ancestry chart
father mother index home

vital records sources
go to Susannah Spencer's page

Daniel's signature on his father's estate administration bond (top) and his own will

Daniel was born either in Charlestown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, where his father was very likely living in 1640, or Charlestown Village, later incorporated as Woburn, where he likely settled in 1641 (see his father's biography). Four court records in which his age is given don't allow us to pinpoint an exact year of birth, but the average to about 1641.1 The family lived in Charlestown Village (incorporated as Woburn in 1642), moved to Bridgewater by 1665, then to Cambridge Village, which was later incorporated as Newton, roughly in 1669.
     Since Daniel became a shipwright, he would have had an apprenticeship. This likely happened in the mid 1650s when he was in his teens. Since his family were in landlocked Woburn, he probably apprenticed in Salem, where he settled. His father deeded him land in Cambridge Village on 10 January 1678/79, which he sold to his brother Isaac on the same day.2
     There are various references to Daniel's business being at "Knocker's Hole" in Salem. It's said to have earned its name from the sound of mallets at the cluster of shipyards on what was Ruck Creek just before it joined South River at the head of Salem Harbor. Creek Street was a lane that ran along the wharves more or less following the crooked route of waterway. The creek was filled in and the wharves built over in the 19th century. Until the mid 20th century, Creek Street remained while buildings went up in the area. It was straightened and is now Gedney Street. Using current street names, these early shipyards were between Norman and Gedney Streets.

The map "Part of Salem in 1700" (1933) overlaid on a 2021 aerial view.

Daniel is referenced in many publications, both genealogical and historical. Most haver errors or are misleading and have a common origin. Sidney Perley, in his History of Salem, Massachusetts, says Daniel "early lived in the Isle of Jersey , and came to Salem in 1664. He was a ship carpenter, and originated the shipbuilding business at the Creek, later known as Knockers Hole."3 Given how detailed much of his work is and the historical materials available to him, this was a big disservice. The idea that he lived on the Isle of Jersey was a surprising misinterpretation of on an Essex County Notarial record: "Depositions of Jonathan Ager, shipwright, aged 77, Daniel Bacon, shipwright, aged 75, and John Masters, mariner, aged 62, all of Salem, that 'they were nigh neighbours to & well acquainted with Moses Vouden formerly of ye Island of Jersey more lately of Salem...'"4 Jonathan Ager was a shipwright born in Salem in 1639 and John Masters was surely the son of Nathaniel and Ruth of Salem, born about 1654, leaving no doubt they were all Salem men when they were neighbords.
     Perley also said Daniel came to Salem in 1664 and originated the shipbuilding business in Knocker's Hole. This is also odd. He may have worked in the shipyards early-on, but the leaders were men like John Norman, who had a house and wharf there beginning in 1671. John Rix probably was shipbuilding there earlier, but I find no obvious, contemporary references to shipbuilding here in the 1660s despite vague references to it, especially in Perley's various publications. In several court depositions, Daniel is shown to be very much involved in what was a kind of business community in this neighborhood. It's tempting to think people like Norman were primary employers in Knocker's Hole, and Daniel worked for him. This may have been the case at first. A court deposition mentions that in January 1677, James Browne "was at work at the house of Richard Norman [John's brother] at Marblehead and in the evening Mr. Ely Gidney of Salem [Eleazer, shipbuilder] came in with John Norman, Daniell Bakon and Samuell Morgan of Marblehead" and "demanded" money for nails from Morgan, who said they asked too much.5 As is often the case in these court abstracts, details and clarification are much wanted, but this was an action brought by John Norman (who was overhauling a ship) against Morgan (his customer) for "debt, for trimming a boat, with all materials."
     Daniel deposed as a witness to the work of a jobbed-in carpenter at Norman's shipyard. In 1681 he said he and Thomas Coates "some time last winter they were working in the yard with Jno Norman and heard him blame Wm. Smith for bringing Rumry there to saw because he was the cause of the sawing work being spoiled."6 Coates was an apprentice with Daniel. John Dotterage/Dotridge/Doddridge was an apprentice to Robert Wilkes starting in 1676, and when Wilkes died in 1677, Daniel took him on as a servant. He had paid Wilkes's executor "£14 for Doddridge's time, which Bakon declared to be too much to pay for a servant and teach him a trade. Bakon said that he was not bound to teach him the trade of shipwright, nor should he."7 Daniel also said he had "taken much pains in instructing him in the trade of a shipwright or ship carpenter and during the three years he had been with him he had taught him to build ships and ketches" and he had taught him "all he could and had nothing against him, but wished him well."
     Daniel bought his first piece of Knocker's Hole real estate from John Ruck on 1 December 1689.8 This bordered on the creek and was adjacent to Norman's wharf. Daniel never had a wharf of his own. On 14 August 1693 he had an agreement with Capt. Andrew Cratey to build a barque.9 He bought Daniel's lot for £20, which was to be used to build the ship. When Daniel delivered the finished ship the deed would become null and void. This deed says Daniel's house was there, suggesting he had it built in 1690. Where he was before this is a mystery. In his various works describing property owners in 1700 in some towns in Essex County, Sidney Perley's description of Daniel's lots, based on deeds, doesn't mention his house.10 His son Daniel lived and worked on an adjacent property that extended from the creek to Norman Street, and built a house close to the street. I assume Daniel, Sr., was given access to his lot by the lane that became Creek Street, but I don't know exactly when the lane was laid out. It had to have been early-on, because not all the shipbuilders in Knocker's Hole had their own wharves. John Norman may have had a rental agreement with Daniel, Sr., and maybe Jr., to use his wharf. Both Daniels had separate contracts to build ships, so it's not apparent they were in business together.
     In 1708 Daniel bought more land from John Ruck, which had been his orchard, extending his property north to Norman Lane.11 Although there is a deed in which Daniel sold his homestead to Nicholas Chatwell in 1694. It was back in Daniel's ownership by 1708. Chatwell was a mariner, so may have had a similar arrangement to Cratey's, but the release of the obligation wasn't recorded.
     Daniel apparently had this property when he died in 1720. His will specified his estate was to be divided among his heirs, but there's no recorded agreement formalizing a division. There are a few deeds showing the heirs having a share. His grandson Samuel, for instance, sold his share in 1735. It appears Daniel, Jr.'s, share was absorbed into his own estate. He died in 1729. Samuel's deed and those of Daniel, Jr.'s, heirs only mention their share, with no description of real property. There are some heirs for whom there is no record selling their shares, so it's impossible to trace a deed chain for Daniel, Sr.'s, homestead, or say how long his house stood.
     Perley's History of Salem gives some information on a ship that Daniel built.12 It was a brigantine named Neptune. His contract was with Philip English on 7 December 1710, to be completed by 15 April 1713. Perley says that a month later it hadn't yet been finished.
     "Political conditions in England and the distrubed affairs elsewhere caused the general court to order, Oct. 2, 1678, that as a latter had been received the previous April to have the oath of allegiance taken by every male inhabitant sexteen years of age and upwards, and have return made to the recorders of the county courts."13 Daniel had taken the oath on 18 March 1678.
     Daniel is on a list of men claiming "cottage rights" dating from 1661.14 salem comms 56 Cottage rights were given to people who wanted to live in Salem but either were transient, such as fishermen, or couldn't afford to by land with or build a house on it.15 adams These rights were held by the town if they involved common land or by private land owners.The list also says the right was connected to "Sweet's house on his land." This is open to interpretation and suggests private ownership. If this connection dates to 1661, it likely refers to John Sweet, who settled in Salem temporarily before moving to Rhode Island Colony. Otherwise, I don't find any evidence of another Sweet as an alternative. Other entries on the cottage rights list infer that landowners had cottage rights all over the town. Sweet may have had one of these rights.
     The cottage right list dates from 1714 and references 1661 and 1704 lists, both of which are ticked for Daniel. There must have been specific lists in those years in the town records that were referred to, but I don't find them. If the piece of land Daniel bought from John Ruck in 1689 had, at one time, Sweet's house on it, that might explain this if the cottage right was entailed to his house. The deed doesn't refer to a house in 1689, but maybe there was still a foundation on which he built his own house.
     Another reference to cottage rights is attached to a list of men, including Daniel, paid for making up a "stonwall fence on Lynn line between Darlings and Spring pond on accott of old Cottage Rights pd by order of ye Grand Comite & Voat of ye Propriet."16 comms 95 The town boundary with Lynn can be explained by there being thousands of acres of common land there at the use of the town as it saw fit. Spring Pond still exists east of Lynn Street in Salem. This would negate the Knocker's Hole connection, since the town owned the commons. I can't think of a reason Daniel would have a right so far from where he lived and worked. The first of these cottage right documents calls him a sergeant, the second a lieutenant.
     Daniel bought the right to a piece of common land in the "Southfields" of Salem. The main road through that area is now called Lafayette Street, and Daniel's was lot more or less between what is now Lafayette Place and Leach Street.17
     Daniel's will is dated 1 August 1719 and was evidently written by Ebenezer Lambert, one of the witnesses.18 It's very simple. He gave his wife "Susana" the use of his entire estate for life. He gave a fifth share each of what was left after Susannah's death to his children "Daniell," "Susana," Mary, "Mihill" and the children of his deceased son John. Susannah was to be the executor, with Daniel, Jr., and William Luscomb overseers. "Ebene Lambert" and "John Devoriex" were the witnesses. The will was brought to court and approved on 30 June 1720, and the heirs, listed as Daniel Bacon, Sr., Benjamin Boyce, Susanna Boyce and Mihill Bacon accepted it and their mother as executor the next day. John Bacon's children aren't represented, and there's no record of them having a guardian appointed, which was customary when minors were to inherit real estate. We know at least Samuel did, since sold his share in 1735.
     Daniel's inventory shows that he had retired from shipbuilding. It also mentions rooms in the house. It appears to have been small, with a great room on the first floor, a large chamber (bedroom) above it and a kitchen. It had no tables or chairs, suggesting it was behind the great room under a sloping, or "lean to" roof. Since the chamber is discribed as "large," inferrence is that there was a small one as well. If there was a sloping back roof there would have been very small chamber above the kitchen, and empty when the inventory was taken. As was common in smaller houses, the great room was also a bedroom. In this case, given the inventory, the primary bedroom.

