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Nicholas was baptized at South Petherton, Somerset, England on 26 June 1596 (not 1597, as reported in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register).1 His parents were Nicholas and his second wife Joan. Nicholas, Sr., was first married to Christian Denman on 27 January 1577/78 in South Petherton. They had a daughter Joanna, who was baptized on 7 December 1578, on the same day that her mother was buried. Nicholas remarried to Joan, no marriage record found, and had ten more children. Of them, Edmund and Nicholas immigrated to Massachusetts Bay Colony. Mrs. Joan Patch was buried 12 May 1632 in South Petherton but I find no record of Thomas' burial.
     Given the appearance of the name Richard among the children of Nicholas and of Richard Patch, who was the same generation as Nicholas in South Petherton, their father may have been the Richard who was buried 22 April 1594 in South Petherton, but there's no indication of what generation he was. Also, there was a Joanna, wife of Richard, buried there on 16 September 1593, and this may explain why Nicholas' first child was named Joanna. Edmund Patch, another of Nicholas' generation, had a daughter Joan. Nicholas had child named Edmund, so these name connections may tie all these people into a close relationship. However, Joan/Joanna was a fairly common name in the South Petherton church registers. A William Patch was buried there on 15 June 1574 who could also have been Nicholas' (and Richard's and Edmund's) father, but is less likely.
     Elizabeth (Owsley) Patch was probably baptized in South Petherton on 19 April 1598, daughter of Thomas. Thomas also had a daughter Joan baptized on 8 February 1600. He surely was the same Thomas who, with wife Joan, had a daughter Margaret who was baptized on 19 December 1591 in South Petherton. Her mother was buried there on 22 June 1594. Margaret was buried the following 8 July. Names of mothers aren't given in these baptisms, but Elizabeth, wife of Thomas, was buried in South Petherton on 4 January 1632/33. There is no marriage record to say which Thomas was her husband, but there was only one of record in the South Petherton area at this time.
     The first time the Patches show up in Massachusetts Bay Colony records is on 25 July 1639, when Nicholas (Jr.) and Edmund Patch were accepted as residents of Salem.2 Nicholas given 40 acres and Edmund 10 at Mackerel Cove, which was part of what would become the town of Beverly. The Woodbery family, one of whom was Nicholas' brother-in-law, also lived there. Nicholas immigrated from Somerset with his sons John and James and maybe his wife Elizabeth. Son Thomas was probably born in Salem, but his mother's identity isn't certain.
     On 6 July 1647 Nicholas Patch, Sr., and William Woodbery "and company," residing in Mackerel Cove (Beverly), petitioned to be exempt from the watch, which was then referred to the General Court.3 John Thorndike brought a trespass suit against Nicholas, William Woodbery, Nicholas Woodbery and James Patch, but withdrew it.4 This was surely connected to the Mackerel Cove neighborhood. At the 31 December 1650 and 24 June 1651 General Court sessions, Nicholas was on the grand jury, and the jury of trials on 28 November 1665.5 On 2 January 1650/51 he was freed from miltia training due to his age.6

     The original probate papers for Nicholas are long gone, but they were recorded elsewhere.7

Inventory of the estate of Nicolas Patch of Beverley, deceased, and the dividing thereof between his two sons John Patch and Thomas Patch, by mutual agreement: To John Patch, four acres of meadow by the Dodge's farm, two acres by Longham and one acre adjoining Capt. Lothrop's by Samuell Corning's farm, and also four acres, the house and land with the orchard, except one acre which Thomas Patch was to have for himself and children to make use of as he or they shall see cause, but not to sell it to anybody away from his brother, and for what improvement is made, John Patch should allow his brother. To Thomas Patch fourteen acres of upland and five acres of meadow, one cow and three young cattle; and the household stuff between them. Sworn in court.

John & Thomas Patch are appoynted both joynt administrators and are to dispose of the estate of the deceased according to the above agreement & that according to consent of (?) concerned, in court at Salem 27 9 1673.

children of Nicholas Patch and Elizabeth Owsley (baptisms in South Petherton, some likely missing from other English records no longer extant between 1626 and the 1630s, or Elizabeth died in the later 1620s and Nicholas remarried to Thomas' mother):

i. John bap. 26 December 1623
ii. James bap. 18 September 1626
iii. Thomas

1. All baptisms mentioned here are from the registers of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, South Petherton. For transcriptions online, see
2. "Town Records of Salem, Massachusetts," Essex Institute Historical Collections vol. 9 (Salem:1868), 90.
3. Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts (Salem:1911) 1:118.
4. Ibid, 1:181, 25 December 1649.
5. Ibid, 1:204, 228, 2:281.
6. Ibid, 1:205
7. Essex County probate records, Old Series, 301:45.

all text and photographs © 1998-2021 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted