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James was only five when his father died. His father's estate wasn't brought to probate court until fourteen years after he died.1 As a matter of course, he needed a guardian since he and his older brother Richard were entitled to their father's real estate. Gaurdianship was given to Richard on 22 November 1742.2
     James apparently led a quiet life on his farm near Pride's Crossing, at least in terms of his appearance in the public record. Based on the description of his house as having a "lean-to," he likely lived in the house his grandfather Richard had built in the later 17th century. Richard's house, built in the so-called New England Saltbox style, with a roof that slopes down to the first floor in the back, was out of fashion by the time James was likely to have a house built of his own.

Inventory of the estate of James Thistle late of Beverly, yoeman, decd., intestate, taken by Margaret Thistle, adminx, at the appraisment of the subscribers the twenty second day of February Anno Domini 1774 (viz.)3

real estate...490-13-0
one horse 60/ two oxen 200/...13-0-0
five cows at 80/...20-0-0
two steers 80/ three calves @ 24/...7-12-0
one hiefer 60/ one do 48/ fifteen sheep 12/...11-8-0
flax in the bundle...
two swine...2-14-0
utensils of husbandry...2-1-0
seventy eight bushels of corn @ 2/8 pr...10-8-0
twenty four bushels of barley...3-4-0...
[total] 70-9

three bushels of malt @ 3/...9-[0]
half a bushel of beans...
three hundred weight of pork...5-0-0
empty cask 12/ saddle bridle & pillion 16/...1-8-0
sieves & basketts 5/6...0-5-6
wearing apparel...6-0-0
shoe buckles 10/ kee
[knee?] buckles 6/..[0]-16-0
a gun 10/ sheep shears 1/...
one bed & furniture 160/...8-0-0...22-12

trundle bed & furniture...2-8-0
one bed bowlster pillows bedstead & cord...3-10-0
coverlid 8/ quilt 8/ blanket 6/ sheets 6/...1-8-0
one bed & bowlster 48/ and the furniture 17/...3-5-0
one negro bed & furniture...2-
twelve pair of sheets...2-16-8...15-7

twenty two pillow cases...
table linnen...1-17-0
iron ware 28/6 brass ware 29/...2-17-6
pewter 35/4 knives & forks 1/6...1-16-10...
tin ware 1/6 silver tea spoons 6/...
one pr steelyards 4/ earthenware 6/...
wooden ware 7/ case of bottles 8/...
eighteen delph plates...

personal estate bro't over...117:13:4

eight bushels of salt...0-16-0
low case of draws 12/ two chests 6/...
desk 24/ chest with one draw 3/...1-7-0
two tables 5/ small do. 1/4 sundry chairs 6/...12-4
small looking glass 1/...
a negro servant...46-0-0
a bond sign'd James & Hezekiah Thorndike...12-0-11...70-15-3

a bond sign'd John Austin...4-0-0
a bond sign'd William Herrick...4-13-4
a bond sign'd William Thistle...4-6-7
a note sign'd by do....
a note signed by Robert Cleaves...6-12-0
a note sign'd by Wm. Butman...5-7-4
a note sign'd by Wm. Butman & Wm. Taylor...3-6-8
a note sign'd by Jona. Woodberry...1-14-8...30-16-7

a note sign'd by Nathel. Woodberry...2-2-4
a note sign'd Jona. Standley Jr....3-9-4
a note sign'd Benjamin Corning...1-18-4
a note sign'd Sarah Byles...4-
a note sign'd John Woodberry...1-10-
a note sign'd Richard Thistle...5-1-10
a note sign'd Jonathan Preston...3-

total of personal estate 240:7:8
real estate bro't over 490:13:0

sum total...731-0-8

Peter Pride
Benja. Smith } comtee
Saml. Goodridge

The inventory was brought to court by Margaret on 8 March 1774.

The following is Margaret's dower, assigned on 25 March 1775:

"We have set of eight acres & sixty four poles of land on which the house & barn of the said decd. stands," bounded northeast by "land of the premises" (real estate of the deceased) 36 poles, southeast by the premises 53 poles to the corner of the wall by the land of Benjamin Smith, east by Smith's land 10 8/10 poles to the corner of the wall by a "private way," south by the way 14 6/10 poles to the corner of the garden 4 poles, north by the garden 4 poles to the highway, west and northwest as the wall stands on several courses 69 poles to the beginning.

Also 7 acres of pasture land, beginning at a corner of the wall by the land of Benjamin Smith, bounded by the premises as the wall stands 10 poles, then to a stake 11 poles by the premises, northeast as the wall stands 36 poles, "west northerly" by the premises as the wall stands 24 1/2 poles to the corner of the wall, south by the premises 14 1/2 poles, south 22 poles, west 7 1/2 poles, south 29 poles, all as the fence stands by land of Smith to the corner of the wall at the beginning. Also 6 acres of woodland at Indian Hill.

Margaret's portion of the house and barn: "the western lower room, the eastern chamber & garret and the western part of the cellar as it is now partitioned in two parts and half of the "lintoo" (lean-to) chamber at the westerly part. The eastern part of the barn as far as the barn floor way and the scaffold on the southerly part of the said floor way with liberty for the said Margaret to cart her hay into said floor way & to thrash out her grain, also the corn barn, hog house & necessary house, reserving liverty for the occupants of the two thirds to pass over the premises to improve their land, convenient yard room for the house, barn & cyder house." She was also given half of a pew in the First Parish Meetinghouse.

The rest of the estate was divided into two parts:

First part: 23 acres and 92 poles of land "of the homestead," beginning at the same mark (an apple tree) as Margaret's homestead land, bounded north and northwest by the highway "as the fence stands" about 86 poles to a dividing wall by part 2, east by the wall 32 1/2 poles, north east by the wall "against No. Two" about 7 poles, then the same 8 poles, southeast by part 2 15 1/2 poles, north, the same, on two courses 24 poles, east, the same, 76 poles, west by Margaret's part 11 poles, southwest by her part as the wall stands 36 poles, west, the same 24 8/10 poles, south, the same 14 poles, northwest partly by the wall to the wall on the east side of the cartway through "the premises," southwest by Margaret's part by the wall to the first mark.

In the house, "the easterly lower room, westerly chamber & garrett, the easterly part of the linto chamber (viz) two thirds thereof & the easterly part of the cellar with convenient yard room." Also the "westerly part of the barn as far as the eastern part of the floor way except the scaffold on the southerly part of said floorway & sheeps house and convenient yard room for said barn with ye priveledge of passing over the widows dower for the improvement of the same." Also "the cyder house & its apurtenances with convenient yard room & priveledge of a way to the same for the improvement thereof." Also a common right and about 2 1/4 acres of woodland, about 12 acres of woodland bounded east by the highway, 16 poles of land for a garden, bounded east by Margaret's part 4 poles, south by a private way 4 poles, west on the highway 4 poles, north on the dower right 4 poles as the fence stands. Also 124 poles of salt marsh bounded on the west by Chub's Creek, probably at the Manchester border.

Second part: 23 3/4 acres of homestead land, beginning at the highway and bounded west by the wall with #1 32 1/2 poles, south against #1 by the wall 7 poles, southwest, same, 8 poles, northwest, same, 15 5/10 poles, south, same on 2 courses 24 poles, west, same, on the dower land & land of Benjamin Smith 116 poles, south by the sea 13 3/4 poles, east by land of Joseph Standley on 2 courses 160 poles, north by the country road by the wall 41 8/10 poles on several courses to the beginning mark.

In the house: "the back room in the lower part of a dwelling house near Mr. Prides, the front chamber, garret & the easterly half of the cellar." Also "a small piece of land laying near said Prides containing 31 7/10 poles bounded north on the highway by the wall on 2 courses 11 4/10 poles, southeast on land of Peter Pride 5 6/10 poles, southwest on land of Joseph Standley 8 3/10 poles through which the said Standley hath liberty to pass." Also about 7 1/2 acres of land at Indian Hill. Also about 2 1/4 acres of woodland, probably on the Manchester border.

     This division was made 27 March 1775. Part one was given to the oldest son John and part two to James, the second son. The other children were given their share in money. In her administrator's account, Margaret asked for money from the estate to pay various debts and bills. Among them were James Ford for tombstones (head and foot stone) and doctors Israel Woodberry and Joseph Orne. He had particularly high debt by account to Jeremiah Dyson and John Lovill. John Thistle, presumably his son, was also due a higher amount. Also, "a note due to Danl. Larkum on acct of a negro man." That "negro man" was Jethro Larcom, about whom, with his wife Juno and their descendants, articles have been written. Apparently it was from this estate that Jethro was bought by Ebenezer Ellinwood, another of Doug Sinclair's ancestors.

children of James Thissel and Margaret Sallows:

i. Hannah b. 4 March 1746/474
ii. John b. 17 August 1749
iii. Elizabeth b. 30 September 1751
iv. James b. 18 November 1753
v. Margaret b. 17 March 1755/56
vi. Abigail b. 18 June 1759
vii. Susannah b. 20 June 1762
viii. Isachar b. 22 July 1765
ix. Lucy bap. 28 July 1765
x. Robert b. 27 October 1767

vital records sources: James' baptism date comes from Records of the First Church in Beverly, Massachusetts, 1667-1772 (Beverly:Essex Institute, 1905), 57. His death date come from Vital records of Beverly, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 (Topsfield, MA:1907), 2:573. His marriage was by Rev. Joseph Champney, who apparently didn't record what day and month his did so. "Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001," database online at, image 95 of an original book of Beverly town records called "births, intentions & marriages, deaths, 1663-1784." Their marriage intentions are among those recorded by a town clerk in an inconsistent way (Ibid, image 141). It's likely that they published their intentions on 11 Jan. 1745/46. Most entries include the intentions "entry" (when it was brought to the clerk) and the date they were "published" (placed in public places to await possible dissent). The Thistle/Sallis entry comes after a couple whose intention dates are 4 and 5 Jan. 1745 (Old Style or Julian calendar). The Thistle/Sallis intentions were published on 11 (no month given) and entered (no date, but probably a symbol to indicate "ditto"). There is an earlier entry of intentions that give this symbol instead of a date. Rev. Champney lists the Thistle/Sallos marriage first in his entries for 1746. The intentions year is 1745 and among others in the gap between the Julian and Gregorian calendars (1 Jan.-25 Mar.), further pointing to the intentions being early in 1746 (New Style or Gregorian calendar).

1. Essex County Probate, case 27415.
3. Essex County Probate, case 27420.
3. Essex County Probate, case 27421.
4. Beverly church and town records are often not double-dated in the overlap between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The year of her birth is given as 1746, and very likely in the Old Style, or Julian calendar. Since her parents were intended to be married very early in 1746 and she was baptized in October of 1747, it's far more likely that she was born in 1747 (New Style, or Gregorian calendar).

all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted