. The house still stands as a museum and home of the Uxbridge Historical Society and is ascribed a circa date of 1715.
     In 1728 John was on a committee representing Uxbridge, MA, that met with one from Mendon to settle a controversy about the border line between the towns. In the same year he offered to the town land on which to make a pond, now Mumford Pond. Signature may be in the Mendon town records on an Uxbridge petition 16 May 1732.
     John eventually became a Quaker. Given that his youngest child Moses married the daughter of a prominent Congregationalist of Mendon in 1726, it was likely after that and may have been by the time a Friends meeting house was built in Mendon in 1729, indicating a well-established congregation in the area. A biographical article on his grandson Moses, Jr., says that his parents were Presbyterian when he was born in 1730, and later converted. The Farnums were undoubtedly members of the Uxbridge Congregational Church after the town was created from Mendon in 1727. John is buried in the Uxbridge Friends cemetery and his second wife Abigail is buried next to him. Their gravestones were moved to their present sites when the Center School and other buildings replaced the Center Cemetery on South Main St.

children of John and Mary (Tyler) Farnum:

(first three births recorded at Andover)

i. Mary b. 16 March 1693-4, m. Nathan Penniman
ii. Anne b. 18 January 1696 (New or Old Style?) died young
iii. John b. 25 December 1697, m. Mary Wood

(recorded at Mendon)

iv. Anne b. 3 June 1701, m. Joseph Penniman
v. Moses b. 8 September 1705



vital records sources: His birth and marriage are recored in Andover vital records. His death is from
Uxbridge vital records, from a gravestone at the Quaker Meeting House cemetery, Uxbridge.

1. Mendon Proprietors Records


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