Polley #2594

George Polley (1625-1683)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massachusetts before 1649 and

Elizabeth Winn (1628-1695)

Born in England.  Arrived in Massachusetts by 1640 (probably a few years prior).

Polley #2594

George Polley was born in England about 1625[1].  Charles E. Banks[2] is the only source found that indicates the English origins or immigration details of George Polley, and he states that he was from St. Leonard Shoreditch, Middlesex County in England.  The ship is listed as the Mayflower[3].  He died at Woburn, Massachusetts on 22 Dec 1683.  On 21 May 1649 at Woburn he married Elizabeth Winn, and that is the earliest mention of him, although he may have lived in Woburn or elsewhere in New England for several years prior.  Elizabeth was born before 1631 and arrived in New England with her parents, Edward Winn and Joanna (or Jane) and her siblings, probably in the late 1630s.  She died 2 May 1695 at Woburn.

A George Polley served in King Philip’s War under Capt. John Carter (or Cutler)[4].  Authorities disagree as to whether it was George Polley or his son, George Polley (Jr.), who actually served.  The senior Polley would have been about 49, and the son would have been about 20.  Thus it could have been either. Since there is no Junior indicated on the rolls, many believe it to be the father.  However, the oldest son John, aged about 26 at the time, also served in the war.  This fact might lead one to believe that it was the case of two brothers going off to war.  This is a point that may never be resolved satisfactorily.

Many interesting facts and tidbits have been recorded, along with their dates, concerning George Polley and his family for posterity to consider:

  • 3 Feb 1648/49: Land was ordered laid out to him in Woburn.
  • 1658: John Crownwell, a Scotchman, confessed that he was in the house of George Poley alone with his wife, and that he kissed her once and ate some strawberries.  The court record shows that it ordered both Crownwell and the wife of George Polly severely wipt ten stripes a peece.
  • 1664, 1665 and 26 Oct 1666: He was recorded as being taxed, which indicates he was a landowner. * 1665 – he was chosen as “Surveyor of Fences”.
  • 1668: His right to share in the common lands of the town was acknowledged.
  • 2 Apr 1668, at the age of 43, he gave testimony in court (it is based on this record that his date of birth is estimated to be 1625)
  • 18 Jun 1670: In a debt case, giving testimony on June 21, he was summoned to court.

George Polley died in Woburn on 22 Dec 1683.  When the will was proved 1 Apr 1684, the inventory read in part as follows:

 An inventory of the Estate of George poly senr who deceased upon the twenty second daye of Janewary 1683[-84], was taken, 21 Feb. 1683[-84], by frances Kendall & James Converse, the total amount being £298-09-06. It included one small hous and about 35 acres of upland adjoyning, some 101 additional acres in upland, swamp, meadow and woodlot; his stock, with one mare and bridle sadle and pilion and harnes; carpenter’s tools; household effects with a brass scilet listed; a Swarm of bees, etc.

Note the apparent conflict between the Woburn death record date for the decease of George Polly (22 December 1683), and the date of death stated in the inventory (22 Jan 1683/84).  The latter date is believed to be an administrative oversight.

The children of George Polley and Elizabeth Winn are listed as follows (all born at Woburn, Massachusetts):

  1. John, born 16 Dec 1650 and died about 1711.  On 16 May 1681 at Reading, Massachusetts he married Mary Edwards.
  2. Joseph, born 25 Dec 1652.
  3. George (Jr.), born 4 Jan 1655/56.  On 24 Oct 1677 he married Mary Knight, who was born 14 Oct 1658.  Their children were: George (1678), Joseph (1680), Mary (1682), Elizabeth (1684), Sarah (1686), Abigail (1689), Hannah (1691), Ebenezer (1693), Miriam (1695) and Mercy (1698).
  4. Elizabeth, born 14 Apr 1657.
  5. Samuel, born 24 Jan 1660/61 and died shortly thereafter.
  6. Hannah, born and died 6 Apr 1662.
  7. Hannah Polley see below.

Hannah Polley was born 28 Jun 1663 and died 28 Mar 1731, both at Woburn, Massachusetts.  On 18 Oct 1682 she married John Baker (II), who was born 25 Mar 1654 at Cambridge, Massachusetts and died about 1722.  Their lineage is continued under the heading of John Baker (1633-1695).


[1] He gave testimony in court on 2 Apr 1668, and his age at the time was recorded as 43 years. It is this record on which his approximate year of birth is based.

[2] Charles Edward Banks. Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England, 1620-1650 (originally published 1937).

[3] Of course, this would not be the famous Mayflower that landed at Plymouth in 1620, but most likely a different ship of the same name.

[4] See Bodge’s 1906 King Philip’s War, p. 286 and D. H. Hurd’s 1890 History of Middlesex Co., Mass., pp. 382-383. The latter quotes some of Bodge’s earlier articles in the NEHGR.

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