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Margaret's mark on her husband's letters of administration bond

Margaret was born in Bristol, Massachusetts (now Rhode Island). She was likely the only child of Samuel Maxfield and his second wife Christian. Richard is thought to have been her full sibling, probably because he named a daughter Christian, but it's more likely Samuel's first wife died after Richard's birth. See Samuel's biography for more. Samuel was in Bristol by March 1695, when he was elected to a town office. Margaret was born the following April. Although entirely speculative, it's possible Samuel's marriage to Christian was mostly one of convenience. He already had ten children, six of whom were minors, and with no mother. She was dependent on the town to support her. There's no evidence of her age, but Margaret was her only child. If she was about 45, Samuel and Margaret may have thought there wouldn't be more children. This would further separate Christian from Richard, who was born three years earlier in Dorchester.
     Although Samuel was a member of the church at Dorchester, there's not record of him joining in Bristol. Christian joined in April 17041 and had Margaret baptized on 22 July 1705.2
     Margaret claimed to have become pregnant with the child of Timothy Ingraham of Bristol in 1712. Born on 1 February 1712/13, she named the child after Timothy.3 She brought a case against him for child support at the Bristol County Court of Sessions, and he was ordered to appear in January 1712/13.4 The case was carried over to the April 1713, apparently to wait until after the child's birth. Timothy denied he was the father but Margaret insisted and the court ruled in her favor, ordering Timothy to pay her for her time "lying in" and three shillings a week, but they made her pay the fornication fine of either forty shillings or being whipped ten lashes. Which she chose isn't said. Elsewhere in Massachusetts about this time, both parties were fined. At the court session in January 1713/14 Timothy requested that his weekly payment be reduced.5 The court agreed to lower it to two shillings, six pence, and the duration of the support at the court's pleasure.
     In the transcription of her marriage record to Thomas Hathaway in Dighton her name is given "Margaret Menfield,"6 likely a misreading of the town clerk's handwriting. The original volume of records has been lost. Thomas lived in a part of Dighton, Massachusetts, that's now Berkley, not far up the Taunton River from Bristol. Mother Christian Maxfield married Thomas' father John, of Freetown, just north of Dighton (Berkley). It seems likely this happened before Margaret and Thomas' marriage and explains how they met. Also in the household must have been Margaret's son Timothy Ingraham. What isn't apparent is how Christian met John Hathaway. Margaret's half brother Joseph was in Dighton by early 1712, and is the earliest record I've found of the family there.
     A journal article mentions a 1720 "bill," in private hands, involving Christian Maxfield as a debtor.7 She apparently was to pay an unspecified amount (to an unspecified person) in installments in 1711, 1712 and 1713. "John Hathaway, Jr." paid a £1 remainder on 13 October 1720 in Bristol. Given the date, this must have been her stepson John. This only infers that she was still Samuel's widow before 1711, when the original transaction took place and the future installments agreed on. Her marriage to John Hathaway (Sr.) was somewhere between about 1710 and 1719, when their children married. Timothy lived in Berkley as an adult and married, as his first wife, Thomas' cousin Jemima Hathaway.
     Margaret Hathaway of Berkley was appointed administrator of Thomas Hathaway's estate on 31 January 1754.8 An inventory was taken in that month. On 27 December 1757, Thomas' real estate division was formalized and approved at court, Margaret and her dower included. On 12 Jan 1760, Thomas, Jr., sold part of his 4/7 share of the dower land to Edward Babbitt, Jr., his mother being deceased.9

child of Margaret Maxfield and reputed father Timothy Ingraham:

i. Timothy b. 1 February 1712/13 (original record says 1712 and doesn't have a dual year, but see above for evidence this was an "Old Style" or Julian calendar date)

children of Margaret Maxfield and Thomas Hathway (Berkley town records except for Charity. Years in the original record aren't double-dated where applicable, so likely in the "Old Style" or Julian calendar):

ii. Charity b. abt 1720-1721
iii. Richard b. 14 February 1723(/1724?)
iv. Rachel b. 26 May 1725
v. Christian b. 1 January 1726(/1727?)
vi. John b. November 1728
vii. Jerusha b. 28 September 1729
viii. Hepsibah b. 1 September 1731
ix. Thomas b. 27 May 1733
x. Samuel b. 22 March 1735
xi. Margaret b. 10 April 1737

vital records sources: her second marriage is in

1. James P. Lane, Manual of the First Church in Bristol, Rhode Island, 1687-1872 (Providence:1873), 180.
2. New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 34 (), 136.
3. James N. Arnold, Vital Records of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, vol. 6, Bristol Co., part 1 (Providence:1894), 84.
4. Bristol County Court of General Sessions, vol. 1702-1713, p. 211. See images of this mss on film #007902644 at, image 636.
5. Ibid, 223, image 642.
6. "Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1620-1850," database online,, Dighton, vol. 1, image 19 of original mss p. 19.
7. National Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 54 (1966), 169.
8. Bristol Co., MA, probate case 12607.
9. Bristol Co., MA, deed 48:315.

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