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(bio in progress)

     Nathaniel lived his entire life in Manchester. The church there was a parish of the First Church of Beverly until 1716. He was received in full communion at Beverly on 29 April 1716, and in the following October, records show that he and others from Manchester who had been received the same day were then dismissed as founding members of the church in the now incorporated town of Manchester. There's no record of his baptism, and it's likely he and his siblings were baptized in Manchester. The church records there before 1716 are lost or were never kept.
     Nathaniel, like his father, was a house carpenter, and may have been his apprentice. Shortly after Nathaniel turned 21, his father sold him several pieces of real estate. 24 April 1713, 25:181. One was his homestead in Manchester "adjoying to ye Minstry house" with two acres of land. The second was forty acres, evidently being the south end of Great Neck based on the description. The third was all his father's rights to the town's common land, both divided and undivided. He also gave Nathaniel four oxen, an "open" sloop,fn the meaning of open in this context isn't clear, but it may have meant a lack of decking to allow for a bigger capacity for commercial transport. half interest in another open sloop and whatever else he had rights to in Manchester. Nathaniel was his oldest son, and he obviously was helping to set him up in business for himself. The oxen and sloops may have been for shipping and hauling timber for building houses. His father was only about 55 at the time, but may have retired for some reason. He died less than a year later, so he may have already been in a physical decline. Nathaniel's mother wasn't involved in the deed, which is odd. She had a right to a dower interest in her husband's land, including their house. This is even more interesting since Abraham's estate inventory, taken the following January, has a listing for "the dwelling house and one acre of land thereto adjoining." None of the other real estate transactions for Abraham refer to a house, but it may have been on his land at Great Neck, where others lived. 5 July 1714, sells to Benjamin Allen a gore of land near Nath's house, 30 poles, w by the highway near the Ministry barn, nw co near the way, then sw by way that goes to Widow Trickers house 10 poles to a rock, then sw by B Allen to the highwah, then on highway to the first 61:189 Nathaniel was the administrator for the estate of his grandfather Nathaniel. He was granted permission by the York County Superior Court on 24 August 1715 to sell his grandfather's real estate in the town of Wells, Maine, including a 100 acre farm and orchard "on Ogunquit side." Other parcels sold were a piece of salt marsh and an island of thatch, all at or near Wells harbor, and a "fresh meadow"" (fresh water marsh) known as "Masters Meadow."
On 12 November 1717 Nathaniel bought "Codner's lot" on Great Neck, which abutted Nathaniel's land there inherited from his father. 32:181      In September 1718 the residents of Manchester with rights to the town's common land, including "Nathll Marstus," voted to give up timber to build a church and a school. 12 September, Town Records of Manchester from 1718 to 1769, vol. 2 (Salem:1891), 2. 9 Jan 1722/23, he bought the house and lands of Phillip Nicholls in Newport. 1. three acres bound n by Daniel Williams, w part by the way and partly John Lee and partly Nichol's orchard, s by what was Mr. Woodbery's se corner bounds, then north on Samuel Lee 2. six acres partly by the house and partly by the barn, an acre by the house bound n by Lee, e by Woodbery, s by Woodbery and the 2nd piece, whcy is bounded n by the way, w by Mr. Bennet he bought from Pitnam, s by the sea and e by land formerly Woodbery, including the house and barn. 42:120 16 Jan 1722/3, Woodbery heirs to Nath, part of brother Sams land at Nichol's Point, Newport, n by the creek or cove and all other ways by salt water, cove & sea, also 5 acres upland, the southerly 5 acres laid out of the 20 acre lott that was SWoodbery's., se off to Joseph Woodbery, on of the grantors, e by John Knowlton, n by the third lot set to SN, w by Woodbery 43:19 23 July 1722, from Robert Woodbery, Sr., adm of Samuel Woodbery, to Nath, shoreman and Shadrack Norton, husbandman, for 50 lbs, a piece of salt marsh, thatch ground and fresh meadow, 3 acres, 25 poles, w by Chubb's Creek and the river adjoining, s by by land sold to SN, e by land of Woodbery, n by marsh of Benj Woodbery. 42:249 sold 6 May 1723 to Hezekiah and Samuel Ober 33:7 23 July 1722, RW, adm, to Nath and Richard Leach, both shoremen, easterly part of the Old Field, 3 acres, 144 poles 40:200 7 Dec 1723, he bought two acres of land from Daniel Williams in the Newport neighborhood of Manchester. 42:18 12 Dec 1723, he and William Badcock of Beverly bought a five and a quarter acres of land in Newport from John Woodberry. 41:232 6 Jan 1724/5, sold to Abraham 2 acres with house and barn, nw at a stake at the corner o the wall by the way, then e wit the wall partly by town land and Mr. Cheever to a stake, then s by Cheever and Sam Leach as the wall to a stakc, w party by Deacon Allen and John Lee?, by wall to stake then n by Jabez Dodge to a stake by a rock then w by Dodge with fence I wall to stake, then n by the way. 44:128 13 Jan 1724/5, boiught from Samuel Lee an acre lot, starting on a way and going as far as the way that goes up to Marsters'ss house, then ne to a corner of Marsters'ss orchard, the along M land to the former highway, then w by sd old way to the first. Samuel Lee Jr. sold him and acre of upland and salt marsh about the same time 13 July 1730, Nathaniel and Benjamin W bought a house and land from John Woodbery mostly in Manchester, otherwise in Beverly, s by country highway and by Wm Badcock & Israel Foster, e by Badkcock, Foster, Joseph Woodbey and a highway, n by SN & heirs of Thomas Wst Jr., w by Badcock & West heirs etc. 57:65 Nath yoeman 3 March 1729/30, John Woodberry to Nath, shoreman alias yoeman 56:202 sold to John Lee Jr. 15 Feb 1731/2 75:101 The latter says Nath was a yoeman. Samuel Brown bought the land bought by Nath and Richard Leach on Gloucester line 27 Nov 1730 57:166 16 Nov 1733, Nath, gentleman, sells the stage point to Samuel Lee, Jr., bounded e by Sam Lee and Richard Leach, co owners, so by sea, nw and ne by Masters 68:163 7 March 1727/28, surveyor of highways to Newport 172 9 Dec 1723, agreed to pay Nathaniel for use of his "shallop" and its crew for privateering. Alexander Strong Wheeler, William Cross Williamson, The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, vol. 10 (Boston: 1902), 388 The shallop was commandeered by Capt. Robert Durell of the ship Seahorse, which had been sent from England to protect the colony's interest's against pirates in the Atlantic Ocean. The crew on this ship is credited with bringing small pox to New England in 1721, which caused a widespread epidemic. "Shallop" is a vague term for a small boat, and could have referred to an open sloop, as mentioned above. In late January 1731 he was on a committee to "stent and propotion the General paster in our town of Manchester ther portion of stock to ye Intrest in ye Grate and Genoreel paster so Called." Ibid, 15.This refers pasture land owned by the town. In early March 1735/36, at a town meeting, Nathaniel was chosen to be a "hogward" (who supervised the pigs on common land) and a fence surveyer. 9 March, ibid, 21. At the same meeting he was appointed to two committees. One was to find male and female teachers (schoole Dams & a Schoole Marstur") for the town's schools. The other was to respond to the General Court (for the province, at Boston) about a petition from towns in the northern part of Essex County to be set off as a new county, since it was considered an unfair burden to travel to the county courthouse at Salem. The following May he was on a committee to petition the General Court for an abatement of the town's province taxes for the previous year. 10 May, ibid, 23. The subject of how to fund the town schools came up at the town meeting on 14 March 1736/37. Nathaniel was one of the people who pledged money (12 shillings) for "woomans schools," which meant schools with female teachers. It's said there were four such schools, and one school headed by a male teacher. A committee to find the teachers was appointed again, with Nathaniel on it. The first attempt maybe have been shelved until there was funding in place. They were directed to find teachers "as far forth as the Money above promised will Go in Defraying that Charge." Ibid, 24. A year later he was again chosed to survey fences. 13 Mar 1737/38, ibid, 25. The committee to petition the court for the tax abatement were given an extra £2, one shilling and four pence over their request for 26 shillings to cover costs. Ibid, 26. The last reference to him in town records in the same meeting minutes. It's rare to find people singled out by their votes on any issue at town meetings in New England, but when a vote was taken whether or not to tax the town to pay for a new wharf, Nathaniel voted against it. It passed, so he may have been the single dissenter. His position in town affairs was growing, but eight months later, at 46, he died of unknown causes.
The last place where he and Hannah lived was on what is now 8 Harbor Street, Manchester. He owned much of the land between Black Cove and Whittier's Cove, including Tuck's Point.      He may have contracted a fast-moving illness since he wrote a last-minute will the day before he died.

Manchester November 15 day 1738

I the subcriber Nathanell Masters of Manchester being now sick and if I shuld dye with this sicknes I do give and bequeath unto my loveing wife Hanah Masters fifty pounds more then her thurds of my estate in catell or in what she pleses to have it in. I witness my hand

Nathll Marsturs

[witnesses] Richard Coye, Benja Woodberry

Nathaniel's last name was spelled variously depending on the person writing it. Presumably it was "Masters," but it also appears as Mastus, Marstus, Marsters and Marsturs. Obviously phonetics were involved. Nathaniel consistently spelled it "Marsturs," so that's the spelling I use for him. Nathaniel Masters - Nathaniel Marsters


children of Nathaniel Marsturs and Hannah Woodbery:

i. Hannah b. 8 May 1717, bap. 12 May 1717, "of Nath Mastus"
ii. Elizabeth b. 23 June 1718, d. 2 August 1718
iii. Nathaniel b. 16 December 1719
iv. Abigail bap. 10 December 1721
v. Elizabeth bap. 14 October 1722
vi. Ruth bap. 14 October 1722
vii. Samuel b. 16 January 1723/24
viii. Ruth b. 6 November 1725
ix. Sarah b. 26 November 1727
x. Ruth b. 4 September 1729
xi. Benjamin b. 22 August 1731
xii. Joseph bap. 24 December 1732
xiii. Andrew b. 7 March 1735
xiv. Elizabeth bap. 6 March 1736/37

vital records sources: His birth is in the Manchester Town records, recorded with his parents and siblings as a family group. His marriage is in the Beverly Town records, performed by Robert Hale, JP, both residents of Manchester. It also appears in the Manchester Town records without saying it took place in Beverly. His death date is on his gravestone, as transcribed for the published Manchester vital records, "in his 47th year," meaning he was 46.

Essex County probate file #17834.


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