To ye hous and land with ye common right land & all at £100 £100=00 [shillings]=00 [pence]

in ye grate loore room a bed & beding 08=00=00
To 5 pare sheets, old, 50 s/ & 4 pilibees
[pillowbears] 10 s/ 03=00=00
To 8 napkins & one table cloth 10 s/ 00=10=00
To 1 old chest of draws & 1 chest 20 s/ 01=00=00
To 1 table & 2 joynt stools 8 s/ 00=08=00
To 1 looking glas 7 s/ & nine chaers 26 s/ 01=06=00
To 1 pare iorn dogs 8 s/ 00=08=00

in ye larg chambr to one fethr bed & beding 05=00=00
To a flock bed 20 s/ To a table a chest 5 chares 15 s/ 01=15=00

in ye kitchin - To a bras cetele old & small 01=00=00
To a brass skilit woarming pan ladles & skimr 00=10=00
To six platers & two basons puter all 43 s/ 02=03=00
allso nine plates 15 s 00=15=00
To two iorn pots & 1 cetle ditto 30 s 01=10=00
To 1 pare iorn dogs & tramels fendr allso 01=00=00
To tin ware etsetr 8 s/ 00=08=00
To an iorn gridiorns chaphen dish tongs shovel 00=12=00

Warwich Palfray
James Ruck

The inventory is undated.

children of Daniel Bacon and Susannah Spencer:19

i. Daniel, b. 14 October 1665
ii. Alice, b. 28 October 1669 ("28: 8 mo: 1669"), d. November 1669 ("9 mo: 1669") 63
iii. Susannah, b. 18 July 1670
iv. Mary, b. 8 June 1673
v. Lydia, b. 23 February 1678/79 ("23: 12 mo: 1678"), d. 25 December 1681 ("25: 10 mo: 1681") 63
vi. Michael, b. 23 October 1676
vii. John, 24 January 1679/80 ("24: 11 mo: 1680")

vital records sources: His marriage is from Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the year 1849, vol. 2 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1918), 69, citing an Essex County Quarterly Court record, "Danyell Bacon" and "Susan Spencer."

1. Three of the court records say "about," so it isn't obvious who gave his age. The other age is specificly given. If any of them are to be believed, only the latter puts his birth possibly well into 1642 (Oct 1641-Oct 1642). The other three combined encompass a date span between Feb 1640 and Jan 1642, so 1641 is the most plausible circa date. Sources: 4 Feb 1678/79, about 38, Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts [hereafter ECQC], vol. 7 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1919), 246; 30 Jan 1671/72, about 30, database online (Salt Lake City, UT: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1974), "Colonial [Middlesex] county court papers, 1648-1798," "Court papers - Folios 27-60 1647-1672," folio 59, group 1, image 1237 of film 7902664; 7 June 1681, about 40 and wife about 36, ECQC, vol 8 (1921), 109; 29 Oct 1716, age 75 (see note 10).
2. Middlesex Co., MA, deeds, 9:167.
3. HS, 28.
4. 29 August 1716 Essex Institute Historical Collections, vol. 43 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1907), 223.
5. ECQC, 7:246.
6. Ibid, (1921), 8:109.
7. Ibid, 110.
8. Essex Co., MA, deeds, 9:266.
9. Ibid, 9:236.
10 Essex Institute Historical Collections, vol. 55 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1919), "Beverly in 1700," 21.
11. 17 Apr 1708, Essex Co., MA, deeds, 26:159.
12. HS, 3:314.
13. Ibid, 116.
14. Records of the Salem Commoners,1713-1739 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1903), 56.
15. Herbert Baxter Adams, Village communities of Cape Anne and Salem, (1883), 65.
16. Records of the Salem Commoners,1713-1739 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1903), 95.
17. Essex Co., MA, deeds, 11:78.
18. Essex Co., MA, probate case 1207.
19. Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the year 1849, vol. 1 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1916), 60.

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