m. 28 Mar 1634
m. BEF 4 APR 1654
m. BEF 21 JAN 1678
Facts and Events
From The Plymouth Colony Archive Project
Bartlett was born around 1634 and lived until at least 1691. The Bartlett family had enough money for servants; nevertheless he stole cedar bolts from someone's swamp in 1669. He had at least one son, Benjamin junior. He was a selectman 18 times, the most of any of these constables (not including Edmund Hawes of Yarmouth); this suggests that he was a well-respected man.
From the Bartlett Society
Benjamin Sn. was made a Freeman 6 Jun 1654. He must have been 21 years old then impling a birth before 6 Jun 1633.
The will of Benjamin Bartlett of Duxborough was dated 21 Aug 1691, "Being weak of Body but of Sound mind and memory" and sworn 15 Sept 1691. The inventory was taken 28 Aug 1691.
In Sep 1691 Ichabod Bartlett chose his uncle Joseph Bartlett to be his guardian. He would have to be over 14 years old to chose a guardian. Ichabod sold land on 4 May 1695, so he was at least 21 by that date. As no guardian was appointed for Ebenezer, he was apparently over 21 when his father died. He sold land 28 Jun 1693.
From the Bartlett Society newsletter
Pilgrims Robert and Mary (Warren) Bartlett had eight children, six daughters and two sons, Benjamin and Joseph. Benjamin was born about 1633 and Joseph about 1639. They lived in a period of rapid expansion and refreshing optimism in the Plymouth Colony. Needless to say, all of the descendants of Robert Bartlett whose surnames are Bartlett are descended from these two brothers. Both Benjamin and Joseph were brought up in the family business. Both are identified in later deeds as coopers, like their father.
That implies that as youngsters they earned their spurs the hard way, serving as apprentices in the family business while they learned the trade. Coopering was hard and exacting work, and its products were in great demand. They were a prosperous family.
Benjamin's name first appears in the Plymouth County Records at age 18, when he and his future brother-in-law William Harlow killed two wolves and received the regular bounty of 15 shillings. During hard winters it was common for wolves to come down from the hills searching for food. In 1654, at age 21, he was admitted as a freeman, and therefore eligible to vote at town meetings and hold public office. A certificate of good moral character from his pastor was required. In 1653, when he was 20, Benjamin married Susannah Jenney, daughter of John and Sarah Jenney, who had built and operated Plymouth's first grist mill, on Town Brooke. Tragically, Susannah died a year later, perhaps in childbirth. Her mother left "the starred cow which is at Thomas Pope's" to him in her will.
The matchmakers were soon at work again, and in 1655, Benjamin married Sarah Brewster, daughter of Love Brewster and Sarah (Collier) Brewster, and grand-daughter of the spiritual leader of the Plymouth Colony, Elder William Brewster. They moved to Waiting Hill in Duxbury, near the Collier home on North Hill, where the North Hill Country Club now stands. Sarah's maternal grandfather, William Collier, had been one of the original merchant adventurers who financed the Colony and an assistant governor. Benjamin was soon active in politics and was elected Constable in 1662. He was elected a Selectman in 1666 and was reelected for 14 terms, until 1686. In 1685 he was representative from Duxbury to the General Court of the Colony.
Meanwhile Benjamin's personal and business affairs had flourished. William Collier died in 1670 and Benjamin and Mary, as prearranged, bought the North Hill farm and moved their growing family into it. There were now six children: Benjamin Jr., Rebecca, Samuel, Ebenezer, Sarah and Ichabod. Then tragedy struck again. Mary died sometime between 1670 and 1676, while all the children were still underage. About 1678 Benjamin was married once again, to a lady named Sissilla (Cecilia), whose maiden name is lost. She was apparently an older woman, and Benjamin made a marriage contract with her which provided for her care if he should predecease her, rather than allow her dower rights in his estate.
In 1683 Benjamin and his sons made a decision to expand the family business beyond the confines of Duxbury. The sea had long been an underutilized asset of the Plymouth Colony, unlike Salem and Boston, their neighbors to the north.
Benjamin provided capital for his second son Samuel to acquire 80 acres of land on the Captain's Nook, which hangs down into Duxbury Bay like a ripe plum. The land was obtained from Samuel's new father-in-law, William Pabodie, who traded it for equally valuable land in Little Compton. It had earlier been part of the original homestead of his great-grandfather, Elder William Brewster. The property was bounded on the north and east by Eagle's Nest Creek and a sheltered cove where the creek entered Duxbury Bay. Here they set up a small shipyard.
Dorothy Wentworth, in her book, Settlement and Growth of Duxbury, 1628-1870, says that this was the first shipyard in Duxbury, which in later years became a major shipbuilding center. Much of the land was still forested and contained good stands of cherry and oak, both good shipbuilding materials. Samuel and his brothers, Benjamin Jr. and Ebenezer, soon moved to the Nook and were involved with the shipbuilding and shipping business. The craft they built were mainly shallops and sloops, which were used primarily for coastal trade. Barrels from the family cooperage business would have been used to store cargo during shipment. When Benjamin, Sr. died, his estate listed half ownership in two shallops and one-third ownership in another.
Samuel's son, Samuel Jr., became a mariner and ship captain, and another son, Ichabod, was identified as a fisherman. Ebenezer died young, but the inventory of his estate lists half ownership of a shallop and a new suit of sails. The Bartlett shipyard was sold to Thomas Prence, a shipwright, in 1713, after the death of Samuel, Sr. However, in the Duxbury town records for 1731 we find that, "At the launching of a sloop at Bartlett's Yard, three and a half gallons of rum were drunk."
Benjamin died in 1691 at age 59, having led a full and useful life. In his will he provided generously for his offspring, who continued to play a large part in Duxbury history.
From Benjamin Bartlett's Will
I Give and Bequeath All the ffarme I now live upon with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging unto my Eldest Son Benjamin and the heires of his Body Lawfully Begotten for ever... I have already Given unto my son Samuel and Do hereby Confirm unto him and his heires All the ffarme he now liveth on Which was Sometime the Lands of his ffather in law Pabody. And also I Give to him and his heires one third part of the meadow I bought of John Soul at Salthouse Beach... I Give and bequeath unto my son Ebenezer and his heires for ever all my Lands Lying at Little Compton alias Succonett
I Give and Bequeath unto my son Ichabod and his heires forever All my Lands in the Township of Middleborough. And I leave all my Lands at Rochester to Descend to my son Benjamin and his heires.... unto my Daughter Rebecka Bradford All my Lands at North hill where my son Benjamin now Liveth and two thirds of the meadow I bought of John Soul at Salthouse Beach to her for ife and at her decease I Give the same Lands and meadows to her two Daughters Alice and Sarah which she had by William Bradofrd and to their Severall heirs forever... if what I have Given and left to my Son Benjamin Shall be more of value and a Double portion of all my Estate after my Debts and what have Given to my wife shall be taken out of it they he shall pay the over plus back to my Estate and if it shall be less then it shall be made up to him a Double portion out of my moveables... in like manner if what I have hereby mentioned and Given to my other Children shall fall Short of a Single share or portion Shall be made up out of my moveables... I nominate and appoint my two Sons Benjamin and Samuel Executors of this my last Will and Testament Injoyning them to take the advice of my overseers in the Execution of this... and Request my Loving Brother Joseph Bartlett & William Brewster and my Loving friend Capt Nathanael Thomas of Marshfield to be Overseers... my two younger Sons shall have Each of them a Bed my wife hath Supon for them over & above their shares. Signed Sealed and DeclaredBenjamin B : Bartlett his mark
and Seal (seal)
This written in ye margin of ye will ... I Give and Bequeath unto my Indian Servant Roben and his wife twenty shillings a peece Item I Give and bequeath unto Sarah Covel forty shillings out of my moveables. And that my Wife her Aunt shall Receive and Dispose of it for her : ... I Give unto Lidia Andrews the five pounds her father John Andrews oweth me.
Listed on his inventory are such diverse items as guns, Bees Geece and Turkeys, Iron Brass and Pewter, and Wooll Yarns.