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Bradstreet was chosen to fill several important positions in colonial affairs, and he served as an assistant in the lower house of the General Court for most of his life. During his first twenty years in the colony, he was heavily involved in business pursuits, as well as the founding of new towns. In 1661, he was chosen as an envoy to the court of Charles II, that monarch having recently been restored to power. In 1679 Bradstreet was chosen governor of the colony. He would turn out to be the last governor under the original charter. In 1686, the colony was denied its right to self-rule, and Sir Edmund Andros was installed as governor. Bradstreet served briefly as governor again after Andros was overthrown, but England replaced him with Sir William Phips in 1692. Bradstreet continued to serve in government until his death in 1697, in Salem, Massachusetts.
Simon Bradstreet built his first home in America at the present location of Harvard Square at Brattle Street and John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge Massachusetts
Governor Simon Bradstreet (1604 – 1697)
is my 9th great grandfather
John Bradstreet (1652 – 1718)
son of Governor Simon Bradstreet
Mercy Bradstreet (1689 – 1725)
daughter of John Bradstreet
Caleb Hazen (1720 – 1777)
son of Mercy Bradstreet
Mercy Hazen (1747 – 1819)
daughter of Caleb Hazen
Martha Mead (1784 – 1860)
daughter of Mercy Hazen
Abner Morse (1808 – 1838)
son of Martha Mead
Daniel Rowland Morse (1838 – 1910)
son of Abner Morse
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Daniel Rowland Morse
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse
ORIGIN: Horbling, Lincolnshire
FIRS T RESIDENCE: Boston
RE MOVES: Cambridge 1634, Ipswich 1636, Salem 1646, Andover 1652, Salem 1676, Boston by 1689, Salem 1692
RETU RN TRIPS: To England and return in 1662 on colony business
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: “Simon Brandstreete” admitted to Boston church as member #7, which would be in the fall of 1630 [BChR 13].
FREE MAN: 25 May 1636 [MBCR 1:372]. (He was one of seven men admitted on that day who had been involved with the Massachusetts Bay Company for many years, and had held high offices; their admission to freemanship on this date was merely a formality that recognized a status that had existed for some time.)
ED UCATION: Morison argues that the Simon Bradstreet who received degrees at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, was not the immigrant, although the immigrant did reside at that college about 1628-9 and was a very well-educated man [Morison 367-68; see Venn 1:203 for the record of the “other” Simon Bradstreet].
OFFICES: Assistant, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1630 to 1678; Secretary, 1630 to 1636; Governor, 1679 to 1686 and 1689 to 1692; Commissioner of the United Colonies, 1644, 1663 to 1667 [MA Civil List 17-18, 21-26, 28]. (Savage credits Bradstreet with service as Deputy Governor from 1673 to 1678, but Samuel Symonds held this office in those years, as Savage also notes.) Bradstreet held many other offices at the county and local level, such as Cambridge selectman and Essex magistrate.
ESTATE: With other leading men of Essex county, “Mr. Symon Bradstreete” petitioned to be allowed a “free company of adventurers” to pursue trade in Massachusetts Bay, 1 October 1645 [MBCR2:138].
The General Court granted “Mr. Symon Bradstreete” eight hundred acres to be located near the farms of Capt. Keane and others, 23 May 1650 [MBCR 3:193, 413]. Bradstreet and Thomas Wiggen, gent., were granted one thousand acres near Dover, with the privilege of timber for their sawmill, 14 October 1651 [MBCR 3:247, 306, 364]. Mr. Bradstreet and Mr. Symonds were granted five hundred acres “in reference to service done at York and Kittery,” 14 September 1653 [MBCR 3:339] to be laid out eight miles from the Haverhill meeting house [MBCR 4:2:327]. He was granted another five hundred acres, August 1653, near the Connecticut River next to his two hundred acres, 6 May 1657 [MBCR 3:430], but was encouraged to locate it elsewhere, 28 May 1659 [MBCR 4:1:380]. As a result, he was granted an additional three hundred acres, to be six miles or more from the Northampton meeting house, 31 May 1660 [MBCR 4:1:420]. His five hundred acres near Hadley was in controversy 18 May 1664 [MBCR 4:2:106].
In his will, dated 23 December 1689 (with codicil of 27 January 1692/3) and proved 2 April 1697, “Simon Bradstreet of Boston … being at present in competent health and strength” set his house in order and “for my outward estate which God in his rich mercy hath blessed me withal in this Wilderness (having given all my eight children such portions as I thought meet and equal & divided my plate and household stuff amongst them)” the remainder was bequeathed to “my dear and loving wife Mrs. Ann Bradstreet all that estate real and personal whatsoever that I had of hers or with her in marriage … (according to agreement made with her before marriage) in lieu of her thirds,” also £10 per year during her life out of my farm at Lynn “whereon Cornet John Lewis now liveth,” also £10 more during her widowhood, one half from my house and land at Andover and the other half from my farm at Topsfield, also “my negro woman Hannah and her daughter Bilhah now living with me, not to be sold to any except in way of marriage, but if she finds meet to dispose of them or either of them before or at her death, then to some of my children whom she pleaseth,” also “use of that little household stuff I bought since I came to Boston during her pleasure and then to some of my children as she shall see meet,” also provisions at the house in Boston with one quarter rent of the house wherein I lived at my death “entreating her to accept of these small bequests as a testimony of my unfeigned love … in regard of that love, care and tenderness she hath always showed to me and mine”; whereas “by a former will I had given to my eldest son Samuel Bradstreet my farm at Lynn” but at his death by his will given to Mary Bradstreet “his eldest daughter by his first wife whom I have been forced to educate and maintain … since September 1670 … and have now three of my said son’s children sent me from Jamaica” make some alteration to this gift by granting my wife £10 a year from the farm and “to the said Mercy Bradstreet the daughter of my son Samuel” the farm in Lynn occupied by Cornet John Lewis, to her and her heirs or in want of such heirs of her body, to the children of her father Samuel Bradstreet equally she paying the aforementioned £10 to “her grandmother Ann Bradstreet”; to “the said Mercy her father’s picture and household goods”; to “John and Simon Bradstreet two of my son Samuel’s children now with me my house and land in Lynn” purchased of Major Samuel Appleton and his son Samuel, said land and house equally divided betwixt them, also to the said John Bradstreet my twenty acres of meadow and part of a little island in Topsfield; to “Anne Bradstreet another child of my son Samuel Bradstreet” a house and land in Lynn of forty-three acres lately purchased of Mr. Ezekiel Needham; “my dear and loving wife Mrs. Ann Bradstreet” executrix as regards the three children of my son Samuel viz. John Simon and Anne; to the three children of my son Simon Bradstreet viz. Simon John and Lucy, a half of all my houses and lands in Andover, also £10; to Simon Bradstreet the eldest of the three children before mentioned ten acres in Lynn near my farm; to “my son Dudley Bradstreet” the other half of my houses and lands in Andover, also to each of his children living at my decease £10 each; to “my son John Bradstreet and to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten my house and farm at Topsfield wherein he now liveth,” also the lots of wood belonging to the farm, also the parcel of meadow purchased of Robert Muzzey together with all the swamp and ten or twelve acres of upland, also £60 and to each of his children living at my decease £10 apiece, his heirs to receive the farm as follows, one half to his eldest son and the other half equally divided amongst the rest of his sons and daughters; to “my grandchild Mr. John Cotton of Hampton” £20 and to his sisters “the daughters of my daughter Dorothy” or so many of them living at my decease £10 each “only as to Ann’s legacy I leave it to my executor and overseers to do therein as they shall see cause and as she may deserve” by her carriage and behavior; to “my son-in-law Mr. Andrew Wiggin” all that debt which he owes me £50″ and to every of his children by “my daughter Hannah” living at my decease £10 each; to “my daughter Mrs. Sarah Ward and to her husband Capt. Samuel Ward” all that debt which her former husband Mr. Richard Hubbard owed me being more than £100, and to every of her children living at my decease £10; to “my daughter Mrs. Mercy Wade and to her husband Mr. Nathaniel Wade” my farm at Topsfield whereon John Hunkins now lives, with twenty six acres of upland, part of an island, also the lot of upland of forty acres, she or her husband paying yearly the sum of £5 to “my wife Mrs. Ann Bradstreet during her widowhood,” also to every one of her children living at my death £10 each; to “the three children of my son Simon” one farm of five hundred acres granted me for service to the colony and not laid out yet; to “my son Dudley Bradstreet” the other farm of five hundred acres granted me; to “the three children of my son Samuel (viz) John Simon and Anna now with me” £100 each for their education and make void a former bequest to them of my two houses and lands in Lynn mentioned in the former part of my will, “having already disposed of one of them”; to Mr. Samuel Willard “the Reverend Pastor of the South Church in Boston” £5; residue distributed by my executors to some of my grandchildren, especially to those of “my son Simon and Daughter Cotton whose parents had the least portions”; son Dudley Bradstreet sole executor except in duties committed to “my dear wife”; “my much honored friends Capt. Wait Winthrop Esqr. and Mr. Peter Sedgwick” overseers to accept 40s. each to buy a ring.
In a codicil dated 27 January 1692/3 Bradstreet altered the bequest of his two negros Hannah and Bilhah so they were completely at the dispose of wife Ann Bradstreet and she to pay to said negros 20s. each; to my wife my spectacles set in gold; again entrusted the education of his son Simon’s three children to wife Ann Bradstreet; to my grandson John [Bradstreet] my set of gold shirt buttons; to Simon a silver trencher salt; to Anna a silver porringer; to “my granddaughter Mrs. Mary Oliver her father’s picture”; to “my three grandchildren John, Simon and Anne, all the arrears of what is due to me for salary as late Governor of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay”; to “my grandson Simon the son of my late son Mr. Simon Bradstreet” ten acres of land in Lynn “he standing in great need of my help”; authorized his executor to sell the farm at Topsfield if the price of £250 can be gotten, £100 to his three grandchildren, John, Simon and Anne the children of my son Samuel, and the rest to my daughter Wade; Mr. Isaac Addington overseer [SPR 11:276-82]. BIRTH: Baptized Horbling, Lincolnshire, 18 March 1603/4, son of Rev. Simon Bradstreet [NEHGR 48:168-71].
DEATH: Salem 27 March 1697 [Sewall 371].
MAR RIAGE: (1) Before 1630 Anne Dudley, daughter of THOMAS DUDLEY. (At the birth of her first child she wrote “It pleased God to keep me a long time without child …” [EIHC 64:303]. She was admitted to Boston church as member #13, shortly after her husband [BChR 13]. She died at Andover 16 September 1672. (Simon Bradstreet’s first wife, Anne (Dudley) Bradstreet, was, of course, the renowned poetess. Two recent studies of Anne Bradstreet and her poetry are Elizabeth Wade White, Anne Bradstreet: The Tenth Muse [New York 1971], and Ann Stanford, Anne Bradstreet: The Worldly Poet [New York 1974].) Of her children she wrote
(2) 6 June 1676 Ann (Downing) Gardner, baptized St. Brides Fleet Street, London, 12 April 1633, daughter of Emanuel Downing (by his second wife, Lucy Winthrop), and widow of Captain Joseph Gardner of Salem (son of THOMAS GARDNER) [Hale, House 518]; she d. 19 April 1713 [Sewall 710].
While still in England Bradstreet had married the daughter of THOMAS DUDLEY.COMMENTS:Bradstreet was partners with George Carr and Richard Saltonstall in a vessel captained by Elias Parkman, who plied up and down the coast from the Bay to Connecticut. Parkman’s debt was the subject of a letter by Saltonstall to Winthrop in October, 1638 [WP 4:64].
Stephen Bachiler invited the help of “our Christian Friend Mr. Brodstreet” the first working day when he began the settlement of Hampton [WP 4:70].
On 23 April 1646 Emmanuel Downing reported to John Winthrop that “Mr. Broadstreet is about to settle his habitation with us, at Salem; and to imploy his stock in trading here” [WP 5:78].
At the General Court on 27 November 1661, “the honored Mr. Bradstreete is called, on the service of the country, to leave his family’s occasions, & go for England…” [MBCR 4:2:36]. “1661 February 10th Mr. Bradstreet & Mr. Norton with Mr. Davis & Mr. Hull took ship & set sail the next morning” [RChR 199]. Eliot welcomes him home 3 September 1662: “Mr. Bradstreet & Mr. Norton returned from England, bringing with them a gracious letter from his Majesty confirming our Charter & liberties” [RChR 200]. In parallel with other New England colonies, Massachusetts Bay saw the need to send representatives to England at the time of the Restoration to see to their “liberties.”
John Eliot recorded on 10 July 1666 that
There happened a dreadful burning at Andover. Mr. Bradstreet’s house & the greatest part of his goods were burnt. The occasion of which burning was the carelessness of the maid, who put hot ashes into an hogshead over the porch: the tub fired about 2 o’clock in the morning & set the chamber & house on fire [RChR 204].
Unlike several of his contemporaries, Simon Bradstreet managed his estate with a firm hand and dealt with reliable people. There was no necessity for him to clog the courts with debt cases, and aside from the occasional dead cow [EQC 1:116], “worried hog” [EQC 1:248] or missing beaver skins [EQC 1:90], Bradstreet generally tended to stay on the bench and not before it. Certainly in comparison to others of similar broad trading interests, Bradstreet’s business career was quite peaceful. His choice of servants was generally good as well, although he did have a little trouble with Thomas “Shareman” [EQC 1:205].
BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: Unlike many of his equally illustrious contemporaries, Bradstreet has not been the subject of a lengthy biography (having been eclipsed by his more famous wife in this regard). William Andrews Pew did summarize his life in 1928 [EIHC 64:301-28].
The Great Migration BeginsSketchesPRESERVED PURITAN
My name is Patricia Kirk-Byrne and I am also the 9th Great Granddaughter of Gov Simon Bradstreet. I have been doing the research on Ancestry.com I just wanted to thank you for the information you provided.
Excellent history that you have done here ! It has been a truly awesome journey discovering my heritage. Thank you for your hard work. Job well done
Been interesting going through this. I found that I too am a descendant (8th Great-grandfather) of Gov. Bradstreet through John. I then branch off through Samuel.
Great history. I was able to become a Daughter of the American Revolution. Very exciting ! Also. One his grandsons, also my direct descendants was accused of being a witch in Salem and stood trial along with his dog. He was acquitted and quickly moved to Ohio. Don’t blame him .