Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Working on Wednesday: Matthias Farnworth (1612 - 1688), Weaver

While we know that this paternal eighth great grandfather was baptized in St. Mary's Church in Eccles, Lancashire, on August 20, 1615, there are huge gaps in the surviving records until he appears as a resident of Lynn in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1657. There's no indication how long Matthias had lived in Lynn at that point or when he had arrived in the New World.

[Thomas Groom, British, active 1820-1825 St Mary’s Church Eccles Lancashire Lithograph (318 x 410mm)
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu]

By 1664, town records indicate that he had removed to Groton, where he was considered one of the original proprietors of the community. In May of that year he was one of a committee named to consider how to bridge religious dissensions that had arisen in Groton in the wake of political changes after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.* In November of the same year Matthias was allotted some land "to be laid out agaynst his house" and he was admitted as a freeman of the Colony in 1670.
[ Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).]

During King Phillips's War, Groton was attacked by the Indians and all except four garrison houses were burned on March 13, 1676. The inhabitants fled to Concord where they remained for two years before returning to rebuild their homes.
[1677 Map of New England by William Hubbard.

Matthias was a respected citizen of Groton and served at times as a Constable and a Selectman.

He dictated his will on January 15, 1688/89 in which he stated he was "aged about 77 yers" naming his oldest son, also named Matthias,** to be joined with two neighbors to administer his estate. He died about three weeks later.

Sources agree that he was a weaver by trade and among the items in the inventory of his estate was a "Loom and tacklin" valued at 2 pounds which he had bequeathed to his oldest son in the final line of his will: "also I give my loam and tacklins for waving to my son Mathyas farnworth."

Matthias Farnworth is buried in the Old Burying Ground in Groton.

You can find more information about the Farnsworths here and here.

*After several meetings, the committee of eleven men were unable to do more than make general suggestions about should be required of church members.
**My direct ancestor, whose name is spelled Mathyas in the will. The early records spell the surname without the "s" which was added later.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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