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Deeds say that John was a shipbuilder in Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony, and surely learned the skill from his father. I've found no record of his father transferring any property to him and there's no record of John buying a place where he lived or did business. The only recorded deeds he was involved with was for rights in the common land in the South Fields area of Salem.1 It's likely John did business at the same place as his father and older brother Daniel, which was between Norman and Gedney Streets before the creek was filled in.
     Perley's History of Salem refers to the ship Webb Galley, made by John not long before 6 September 1709.2 321 He sold it to Capt.James Calley of Marblehead for £349. Calley was acting as agent for Timothy Harris, one of the more active English traders in Oporto, Portugal.
     When John died his estate was sizeable, but his debt was larger and he was declared insolvent.3 In 1718, as administrator of John's estate, his brother-in-law Charles King sold the three-acre lot in the South Fields to Samuel King to pay some of the estate's debts, excepting Hannah's widow's thirds.4 I find no record of the house and homestead land being sold. Widow Hannah King was given a license to run and inn and sell liquor in 1720.5 She may have been Hannah (King) Bacon.
     John's estate inventory leaves no doubt about his business. He had large amounts of pine and oak timber, several pitch pots, 2 shallops and a brigantine. He also had a very large number of "trundles," which were the caps on capstans. Since this is oriented to carpentry, he may have specialized in that rather than the entire ship-building process. The other skilled work like blacksmithing may have been jobbed out, but in the end, he owned at least some of the ships. He also had an unusual number of chairs and tables in his household.

An inventory of his estate:

An inventory of Mr. John Bacon's estate both reall & personll who desest Febery. 1715/1716

Item to his homested prizd £ 220=0
[shillings] =0 [pence]
to his land in ye South field 40=0=0
to 1 1/2 duzn chares & 5 tabls 3=6=0
to 1 bed & beding 4=5=0
to 1 chest of draws 0=19=0
to a looking glas 2=0=0
to a bedstid & beding, no bed 1=5=0
to curtains & valins
[valances] 1 pair 1=10=0
to 9 old napkins & tablecloth all 0=6=8
to earthn ware 0-5-0
to 1 bedstid bed & beding 5=5=0
to 1 old pr curtains & valins 0=17=0
to a cabinet & screen 0=15=0
to his wareing apparll 4=10=0
to a wige 0=9=0
to old rubig
[rubbish] in ye garit [garret] 0=15=0
to a walking staf & 9 pr sheets 9/ per 4=7=6
to 1 tramll 2 dogs 1 old citll
[kettle] iron 0=6=0
to 1 small old copr citll 1/6 0=1=6
to 1 small old pr stilyards 0=3=0
to 1 old fring pan earthn ware & woodn dishes all is 0=6=0
to £42 old pewter 1/8 per 3=10=0
to 4 pans & 1 skilitt 0=5=0
to 1 mortr & two earthn dishs 0=3=0
to 1 pitch pot 14/ per 0=14=0
to 1 pitch pot 12/ per 0=12=0
to 31 tun of timbr at 14/ per 22=0=1
to 3856 feet oke plank £6 10 sh per 25=0=6
to 905 feet pine plank £4 10 sh/ per 4=1=3
to 933 feet pine borde 5/ per 2=6=0
to a waile
[prob. wale planking] peace 22/ per 1=2=0
to a waile peace 6/ per 0=6=0
to a waile peace 18/ per 0=18=0
to 1 shallope 23=8=3
to 1 shallope 26=4=3
to 1 brigtn
[brigantine] 35=10=0
to 2750 trundlls 12/ per 1=11=5
to 4 loade of mucke 3/ per 0=12=0
to a hors & bridle & sadle one cow fodr & sow all is 9=0=0
to 58 feet poin
[pine] plank /1 per 0=4=10
[ea--?] per [40--?] 12

James Ruck
Ebenezer Glover

[end page]

brought from the other sides 449=1=5
to 1 ax & 1 ads all 13/ 0=13=0
to one old maule 1 sh/3 0=1=3
to 1 hansaw 5/ per 2 augrs 2 s/6 per 0=10=0
to a small
[grm sto?] winch & frame 0=5=0

per James Ruck
& Ebenezer Glover

more credit pr acct 11=5=3

His funeral charges:

1715/6 John Bacon estate for funerall charges

Febry 16th to 3 yds of cloth sarge att 5/ per £0=17=6
to sondry smal things att 11/9 0=11=9
to 11 yds of rach att 3/6 per 3=3=0
to 5 yds 1/4 of sutstrong att 12/6 per 3=5=7 1/2
to a par of silk gloves att 12/6 per 0=4=6
to a fan att 4/6 0=4=6
to a par of showes att 5/ 0=5=0
£8=19=9 1/2

Joseph Douglass

1715/6 John Bacon estate for funerall charges debt to Samuell Browne

Febry 18th to 2 1/2
[?] buttens 9 d [pence] per 1 qt rum 18 d 0=3=4
to 8 galo wine 4/ per 4
[?] alspice 3 d/ per 1=13=0
to 4 yds mourning crape 4/ per 0=16=0
to 12 pr mens fine gloves 3/3 d per 1=19=0
to 2 pr wo. ditto 3/ per
[ferit?] 5 d 0=6=5
£4=17=9 1/2

Salem Sep 1716 Samll Browne

John's administration account:

...exhibited by Charles King, admr. ffebruary 4 1716

the said estate is creditr.

by ye reall as p inventory 260=0=0
by ye prsonall as p ditto 188=10=8
by more creditt added 11=5=3

the said estate dr.
to sundry creditors as pr ye commissionrs return 642=18=5

The following part comes from the original account and the one that appears in the probate volumes, both written in the same poor handwriting, with odd abbreviations. The probate volume version has a little more information, so I've combined them, eliminated the odd abbreviations and converted to standard spellings for clarity. There is a little descrepancy in the total at the end, so I've given both.

the administrator desires allowance to funerall charges, in all 14=17=6
to Dr.
[Francis] Gathman 4=5=0
to Dr.
[Henry]Sweetzer 7=3=3
to rates 1=15=6
to appraising the estate, 3 days each 1=10=0
to the commissioners 2=0=0
to bond of administrator 7/6 recording inventory 5/ 0=12=6
to comissioners insolvency ditt
[ditto?] appraisers 0=5=0
to recording commissioners return,
[recording list of creditors] 0=4=6
to stating, recording and allowing account 0=9=0
to appraising timber 3/6 setting up fences 12/ 0=15=6
to expenses for commissioners 6/8 0=6=8
to 4 journeys to Ipswich & expenses 1=10=0
to measuring & delivering timber 0=8=0
allowing the widow necessaries in favor of law for lying in at/after her husbands decease, the bedding as appraised for the children 10=0=0
allowed the administrator for time & much trouble & expence 5=10=0
to proportioning to the creditors & order to pay 1=0=0
to a quietus
[release from debts] 0=4=0

creditors 642=18=5
to proportion 407=9=6
proportions 12/8 d per pound

The earliest date on a document in his estate file is 6 February 1715/16, so given that his inventory says he died in February, I've chosen an estimated death date of 1-5 February 1715/16. Two doctors included in the account of debts owed (one if not both of German birth) show that John was had some serious medical condition before he died.
     Among John's children, evidently four married but only Tabitha had children of her own. Hannah undoubtedly married Joseph Hilliard in 1722.6 The Bacon genealogy may have been the first to say this was a second marriage of her widowed mother, which seems to have legitimized the thought for later researchers. Baldwin calls him "Willard," probably because of a slip of the pen in one of the early record transcripts and that it appears just before the marriage of a man named "Willard." Despite the handwriting anomoly, those records show it was "Hillard" and certainly not "Willard." Process of elimination shows that he was the Joseph Hilliard (variously spelled) born in Salem in 1700.7 Baldwin may also have let the 1712 baptism date for the four oldest Bacon children obscure his reasoning. One of them was Hannah. Her parents were married in January 1702 (not 1701, which is a mistake many people have made by not transcribing from the Julian to Gregorian calendars), and Hannah could have been born later in that year or in 1703, making her either 19 or 20 years old in 1722. Aside from this, it's not reasonable to think a widow in her early 40s would marry a 22 year old single man. Baldwin probably didn't know about the latter Joseph and assumed he was much older.
     John, who was probably the second-born child probably died young. Tabitha was probably the third-born. Her gravestone says she died on 7 March 1785 at age 66.8 If correct, this puts her birth between 7 March 1708 and 7 March 1709. Mary's death record says she was also 66 when she died on 30 June 1778, putting her birth between 30 June 1711 and 30 June 1712.9 Samuel was baptized two years later and the last child was Benjamin, born shortly after his father's death in 1716. Felt's History of Salem says Samuel was a bricklayer in Boston in 1735.10
     When John died he left Hannah with at least four, maybe six, young children. John's estate was insolvent due to massive debts, so it was common for a widow in those circumstances to remarry, but there's no plausible evidence that she did.

children of John Bacon and Hannah King. John, Hannah or both must have joined the First Church of Salem about 20 July 1712, since the first four of their children were baptized there on that day:11

Hannah, b. abt 1702-03, bap. 20 July 1712, m. Joseph Hilliard, 1722, no further record
John, b. abt 1705, bap. 20 July 1712, no further record
Tabitha, b. 1708-09, bap. 20 July 1712
Mary, b. abt. 1712, bap. 20 July 1712, m. 1. Benjamin Stacey, 25 September 1735, Salem, 2. Josiah Orne, 28 December 1771, Marblehead12
Samuel bap. 29 August 1714, bricklayer in Boston 1735, no further record, didn't marry Mary Pickering (see Bacons of Dedham/Needham)
Benjamin b. February 1715/1716, m. Mary Ingalls, 11 February 1742, Marblehead, d. 174913

vital records sources: John's birth, on the "24th of the 11th month" (which refers, in the Gregorian or current calendar, to January) is in Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1 (The Essex Institute:Salem, 1903), 60. His marriage is in ibid, vol. 2 (The Essex Institute:Salem, 1924), 69.

1. Essex Co., MA, deeds, 22:209, 22:214, 26:169.
2. Sidney Perley, The History of Salem, Massachusetts [hereafter HS], vol. 3 (Salem, MA: 1928), 321-2.
3. Essex Co., MA, probate case 1213.
4. Essex Co., MA, deeds, 35:77.
5. HS, 86.
6. Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the year 1849, vol. 2 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1918), 69.
7. Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the year 1849, vol. 1 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1916), 434.
8. Vital records of Marblehead, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849, vol. 2 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1908), 593.
9. Vital records of Marblehead, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849, vol. 2 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1908), 625, age 66.
10. Essex Co., MA, deeds, 72:268.
11. Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the year 1849, vol. 1 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1916), 60-61, the baptism dates confirmed in the First Church of Salem records at the Congregational Archives & Library website.
12. Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the year 1849, vol. 2 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1918), 69; Vital records of Marblehead, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849, vol. 2 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1908), 403.
13. Vital records of Marblehead, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849, vol. 2 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1908), 18; Essex Co., MA, probate case 1203.

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