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Margaret Maxfield's page page

Thomas' signature from Daniel Hathway's guardianship papers in 1748

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.

     When Thomas married in 1719, he and wife Margaret were living in Freetown. They married in Dighton, surely the part of which that would become Berkley. The Dighton and Freetown records show it was common for couples of Freetown and other nearby towns to marry in Dighton, at least in the first half of the 18th century. There isn't a record of when their parents married, but widow Christian Maxfield and her daughter Margaret lived in Bristol, Massachusetts (now Rhode Island). How the Maxfields and hathways met isn't apparent in records, but towns up the Taunton River had close ties to Bristol, which wasn't far away. On 2 March 1718(/19?) Margaret Maxfield witnessed a deed by John Hathway.1 This leaves little doubt her mother was John's wife by then, and it's likely Thomas and Margaret were living in the same household. John's 1724 will left his homestead to Thomas.2 Usually the oldest son would inherit the family home, but Thomas' older brothers had already been set up by their father on other pieces of his property. Also, there isn't a record of Thomas buying his own property before this, so the assumption probably was that he would settle on the family farm and look after John and Christian. This didn't happen.
     In 1724 Thomas bought his father's share of the Samuel Holloway homestead in Dighton (now Berkley), and then Edward Shove's share in 17283 The Holloway farm was, in turn, a part of the larger "Street Farm," of which Thomas' grandfather John and Samuel's brother Timothy were each one third owners. John Hathway, Sr., (his grandfather) had his homestead there, which passed to his son Abraham. That was on what is now Berkley Street. An old and barely noticable plaque on a post marks the site of his house. Timothy and then Samuel Holloway apparently lived to the south, more or less below what is now Point Street. Thomas had his homestead there, but deeds aren't clear where his house was or if it was an older house when he moved there. It was certainly on the west side of what is now Bayview Avenue somewhere between Dighton Rock State Park and the vicinity of Howland Road. The westerly bounds of his property was salt marshes in or by Smith's Cove and Grassy Island. North of this, he didn't own land to the Taunton River, so the north line of the homestead seems to have corresponded, more or less, to what is now Howland Road as it meets Bayview Avenue. John's will was made on 23 May 1724, giving Thomas his home, but his deed giving Thomas his share of the Dighton land was two days later. John and Christian continued to live in Freetown as late as 1726. The next reference to Thomas in deeds after 1724 was in 1728, when he was already living in Dighton. When he bought Edward Shove's share of the Holloway farm it was partly by exchange of land. The land Thomas gave up was in the same area and may have been part of what his father sold him. In any case, John and Christian, if she was alive, moved between 1726 and 1728 and likely moved into Thomas' household. They didn't move far - the property in Freetown was about three miles from the one in Dighton. John sold some of his Freetown homestead to Thomas' brothers, including the mills, so the property didn't pass entirely out of the family, but it's not obvious what prompted the shift from Freetown to Dighton.
     While still in Freetown, Thomas was elected to represent the town as a petit juryman (Inferior Court) in October 1722.4 The difficulty people had going from the east side of the Taunton River to the west side to attend church and other business became enough of a burden for the east siders to petition for separation into a new town. That happened in 1735, when Berkley was incorporated. Thomas was elected a fenceviewer at the first town meeting on 12 May 1735 and again in 1741, 1743 and 1747.5 In August 1736 he was voted onto a committee to discuss the town's interest in having Mr. Tobey come to preach, which he eventually did.6 He was a selectman in 1737. 7 At a town meeting in April 1738 it was decided who would and wouldn't be given a tax abatement. The reasons for the requests aren't given, but "lame" Thomas Hathway wasn't given an abatement. 8 At the June 1737 session of the Bristol County Court of General Sessions, Thomas petitioned to have his town rates abated, "having lost the use of his limbs."9 The case was held over to the next session but no answer is recorded. The succession here is odd, since it would be more likely for him to petition the court after being refused by the town. He served in town offices after this, so his affliction wasn't permanent - maybe he had broken bones. Other town offices served were field driver (of livestock on common land) and constable.10 Apparently some of the constables for Berkley didn't collect all the town's taxes, which was one of their duties. There is no mention why, but it appears some people paid long after they were due. Between 1743 and 1747 there was a different constable each year. The earlier constables tended not to be in "arrears," including Thomas, but those who served in 1746 and 1747 were the most behind.11
     Letters of Administration for Thomas's estate were given to Margaret on 21 January 1754,12 suggesting he had died some time in the winter of 1753-54. An inventory of the estate was taken on 29 January 1754:

(with spelling modified and category headings added within the list)

real estate:

The homestead, with land, dwelling house, barn and other buildings valued at £339
a piece of wood land £42

debts due:

credit due the estate from Stephen Hatheway by note about £5
due from Jael Hatheway by note about 13 shillings, 7 pence
due from Christopher Paull about £5, 15 s, 6 p
due from John Nichols by note 10 s
remaining due from David Briggs, Jr., by note 13 s, 6 p
due from Maj. Thomas Gilbert by note £1, 12 s

his clothing:

a blue coat with metal buttons £1, 10 s
a black jacket 19 s
a great coat 12 s
a black coat £1, 10 s
a pair of black breeches 4 s
an old coat 4 s
an old flannel jacket 2 s
2 pairs of breeches 1 s, 6 p
a hat 13 s, 4 p
a pair of stockings 2 s
2 pair of stockings 1 s, 8 p
2 flannel shirts 8 s
a pair of boots 13 s, 4 p
2 pairs of shoes 6 s, 10? p
a handkerchief 8 p
a pair of yarn gloves 1 s, 6 p

household items:

a bed ticking and feathers to the bed in the Great Room £2, 11 s
the bedstead and cord and underbed for the same 10 s, 8 p
bolster, two pillows and pillow cases for the same 12 s
a coverlet for the same 11 s
a ticking and feathers for the trundle bed 17 s, 4 p
trundle bedstead and cord 3 s, 4 p
two old flannel blankets and bolster to the trundle bed 10 s
an old quilt for the trundle bed 3 s, 4 p
a bed, bedstead and furniture in the bedroom £2, 2 s
a bedstead, cord, ticking and feathers in the lean-to £2, 17 s
two flannel blankets, voerlet, two pillows and a bolster for the bed 18 s
a bed, bedstead and bed clothing in the chamber £3, 7 s, 9 p
three pairs of sheets £1, 3 s
two old Bibles and eleven small books £1, 14 s
22 lbs of coverlet yarn 18 s, 8 p
16 3/4 lbs of sheep's wool 12 s
6 1/2 lbs of wooolen yard 4 s, 6 p
14 lbs of hatcheted flax 15 s
about 50 lbs of flax from the swingle £1, 8 s


a horse £8, 4 s
a yoke of oxen £7
a yoke of steers £4, 10 s
a yoke of steers £4
a brindle cow £3
a red cow £3
a young red cow £2, 12 s
a farrow cow £2, 2 s
2 steer calves £1, 2 s
a 2 year-old heifer £1, 18 s
a 2 year-old heifer £1, 18 s
5 pigs £3, 10 s
31 sheep £6

farm produce:

about 3 1/2 loads of English hay £4, 10 s
about 2 loads of meadow hay £1, 4 s
about 3 loads of stalks £1, 18 s
about 48 bushels of oats in the straw £3
about 150 bushels of Indian corn £15
about 24 bushels of rye £3
about 4 bushels of wheat 10 s
about 5 bushels of barley 10 s
1 1/2 bushels of malt 1 s, 6 p
a cow hide and about 12 pounds of tallow £2, 10 s
about 700 "weight" of pork £7, 14 s
about 30 lbs of sole leather £1, 6 s, 8 p

household items:

a gun £1
a gun 16 s
a cutlass 4 s
2 great chairs 4 s
a pair of worsted combs 5 s
about nine pecks of salt 4 s, 6 p
2 old wheels and 1 old table 4 s
a churn 2 s
2 foot wheels 6 s
a great wheel 4 s
3 old chests and 1 old trunk 7 s
a bag and 1 old basket 2 s
a bell and 2 old bells 9 s
old casks in the chamber and 1 old tub 1 s, 6 p
a looking glass 6 p
a pair of looms 16 s
an iron kettle 2 s
a great iron kettle 15 s
an iron pan 1 s, 2 p
an old iron pot 3 s
an iron pot 3 s
a little iron pot 1 s, 6 p
an iron pot 6 s
an old bell metal skillet 6 s
an old brass kettle 16 s
an old warming pan 2 s
2 pewter platters and 4 old plates and 2 pewter platters 12 s, 6
2 trammels and 2 pair of tongs and 2 old gridiron 18 s
2 pair of andirons 16 s
an old table 6 s
12 chairs 18 s
part of a case of bottles with four whole ones 5 s
2 old sieves 1 s, 6 p
2 pails 1 s, 6 p
an hour glass 10 p
2 glass bottles 9 p
1 sieve 2 s, 6 p

farming items:

a grindstone 5 s, 4 p
a pair of small stones for a malt mill 8 s
a saddle and bridle and pillion £1, 1 s, 4 p
12 old hogsheads and 5 old barrels in the cellar 16 s
an old stub scythe 4 s
2 old bells 2 s, 6 p
a pair of horse traces 3 s a mortice ax and an old adze 4 s
a beetle 1 s, 1 p
old casks in the crib 10 s, 8 p
an old sled 2 s
3 chains and one ox yoke 10 s, 8 p
2 old yokes 2 s
an ox cart and wheels £5, 6 s, 8 p
a pair of horse cart wheels and cart £1, 6 s, 8 p
2 old plows and plow irons 12 s
an old flax brake 2 s, 8 p
a pair of horse traces 8 s
scyths and an adze 5 s, 4 p
old algers 2 s, 8 p
3 iron wedges 4 s
2 old axes 4 s
a pair of fire tongs 3 s
part of a trammel 1 s
a pewter platter and one pewter plate 4 s
an iron pot 4 s


2 flannel blankets 11 s
2 sheets 9 s
a bed ticking and feathers £2, 11 s
a coverlet 4 s
a bedstead and bed cord 3 s
an old chest 1 s, 6 p
4 old chairs 5 s
about 12 lbs of coverlet wool 4 s, 8 p
a pillow case 1 s
a horse £2
a drawing knife 4 s
a hand saw 3 s
a burrow chisel 10 p
a broad chisel 6 p
a square 2 s, 6 p
2 breast bits 2 s

Margaret made this account as adminstrator of Thomas' estate:

in addition to the inventory value of £146, 14 s, 10 p, she added 2 years of rye harvested on the farm, £16

...the sd accountant prayeth for allowence of ye sd deceaseds funeral charge 7 s
Likewise for ye funeral charge of her son Samuel who departed this life since ye decease of his father 7 s
...paid to Docter Turner for his visits and medisons for ye two deceased ye sum of £2
paid to Docter Pratt £1, 3 s
to ye charge of taking ye inventory and coppy £1, 10 s, 10 p
paid to ye County Register for recording deeds 1 s, 2 p
paid to Abel Burt 6 s
paid to Thomas Clerk 2 s, 4 p
paid to Thomas Evins 18 s
paid for ye charge of suite brought by sd Evins aginst ye administratrix 12 s
paid James Winslow ye sum of 13 s, 7 p
paid to ye Honerable Judge of Probate for letters of administration and bonds 13 s, 6 p
administratrixs time journeys and expence £1, 10 s
likewise prays for allowance of a cartain debt of Majr Thomas Gilbert due to ye estate which was inventored and cannot be recovered being no
[securety?] taken for ye same £1, 12 s
likewise prays allowance of sundry provitions that was prized and used for ye support of ye family viz about 140 bushels of Indian corn £13, 16 s
about 24 bushels of rie & four bushels of wheet £3, 10 s
about 5 bushels of barly and about 1 1/2 malt 11 s, 6 p
to beef and tallow £2, 4 s
about 700 lbs of pork £7, 14 s
38 lbs sole lather used in ye family which wsa prized £1, 6 s, 8 p
flax that was used in ye family prized at £2, 3 s
£43, 6 s, 5 p
and allso prays for ye allowance of ye necessaries of house keeping £8 allowing and registering this accompt &c 9 s, 4 d

Margaret her x mark Hatheway

June ye 7th 1756 a true accompt errors excepted

Nov 2nd 1756 sworn

children of Thomas Hathway and Margaret Maxfield:

i. Charity b. abt 1721
ii. Richard b. 14 February 1723(/1724?)
iii. Rachel b. 26 May 1725
iv. Christian b. 1 January 1726(/1727?)
v. John b. (no day given) November 1728
vi. Jerusha b. 28 September 1729
vii. Hepsibah b. 1 September 1731
viii. Thomas b. 27 May 1733
ix. Samuel b. 22 March 1735(/1736?)
x. Margaret b. 10 April 1737

1. Bristol Co., MA, deed 39:356.
2. Bristol Co., MA, probate files 12447-12448.
3. Bristol Co., MA, deeds 20:9-10, 25 May 1724 (20:9), John and Thomas of Freetown; 8 Apr 1728 (20:10), from Edward Shove, Thomas of Dighton, son of John lately of Freetown, now Dighton.
4. Freetown, "Town records, 1686-1886," database online, image 43 of p. 65. 5. Berkley town records (hereafter BTR), database online, LDS film 007009646, image 9 of original town record book 1, p. 11, also 8 Mar 1735/6, (image 12, p. 16), 25 March 1740/41 (22/38), 14 Mar 1742/43 (26/45) and 16 Mar 1746/47 (35/64). His cousin Thomas Hathway, designated "Jr.," appears for the first time in town records at the latter meeting as an elected hogreave.
6. Ibid, 3 August 1736 (13/19).
7. Ibid, 15 Mar 1736/7 (14/21).
8. Ibid, 25 Apr 1738 (21/27).
9. Bristol County, MA, Court of General Sessions, orig vol. 1714-1738, p. 302, see also, LDS film #007842351, image 135.
10. BTR, 10 March 1739/40 (20/34), 19 Mar 1743/44 (30/54).
11. Ibid, 23 May 1748 (39/72).
12. Bristol Co., MA, probate file 12607.

all text and photographs © 1998-2023 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted