Collins #5260

Henry Collins (1606-1687)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 and

Ann (Riall?) (1605-1691)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massachusetts in 1635.

Collins 5260

Not much is known of the English origins of Henry Collins, beyond the fact that he was born about 1606 in Stepney, London, England (St. Dunstan’s Parish[1]).  His date of birth is inferred from his immigration records which indicate age 29 in 1635.  He was also deposed in Nov 1662 aged about fifty-five years.  The efforts of family historians to identify his parents have not been conclusive.

Before 1629 when Henry was 23, he married Ann [family surname unknown[2]] in St. Dunstan’s, Stepney, London.

In 1635, Henry Collins and his wife Ann (age 30) sailed from Plymouth, England aboard the Abigail with their three children: Henry Collins (Jr.) (age 5), John (age 3) and Margery (age 2).  The family was accompanied by four servants: Joshua Griffith, Hugh Alley, Mary Roote and Jo[hn] Coke[3].  The ship arrived (infected with smallpox) at Boston, Massachusetts on 8 Oct 1635.  Prior to the voyage, all in the Collins party had obtained certificates of conformity from the minister of Stepney.

On the passenger list of the Abigail, Henry’s occupation is listed as starchmaker, but he became a husbandman or yeoman after settling at Lynn, Massachusetts.  Henry took the Oath of Freeman on 9 Mar 1637.  In the 1638 land distribution there, he was granted uplands and meadow, 80 acres and ten – one of the larger allotments, indicating he had contributed a great deal of money to the settlement of the town.

The facts of Henry Collins bringing servants, and the references to him in the public records of Lynn, show that he was a man of some importance in the community.  He was frequently called upon to perform duties of public trust and confidence, and sometimes acted as an advocate in court trials.

Henry Collins served on the Essex petit jury on 24 Jun 1637, 26 Dec 1637, 31 Dec 1639, 29 Sep 1640, 25 Jan 1641/2, 26 Dec 1643, 28 Dec 1647, 26 Dec 1648, 24 Jun 1656, 30 Jun 1657, 26 Jun 1660 and 23 May 1660.  He served on the Grand Jury on 30 Dec 1645, 31 Dec 1650, 24 Jun 1651, 30 Nov 1663, 28 Nov 1665, 29 Nov 1667, 29 Nov 1670, 26 Nov 1672, 24 Nov 1674, 20 Jul 1675 and 25 Nov 1679.  He was a Member of the Salem Court in 1639.  Henry further was appointed Selectman for the town of Lynn on 31 Mar 1661, 4 Feb 1662/3 and 23 Nov 1666.  He was appointed Constable at Lynn on 12 Jul 1642 and in Jun 1667; served on the Committee to authorize the felling of trees on 15 May 1671 and was appointed Tithingman on 26 Jun 1677.

Henry also appears frequently in the Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County as a witness in court, probably in his capacity as constable of Lynn.  He also helped appraise the estates of Edmund Ingalls (1648), William Tilton (1653), William Harker (1661), George Farr (1662), John Humphreys (1663) and Richard Johnson (1666).

To satisfy a debt of the town of Lynn, the marshal, Robert Lord, went to the house of Henry Collins and attempted to collect the debt.  Witness Edward Ierson deposed that Collins told the marshal that the debt was not his, and that he should go and take the common, and the marshal said if Collins paid it, the town should pay him back. Then Collins told him that he should have twenty acres of his own land about his house, or he said, ‘here is the town common before my door, take that for your satisfaction, all of which the marshal refusedHenry Collins was arrested and the marshal attempted to take him to jail, but the neighbors would not help him, and even hindered him, as John Hathorne did, saying that the marshal was a lying, prating fool and knave, and would prove him so.  The court found for Robert Lord, with no visible penalty to Henry Collins, but repercussions for years later appear in the form of minor court cases.

On 7 Apr 1681, Henry Collins brought slander charges against an intemperate neighbor,

being desirous to vindicate the suffering name of God and mine own innocency and honesty, which is highly defamed by obscene and slanderous speeches divulged by John Davis of Lynn and his wife to the blurring my reputation among Christians in reporting that jurisdiction having provided that no person’s good name or reputation should causelessly be defamed, I do therefore seriously apply myself to your honors to take such a course whereby God’s glory and my suffering name may be vindicated.

There is no record of the court’s decision.

Henry was still deposing in court as late as Nov 1682, when he described laying out several farms in Lynn 1637.

In his will, dated 11 Feb 1686/7 and proved 31 Mar 1687,

Henry Collins, Senior, of Lynn, aged 82 or thereabouts, being weak and infirm in body confirmed the gifts of land given to my own natural children or those that stand related to me by marriage with any of my daughters including my son Johnson upon marriage with my daughter; my dear and loving wife, who hath ever been tender of my and industrious in her place in procuring what outward estate God hath bestowed upon us to receive the benefit of all the housing and lands; my movables, chattels, cattle, etc. at her disposal to either my own chiledren or my grandchildren as she shall see cause at her decease; after wife’s decease, lands and meadows wheresoever divided equally among my three sons, Henry, Joseph and Benjamin, only my eldest son Henry have 30 pounds worth of land more; to my son Benjamin, ten acres of land in my planting field; to my daughter Margery, £30; to my daughters Hannah and Elizabeth, £20 a piece; as for my son John deceased his portion he received in his life time and so that his children do greatly and peaceably enjoy the same; my children to be dutiful and tender to their aged mother; my loving wife and eldest son, Henry Collins, executors; Mr. Oliver Purchase and Mr. Jeremiah Shepard overseers.

The inventory of the estate of Henry Collins Senior of Lynn, presented 31 Mar 1687, totaled £474 10s., of which £406 was real estate: The dwelling house and barn with all other housing with the orchard and land therein, £70; land, upland and pasture land, meadow salt and fresh, £315; and 80 acres of wilderness land up in the country so-called but sold, £21.

The children of Henry Collins and his wife, Ann, are listed as follows (the first three were born at Stepney Parish, Middlesex, England and baptized at St. Dunstan, and later children were born at Lynn, Massachusetts):

  1. Henry Collins (Jr.), see below.
  2. John, born 14 Jan 1631; according to baptismal records, son of Henry Collins of Ratcliff Highway, starchmaker, & Anne uxor.  John was 3 years old when the family came over on the Abigail in 1635.  John married Abigail Johnson.  John pursued the occupation of a mariner, and on 12 Dec 1679 he was lost at sea.
  3. Margery, born 6 Nov 1633; according to baptismal records, daughter of Henry Collins of Ratcliff Highway, starchmaker, & Anne.  She was 2 years old when the family came over on the Abigail in 1635.  Margery married Isaac Williams.
  4. Hannah, born about 1635 and died at Lynn on 27 Jan 1718.  In 1654 she married Nathaniel Ingersoll[4] (1632-1719).  As reported by Savage: “Nathaniel, Salem, s[on] of Richard, not b[orn] in Eng[land] was an innholder, m[arried] Hannah Collins, it is said, had only d[aughter] wh[o] d[ied] bef[ore] him; was chos[en] deac[on] 24 Nov. 1689 of that ch[urch] at the village now Danvers, where the devil had his great triumphs, many of the trials of the witches being held at his ho[me]”[5].  Nathaniel is the great grandson of Robert Ingersoll (1537-1581) and Cecily Grant (1541-1568) of Edworth, Bedfordshire, England, our 11th g-grandparents.  Two of this couple’s other great grandsons through different lines, John Ingersoll (1640-1695) and John (of Westfield) Ingersoll (1626-1684) are our maternal 8th and 9th great grandfathers, discussed under their own headings.
  5. Mary, born about 1640 and died at Lynn on 9 Feb 1682.  On 22 Jan 1663/4 at Lynn she married Samuel Johnson.
  6. Joseph, born about 1642.  He married (1st) Sarah Silsbee, daughter of Henry Silsbee & Dorothy [surname unknown] and married (2nd) Mariah Smith.
  7. Riall, born about 1644 and died at Lynn in May1681.
  8. Elizabeth, born about 1646 and died at Lynn on 21 Feb 1686 (Collins, Eliza, d. Henry).  On 30 Nov 1666 she married John Tolman[6], son of Thomas Tolman (Sr.) and Sarah[7] [surname unknown] at Lynn.  John was born about 1643 and died at Dorchester, Massachusetts on 1 Jan 1724/5.  He was made Freeman in 1678.
  9. Benjamin, born about 1648.  He married (1st) Priscilla Kirtland and married (2nd) Elizabeth [surname unknown].

Henry Collins (Jr.) was born 29 Oct 1629 at Stepney and was baptized at St. Dunston, Middlesex, England.  He died 14 Oct 1722 at Lynn, Massachusetts.  He married Mary Tolman, probably born about 1633 in Devonshire, England.  Mary died at Lynn on 14 Feb 1723 (Collins, Mary, mother of Henry, 3d).

The records indicate that Henry (Jr.) was a carpenter by trade.  Evidently, he could not write his name and signed with a mark on land deeds.  In the colonial records, he was known as Henry, Jr. until the death of his father, when he became Henry, Sr.  At his death, he was noted as the father of Henry, 3rd.

Henry Collins (Jr.) appears in the colonial land records as follows:

  • On 6 Nov 1663, Henry and his brother John Collins Carpenters bought for £50, from Robert Rand, 9 acres of land, including a house and orchard.  The deed was recorded at Salem.
  • On 7 Apr 1692, Henry Collins (now called Senior) and his wife Mary gave by deed to his son, Henry (formerly 3rd, but now called Junior) 10 acres of land on which son Henry’s house now stands, bounded by Chadwell’s lot, Henry Senior’s lot and the county highway.  Included, too, were three acres of salt marsh that Henry bought from Captain Thomas Marshall, bordered by Laughtons’s Lane and Pines River.
  • On 27 Nov 1694, Henry (still called Senior) made an agreement with his brothers Joseph and Benjamin to divide the lands that their father had given them in common.  Henry received 28 acres.

Henry Collins (Jr.) took the Oath of Freeman on 18 Apr 1691 at Lynn.  He was appointed Constable of Lynn in 1691, Fence Viewer in 1693/4, Surveyor of Highways in 1696-98, Collector of Rates in 1697 and Selectman thereafter.  At a town meeting of Lynn on 26 Sep 1717, Henry Collins was allowed to enlarge his pew in the church:

Whereas a pew formerly granted to Henry Collins Jr and the town now being informed he had given the same to his sons, Henry Collins, Eleazer Collins, and his sons in law, viz. Moses Hudson and John Newhall amongst them and there being 4 families, therefore voted; that said Henry Collins, Eleazer Collins, Moses Hudson and John Newhall hath liberty to enlarge that pew beginning at the back part of the sque  [sic] next the window and so upon a square formed so far as to leave a suitable allowance as the Committee for the Meeting House shall order and to maintain the windows against it.

No will for Henry Collins (Jr.) is on file in either the Essex or Suffolk County Probate Courts.

The children of Henry Collins (Jr.) and Mary Tolman are listed as follows (all born at Lynn, Massachusetts):

  1. Hannah Collins, born 1 Feb 1660 and died at Stonington, Connecticut in about 1704.  On 8 Feb 1677 she married Thomas Brown (Jr.), the son of Thomas Brown and Mary NewhallThomas was born at Lynn, Massachusetts in 1654, and he died at Stonington on 27 Dec 1723.
  2. Henry (3rd) born Oct 1661 and died before 1 May 1735.
  3. Sarah, born 9 Jan 1666 and died 10 Aug 1747.
  4. John, born 19 Aug 1662.
  5. Rebecca, born 9 Jun 1668 and died 3 Feb 1743.
  6. Eleazer, born 9 Oct 1673 and died before 3 Jul 1725.

The lineage of Hannah Collins and Thomas Brown (Jr.) and their daughter Mary Brown, who married Thomas York, is continued under the heading of James York (1614-1683).

[1] St Dunstan’s was an Anglican church located on St. Dunstan’s Hill between London Bridge and the Tower of London. The church was destroyed during World War II.

[2] Caroline Martino and Marcia Lindberg speculate on Ann’s family surname in a 1990 article published in The Essex Genealogist 10:1450-52. They hypothesize that her maiden name is “Riall” since they named a daughter “Riall”, a rather unusual name. There was a man with that name living in the area (Salem or Beverly, Massachusetts) at the time, and he may be  a brother or other relative of Ann.

[3] Geo[rge] Burdin may or may not have also been a servant accompanying Henry’s family.

[4] My 2nd cousin 10x removed

[5] James Savage. Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, showing three generations of those who came before May 1692 on the basis of Farmer’s Register (published with two supplements in 4 volumes, 1860-1862), Vol. II, p. 521. The following information is taken from Historical Collections of the Danvers Historical Society, Volume 8: “It was at his tavern that the first hearings in the witch trials were held, March 1, 1692, and he seems to have been an accuser in at least seven cases… [his daughter] Sarah Ingersoll… made deposition in the witchcraft cases in 1692, she being about thirty years of age.” Nathaniel Ingersoll’s Ordinary is located in Salem at 199 Hobart Street (at the intersection of Hobart and Centre Streets).

[6] John’s sister, Mary Tolman, married Henry Collins (Jr.), my 9th g-grandfather and the brother of his wife.

[7] Thomas and Sarah are my 10th g-grandparents, discussed under their own heading.


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