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vital records sources
go to Phebe Burges' page


Mathew, Jr.'s, birth year isn't known, but it was most likely between the very late 16th and very early 17th centuries. He was probably born in Little Compton, Province of Massachusetts Bay (but now in Rhode Island), and raised in neighboring Tiverton, also a town eventually transferred to Rhode Island. This was in the area between Watuppa and Stafford Ponds. He and his presumed parents and siblings (discussed at his father's page) moved to Rochester and Dartmouth, Massachusetts Bay. Matthew was a farmer and mason, so unless "mason" was an informal distinction, he would have had an apprenticeship. Even with the rough span of when be was likely born, he would have been begun that while the family was still in Tiverton.
     The first record found of Mathew is when he was warned out of Dartmouth on 30 September 1726 "being no resident there" and on 8 October 1726, his wife-to-be Phebe Burgis, recently of Rochester, was also warned out.1 Phebe grew up in Rochester. In November of that year they were married, both "of Dartmouth," Phebe was almost 18. People who were warned out were often boarding with an established townsperson but with no obvious means of supporting themselves, therefore at risk of needing support from the town. Phebe's parents were still alive in Rochester, but her father was in debt by then and eventually sold all his real estate, so Phebe may have been "working out" to support herself.
     Mathew and Phebe had children's births recorded in Rochester from 1728 to 1735 (Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary). Births there were recorded in groups, taken periodically by the town clerk. Abner was born about 1740, probably in Rochester, followed by Susannah about 1742 and Phebe about 1747. The latter two could have been born in either Rochester or Dartmouth, as the following evidence suggests.
     In June 1732 Mathew bought land on Mattapoisett Neck in Rochester, now in the town of Mattapoisett.2 This deed calls him a "husbandman" or farmer of Rochester. Since he was in that town as early as 1728, the family may have been renting a home there. See his father's page for a discussion of the possibility that Matthew, Sr., his wife Mary and possibly Matthew, Jr., lived on Mattapoisett Neck on a tenant farm, and when the parents moved to Dartmouth, Matthew, Jr., may have taken over that farm as a tenant when he started his own family. It was likely at least in the same neighborhood as the homestead Matthew, Jr., bought, if not the same property. Following the deed chain forward, it was on what is now Oliver's Lane, undoubtedly named for Joseph Allever, who had his homestead there. Allever sold Mathew an acre in 1733 next to the land bought in 1732.3 Ibid, 31:209.



The core of Matthew's property in Rochester. "The Reeds" mentioned in deeds as a boundary is the strip of swamp to the right of the oval. There are two houses on what was his property,
but they probably date to the later 18th or early 19th centuries. The boundary with Fairhaven is on the left, train tracks in the upper left corner.


Phebe, named as the wife of Mathew Howard, and her sister Joannah Burges were baptized as adults at the Mattapoisett church on 1 November 1741.4 In January "1741" (Julian or Gregorian year not indicated, but evidently the dual year should be 1741/1742), Matthew sold their homestead.5 He acknowledged this deed, which calls him a mason of Rochester, in Dartmouth in February 1742/43. Sarah Howard was admitted to the Mattapoisett church and baptized in 1744.6 http://nehh-viewer.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/#/content/Mattapoisett/viewer/Clerk27s20records2C2017361855/32 She may have been Mathew and Phebe's daughter Sarah, who was 17 at the time. No record was found of the other children being baptized, either as minors or adults. There is also no record of Matthew, Mary or Matthew, Jr., joining a church.
     Matthew bought a piece of land in a part of Darmouth that is now Fairhaven, Massachusetts, in March 1750.7 This became his homestead. He is described as a laborer of Rochester, so this infers at least four moves between the two towns between 1726 and 1750 and that he didn't have his own farm. Did the family move from one rental property to another after Matthew sold the Rochester homestead? The distance between these Rochester and Dartmouth homes is a little over two miles, so they may have continued to live in the same small area. It may also mean that at least Phebe still went to church in Mattapoisett. It could also explain why a daughter living in Dartmouth joined the church in Mattapoisett in 1744. What appears to be a confirmatory deed made eight years later says he was a "yoeman, alias mason" and was living on the land.8
     The Howard homestead was in one of the more remote parts of Dartmouth. In mid 18th century deeds, no road is mentioned in the property bounds in this area. New Boston Road now passes through there. There was a cluster of homes where the Howards lived, although evidently replaced by later buildings. A lane once existed through these little farms and surely led somewhere so that the families here and nearby had access to places beyond. No map was found for this article old enough to show this arrangement. An 1895 map shows a meandering road in dotted lines running west and then north from New Boston Road. Although modified, it's now called Charity Stevens Lane.





The top image is from the 1852 Walling map of Bristol Co. showing the larger part of Fairhaven in which the Howards lived. T. and W. Howard (Thomas and William) were grandsons of Matthew
and were deeded parts of their father Abner's homestead, who had gotten it from Matthew. One of the houses indicated may have been Matthew's. M. Howard (Matthew) was another grandson.
Below is from an 1895 atlas of the county showing the meandering lane among the properties.


Matthew sold the farm to his only son Abner in 1773.9 This deed includes a piece of salt meadow he bought in 1763, which isn't in the deed indexes. This was likely along the shores of Shaw's Cove or Little Bay. Marsh grass was used as fodder and thatch. Phebe must have died by then since she didn't sign off on her dower right to the property as she had when they moved from Rochester in 1742. On 21 May 1774, at a Dartmouth town meeting, he was excused from serving as a constable.10 It's odd that the town would elect a 70-75 year-old man to that job, and not surprising he was excused. He acknowledged his deed giving his land to Abner on 10 November 1779, which is the last reference found to him alive. A deed from John Cowing to Abner in 178411 says the eastern boundary was on a gore or narrow strip of land Abner bought in 1767.12 This was part of a larger piece of land Cowing bought in 178213 and he sold Abner the southern part. The 1782 deed says the eastern boundary was on Mathew's land, not Abner's "gore." John Cowing's widow sold the northern part of the 1782 purchase in 1791 to Elisha Stevens.14 70:274 Mathew's land was still to the east, but here he is called deceased. Abner's "gore" was to the west of his father's land and extended along the entire east side of Cowing's property since 1767, so it's a mystery why some of these later deeds say Matthew's was the property to the east and not Abner's.
     The 1790 census doesn't include Mathew as a head of household, and Abner was the only adult male in his own household. This likely means Matthew had died by then. He would have been about 85-90 years old. Without further evidence, it can only be said that he died between the acknowledgement of his deed on 10 November 1779 and his being a deceased land abutter on 19 October 1791.

children of Matthew Howard and Phebe Burgess:15

i. Sarah, b. 21 February 1727/1728
ii. Elizabeth, b. 22 May 1731, same
iii. Mary, b. 21 April 1735, same
iv. Abner, b. abt 1737-40, Rochester (based on his parents' residence)
v. Susannah, b. abt 1741-43
vi. Phebe, b. abt 1746-47





vital records sources: His marriage is in Vital Records of Dartmouth, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, Vo. 2 (Boston:1929), 247.

1. Bristol County, MA: Extracts from Court of General Sessions of the Peace, 1697-1801, session on 4th Tues July 1726, 16.
2. Plymouth Co., MA, deed 27:131.
3. Ibid, 31:209.
4. Congregational Archives & Library, https://www.congregationallibrary.org/nehh/series1, Mattapoisett, Mass. Congregational Church, Church records, 1736-1855, image 29 of ms p. 15; see also Mattapoisett and Old Rochester, Massachusetts (New York:1907), 383.
5. Plymouth Co., MA, deed 35:177.
6. Congregational Archives & Library, https://www.congregationallibrary.org/nehh/series1, Mattapoisett, Mass. Congregational Church, Church records, 1736-1855, image 18 of p. 32.
7. Bristol Co., MA, deed 54:293.
8. Ibid, 54:295.
9. Ibid, 67:342, referring to Seth Marten grantor to Matthew Howard, grantee, 3 Sept 1763.
10. "Massachusetts, U.S., Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988," ancestry.com database online (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011), "Dartmouth, Town Records, with Births, Marriages, and Deaths," image 219 of unpaginated ms.
11. Bristol Co., MA, deed 73:163
12. Ibid, 54:310.
13. Ibid, 63:219.
14. Ibid, 70:274.
15. Vital Records of Rochester, Massachusetts: to the year 1850, vol. 1 (Boston:The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1914), 186.

all text and photographs © 1998-2022 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted














27 June 1732, 27:131 Joseph Lasbee to MH of R, husbandman, Rochester, part of JL's homestead, 26 acres, south end, south by William Parker?, east by the Reeds or bog, west by Parker? 8 Feb 1732/33, Joseph Alever to MH, of Rochester, husbandman, Rochester, 1 acre of Alever's homestead, MH land to the east, 31-209 9 Dec 1736, 31:210, Joseph Allever to Josiah Hammond, MH to the south, west by John West, east by the Reeds 32:93, 9 Sep 1738 Josiah Hammond to Gideon Southworth, both of R Rochester, land he bought from Alever 9 Dec 1736, 20 acres, south by MH, west by John West, east by "the Reeds," 35:177, 6 Jan 1741(prob/42), Matthew, mason, sells with Phebe's consent his homestead in Rochester to Nathan Tupper, mariner, £130 Rochester, part of the land bought from Joseph Lisby, 27 June 1732, and all the land bought from Joseph Alliver 8 Feb 1732/33, 26 acres, begins at the south end of the stone wall, SW co. (SE co. of John West's land), then east on Jonathan Toby 75 rods, then north on the west side of the Reeds or Bog 55 1/2 rods, then west parallel with Toby to the NE co. of a wall (orchard wall), then by wall west to the NW co. of that wall, then straight west to the wall enclosing MH dwelling, then west by the wall to John West's land, then straight line to the first bounds, with the housing or building thereon. acknowledged in Dartmouth 28 Feb 1742/3 (Tupper to Hovey, 49:230, 13 Feb 1760, Jonathan Toby is now Joseph Roach Ivory Hovey to Walter Cornhill, 50:237, 9 Sep 1765, Mattapoisett Precinct, messuage, Joseph Rotch Cornell to Rotch, 52:224, 1 Nov 1766, messuage, Tupper's former dwelling Rotch to Cornell, 54:126 Cornell to Lemuel Lebaron, 57:80, 4 Mar 1773 Lebaron to John Wallace, 88:56 10 July 1784, Wallace to Wallace, Jr., 188:241 Wallis, Jr., to Gardner Cushman 118:193, lot with buildings, house on John Hammond's land Nathaniel Snow to Thomas C. Ames, 123:112, 1811) 54:293, 11 March 1750 Joseph Ellis to MH, £40 Dartmouth, north half of the land he bought from Samuel Osborn, north by William Dexter, east on Samuel Mendel and Thomas Handy, west by Osborn 67:342, 5 July 1773 MH to Abner Howard, son Dartmouth, all his homestead lands, with tract of salt marsh meadow, from Joseph Ellis on 11 March 1750 and Seth Marten 3 Sep 1763 respectively, Matthew acknowledged the deed to Abner on 10 November 1779. 67:342 63:219, 20 March 1782 Lemuel Williams to John Cowing Dartmouth, 24 acres woodland, swampy ground, NW co. of MH, co. of stone wall, north on Wm Dexter, west abt 62 rods to west side of Williams land then south 60 rods to NE co of Williams improved land, stone wall west with wall 56 rods to west side of W land, then north to NW co. 1784, Cowing to Abner Phebe, wife of Matthew, baptized at the 2nd Precinct or Mattapoisett church 1 Nov 1741
Mattapoisett and Old Rochester, Massachusetts, 383 both of Dartmouth when married by Samuel Hunt