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     Esther grew up in Framingham, Massachusetts. Evidence suggests that her father had brought two orphan children, James and Mary Shafter, into his household, perhaps to work for him. About April of 1751, when Esther was 26 and James was about 20, they conceived a child. They made public their intentions to marry in September (no marriage record has been found for them) and had their child the following January. Esther, her husband and their children moved to Dudley, Massachusetts, where they didn't do well financially. The selectmen gave them warning that they didn't want them to become wards of the town. They apparently made things work for a time since they continued to have children there. Eventually they moved to Richmond, New Hampshire. No record has been found of how much longer Esther lived, but she is said by a descendant to have been buried with her husband in a cemetery in Winchester, New Hampshire, neighboring Richmond.

children of Esther Mellen and James Shafter:

Lois Shafter



sources for vital records: Esther's birth is from the Framingham published vital records. Her marriage intentions are from the Oxford published vital records.




all text and photographs © 1998-2009 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted