Saturday, February 25, 2012

Keeping the Town Livestock – William Patten

B. in England
M. in England
Wife: Mary
D. 10 Dec 1668 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Emigrated: Before March 1635

William Patten was born in England in the early 17th century and migrated to America with his family, but there are no details on his origins. He married a woman named Mary presumably in England, and they had a family of six children, with the youngest born Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1643.

William first turned up in the Cambridge town records on March 13, 1635, when the townsmen voted he should keep a hundred cattle belonging to the inhabitants of the town. He was hired to do this for seven months with a payment of £20, half to be paid in money and the other half in grain. In 1638, he had another agreement to keep the town cows, and in 1646, he was fined for letting one hog roam free. On two or three occasions he was appointed as a "surveyor of fences," and also as "surveyor of highways."

In 1642, William was enrolled as a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston. He lived on what is now Massachusetts Avenue, opposite the Common. The proprietors' records show that he had "one house and garden about halfe an Acre upon the Cow Common," and "in the New Lotts next to Manaotmie two Acres of planteing grounde." In 1647, forty-seven lots on the west side of Menotomy River were granted to several inhabitants of the town. In this distribution William had "three acre more or lesse."

On June 9, 1652, an agreement was made regarding the town of Shawshin (later called Billerica). In this William Patten was assigned eighty acres. It isn't known if he if he ever lived there, because he died in Cambridge. In 1655, "The Great Deed from Cambridge Proprietors to the Billerica Proprietors," making Shawshine or Billerica an independent town, was executed and William was one of the signers.

Between 1660 and 1668, William was granted liberty on several occasions to take lumber from the common to "repair fencez," "for a cart," "for a cow house," "to build a lean-to and an end to his farm," and to "repayre his old house at towne." He didn't always ask permission — in 1662, he was fined 20 shillings for cutting down trees on the common against town orders.

William Patten died December 10, 1668. He left no will, but on April 2, 1669, his widow filed an inventory worth almost £200.

1. Mary Patten – B. England; M. John Griggs, 11 Nov 1652, Roxbury, Massachusetts

2. William Patten – B. England; D. 22 Mar 1646, Cambridge, Massachusetts

3. Thomas Patten – B. Oct 1636, Cambridge, Massachusetts; D. 14 Jan 1690, Billerica, Massachusetts; M. (1) Rebecca Paine (?-1680), 1 Apr 1662, Billerica, Massachusetts; (2) Sarah Kendall (1653-1734), 20 May 1686, Billerica, Massachusetts

4. Sarah Patten – B. 27 Jan 1638, Cambridge, Massachusetts; M. Amos Woodward

5. Nathaniel Patten – B. 1639, Cambridge, Massachusetts; D. Jan 1640, Cambridge, Massachusetts

6. Nathaniel Patten – B. 29 Jul 1643, Cambridge, Massachusetts; D. 12 Jun 1725, Cambridge, Massachusetts; M. (1) Rebecca Adams (?-1677), 24 Nov 1669; (2) Sarah Cooper, 8 Oct 1678; (3) Sarah Hancock (1667-?), 15 Oct 1711

Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of Massachusetts, William Richard Cutter and William Frederick Adams, 1910

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