Tuesday, April 7, 2020

2020 Prompt - Water - Mary Waters

Ancestor - Mary Waters, 1638-1710
My ninth great grandmother

Nancy Simmons - 11 Generations to Mary WATERS
The prompt for 52 Ancestors week 14 was water. I surfed my surnames in my Brother's Keeper database and found Mary Waters born in Watertown.  She jumped right out at me!  Mary Waters is my 9th great grandmother, so who is she and what is her story?

During the covid19 pandemic, we constantly heard about the exponential spread of the virus. As a genealogist, we talk about the exponential factor of our ancestors. I have my two parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 great great-grandparents, and exponentially I end up with 1024 ninth great grandmothers!  That just doesn't seem right but in fact that is what you and I have!  It takes 11 generations and about 400 years to produce that many great-grandmothers. And YES, that is a lot of great grandmothers.  We get small threads of DNA from each one to make us the unique person we are.  When we talk exponentially about covid19, someone with the virus can contact two people who spread it to two more people and in just a few days the virus can spread to hundreds and thousands of people.  Case in point - continue social distancing and self-isolation.  
Let’s get back to Mary WATERS!

Mary Waters the fourth of 14 children born to Lawrence Waters and Anna Linton on January 27, 1638 in Watertowne, Massachusetts.[1]  Her father immigrated about 1635 during a period called the Great Migration where 30,000 immigrants left England and traveled across the Atlantic. Mary's father came to the Massachusetts Bay settlement and was a carpenter. In 1653 he was one of the first settlers of Lancaster, Massachusetts where he built one of the first houses in that community and Mary and her siblings were some of the first children born and raised in this new settlement.[2]
Settlements that Mary Waters Davis lived

In 1655, Mary Waters married Samuel Davis in Lancaster, Massachusetts.[3]  Here Mary had her first of nine children in 1656.  My direct descendant was Samuel Davis born January 8, 1669 in Groton, Massachusetts[4] where Mary and Samuel had moved. As Mary birthed her ninth child in 1675, there was much unrest developing between the colonist and the Native Americans and Mary had to have been quite anxious about her family. This small settlement was on the outskirts of the wilderness in Massachusetts in 1675.

This conflict soon intensified into what was called King Philip's War. King Philip was a Wampanoag chief and when the colonist executed three of his warriors the conflict escalated into outright warfare. Both the Native Americans and the colonist ravished and burned each other's communities. This forced the colonist to create the largest colonial army to date in New England. Both Mary's husband, Samuel Davis, and her father, Lawrence Waters, were conscripted into the colonial militia.  Over 1,000 men were in the colonial militia with 150 Indian allies to battle the Native Americans.[5] It was the winter of 1676 that Mary and her family left Groton and fled to Charlestowne, just outside Boston, for protection. On March 2, 1676 Groton was attacked and all was burned except for four homes.[6] Throughout the spring and summer of 1676 there was much bloodshed. By August of 1676 the colonist with many Indian allies succeeded in killing King Philip and by September the Native American opposition was destroyed but not without losing 600 English colonist and seventeen settlements.[7]
Settlements had garrisons where colonist found refuge.

Mary, her husband and their children returned to Groton in 1678 to rebuild. Two years later Mary's mother died in 1680 in Lancaster[8] and her father, Lawrence Waters, followed at the age of 85 in 1687[9] in the town he helped build.  The fear of Indian raids on English colonial settlements did not let up in the coming years .  Poor Mary probably worked hard to re-establish her home in Groton. The years leading to 1688 saw the raids by Native Americans, allies to the French, increasing.  King William's War 1688-1697 is known as the first of many conflicts between New France and New England.[10]  Also, the Native Americans were becoming hostile as treatises and agreements from King Philip's War were not being followed and so they allied with the French. English settlements continued to be raided and burned and many a colonist was taken prisoner and marched to Montreal. The conflict stopped in 1697 but not for long.

In December 1699, Mary's husband, Samuel Davis, died at the age of 69.[11]  Samuel's will was probated in December 1699 and Samuel names his beloved wife, Mary, and names his children, Nathaniel, John, Mary, Elizabeth, Patience, Sarah, and Samuel, my direct descendant[12]. 

Samuel Davis Will 1699 Middlesex County, Massachusetts

Life had hardly settled down for Mary in Groton in the early 1700's when the second of many French and English conflicts intensified.  This second conflict was called Queen Anne's War 1702-1713[13]. Mary's son, John Davis, was scalped and killed in 1704 doing chores outside his home in Groton[14]. This conflict continued until 1713 when peace was declared in Europe bringing negotiations to the New World between the French and the English. 
Conflict between English colonist and Native Americans
At the age of 72, Mary Waters Davis died on October 30, 1710 probably at the home of one of her children[15].  Her death is recorded in the Concord Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Massachusetts Vital Town Records.

Finding Mary WATER's story helped me realize that sitting in my home after 25 days of self-isolation and social distancing and wishing I could see my children and grandchildren is a small sacrifice to protect so many others. I have my cell phone, my internet, my television and food. I am so spoiled! I can’t imagine raising eight children in a tiny settlement on the border of the wilderness with your enemies lurching around waiting to attack, steal your children and burn your home. Mary lived almost her entire life in this situation. There was something very special that lead me to find and discover the story of my 9th great grandmother, Mary WATERS.

[1] Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1620-1850 (online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historical, 2001-2016), Watertown, V. 1, page 5.  https://www.americanancestors.org/DB190/rd/14084/5/256336571
[2] An American Family History: Lawrence Waters and Anna Linton. https://www.anamericanfamilyhistory.com/Waters%20Family/WatersLawrenceAnnaLinton.html
[3] Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1620-1850 (online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historical, 2001-2016), Lancaster, v.1, page 20.   
[4] Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, Groton, Samuel Davis, son of Samuel Davis, Ancestry.
[5] Encyclopaedia Britannica, King Philip’s War. https://www.britannica.com/event/King-Philips-War
[7] Ibid
[8] Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1620-1850 (Online Database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016), p.66  https://www.americanancestors.org/DB190/rd/13924/66/250964145
[11]Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1620-1850 (Online Database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016), Littleton Town Records, V1, page 432. https://www.americanancestors.org/DB190/rd/13484/432/238432640  
[12] Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Samuel Davis Middlesex County, Massachusetts 1699.
[13] History of Massachusetts Blog, Queen Anne’s War,  https://historyofmassachusetts.org/queen-annes-war/
[14] Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1620-1850 (Online Database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016), Groton, V2, page 215. https://www.americanancestors.org/DB190/rd/7714/215/143145249
[15] Ibid, Concord Births, Marriages and Deaths, V1, page 76. https://www.americanancestors.org/DB190/rd/7685/76/142160155

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