Samuel Eddy

Samuel was baptized on May 15, 1608 in Cranbrook, Kent county, England. Of his life in England little is known. In accordance with his father's will, his brother Phineas Eddy was to care for his education and apprentice him to some trade, and he learned the trade of a tailor. Upon reaching the age of twenty-two years he was to receive by inheritance £100. So in May of 1630 he must have received this sum and probably used a goodly portion of it to pay his passage to America.

Samuel came to New England with his brother John on the Handmaid under John Grant, leaving the port of London on August 10, 1630 and arriving at Plymouth Harbor on October 29, 1630 after a very stormy twelve weeks at sea. Both Samuel and John, rated as "gentlemen," intended to join their distant connections, the Winthrops and the Doggetts, who had come to New England earlier in this same year and who had settled at Boston. However, even though Miles Standish personally escorted them to Boston, Samuel and John were not permitted to remain because they had neglected to obtain testimonial letters from the Plymouth Colony, dismissing them from that colony to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The brothers returned to Plymouth with Miles Standish. John and his family returned to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the winter of 1631/32 having procured the necessary letters from Plymouth. Samuel decided to remain in Plymouth.

Soon after arriving at Plymouth, Samuel must have taken an apprentice boy to teach him the tailor's trade, unless perhaps he had brought him from England, for the records state that on January 10, 1632/3:

Thos Brian, the serv't of Samuell Eedy wsa brought before the Gov. and Mr. Will Bradford, Mr. John Done, Stephen Hopkins and Wiliam Gilson, Asst. because the said Thomas had runne away and absented himself five daies from his master's service & being lost in the wood & found by an Indian, was forced to returne & for this his offense was privately whipped before the Govr & Council aforementioned.

What remained of Samuel's inheritance after paying for his passage must have been nearly all spent when he purchased the property on Spring Hill from Experience Mitchell, who came in the Anne in 1623 This place was then on South Street and is now No. 34 and 36 Market Street. The deed was dated May 9, 1631.

Experience Michell, sould unto Samuell Eeddy his dwelling house, garden plott fence, wth all things nailefast in ye same; for ye summe of twelfe pounds starling, as apears more at large by a writing under their hands to which ffrancis Eaton was witness. Only this was excepted by ye above said Experience Michell, so much of ye said garden plote as lyeth between ye ende of ye house ye streete; throw which notwithstanding he was to allow ye said Samuel a convienient way of Pasage, and to fence ye said goud (thus excepted) at his owne charge to maintaine ye same.

Samuel thus acquired a house, perhaps a home for his bride. He lived there from 1631 to 1645. With the purchase of this property, he also acquired whatever rights went with it as a landholder in Plymouth. Thus it is that six years later on November 7, 1637, Samuel received three acres of land at New Field, which was set off to him by the town. "The persons mentioned had divers porcons allowed them 3 acres in breadth and 2 in length next to the land of John Dunham the Samuell Eedey, 3 acres...all wch psons have or are to build in the towne of Plymouth and these lands to belong to their dwelling houses there and not to be sold from their houses."

On January 1, 1632/33, Samuel Eddy was admitted to the "freedom of the colony" and received the oath. A list of the names of the "Freemen of the Incorporation of Plymouth in New England" dated 1633 contains the name, Samuell Eddey. On January 2, 1633 the "persons were rated for the public use", that is, the tax was assessed. Samuel Eddy's tax was 9 shillings, the lowest tax assessed to any man. On March 24, 1633, the lists were again made up. Samuel's tax remained the same. A list taken March 7, 1636 contains the name of Samuel.

Sometime before 1637 (birth of first child), Samuel married. His wife's name was Elizabeth, though her maiden name is uncertain. Elizabeth has been called sister of Thomas Savory of Plymouth, based on relationships stated in deeds. Unfortunately for this argument, one of these deeds does not state the connection; the deed from Thomas Savory to Samuel Eddy of February 20, 1662 does not refer to Eddy as "brother-in-law". The later deed, by the widow of Thomas, does refer to "our brother-in-law Samuel Eddy", so the identification certainly remains possible. Note also that Eddy and Savory were granted lands jointly in 1664, although these lots were all granted to pairs of individuals, not necessarily related. If Thomas Savory was a brother-in-law of Samuel Eddy, either he married Samuel's sister or Samuel married his sister. Thomas Savory's wife was named Ann. Samuel Eddy had a sister Anna, but there seems to be no doubt that Anna Eddy was the wife of Barnabas Wines. If Samuel's sister Anna was the wife of Barnabas Wines, then she was obviously not the wife of Thomas Savory, and therefore Samuel Eddy's wife according to this theory was Elizabeth Savory, sister of Thomas.

However, there is also a mystery about Samuel Eddy appearing on a list of June 3, 1662 of "first born children" who received land purchased by Major Winslow and Captain Southworth. The list is a bit misnamed, for the original act from Plymouth Colony Records provdes that "such children as are heer borne & next unto them such as are heer brought up under their provided for...before any that either come from England or elsewhere." A good reason can be found for virtually all the names on the 1662 list. The "first born" seems to be any needy child (or a parent for the child) of those who were in Plymouth by 1627. One person on the list does not fit the pattern, William Pontus, but it might be supposed that he was included because he and his wife were of the Leiden Separatists and needed land. Some men are on the list because they married "first born" children, such as William Hoskins (married Sarah Cushman), William Nelson (Martha Ford), George Partridge (Sarah Tracy), and Andrew Ring (Deborah Hopkins). Edward Gray was the only person receiving a double share, and he was the husband of Mary Winslow, daughter of two Old Comers (Mary Chilton and John Winslow). But why was Samuel Eddy's name on the list?

Samuel did not qualify for including by any right of his own. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that he qualified by right of his wife, and that she must have been the daughter of some Old Comer family. Which Old Comer families had daughters named Elizabeth who cannot otherwise bwe accounted for? Only one. William Bradford's account says thatt "Thomas Rogers dyed in the first sickness, but his sone Joseph is still living, and is maried, and hath six children. The rest of Thomas Rogers children came over, and are married, and have many children." Yet not all of Thomas Rogers's other children at Plymouth have been identified. Besides Joseph, who came over with Rogers, his son John came over about 1630, but that is all that is known about his children in New England. Leiden records show that Rogers also had in Holland Lysbeth (Elizabeth) and Grietgen (Margaret). It might seem reasonable then to think that Samuel Eddy's wife was Elizabeth Rogers.

Elizabeth, whether Savory or Rogers, was twice summoned to appear before the Court of Plymouth. It is recorded that on "October 7 1651, Wee further present Elizabeth Eeddy, Sen'r of the towne of Plymouth for laboring, that is to say, for wringing and hanging out clothes on the Lord's day, in time of publicke Exercise." She was fined ten shillings, but this fine was remitted. Again on May 1. 1660, it is recorded that "Elizabeth Eedey was summoned to this court, and appeared, to make answare for her traueling on the Lord's day from Plymouth to Boston; and affeirmed that shee was nessesitated to goe on that day, in regard that Mistris Saffin was very weake and sent for her, with an earnest desire to see her, in her weakness with some other pleaes of like nature. The Court considering some cercomstances in her answare, although they saw not sufficient excuse for her act therein, saw cause to admonish her and soe shee was discharged of the Court."

Samuel was granted three acres "next to the lands of Joh. Dunham the elder," November 7, 1636. On July 6, 1638 Samuel Eddy sold to Richard Clough for forty bushels of Indian corn "all that his house and garden in Plymouth wherein the said Samuel now dwelleth". On the same day Nicholas Snow sold to Samuel Eddy for the same amount "all that his house & garden adjoining with the fence in & about the same in Plymouth wherein the said Nicholas now dwelleth".

In 1640 with several of his neighbors, Samuel bought a large tract of land of the Indians and founded the town of Middleborough. His portion included several hundred acres in the northern section of town and a part of the town of Halifax, and there as his descendants multiplied grew up the little village of Eddyville.

"Six acres of upland lying on the northwest side of Fresh Lake, about the fishing place, and thirty acres of upland at the Narragansett Hill, and four acres of meadow, or else half the meadow ground there to it," were granted to Samuel on September 16, 1641. Fresh Lake is better known by the name of Billington Sea. Narragansett Hill was the high land to the west of the town, where a battle between two Indian tribes, the Narragansetts and the Pochanockets, had occurred. On March 7, 1642/3, John Allen sold to Samuel Eddy "all that his house, barns & buildings with the lands thereunto belonging lying at Willingsly and Woeberry Plain". On March 3, 1645/6 Samuel Eddy sold to John Tompson "all that his house situate at the Spring Hill in Plymouth with the garden place adjoining and three acres of uplandÉlying in the Newfield". On March 20, 1647/8 "Samuell Eedy" sold to Experience Mitchell of Duxbury "one acre of marsh meadow".

As early as March, 1651 Samuell Eddy had "interest and proprieties in the town's land at Punckateesett over against Rhode Island," and on March 22, 1663/4 he and Thomas Savory were jointly recorded as the holders of Lot #3 on "Puncateesett Necke". On July 14, 1667 Samuel Eddy was granted six acres of meadow "lying at the South Meadow Brook". On August 5, 1672 "the swamp at Wellingsley lying up the brook" was granted to "the neighbors there," being five men including "Samuell Eedey".

On November 29, 1652 Samuel Eddy was a witness to a deed for the purchase of lands from the Indians, "Wosamequen and Wamsutta my sonne," by Bradford, Standish, Winslow and others. This land is now the town of New Bedford.

On June 7, 1659, "Samuell Eedey", was one of five men "desiring some proportions of land to accommodate them for their posterities. The Court giveth liberty unto them to look out a tract of land for that purpose, and if found convenient it shall be confirmed unto them for the ends aforesaid." On June 3, 1662, Samuel's name was in the list of those permitted to "look out some accommodations of land, as being the first borne children of this government."

On February 20, 1662 Thomas Savory of Plymouth, planter, deeded to Samuel Eddy of Plymouth, tailor, "all that his whole right part and portion of the land belonging to the town of Plymouth aforesaid commonly called and known by the name of Punckateesett, and places adjacent lying over against Road Island," in exchange for "a parcel of upland and meadow belonging to the said Samuell Eedey lying at the four mile brook in the township if Plymouth aforesaid, as also a parcel of upland being six acres lying and being at or near Fresh Lake in the township of Plymouth."

On March 24, 1662 "Samuell Eedey seni[o]r" of Plymouth, tailor, granted "unto his two sons viz: Zacariah Eedey and Obadiah Eedey all that his share lot and portion of land which he hath in the land granted and confirmed by the court in June last past before the date hereof, unto sundry persons, lying near unto Namassakett," to be equally divided between them, reserving "unto his own use six acres of the upland of the said lot of land," this six acres to belong to our sons Zachariah and Obadiah at his death, and that they permit him to winter three cows on their share of the land; " it was mutually agreed before the ratification of the premises by and between the said Samuell Eedey and Zachariah Eedey that in case Caleb Eedey shall desire a quarter part of the abovesaid land he shall have it"; acknowledged February 26, 1672.

On March 7, 1671/2 Samuel Eddy of Plymouth, tailor, sold to Steven Bryant Senior of Plymouth, husbandman, "all that my one share of land be it more or less divided and undivided that I have in a certain share or tract of land called the Major's Purchase lying at or near Namassekeesett Pond"; acknowledged by Samuel Eddy and Elizabeth his wife on the same day. On February 16, 1673/4 the town of Plymouth noted that "land which Samuell Ryder bought of Samuell Eedey lying at Mannomett Ponds" was still common land, according to the records searched.

So far as is known Samuel Eddy held no public office. This was due probably to his youth and inexperience with conditions in a colony which had been established for ten years when he joined it, and as time went on the care of his family occupied his entire attention. Though Samuel was of gentry status and though he received land grants, he did not seem to prosper in Plymouth, as can be seen from his putting his children out as servants. In the first years of his sojourn in the new colony, there was probably very little opportunity for Samuel to ply his tailoring trade, which in England at that time was so profitable. Instead it was necessary for this young man to wrest a living for himself and his family from the soil, a calling for which he doubtless had no preparation. For these reasons and perhaps for others Samuel and Elizabeth found life in the new country very hard, so that by 1638 they were rated among the "poore of the town." In the spring of 1624 Edward Winslow returned from a trip to England and brought with him the first cattle introduced into the Colony, and a letter from James Shurley, one of the merchant-adventurers, presenting a heifer, with its increase, as a gift for the benefit of the poor of the town. Each year the "poores stock" as it was called, was assigned to those who needed it.

At a meeting of the Townesmen of New Plymouth held at the Governor's the XVIth day of July 1638, all the Inhabitants from Jones River to the Eele River beingÉthereunto To consider of the disposal of the stock given (by Mr. Shurley of London) to the poore of Plymouth who had playnely declared by severall letters in his owne hand writing that his intent therein was - wholly to the poore of the Town of New Plymouth.

In the division of the "poores-stock" in July 1638, it is stated that Samuell Eddy as one of the "poore of the town of New Plymouth received four shares in the black heiffer, which was Henry Howland," that is the one which Henry Howland had had the previous year and was now holding. From some of the records it would seem that they had to pay a small sum which might be termed a year's rental, but in many cases there is no reference to any such payment. Perhaps those that were too poor had their share in the heifer free of charge. At various times in the next few years, Samuel Eddy's name appeared in the lists of those who received a share in the "poores-stock."

In July 1644 it was voted "For the ordering of the poores stock, Edmond Tilson and Samuell Eedey are to have the cow at Edmund Tilsons betwixt them, but Edmong to have two parts and Samuel one part & Edmond to winter her and Samuel to pay his part thereof."

Again in July 1646. "The cow calf that came from Tilson was sould to John Dunham and Sam Eedey at 18 sh. John Dunham hath paid his part...and Edey still is debtor."

In 1648 when the "poores stock" was called, one cow was "in the hands of John Dunham and Samuell Eedey. The increase thereof a yearling heifer and a bull calfe." The value of these was £3, 4 shillings.

From this time Samuel's affairs began to improve; for the next year, "John Dunham had the cow that he and Samuel Eedy had before" and after this Samuel has no more of the "poores stock" assigned to him.

In addition to the heifer in which Samuel Eddy had shares he had the use of a furnished pasturage for four goats and a lamb, and he had a dog which was not loved by all of his neighbors as it was by his own family. [See An Elegy on the death of Samuel Eddy's Dog following.]

On December 7, 1641, Thomas Sheriff (Shurtleff?) and William Brown complained against James Laxford in an action of trespass." They attached four goats which were in the hands of Samuell Eedey and Joshua Pratt amounting to 33 shillings.

On August 4, 1646 "it was decided in the case betwixt Sam'l Edey and John Dunham, Jr. about ye said John Dunham's giveing poysen to the said Samuel Eddys Dogg, the Court having taken the same into consideration upon hearing what could be said upon both sides the Court doth order yt ye said John Dunham shall find sureties for his good behavior unto the next Court." Later in the same year it is recorded on October 27, 1646 "In a case of difference twixte John Dunham, Jun'r and Sam Edie, the court orders, & the said John Dunham agreed thereunto, that Mr. Wm. Paddie and John Cooke, Jun. shall heare & determine all former civill differences twixte them to this present day." [See An Elegy on the death of Samuel Eddy's Dog following.]

During these years of struggle, Robert Hicks, a neighbor and friend died. In his will, probated May 24, 1647, he left to Samuel Eddy a "payer of my wearing stockings," not such a small gift as it would seem, when the scarcity of wool in a new settlement and the labor of carding it and the final knitting of the wool into stockings is taken into consideration.

These years from 1638 to 1649 are the years in which his five children were born and in which he apprenticed the oldest son John to Francis Goulder of Plymouth, and sons, Zachariah and Caleb, to John Brown of Rehoboth.

Memorand: that Samuell Eddy hath put his sonn, John Eddy, to dwell with Francis Goulder, and Katherne, his wyfe, vntill he shall accomplish the age of xxjtie yeares (being seaven yeares of age the xxvth of December, last past) and said Francis, and Katherne, his wyfe, fynding vnto the said John, their servant, meat, drink, and apparell during the said term, and either in the end thereof, or else at the term of the death of said Francis, or of the said Katherne, his wyfe, whether shall last happen, to pay him five pounds in country pay, or, if it pelase God so to disable the said Francis, or Katherne, his wyfe, that they shall not be then able to pay so much then to pay him s much as I shall haue left: And if it happen that both the said Francis, and Katherne, his Wyfe shall dye before the ende of the said terme, that then the said John shalbe at liberty to be disposed of as his parents shall think fitt; but if either of them doe live out the said terme, the said John to dwell with the longer liuer of them vntill he shall accomplish the age of xxjtie yeares as aforesaid. Dated April 3, 1645.

Whereas Samuell Edeth, & Elizabeth, his wife, of ye towne of Plymouth aforesaid, having many children & by reason of many wants lying upon them so as they are not able to bring them up as they desire and out of ye good respect they beare to Mr. John Browne, of Rehoboth, one of ye assistants of this government, did both of them jointly desire that he, ye said Mr. Browne, would take Zachery, their son, being of the age of seven yeres & bring him up in his imployment of husbandry, or any business he shall see meete for ye good of their child till he come to ye age of one & twenty yeres, whereupon Mr. Browne did in ye presence of Mr. Bradford Governor, take unto his service the said Zachary & promiseth to provide for & allow him during ye said terme all necessaries convenient & fitting such a servant according to ye state and condicon of ye country & doth further of his own will provide that if in case he, ye said Mr. John Browne & his wife, shall depart this life that said Zachary shall attaine to ye end of his time of service that then his eldest son, that shall haue the government of him during the residue of ye said time not attained unto, shall not make sale of ye said residue of time not attained unto nor any part thereof to any person or persons whatsoever whereby he shall or may be wronged: and if it shall so come to passe that those to whomsoever he shalbe committed unto, after the death of ye said Mr. John Browne & his wife, shall not deal well with him, as such servant ought to be dealt with, thereupon the complaint of any of ye friends of ye said Zachary shalbe and take him wholly away & place him with whom they shall see meete, provided that no sale or merchandise be made of ye remaine of his time by any. Dated March 2, 1946/7.

On March 4, 1652, Caleb Eddy, aged 9 years, was "to be taken by Mr. John Browne of Rehoboth...who was to bring him up in his Imployment of husbandry (or any other business)."

There were several other items in the records, of minor import, but which serve to give a glimpse into the daily life of the family in Plymouth.

In October 1646 Samuel was absent from the town meeting, but was present in December of the same year. On September 1, 1640 the order went forth that "every inhabitant of every Towne within the Government fitt and able to beare armes must be trayned." In 1643 Samuel was enrolled as a person capable of bearing arms and was made a member of a troop enrolled for the defense of the Colony against the Indians. In June 1668 it is recorded that Samuel voted in a town meeting in Plymouth.

In 1646 it is recorded that "ffrancis Eaton, carpenter, owed Sam Eedy £2." Perhaps Samuel had been making some clothes for the Eaton family.

On June 26, 1678 the town of Plymouth allowed five shillings to "Goodman Edey viz: Samuell Edey for work done by him in time of the war in making clothes for soldiers."

On May 29, 1670 an exact list of all the names of the "Freemen of the Jurisdiction of New Plymouth," contains the name of Samuel Eedey. This list was made because the towns of Middleberry and Swansea had been incorporated and all those freemen, who had taken up residence in either were listed as freemen of those towns and no longer as belonging to Plymouth. Samuel remained in Plymouth. His son Zachariah was listed as a resident of Swansea but neither Caleb nor Obadiah appear on the lists, as they had not at this time qualified as freemen.

On August 5, 1672 "The Swamp at Wellingsley (a section to the south of the town) lying up the brooke is Graunted wholly unto the Neighbors living there, viz. John Jourdain, Gyles Rickard, Jun., Nathaniel Morton, Sen'r, Abraham Jackson and Samuell Eedey."

On June 27, 1677 Samuel's name appears as a proprietor of land in the Township of Middleborough, but this term proprietor does not mean that Samuel was a resident of Middleborough, but only that he was an owner of property in that town.

On June 25, 1678, it was voted that "The collectors to Gather the minnesters maintainence for this year are William Clarke and Abraham Jackson who are to doe it on the same conditions as it was performed the last yeer: .... five shillings was allowed to Goodman Edey, viz. Samuell Edey for work don by him in time of warr in makeing Clothes for Souldiers." At this time Samuel was seventy years old. Though he could not fight as a soldier, he cold aid by using his hands in helping to make the clothes for the fighters, thereby finding a use for the trade he had learned in boyhood.

From these records it is evident that Samuel and Elizabeth were residents of Plymouth all their lives until this date and never were residents of Middleboro. But at this time both were over seventy years of age. Their four sons had long since left Plymouth, and they were alone. Probably sometime between June 1678 and December 1681 Caleb or Zachariah of Swansea persuaded them that it was time that they gave up their own home at Plymouth, for in December 1681 when giving a deed Samuel and Elizabeth gave their residence as Swansea, where they both died.

Samuel died on November 12, 1687 in his eighty-seventh year and Elizabeth on May 24, 1689 "in her 82nd year at the end of it". Their death dates were included in the records of the Plymouth church, indicating that both had been members of this institution.

It was the custom in early New England to bury the dead on the day following the death and in a plot near the house, so it would be natural for Samuel and Elizabeth to be buried near the home of one of these Swansea sons. It happens that in December of 1696, just nine years after the death of Samuel and seven years after the death of Elizabeth, Zachariah Eddy sold to his son, Zachariah Eddy, twenty acres in Swansea, lying in a place "Commonly known by the name of Matapoysett, bounded northerly with the highway, easterly with the fence and Spring Brook to the Salt Water, southerly to the land of Ralph Chapman and bounded westerly with the highway which leadeth to the land of Ralph ChapmanÉexcepting and reserving the Burying Place on the premises which is to lye and remain as a burying place for and to the families of the said Eddys & for such of their neighbors as the said Eddys shall admit of forever." Thus it is known that previous to 1696 Zachariah had already buried some members of his family near his home. Since the only Eddys who had died besides his wife Alice were his father and mother, it seems almost certain that Samuel and Elizabeth lie in the Eddy Cemetery in Swansea Village, perhaps in two of those graves whose locations are marked by stones which bear no inscriptions.


An Elegy on the death of Samuel Eddy's Dog
by William Holden Eddy

To day no lofty strain I sing, of Pilgrims' joy or suffering,
No tales heroic do I bring to set your minds agog;
An incident of daily life of bitterness, alas, and strife,
When rumors sorrowful were rife
Of Samuel Eddy's dog.

The breed he sprang from who can name? Mastiff or bull we cannot claim.
Or trained to seek the fleeting game, in forest or in bog;
Lurcher or hound, or terrier keen, Spaniel or Porter, greyhound lean,
Naught do we know of this, I ween, of Samuel Eddy's dog.

What that dog did we do not know, almost three centuries ago,
Little indeed the records show, in Plymouth's catalogue.
But this we read, one summer day stretched cold in death the poor beast lay,
Poisoned by some fell foe, they say, was Samuel Eddy's dog.

Of this in truth we may be clear, that all the settlers, far and near
Spoke words of comfort and of cheer, in friendly dialogue;
And soothed, as best they could, the woe that had o'ercome its master so,
And checked the tears that would o'erflow, for Samuel Eddy's dog.

Think of the grief of Zachariah, of Caleb, sad as Jeremiah,
And doubtless year-old Obadiah, though somewhat in a fog,
Upraised his voice in wailing strong, and added to the weeping throng
Another lamentation strong for Samuel Eddy's dog.

What was John Dunahm's dreadful fate? What punishment did him await?
Who made the household desolate? What was the epilogue?
This only, that he sureties gave, than henceforth he would well behave
For ever after poison crave for Samuel Eddy's dog.

But later these two men agreed in partnership a cow to feed,
To satisfy their households' nee with milk instead of grog;
Thus out of evil, good somehow will often come; and so that cow
Repentance shows and sorrow now, for Samuel Eddy's dog.

So let us pardon grant to him, and trust he's with the cherubim,
That man who gave the poison grim, and broke the Decalogue.
And let us all assembled here in heartfelt sorry drop a tear
Upon the long forgotten bier of Samuel Eddy's dog.


I'd be happy to exchange family information.
Please send e-mail to Sam Behling.

See lineage of Eddy Family

Read the Biography of Samuel's father, William Eddye

Read the Biography of Samuel's son, Zachariah Eddy

Read the Biography of Samuel's grandson, Joshua Eddy

Read the Biography of Samuel's great grandson, John Eddy

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