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John Farnum house, now a house museum

John's signature on his will

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 Farnum's in-laws, moved often but seemed to be based in Andover, Massachusetts. Perhaps due to the witchcraft hysteria of 1692/93 in which the Tylers were involved, Hopestill Tyler, John's father-in-law, moved permanently away from Andover. His father and brother Moses had already moved to Mendon, Massachusetts, and it is possible that Hopestill was there as well before settling in Preston, Connecticut, by 1697. 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 £61.1 This establishes the Farnums in Mendon.
     John was elected a constable for Mendon on 1 March 1703.2 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.3 He appears in the 7th division of town lands in 1707.4 He bought Thomas Jewell's house lot in 1709 and 20 more acres in 1710.5
     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 Farnum's and ther continue untill the 28th of January."6
     In December of 1718 John was granted his share in Shockolog (cedar) Swamp.7 In the same year he bought 40 acres of land belonging to the Tyler family.8 John was elected a selectman for the town along with fellow-ancestor Thomas Sanford on 21 March 1721.9 The town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, was formed from Mendon in 1727. The first town meeting was held at "Coronet" John Farnum's house on 27 July of that year.10 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 that met with one from Mendon to settle a controversy about the border line between the towns.11 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 Friend (Quaker). It's been said that his grandson Moses, Jr.'s, parents converted when he was a child, so probably in the 1730s. John may have converted at the same time, and they would have worshipped at Smithfield, Rhode Island. He and his second wife were buried in the Uxbridge Congregational cemetery under stones typical of that denomination. When the construction of Center School and other buildings forced the remains in that cemetery to be moved, the Farnums and their gravestones were moved to the Friends Cemetery, the land for which was given by the same grandson Moses. Moses, Sr., and his wife didn't have gravestones, fully embracing the Friends or Quaker tradition of the time.

John's headstone in the Friends Cemetery, Uxbridge

children of John Farnum and Mary Tyler:11

i. Mary b. 16 March 1693/94, Andover
ii. Anne b. 18 January 1695/96, Andover
iii. John b. 25 December 1697, Andover
iv. Anne b. 3 June 1701, Mendon
v. Moses b. 8 September 1705, Mendon

vital records sources: His birth and marriage are recored in Andover vital records. His death is from Uxbridge vital records, taken from a gravestone at the Friends Cemetery, Uxbridge.

from Vital Records of Andover, Massachusetts, to the year 1849, vol. 1 (Topsfield Historical Society:Topsfield, MA, 1912), 136, 138, 139; Vital Records of Mendon, Massachusetts, to the year 1850, vol. 1 (Boston:1920), 75.

all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted