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John's signature as a witness on a 1660 contract between Taunton men, the digital copy of which is very poor

Hathway or Hathaway?

In my ancestor's biographies I spell their names the way they did wherever possible. Some were illiterate, shown by signing with a mark. Many in the 17th and 18th centuries were semi-literate - they signed their names but probably didn't have frequent reasons to write and not enough education to spell everything correctly. When it comes to surnames, some were committed to a certain spelling. Some spelled their name or names inconsistently, probably because they signed infrequently and it wasn't important to them to be consistent. I also compare signatures of other members of their family. In some cases there was a prevailing spelling of the time. For instance, the prevailing spelling of the family we now call "Hathaway" was "Hathway." Others spelling this name used "Hathwey," "Hatheway" and less commonly "Hadawy" and "Hathaway." "Hathaway" became the standard spelling in the later 18th century, and I think using it is anachronistic for earlier generations. Even if it was phonetic and the signers were semi-literate, I defer to "Hathway" because it was the most common spelling in the 17th and early 18th centuries in New England.

Biographical information, to be edited and formatted:

John was probably born in England, and came to New England with his father. His connection to Nicholas is in the Taunton Proprietary Records: "at ye request of John Andrews of Norton, for to reckon about land on half a purchase right that was originally John Gilbert's, and on one third part of a purchase right that was John Hathway's, originally his father's, Nicholas Hathway."1
      John, of Taunton, was brought to the Colony's General/Court at the October 1649 session for loaning a gun to an "Indian." PCR, vol. 3 (Boston: 1855), 147. 2 He is on a list of Taunton men already free in 29 May 1670.3 I haven't found anything to say that taking the fidelity and freeman's oaths were the same thing, and it appears there are some records of men becoming freemen at the colony court are missing. Savage says Joseph Hathaway was on the 1657 list, which is incorrect. 7 July 1680 PCR Court Orders, 5:44 This Court doth order that all such as are not of our collonie be heerby prohibited of feching oysters from Taunton River with botes or any other vessells; and incase any such shall psist on in soe doing after warning given to the contrary, this Court doth order John Hathway of Taunton and doe heerby impower him to make seizxure of such boates and vessells for the collonies use. 1 June 1663, fined for breach of peace 3 s, 4 p, PCCR, Court Orders, vol. 4 (), 43 7 June 1665, charged Tobey and Phillip, Natives, of stealing swine, 92, carried over to next court, case didn't appear again. John Hathwey, Jr, was on a list of men who "took up theire Freeedom this Court," 6 June 1682, 86 also John Hathewey, in Taunton, O of A 1657, 187 (another in Barnstable 1657, 179) fined at the Gen CT June 1663, John Hatheway of Taunton 3 s, 4 p 108, had not paid by 16 June 1664 110 and 9 June 1665 113 fine owed at June 1668 court 5 s 125 "Haddawey" JOhn of Yarmouth 8 July 1669, 5 s 128 John Hathway served on a jury at the Plymouth General Court 5 June 1658, PCCR Judicial Acts, 88, 5 Mar 1683/4 (Sr. or Jr.?) 275 also 29 Oct 1670 275 (Hatheway), also 6 July 1680, 228, 27 Oct 1681, 245, 7 Mar 1681/2, 248 power of atty for the Suffolk Co. Treasurer in a case that involved someone of Taunton, same date, recused himself from this case. Grand Inquest, 7 June 1670, PCCR Court Orders, vol. 5 (1668-1678) (Boston:1856), 36 There may have been a complaint by Natives of the Colony about the "English" damaging horses and hogs. John was on a committee to look into this representing Taunton. 5 June 1671, PCCR, Court Orders, vol. 5 (Boston:1856), 62 29 Oct 1671, "Indian" Phillip is ordered to pay H 8 1/2 bushels of Indian corn within a month for damage done to his swine, 80 7 June 1676, constable, Taunton, 195 PCCR Court Orders, vol. 5 (1678-1691) (Boston:1856), 44 Deputy to the Gen CT, 1 June 1680, 36 28 Sep 1680, constable of the neighborhood or ward of the Fall River and places adjacent, 52 7 June 1681, alternate? for the Grand Inquest for that year, 60 Deputy, same, 61 28 Oct 1681, served on the Grand Inquest jury 74 He had the unpleasant task of listening to the proceedings against a man whom they "guilty of vile, abominable, and psumtuous attempts to buggery with a mare in the highest nature." 7 Mar 1681/2, 82, a case of a Native American named James, who wasn't found guilty of kicking a man so hard in the stomach that he died three weeks later. 6 June 1682, selectman for Taunton, 84 and deputy, 85 6 June 1683, deputy, 106 on a list of selectmen, no towns given, 107, not among those who were sworn or took the oath 3 June 1684, dep 127, Taunton, and grand inquest, 128, selectman, John Hatheway, Sr., 129 1 July 1684, 142, case of death by misadventure. find record of him donated 10 acres to support Rev. Samuel Danforth. 1687 1690, supp involved in reorganizing milita, was an ensign 7 July 1691, dep, 268 supp dep in 1696 and 1697 12 Jan 1696, foreman on the Bristol Co. Common Pleas jury vol 1696-1702 same, 13 July 1697 atty for Jared Talbot in a case of trespass, 23 Dec 1696 11 Jan 1697/8, common pleas jury foreman, gen sessions juryman 9 July 1700, same, no foreman given 13 Apr 1697, Court of Gen Sessions, petit juryman 10 Oct 1699, Gen Sessions, "persons renewing their license" - prob ref to John, Jr.'s 9 July 1700, gen sessions,grand inquest jury 8 Apr 1701, same 8 July 1701, same 14 Oct 1701, same 1 Jan 1701/2, same 2nd Tuesday of July 1704, Gen Sessions of the Peace, requested that an execution of a suit against Robert Durfee be recorded by the court
     There's no credible evidence John's first wife's maiden name was Shepard. John's last (maybe second) wife Ruth died 10 September 1705. Her gravestone says she was the wife of John, not the relict, inferring he was still alive. An inventory of her estate, which was likely what she brought with her to the marriage, was taken on 23 January 1705/06 (Julian/Gregrian calendars), widow of John, "who died lately." probate case 12569 This puts John's death between 10 September 1705 and 23 January 1705/1706.      The Hathaway family didn't co-found the Chartley Iron Works. John, Sr., was one of several proprietors of Taunton's North Purchase who sold the co-founders land for the forge. This mistake was published long ago and repeated often since.
     In 1912, Town of Dighton Bi-centennial, 1712-1912 claimed that John Hathaway was co-owner of a shipyard on the west side of Taunton River with Thomas Coram, established in 1693. They are also said to have had neighboring houses on Water Street in what is now Dighton. This appears to be the first time such a claim was published even though Coram's shipyard is mentioned in earlier histories of the area without Hathaway, and it's been repeated ever since. I've seen nothing to suggest John, Sr.'s homestead was anywhere other than on the east side of the river in Dighton (now Berkley) and John, Jr.'s, in Freetown.


children of John Hathway and perhaps Martha:

John, b. abt. 1650 (supp. b. 16 August 1650, but no primary record has ever been cited for this)
Abraham, (supp. b. 11 September 1652, but no primary record has ever been cited for this)
Isaac, b. abt. 1655
Ephraim, (supp. b. 8 December 1661, but no primary record has ever been cited for this)

vital records sources: John's marriage to widow Ruth Dyer is in the records of the North Precinct Church of Braintree, MA, now the First Parish Church of Quincy, MA, 25th of 10th month (Julian Calendar), which is December in the current or Gregorian Calendar. See for the index reference to the Waldo C. Sprague manuscript of transcribed records.

1. 5:1, published in Collections of the Old Colony Historical Society, no. 5 (Taunton:1878), 77-78.
2. Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England hereafter (RCNP), Court Orders, vol. 4 (Boston:1856), 187.
3. RCNP, Court Orders, vol. 5 (Boston:1856), 276.

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