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Esther was born in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Her family was severly affected by the Salem witch trials, leaving two of her aunts dead by hanging and another in prison. Some of the disputes between Topsfield and Salem Village (now Danvers) that likely contributed to the accusations continued, and when Esther was about 10, the Townes (her father later dropping the "e" from the name) and other Topsfield families affected by the trials, moved to an area called Danforth Farms in Sherborn, Massachusetts. This and adjacent areas comprised the Town of Framingham when it was created in 1700.
     The Towne family, who had dropped the "e" from their name at this point, settled on a large homestead on the north side of the Sudbury River just southwest of what is now Framingham Center. Across the river was the Mellen family. They were a relatively short horse ride away, and one of the Mellen sons, Simon, Jr., became her husband in 1711. He was just shy of coming of age and she was 24.
     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.1 The records 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.2 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.3 They weren't admitted until May 1737.
     The record of her admission at Hopkinton is the last mention I've found of Esther. Simon remarried on 11 October 1744.

children of Esther Town and Simon Mellen:4

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: Her birth is in Vital Records of Topsfield, Massachusetts vol. 1 (Topsfield:1916), 103. Her marriage is in Vital Records of Framingham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston:1911), 386.

1. J. H. Temple, History of Framingham, Massachusetts (Framingham:1887), 195-196.
2., Hopkinton, MA, church records, 1724-1864, 28.
3. Ibid, 29. They were admitted on 26 May.
4. Vital Records of Framingham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston:1911), 138-139.

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