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vital records sources
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John Miller first appears in New England records in 1672, when, in Middleborough, Massachusetts, he chosen to be on "the grand enquest" or grand jury held at the Plymouth Colony General Court.1 He bought Edward Gray's house lot in Middleborough previous to 8 July 1673.2 In a history of Middleborough, he's said to have lived on "Thompson St. not far from the brook, near the house of the late Elijah Shaw."3 An 1879 map shows his son Charles Shaw on this street between Fuller Street and Bartlett Brook. Edward Gray sold meadow land adjacent to the house lot mentioned in the deed above to someone else, and Raven Brook is mentioned. That brook crosses Fuller Road just east of Thompson Street He was on of "the proprietors of the liberties of the township of Middlebery takem at Plimouth a a meeting...of the proprietors the 28th June 1677."4 He had an interest in several other large areas of land initially bought for the use of the Middleborough settlers, the earliest noted in the town records was in the division of the "71 lots" in 1677.5
     John can be found in town-related activities up to 1696, when he was about 72. Having lived to the age of about 96, we can assume he was unusually vigorous. He served in the town offices of constable (1686),6 fence viewer (1693)7 and surveyor of highways (1696),8 the latter two not often done by elderly men. As constable, he was allowed 1 shilling, 6 pence for taking the "country rates" or taxes to Plymouth. He was also appointed to various committies: a committee of four ot lay out highways in response to Bridgewater's request for a highway to the town;9 a "jury" of 13 men responsible for laying out and/or renewing the town's highways, the original records having been burned,10 and one of 11 townsmen who agreed to repair the weirs at "the wading place on the Namassaket River" and the selling of fish for 3 pence per thousand in money or corn, and only to townspeople unless there is a surplus.11 The herring weir had been established by Native Americans, whose fishing presence here dates back thousands of years. This spot is still being used, but replaced by a fish ladder.
     His son John was granted the administration of his father's estate on 24 May 1720, and an agreement among the heirs was made on 27 June giving the estate to John, Jr., provided he pay 43 lbs. 3 shillings and 10 pence each to his sisters.12 The heirs were John Miller, Jr., Thomas and Mary (Miller) Dexter, Samuel and Hannah (Miller) Pratt, Ebenezer and Mercy (Miller) "Reddin," Joseph and Deborah (Miller) Rickard and Elizabeth Delano. The following is his estate inventory, taken in June 1720:

his wearing apparel 1 (pound) -9 (shillings) -10 (pence)
one bed and bedding and bedstead and cord 8-19-0 arms and ammuntion 1-13-0
tools for carpentry and husbandry and team tackling and old iron 2-19-2
iron pots and hooks and trammels 1-18-0
one kettle, one skillet, frying pan, slice and tongs 1-12-6
nails, warming pan, brass skimmer and brass ladle 0-16-3
pewter 1-3-1
one bell, spectacles and case, 2 glass bottles and one galley pot 0-8-0
cheese fats, milk trays, trenchers and churn and spoons 0-14-10
wooden dishes, wooden ladles, pails nd a basket of old nails 0-7-1
two spinning wheels, 2 pair of cards and 2 chairs and one rundlet 0-16-6
wheat, indian corn and beef 0-9-9
yarn, wool, flax and tow 1-12-5
tables, chests, boxes, tubs, barrels, hogsheads and meal sieve 2-7-0
candles, tallow, fat and baskets and one calve's skin and cow hide 1-11-3
14 yards of new cloth and 2 towels 2-17-0
one yoke of oxen 9-7-6
two cows with their calves 9-0-0
one farrow cow 3-15-0
four heifers 9-2-0
two swine 2-4-0
the homestead 100-0-0
the lot of meadow and winatuxt meadows 64-0-0
lot of land in the first allotment in the 16 shillings purchase 28-0-0
the 109th lot in the last allotment in said purchase 15-0-0
the 145th lot in the last allotment in said purchase 17-0-0
one lot in the south purchase 7-0-0
the last little share in the south purchase 0-10-0
total £296, 13 shillings, 2 pence

John Cob
James Soul
Jacob Tomson

debts due from the estate 14-17-9
funeral charges 2-3-1
more debt due to John Miller [Jr.] from the estate 13-18-6
more debt due to Ebenezer Reddin 6-10-0
more due for rates 0-4-2

Children of John Miller and his first wife (daughters ordered according to the heirs agreement):

John, b. abt 1669-70 (gravestone says he died in August 1727 in his 58th year, meaning he was 57 and would turn 58 within the next year)

Children of John Miller and Mercy Barden:

Mercy, b. abt. 1685

vital records sources: John's death date and age at death ("in his 97th year," meaning he was 96 and would turn 97 within the next year) are on his gravestone in the "Cemetery on the Green," Middleborough, MA.

1. Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, Court Orders, vol. 5 (Boston:1856), 91.
2. Middleborough town records (hereafter MTR), images at of LDS film 7009771, image 30 of original mss page 49.
3. Thomas Weston, History of the Town of Middleboro, Massachusetts (Boston:1906), 46.
4. MTR, 14/17.
5. Ibid, 16/20.
6. Ibid, 21 May 1686, 32/53.
7. Ibid, 28 March 1693, 42/71 and 27 March 1694, 43/73.
8. Ibid, 6 March 1695/96, 54/94.
9. Ibid, 19 Sep 1684, 31/51.
10. Ibid, 30 May 1687, 36/59.
11. Ibid, 18 Apr 1687, 36/58.
12. Plymouth Co., MA, probate case 14019.

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