Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mother Kendall's Skillet – Rebecca Paine

B. about 1618 in England
M. about 1640 in Massachusetts
Husband: Thomas Kendall
D. 17 Jul 1703 in Reading, Massachusetts
Emigrated: before 1640

What we know about Rebecca Paine comes from the details on her tombstone, and in a commemoration of the town where she lived that happened long after she was dead.

Rebecca was born in about 1618 somewhere in England. There is speculation from some researchers as to who her parents were, but nothing has been verified. She came to Massachusetts, where she married Thomas Kendall in about 1640. They were living in the new town of Reading by 1644. Between 1642 and 1665, Rebecca gave birth to 11 children. All but one of the children were girls and the only boy died as an infant. As well as having many children of her own, Rebecca was a nurse and midwife to others in the area.

Thomas died on July 22, 1681, and Rebecca survived him for over 20 years, dying on July 17, 1703. She was buried in the Old Burying Ground in Wakefield, Massachusetts, which is a town next to Reading. Her tombstone reads: "Rebecca Kendall, widow of Dea. Thomas Kendall, dyed July 17, 1703, Aged 85 years  Here lyeth the 'mother of ten' who had 175 grand and great-grandchildren."

Rebecca must have left an impression on her descendants, or maybe a cooking pot that got passed down in the family kept her memory alive. The artifact survived into the 19th century and was used to celebrate Reading's bicentennial. A poem was written telling the early history of the town which was read before an audience on May 29, 1844, and Rebecca was given a long section of it:

[Rebecca] outlived for many years
The partner of her youthful days,
Was famed through all the region round,
As the best nurse that could be found;
She had ten daughters, and each one,
When married, christened her first son
Kendall, and thus we may infer
Why 'tis these names so oft occur.
This ancient mother lived to see
Nine scores of her posterity,
Enjoyed the power, before she died,
Of saying what's to most denied:
"Rise daughter, to thy daughter run,
Thy daughter's daughter has a son."
A relic of this famous nurse
Has been preserved and shown to us;
Excuse me, ladies, when I tell it,
I've got Mother Kendall's skillet!
And here it is, the identic pot
She used for puddings, and what not.

At this point, the person reading the poem held up the 200 year-old cooking pot, described as an iron kettle "used for making hasty puddings" and "frequently loaned to the Indians." It isn't know what became of "Mother Kendall's skillet" and if it still survives today.

Famous descendants of Rebecca Paine include Geena Davis and Orrin Hatch.

1.  Elizabeth Kendall – B.17 Feb 1642, Reading, Massachusetts; D. 7 Oct 1688, Reading, Massachusetts; M. John Eaton (1635-1695), 8 Mar 1658, Reading, Massachusetts

2. Rebecca Kendall – B. 10 Feb 1645, Reading, Massachusetts; D. 30 Aug 1713, Reading, Massachusetts; M. James Boutwell (~1642-1716), 15 Jun 1665, Reading, Massachusetts

3. Mary Kendall – B. 22 Dec 1647, Reading, Massachusetts; D. 8 Mar 1688, Reading, Massachusetts; M. Abraham Bryant (?-1720), 2 Feb 1664, Reading, Massachusetts

4. Hannah Kendall – B. 29 Jan 1649, Reading, Massachusetts; D. 8 Jul 1689, Reading, Massachusetts; M. John Parker (~1640-1699), 13 Nov 1667, Reading, Massachusetts

5. Sarah Kendall – B. 20 Jun 1652, Reading, Massachusetts; D. 23 Jun 1652, Reading, Massachusetts

6. Sarah Kendall – B. 22 Jun 1653, Reading, Massachusetts; D. 20 Nov 1734, Billerica, Massachusetts; M. (1) Samuel Dunton (1647-1683), 17 Jun 1673, Reading, Massachusetts; (2) Thomas Patten (1636-1690), 20 May 1686, Billerica, Massachusetts; (3) Thomas Richardson (1645-1720), 19 Dec 1690, Billerica, Massachusetts

7. Abigail Kendall – B. 30 Nov 1655, Reading, Massachusetts; 19 Nov 1721, Reading, Massachusetts; M. John Nichols (1651-1721), 18 May 1676, Reading, Massachusetts

8. Susanna Kendall – B. 27 Jun 1658, Reading, Massachusetts; D. 1732, Reading, Massachusetts; M. (1) Nathaniel Goodwin (?-1693), 25 Oct 1676, Reading, Massachusetts; (2) Timothy Wiley (1653-1728)

9. Tabitha Kendall – B. 5 Nov 1660, Reading, Massachusetts; D. 17 Oct 1711, Reading, Massachusetts: M. John Pearson (1650-1728)

10. Thomas Kendall – B. 15 Sep 1663, Reading, Massachusetts; D. 20 Jul 1664, Reading, Massachusetts

11. Ruth Kendall – B. about 1665, Reading, Massachusetts; D. 1665, Reading, Massachusetts

The history of Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Samuel Sewall, Chauncy Sewall and Samuel Thompson, 1868
Historical address and poem: delivered at the bi-centennial celebration of the incorporation of the old town of Reading [Massachusetts], Lilley Eaton and James Flint, 1844
Tombstone inscription of Rebecca Kendall, Old Burying Ground, Wakefield, Massachusetts
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]
Gathering Leaves, D.M. DeBacker, 2008
Families of Cavendish: Families of Abraham Parker, James Parker, etc., Cavendish Historical Society, 1995

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