Person:Francis Nurse (1)

m. Abt 1645
  1. John NurseAbt 1645 - Bef 1719
  2. Sarah NurseAbt 1647 -
  3. Samuel NurseAbt 1649 - Bef 1719/20
  4. Rebecca NurseAbt 1651 - 1719
  5. Mary NurseAbt 1654 - 1749
  6. Elizabeth NurseAbt 1658 - 1734
  7. Francis Nurse1660/61 - 1715/16
  8. Benjamin Nurse1665/66 - Bef 1748/49
Facts and Events
Name Francis Nurse
Gender Male
Birth[3] 18 Jan 1617/18 Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
Marriage Abt 1645 Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United Statesto Rebecca Towne
Death[1][2] 22 Nov 1695 Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States

Francis was an early settler and had lived on the North River, near Salem, for over 40 years. On 29 apr 1678 he purchased 300 acres of land near Salem. He had been involved in an acreage dispute with Nathanial Putman during the 1670's. This was believed to have been the reason his wife, Rebecca was accused of witchcraft by Nathanial Putman's wife, Ann.

sources: A Gen. of the Nurse Family, John D. Ames, p96-100. Also LDS files.

Francis Nurse was an early settler, and had lived for some forty years, 'near Skerry's,' on the North River, between the main part of the settlement in the town of Salem and the ferry to Beverly. He is described as a 'tray-maker.' The making of these articles and similar objects of domestic use was an important employment in a new country remote from foreign supply. He appears to have been a very respectable person, of great stability and energy of character; whose judgment was much relied on by his neighbors. No one is mentioned more frequently as umpire to settle disputes, or arbitrator to adjust conflicting claims. He was often on committees to determine boundaries or estimate valuations, or on local juries to lay out highways and assess damages.

On 29 April, 1678 Francis Nurse became at one stroke a major Salem Village landowner by purchasing, on credit, a rich 300-acre farm located near Salem. Francis Nurse paid off his mortgage right on schedule. His economic rise after 1678 is documented in the Village tax lists; his 1690 tax went up 39 percent from that of 1681, and in 1695 it rose by another 16 percent.

The house on this land had an interesting history. Before his purchase the 'mansion' or 'cottage' was the scene of social intercourse among the choicest spirits of the earliest age of New England. Here the first owner Allen Bishop and, after him, Chickering, entertained their friends. Here the fine family of Richard Ingersoll was brought up. Here Governor Endicott projected plans for opening the country, and the road that passes its entrance gate was laid out by him. To this same house young John Endicott brought his youthful Boston bride. Here she came again, fifteen years afterwards, as the bride of the learned and distinguished James Allen, to show him the farm which, received as a 'marriage gift' from her former husband, she had brought as a 'marriage gift' to him. Here the same Allen, in less than six years afterwards, brought still another bride. In all these various and some of them rather rapid changes, it was, no doubt, often the resort of distinguished guests and the place of meeting of many pleasant companies. During the protracted years of litigation for its possession, frequent consultations were held within it; and in 1692, for twelve years, it had been the home of a happy harmonious and prosperous family, exemplifying the industry, energy and enterprise of a New England household.

Francis Nurse had been involved during the 1670's in a protracted timber dispute with Nathanial Putnam over some mutually bounded acreage. He was elected to a Village Committee which took power at the end of 1691. These were factors that contributed to Ann Putnam's accusation of Francis' wife of witchcraft.

Source: 'Salem Possessed, The Social Origins of Witchcraft', 1974, Paul Boyer & Stephen Nissenbaum, p 149, 200. 'A Genealogy of the Nurse Family for Five Generations', 1892, John D. Ames, p 96-100.

  1. Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States. Vital Records to the End of the year 1849. (Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Institute, 1916-1925)
    Vol. 6, p. 96.

    NURSE, Francis. [died] Nov. 22, 1695, a. 77 y. CR2
    [Birth about 1718.]

  2. Massachusetts. Probate Court (Essex County), and Massachusetts. Court of Insolvency (Essex County). Essex County, Massachusetts, probate records and indexes 1638-1916. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971, 2000, 2001)
    Case 19688: Nurse Francis 1695, Dec. 23.

    4 Dec 1694: Indenture between "ffransis Nurs of Salem ... throw Adge imperfect In body ... to settle my Estate ... to my Eight Children Eqaly devided ... John Nurse Samuel Nurse ffrancis Nurse Benjeman Nurse: Michal Bowden Thomas Presson John Tarbell William Russell ...". Directs a legacy to his grandson John Nurs sonn of my sonn John Nurse. Attested to by witnesses 23 Dec 1695.
    2 Mar 1695/96: [undated] Inventory of our father francis Nurse, attested to by administrators John Nurse & Samuel Nurse. Same date, account of administrators allowed.

  3. Ames, John D. "A Genealogy of the Nurse Family for Five Generations", in Putnam, Eben. Putnam's monthly historical magazine. (Salem, Massachusetts: Eben Putnam)
    Vol. 1, p. 96.

    [Note: this source claims Francis Nurse was born in 18 Jan 1618, and this appears to be copied by several other sources. It is not known if there is any basis for this date, but the age at death and (per Source:Davis, Walter Goodwin. Ancestry of Sarah Johnson, 1775-1824, Wife of Joseph Neal of Litchfield, Maine, p. 13) two depositions imply his birth is about 1718.]