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James came to Massachusetts Bay Colony with his father and brother about 1638. They settled in the Mackerel Cove neighborhood of Salem, now in the town of Beverly. His aunt Elizabeth (Patch) Woodbery and her family had already settled there. As neighbors and first cousins, the proximity of James and aunt Elizabeth's daughter Hannah Woodbery led to what may have been a marriage of necessity. There's no record of their marriage, but their first child was supposedly born on 16 June 164(?). This is taken from a transcription of the original records, the latter not being availabe in any outlet outside of Salem that I've found, if they still exist at all. Her sister Mary was supposedly born in May 1647, died in October 1648 and another child was named for her who was born in April 1649. Technically, Elizabeth could have been born in June 1648, but this means Hannah would have become pregnant soon after the births of two of her children. This is very unlikely. June 1646 is possible. Hannah's last child was born 1690, which suggests she was in her mid 40s, so a birth in 1645 or 1646 is reasonable. If so, neither James nor Hannah were adults when they married. If it was in the Fall of 1644, Hannah was 15 and James 18, and if it was a year later they were still minors. There is a gap in Patch children's births between 1649 and 1655. Is the transcription wrong about the birth being in the 1640s? Some people have put her birth in 1654 and ignore the 164_, maybe because it fits better with other circumstances.
     James came of age about September 1647, at which point he was certainly already married and with daughter Mary, so Elizabeth being born in either 1648 or maybe the 1650s doesn't change the status of the couple as minors when they married. James was granted 40 acres by the Town of Salem on 21 January 1649/50, when he was 23.1 His father may have given him land before this. He requested an exchange of land on Cape Ann side (the eastern part of Beverly), but there's no indication that happened.2 He was chosen a Town Surveyor of Highways for the following year in April 1658,3 but died later that year. John Patch was Surveyor of Highways on the "Cape Ann side" of Salem "in room of his brother."4, since James died before the year was out.

Will of James Patch, dated, Aug. 7, 1658, was proved, 1: 9: 1658. He bequeathed to "my beloved wife Hannah Patch, my house and lands, orchard, and all appertaynances of it, belonging to my home groundes, together with that parcell of meadow, Laying near Rich. Dodges, as allso two Cowes, together with ten acres of Rockey land laying on the east side of the home lott, For wood: as also all the household stuffe, in the house for the competent bringing up of the children. I give and bequeath unto my Son James Patch, all my part of the Farme (called Knights farme) both vpland & meadow, all my right there be it more or lesse: together with the two youngest Oxen, and the horse. I doe nextly Give and bequeath vnto my Daughter Mary Patch ye two oxen that are oldest; togeth' with one Cow, and allso ten acres of vpland, Laying neare Sawyers Playne. "Vnto my Daughter Elizabeth Patch I give and bequeath by will, my two middle Oxen, as also one Cow, together with twenty acres of vpland laying by the Land, called Eastyes land, and Joyneing next vnto the sayd land. I doe also by my will appoint my Beloved wife Hanna Patch to be my lawfull exsequitrix, to administer vpon my estate to Receive my dues, to discharge all debts, of mine; with the remainder of my estate, Corne Cattell or other goods, whare belongeing unto me. Farther more I doe by will Constitute and ordayne & appoint my two Brothers, viz. Nicholas Woodberry & John Patch, to be overseers of this my last will; and to act and Doe in reference unto my Estate, wife & children, as overseers & Feofeyes of trust accord, to Law & reason vse to doe." The witnesses were Thomas Lothrop and John Hill.

Inventory taken, 27: 6: 1658, by Richard (his mark) Brackenbury, John Thorndike, Zabulon Hillt and John Hillt: One dwelling house & barne, one orchyard & 5 akers of land improued, 50li.; 4 akers of Indyan Corne, 8li.; 10 akers of land Rockey, 2li.; 3 akers of meadow, 9li.; 10 akers of land nere Sawyers plain, 10li.; 20 akers of land nere Eastyes lot, 10li.; one third part of knights his farme, 20li.; 6 oxen, one payr, 13li., the next, 12li., the worst, 1li., 36li.; one horse, 12li.; one young Colte, 4li.; 4 Cowes, 12li.; one yearing & 2 Calfes, 3li.; one ewe, one weather, one Rame, one Lambe, 3li.; 2 hogges & 4 smal pigges, 3li.; one third part of a shalop, 10li.; 7 barrills & better of mackeril, 9li.; one waggon, 1 pr. of wheels, 2 plowes & plowtackle, 5li.; axes & workeing tooles, 1li.; 2 musketts & bandoliers, 1 fowleing piece & sword, 3li.; 2 bedds, bedclothes, sheets, Curtain & aperteinanses, 14li.; wearing aparaile, 1li.; 1 yard of broad Cloth & 2 yds of peniston, 1li.; 2 Iron potts, 1 kettle, potthookes, Rackes & 3 Iron wedges, 1li. 12s.; 2 brasse kettles, 3 skellitts, warming pan & Skimer, 2li.; 1 lanthorne besides pewter, lattin ware, smoothing Iron, hourglasse, portingale ware, morter & pestill, 1li.; 2 Chests, 2 boxes, 1 wheele & woodden ware, 2li.; 12 pound of Cotten wooll, 12 pound of flax, 12 pound Linen & 8 pound of Cotten yarne, 4li. 4s.; 1 Doung forke, howes, 1 payr of Cardes & frying pan, 1li.; English corne & flax undrest, 3li.; total, 250li. 16s.5

The Indian corn and meadow land add up to 7 acres, and they must be the meadow by Richard Dodge mentioned in the will.

     In an undated letter referring to James' estate, James, Jr., asks the probate court to delay the distribution of it in his "absence."6 On 26 May 1701 he was appointed administrator of the estate.6 Two versions of the administration bond exist - one in the estate packet with signatures and one recorded in a probate book. The signed paper in the packet is the usual kind and says James was to take care of what had yet to be administered. The recorded version says that Hannah had been the executor but died without completing the administration. James was to account for all outstanding debts and credits and make an inventory of the estate. The latter was taken on 10 February 1701/02 and is as follows:

5 acres of land wth an old orchard upon it - £25
an old house upon said land £15, a barn £10 - £25
8 acres of Rockey land £16, 7 acres of meadow laying in Wenham £14 - £30

     There's a discrepancy of 2 acres in the "Rockey" lot, which a later document shows was an error. The 7 acres of meadow, presumably the Indian corn lot and meadow near Richard Dodge, is referred to as being in Wenham. Richard Dodge lived in Beverly, but probably on or near the border with Wenham, where most of the immigrant Dodge families settled. This real estate was given to Hannah as part of her dower. It may be that James' will didn't specify to whom the dower reversion would go, which left a loose end. What followed is odd. First, there's no evidence that anything was done with the estate until 1707. An agreement was made between James and his sisters, the latter both by the proxy of Richard Thistle, husband of Elizabeth Patch. I include it here with a few modifications in spelling and abbreviations:

May 19 1707

Mr. James Patch & his brother Richard Thistle, for himself in right of his wife Elizabeth & in right of his sister Thorndike, have made this agreement with respect to their father James Patch's estate, the said James Patch shall enjoy all the estate of his said father, he paying to said Thistle for himself & his sister aforesaid the sum of fifty one pounds current money "at fifteen p. ? p. 6s" (shillings), one half within the space of one month & the other half on or before the first of June come twelve months & said James Patch paying all charges of administration & said Thistle 9 shillings toward his charge.

James Patch
Richard Thistle

     This was voided when, within two months, James sold his right to the estate to Thistle for £64.8 7 July 1707 It was more particularly described as the six-acre homestead, which had been occupied by Robert Bradford, the ten-acre Rocky Land on the other side of the highway from the homestead and three acres of meadow in Wenham. The four acre Indian corn lot is missing. Mary (Patch) Thorndike and her husband Paul sold her quarter right to the estate to Thistle for £20 on 4 August 1707.9 Thistle then sold the lots to Richard Thistle, Jr., on the same day for £72,10 (the deed was partly a nod toward his giving Richard, Jr., "his portion," in lieu of waiting to will him something, so this may explain his selling it for less than he spent bying it.) but the full seven acres of meadow reappears here. If Mary sold a quarter right, it's reasonable to think Elizabeth (Patch) Thistle had another quarter right and James, as the only son, had a half right or "double portion," as it was often called.
     Patch, Thistle and Thorndike all had homesteads elsewhere, so the old Patch homestead must have been rented, maybe for many years. After Hannah's second husband Mark Haskell died about 1669, she had the use of his homestead to bring up their two sons, leaving her, theoretically, with two options. The Patch homestead may have been rented as soon as Hannah remarried, which wasn't long after James Patch died. I've found no evidence where she and her five children lived between 1668 and her death, which was certainly before May 1701. I haven't found any deeds that show her selling the Haskell homestead. If it wasn't sold, it would have ended up with her son William, who survived longer than his brother Mark, but I also find no evidence of him with it.

children of James Patch and Hannah Woodbury:

Elizabeth b. 16 June, prob. 1645 or 1646
Mary b. 21 May 1647, d. 30 October, prob. 1648 (Salem records say 1649, but see b. of Mary below),
Mary b. 6 April 1649
James b. 21 June 1655
Nicholas b. 21 October 1657, d. 16 January 1657/1658

1. Collections of the Essex Institute vol. 9, "Town Records of Salem, Massacusetts" (), 163.
2. Ibid, 213, 8 March 1657/58.
3. Ibid, 215, 26 April 1658.
4. Ibid, 220, 21 November 1658. Cape Ann side generally referred to what is now the eastern part of Beverly, Bass River what is now downtown Beverly and Ryal side the part west of Bass River.
5. The Probate Records of Essex County (Salem:The Essex Institute, 1916), 270-271.
6. Essex Co., MA, probate file 20704.
7. Essex Co., MA, probate book 309:312.
8. Ibid, 309:236.
9. Essex Co., MA, deed 20:41b-42
10. Ibid, 20:42b-43b.

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