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Robert is on the land grant list that was started on 26 December 1636 and continued to 12 July 1637.1 He's listed following his father's name, but no amount of land is given. This was early in the list, inferring a late 1636 or early 1637 date. He appers again later, roughly Spring of 1637, and was granted 20 acres.2 16 January 1636/37, he was given a half acre on Winter Island in Winter Harbor, Salem "for ffishing trade & to build upon."3 The town's marsh and meadowland was ordered to be divided on 25 December 1637,4 and there is a list of grantees, bound in a different part of the original volume, that was likely the result of the order.5 Robert was given two acres. Numbers preceeding the name of the head of household were the number of people in the household. Robert was single.
     Robert wasn't among the Salem men who petitioned to be allowed to settle in the Jeffrey's Creek area of Salem, later to become the town of Manchester. The petition was granted on 14 May 1640. He became a freeman on 29 May 1644.6 The Manchester town records are spotty in the mid to later 17th century, but they do show he was a selectman between 1658 and 1673.7
     Robert Knight charged Robert Leach and John Sibley with trespass and had a court hearing at Ipswich on 27 March 1660.8 Knight claimed they took "several loads of hay from his ground without his knowledge or consent." He withdrew the complaint.
     On 27 June 1665, the minutes of the county court say Robert was sworn in as constable for Manchester.9 Two more court cases show he was also a selectman for the town during the same year.10 The first was the selectmen (Robert and William Bennett) charging John Norman, Sr., for cutting trees in the town's common land for making masts. A writ was for this dates to 17 November 1665. Four days later, another writ was made in which Norman charged Leach and Bennett for "withholding pay for a drum bought for the town to the value of 45" shillings. As town constable, Robert was responsible for serving writs to defendants, so he was in the odd position of having to acknoweldge a writ served to and against himself. In the process, Leach used "a mare of the defendant" as surety. Which defendant isn't said. No outcome of these cases is given.
     An accusation was made by Robert and his son Robert, Jr., on 1 September 1673.11 Robert, Sr., was "aged about fifty-eight years" and Robert, Jr., "about twenty years." Ages given in these court records aren't reliable and most if not all were probably not given by the deponents themselves. There's an instance in which someone gave two depositions within the same case and given two different ages. Other ages are significantly incorrect, others are accurate. In any case, they can be used as a guide. If Robert was born in or about 1615, it means he was about 21 or 22 when he was given 20 acres in January of 1637. Since he appears to be listed in the 1636 grants under the aegis of his father, he might have been near 21. This case is only mentioned in the files of the September 1673 court session and not in the case minutes. The accusation says that George Standley sold Robert (Sr.) two yards of broadcloth, charging him what he had originally paid: 22 shillings a yard. The person who sold it to Standley said he only charged him 15 shillings.
     Robert served on a grand jury at the Essex County court on 26 November 1672.12 Less that two years later he had died without a will, and his probate was settled at this court.13

This writing is to inform the Court, that although Robert Leach late of Manchester died without perfecting his will, yet sometime before he died he declared in the presence of some neighbors as witness that his mind was that after som legacies as follows were paid to his daughters, that is to say to his maried daughters: Sara & Elizabeth, five pounds apeece, to his daughter mary ten pounds & to his two youngest daughters: Bethia & Abigaile eight pounds apeece, that then his whole remaining estate should be left with his beloved wife, Alce Leach & his two sons Samuell & Robert Leach to be equally proportioned amongst them. This is farther to certifie, that although this was the last will and testament of the aforesaid Robert Leach, yett upon farther consideration, Alce Leach the widdow & her two sones Samuell & Robert Leach, have agreed within ourselves freely & Joyntly together to make an adition to these legacies out of our owne estates, as to the two eldest daughters, Sara & Elizabeth what they received from theire father, as theire portions, with the legacies given them by theire father, in his last will & testamt as aboue written, & the adition made there unto by their moth Alce Leach the widdow & theire brothers Samuell & Robt Leach is to amount to fifteene pounds appeece, to each of them they being married haveing received som portion alreddy with that then received & the legacies due by theire fathers last will & testament, with the adition made by theire mother,& brethren doth make up fifteene pounds apeece to Sara & Elizabeth, for the rest of the daughters, Mary, Bethiah & Abigaile what theire father left them as legacies in his last will & testament & the adition made by the widdow Alce Leach there mother & Samuell & Robt there brothers, comes to fifteene pounds apeece, to each of them Mary, Bethiah,& Abigaile. This farther to inform the Hond Court wt is agreed upon within o╩╗selves, Alce Leach the widdow & her two sons, Sam & Robt Leach, that Samuell & Robert Leach taking into consideration theire mothers condition, shee being left a widdow, wee have consulted together for her comfortable subsisting, for som way to continue her maintenance in this her condition, And that ye widdow Alce Leach with her free consent haveing resigned up her interest in that estat as left by her husbant Robt: Leach, in his last will & testament, the which her Interest shee hath, resigned up to her sons Samuell & Robert Leach, upon condition as followeth,That Sam & Robt Leach have taken that whole estate, as left by our father Robt. Leach late deceased in Manchester, upon the resignement of the widdow Alce Leach our mother, haveing resigned up her interest in that estate soe left by our father into our hands in consideration wheareof wee theaforesd Samuell & Robert Leach, have ingaged to paye to our mother, the widdow Alce Leach, ten pounds by the yeare in such pay as may be for her use & as shee stands in need of, & the houss left by our father where shee now lives with the stuff now be longing thereto is to remaine to her out of this estat soe that the yearly pay ingaged by her sons to be pd her with the house & household stuff, is to remaine to her if shee continue in a widdowes condition but if shee marry then all the whole estate fals into the hands of her sons Samuell & Robert Leach they to continue or remaine ingaged to paye, but five pound by the yeare to there mother Alce Leach duering her life time It is further to certifie that Samuell & Robert Leach doe freely consent that theire mother Alce Leach the widdow shall reserve to herself out of the estate afore mentioned, shee to reserve to herselfe twenty pounds, without any exception made of conditions, only that when she dyes, shee to bequeath it to her children according as she please, unto whome to bestow it upon as legacies from herselfe.

To what is heare agreed upon as afore mentioned wee the pties aforesaid doe sett our hands.

Alce (her U mark) Leach
Sam (his S mark) Leach
Robt. Leach

Witness

Sam Freind
John Elathorpe

this 29 June, 1674

Allowed by the court 1:5m:1674 and the said Alce, widow and the two sons Samuell and Robert Leach appointed administrators

Inventory of the estate of Robert Leach, late of Manchester, deceased, appraised by John West and Paul Thorndike

One dwelling house and barne, orchard and 4 score and five akers of upland, 230li
[pounds]
eight akers of Meadow, 50li
six oxen, 30li
eleven Cowse and other young Cattell, 43li
for three Jades and Swine, 14li
for Cartwheeles, plowtackling axes and a part in a sawmill,10li
a part in a boat,15li
debts in John Leaches and farmer Wests hands, 35li
for canooes, guns, sword and other small things, 4li
wearing Cloaths and beding and corn, 28li
for peuter, brass and Iron and other houshold stuff,5li

total 464li

Attested in Salem court 1:5m:1674 by the widow of the deceased and John West.

Agreement made between Samuell Leach and Robert Leach, sons of Robert Leach of Manchester to divide the estate which their father left in their possession as their own inheritance: the houseing, Barns and other small houseing which the said Samuel Leach now possesses with the land they stand upon, that is to say all the land from the Cross Fence standing at the northeast end of ye sd Samuell's orchard and so southward to the Cross Fence that now stands on the northeast side of sd. Robert Leach's barn,itbeing about an acre and a quarter with the house lot and orchard that was our Uncle Foots, as also two acres of salt marsh adjoyning to the marsh of Jno. Sibblee, and land which we bought of Henry Ley, these all to Samuell Leach.
To Robert Leach, the dwelling, outhouseing and barn which the sd.Robert Leach now possesses with the land from the Cross Fence now standing on the northeast side of sd. Robert's barn to the River downward and so between the lot of Jno. Norman and the marsh of Nicholas Vinson. A division of all moveable goods was formerly made to the satisfaction of both parties. Also there isa considerable part of land and meadow they were both concerned in that is yet undivided and the said Samuell not being capable of making any further division appoints his trusty friends John Sibblee and Thomas West his trustees to attend to the division.

Signed and sealed Oct. 7, 1691

Samuel (his 8 mark) Leach
Robert (his R. mark) Leach

Witness:

Thomas West
Sarah (her nn mark) Smith

     "Uncle Foot" was Pasco Foote of Manchester. His origins in Europe and the name of his wife are unknown. When he was born about the early 17th century, Pasco, a Cornish name among the British, was almost exclusively found in Cornwall and neighboring Devon, England. There are several possible family connections to Robert Leach. His wife Alice could have been a Foote and Pasco Foote's wife could have been a Leach. Also possible is that Mrs. Foote and Mrs. Leach were sisters, making Pasco and uncle by marriage. If Pasco married Robert Leach's sister, she may have been born between 1608 and 1614, where there is a gap in the baptisms of Lawrence and Elizabeth's children in Hurst, Berkshire, and room for two more children. One son, Clement, was likely one of these.


children of Robert and Alice, with notes explaining my approximate birth years:

i. Samuel b. abt. 1642-44 (older brother of Robert, wife born 1644, a court record from Nov 1671 says he was 39, ECQC, 5:67, which doesn't fit any other evidence)
ii. Sarah b. perhaps abt. 1646, prob. m. Joseph Herrick, 7 February 1665
iii. Elizabeth b. perhaps abt. 1650, m. an unknown husband (not John Foskett, who was the son-in-law of Robert of Charlestown, MA), still alive in June 1674
iv. Robert b. abt 1653
v. Mary b. perhaps abt. 1658, m. Thomas Field 2 March 1680, Salem
vi. Bethia b. perhaps abt. 1661, m. James Davies, Jr. 1685 (Gloucester), d. 20 August 1733, age 73 (Gloucester vrs.)
vii. Abigail b. perhaps abt. 1663, m. John Day, 1681-2 (Gloucester), d. 7 February 1726(/27?) age about 63 (Gloucester vrs.)




1. Town Records of Salem, vol. 1 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1868), 19.
2. Ibid, 23.
3. "16th of the 11th mo 1636," ibid, 33.
4. Ibid, 61
5. Ibid, 103
6. Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, vol. 2 (Boston:1853), 293.
7. Town Records of Manchester (from the earliest grants of land, 1633, when a portion of Salem until 1736, as contained in the town records of Salem, second and third book of records of the town of Manchester), vol. 1 (Salem, MA: 1889), 8-12.
8. Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts [hereafter ECQC], vol. 2 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1912), 195.
9. Ibid, vol. 3 (1913), 258.
10. Ibid, 292.
11. Ibid, vol. 6 (1913), 215, 222.
12. Ibid, vol. 5 (1916), 105.
13. The Probate Records of Essex County, Massachusetts, vol. 2, 1665-1674 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1917), 400-401.

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