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On 1 September 1673, Robert deposed in a court case, with the notation that he was about 20.1 It appears deponents didn't always, if ever, give their age as part of the deposition. Most ages are preceded by "about." There are too many discrepancies, even within the same court case, to rely on these ages as though they were necessarily part of the sworn statement. Since a birth year of about 1652 is plausible, I use it here.
     Robert may have been the man of that name who served in King Philip's War under Maj. Samuel Appleton,2 but I haven't found a way to prove it. Appleton and a hundred men went to Hadley, Massachusetts Bay, in response to attacks in the area by Native Americans. They fought in September 1675. After repelling the Natives from Hadley, Appleton and a group of men, larger than the first, joined the "Great Swamp Fight" in Rhode Island in December 1675. I haven't found if the surviving men in the first group joined the second. The list of soldiers in the Massachusetts Archives doesn't specify when it was taken or where that Robert lived. I find no other Robert Leach in New England of a reasonable age to have fought at this time.
     Robert was a selectman at Manchester in 1680, 1687-8, 1691, 1694, 1696, 1698 and 1700-1705,3 according to a transcription of the original records. He gradually sold his land holdings, leaving it unnecessary for an estate to be probated when he died. He made his mark on his deeds, so he apparently wasn't able to write. The mark was an "R," which he used up to his last deeds in the late 1720s. On 21 February 1716/17 he sold his homestead (on both sides of what is now Summer Street and which included an old and a new house) and many other pieces of land to his oldest son Robert.4 This was a gift based on his son's past and promise of future care of his father in his old age. I believe his homestead was near Kettle Cove in the eastern end of Manchester, which explains why at least two of his daughters married Gloucester men. This agreement with his son may also have been a practical move before he married Jane three weeks later. With Robert, she jointly sold the rest of his land after this. On 30 March 1728 he acknowledged that he made several deeds, and this is the last mention I've found of him alive.5 He isn't in Hale's list of deaths, which probably begins in 1731.6 I don't find Jane mentioned after the last of their joint land sales on 1 September 1727.7 She didn't acknowledge any of her co-signed deeds, but this wasn't uncommon.
The identity of Robert's first two wives is unknown other than their first names. Hannah was probably born about 1657 and married as a widow. Widowers more often married widows than single women at this time. Between 1685 and 1698, Hannah had children regularly, about every two to three years until her last, which came about four and a half years later. This is a sign of a woman having children to the end of normal fertility at about 45 years old.

children of Robert7 and Sarah:

i. Sarah, b. 11 June 1680
ii. Robert, b. 28 February 1682 (record isn't chronological with adjacent entries, leaving to question if this was the Julian or Gregorian year)

children of Robert and Hannah:

iii. Hannah, bap. 18 November 1685
iv. John, b. 15 January 1687 (record isn't chronological with adjacent entries, leaving to question if this was the Julian or Gregorian year)
v. Mary, b. 18 March 1690/91 (record says 1690/91)
vi. Elizabeth, b. 8 March 1692/1693 (same)
vii. Joseph, b. 4 June 1694
viii. Anne, b. 23 May 1696
ix. Paul, b. 11 May 1698
x. Charles, b. 8 October 1702

1. Records and Files of the Quarterley Court of Essex, Massachusetts, vol. 5 (Essex Institute: Salem, MA, 1916), 215.
2. Report of the Committee Appointed to Revise the Soldiers' Record (Danvers, MA,1895), 94, from Massachusetts Archives, vol. 68, leaf 96.
3. D. F. Lamson, History of the town of Manchester, Essex County, Massachusetts (Manchester, MA,1895), 373-4.
4. Essex Co., MA, deeds 32:123.
5. Ibid, 46:229, for example.
6. Essex Institute Historical Collections, vol. 5 (Salem:1863), 16. 7. Essex Co., MA, deeds, 46:229.
8. All of Robert's children's births are in Vital Records of Manchester, Massachusetts to the Year 1849, vol. 1 (Essex Institute: Salem, MA, 1903), 73-76.

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