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Simon's signature on his son John's letters of administration, 1750

Simon lived in what is now Framingham, Massachusetts, all his life. It was in the northwestern part of Sherborn until Framingham was set off as its own town in 1700. His father and uncle Thomas apparently took over their father's lease of a farm between Farm Pond and the Sudbury River to the north and Hopkinton River to the west (see the articles on Simon I and Simon II). Although I've found nothing recorded, the brothers must have come to a formal agreement to make a legal division of the property after they bought the land in 1716. Simon's homestead was on the north, Thomas' on the south. Simon sold a part of the north end of his lot to Daniel Pratt in 1713. That was as things stood when he died in 1717.
     In his will, Simon (II) gave "my hous barn & all my land [?] homestead" to his wife Elizabeth. To his oldest son Simon "the hous & land on which he now dwells." An inventory of his estate includes "houses and lands" valued at £350. The only other real estate is "lands in the actuall improvement of Simon Mellins Junr at the decease of his father," £150. The orientation of the homesteads of Simon and Simon, Jr., are shown in an agreement between his widow Elizabeth and her surviving children Simon and James in 1724.1 James got his father's homestead, with Elizabeth's dower right excepted, on the west, and Simon's homestead was on the east, bordering on Farm Pond and Eames Brook. A map interpreting Framingham in 1699 shows the house of Simon Mellen between Farm Pond and the Sudbury River. Overlaying this map onto a modern topographical map shows the "1699" map is fairly accurate geographically.

     How accurate is this map in terms of home sites? It was drawn for Temple's 1887 history of the town based on a survey map from 1699. Thomas Mellen's house isn't shown even though it should in 1699. We're left to assume the map shows the site of Simon (I) Mellen's house, which may be where Simon (II) lived. Since Simon (II) sold the northern part of his homestead to Daniel Pratt in 1713, this likley pushes Thomas' homestead, which is known to have been south of Simon (II), perhaps between "S. Mellen" and "J. Collar." The map also shows, more or less, where John Town lived, and where Simon's (III) wife Esther Town grew up. What's now Maple Street was formalized as a town road in 1700, and Winter Street to the south through the Mellen lands in 1703.2 Neither run exactly as they were originally laid out. Maple Street hasn't changed significantly since it extended from the bridge over the Sudbury River to the meeting house "on the s[outh] side of John Town's door," as described in the town records.
     There's a house at 225 Maple Street (blue asterisk) that is known as the John Town House, but the oldest visible parts of it probably date from after Jonathan Maynard bought the homestead in 1713. The map puts it close to 225 Maple Street and on the same side of the street, so it's reasonable to think Maynard worked with an existing homesite, and maybe some earlier structural features.
     Parts of Winter Street were created when Simon (II) complained that there wasn't a decent way to the meeting house. The road ran by the west end of his house. The current route of the street dates back at least to 1832, as shown on a map of Framingham. The 1699 map shows "S. Mellen" further to the east of the current route. Town records show that the route did change after 1703, but the part above where Cushing Way now meets it - a due north route to the bridge - appears to be described as being retained when alterations were made within the next several decades. The other roads in the area that exist today (on the 1699 map, "Wayte's Farm 300 acres") didn't exist in 1832, and houses in this area south of the Sudbury River were all close to the road. So unless the original route jogged hard to the east as Cushing Way does now, and then again ran southerly, the Mellen and Collar houses, as placed on the map, wouldn't have been near the road. In any case, all the 17th and 18th century houses on the Neck are long gone.
     If we go with the assumption that the "S. Mellen" map site is fairly accurate, and that Simon (II) lived there to his death, Simon's (III) homestead was to the east toward Farm Pond. I've found no evidence of where his house was on his land, and I can't trace the homestead in deeds after his mother and brother made their division agreement in 1724.
     Simon (III) served now and then as a town officer. He was the likelier Simon (vs. Simon II) to have been a "hog constable" (hogreeve or hog tender) in 1717 with his first cousin Henry Mellen.3 He was also a surveyor of highways in 1720 and 1744,4 a tythingman in 1725 and 1739,5 a fenceviewer in 1732 and 17386 and a constable in 1733.7 At the time, constables were given 7 shillings for going around town and alerting the eligible townsmen about upcoming town meetings.8 Simon was also a selectman in 1741.9. He was chosen by the town in 1727 to sweep the meeting house for the next year, for which he was given 15 shillings.10 His father-in-law had done this before he moved to Oxford, Massachusetts, about 1713.
     While he was a surveyor of highways, Simon supervised the rebuilding of the bridge over the Sudbury River along what is now Winter Street, then called "Singleterry's Bridge."11 He provided rum for the workers given that they had to wade in the river in the Spring to get the job done. He asked the Town for compensation but the freeholders voted against it.12
     There were many years of conflict over who held legal title to land on Mellen's Neck, which included common land. I won't go into details about it here, but it's discussed in Temple's History of Framingham. One of the symptoms of this issue was that the meeting house was falling apart, and one of the town's dissenting factions, through their votes, prevented the location and building of a new one. Simon, his uncle Thomas and other Neck dwellers, fed up with the situation, petitioned the church at Hopkinton to allow them to join there.13
The records there show that on 27 November 1732, the petition was considered and objections from the church at Framingham would be sought. The following January Hopkinton agreed, although without letters of dismissal from Framingham. More Framingham church members petitioned to be admitted to Hopkinton in 1735, and Simon was one of two men charged with bringing the request to the minister at Framingham and wait for an answer.14 The matter was arbitrated by a committee of prominent ministers who agreed to the switch. A year later, in September 1736, several women from Framingham also asked to join at Hopkinton, including Esther (Town) Mellen.15 They weren't admitted until May 1737.
     Simon didn't have an estate to probate, which appears to mean he no longer the owned the homestead he lived on after 1724. All his surviving sons had moved away from Framingham. The last mention I've found of him is on 2 October 1756,16 when, as a resident of Framingham, he sold David land he had bought in Oxford, Massachusetts, in 1751. The 18th century Hopkinton church records don't include death or burial records. The Framingham town records are slim on death records. Most deaths in the published vital records come from gravestones.

children of Simon Mellen and Esther Town:17

i. Mary b. 28 March 1712
ii. John b. 13 May 1714
iii. David b. 10 March 1721/22
iv. Simon b. 10 June 1716
v. Jonathan b. 25 November 1718
vi. Israel b. 22 March 1724/25
vi. Esther b. 22 March 1724/25

vital records sources: Simon's birth is from the Sherborn published vital records. His marriages are from 1. Vital Records of Framingham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston:1911), 335, and 2. Vital records of Sherborn, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston:1911), 154. The latter say that Simon and Susannah were both of Framingham.

1. Middlesex Co., MA, deeds 24:132-3.
2.J. H. Temple, History of Framingham, Massachusetts (Framingham:1887), 157-157.
3. Framingham, MA, town records, 1:72.
4. Ibid, 1:99, 2:43.
5. Ibid, 1:149, 2:17.
6. Ibid, 1:226, 2:10..
7. Ibid, 1:232.
8. Ibid, 1:239.
9. Ibid, 2:25.
10. Ibid, 1:190.
11. A "cart" bridge was built here by order of a town meeting on 12 May 1712. It was where the road requested by Simon's father in 1703 crossed the river, but it was likely necessary to cross by horse. "Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records," database online,, images of microfilm 873046, Framingham town records, vol. 1 (Salt Lake City: The Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971), mss page 52. 12. Ibid, 1:104.
13. History of Framingham, 195-196.
14. Hopkinton, MA, church records, 28.
15. Ibid, 29. They were admitted on 26 May.
16. Worcester Co., MA, deed 38:175.
17. Vital Records of Framingham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston:1911), 138-139.

all text and photographs © 1998-2021 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted