Joseph MERRY

Male 1607 - 1710  (103 years)


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  • Name Joseph MERRY 
    Born 1607 
    Gender Male 
    Died 15 Apr 1710 
    Buried West Tisbury Village Cemetery, West Tisbury, Dukes, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • “This prominent pioneer of Tisbury is first found as a resident of Haverhill, Mass., in 1640, where he lived with a wife named Mary until about 1654, when he removed to Hampton, N. H. There his wife died April 4, 1657, having given birth to onone child of record, Joseph, b. Dec. 19, 1654. The father, Joseph, was a carpenter by trade and plied his craft in Hampton as he had done before in Haverhill. Shortly after his wife's death he bought a house and ten acres of upland in Hampton, oof Thomas Coleman, Sept. 29, 1657, and at the age of 47 years found himself a widower, with possibly a child to care for in his new home. But this was not long to remain so. Emanuel Hilliard of that town was drowned shortly after this in October, 1657, leaving a widow Elizabeth, daughter of John and Phebe Parkhurst of Ipswich, England, and sister of George Parkhurst of Watertown, Mass. The young widow was then about 29 years old, and before two years had passed she entered into a marriage covenant with Joseph Merry, who was then 21 years her senior. In this agreement he gave her the house and ten acres he had recently acquired, and sometime about Dec. 13, 1659, when the covenant was dated, they set up housekeeping, and four cchildren were born to them in rapid succession, who later spent their days on the Vineyard. This explains the curious epitaph on the gravestone of Joseph in the West Tisbury cemetery "That being verified in him Psalms 92 14 They shall bring forth fruit in old age," a reference to his second marriage after middle life and the raising of a family.

      Joseph Merry and his young family, consisting of Hannah, Abigail, Bathsheba and Samuel, born between 1660 and 1669 in Hampton, continued residence there till 1670, when in some way he became attracted to the Vineyard. If we are to credit the tradition that Governor Mayhew's first wife was a Parkhurst, possibly the sister of George of Watertown, it will be seen that Elizabeth Merry was related by marriage to the proprietor of Martha's Vineyard and thus the family connection is responsible for Merry's migration. However that be, almost as soon as the new township of Tisbury had been bought by Pabodie and his partners, Merry bought of Benjamin Church, on Nov. 19, 1669, the grist mill and its privileges "uppon the westermost Brook of Takemmy" with one eighth part of the propriety, or two shares, in the new settlement. The purchase price was £90 and Merry paid for it in whole or in part with his Hampton property, the homestead, an island of salt marsh and two shares in ccow and ox commons in that town. The deeds finally passed Dec. 2, 1670, (Mrs. Merry and Nathaniel Batchelor acting as his attorneys by previous appointment), and from this it is presumed that Merry was already at the Vineyard attending to his new purchase and preparing the new home for his little family. The property purchased consisted, as laid out, of the mill on the New Mill river so long operated by the Looks, with land adjoining on the west side of the road, and about eighteen acres on the east side of the road, bounded by the river. This last lot is still known as "Merry's Field" after a lapse of two and a half centuries, though the property did not remain in the family beyond 1705. After operating the mill for five yeaars, Joseph Merry sold that part of his estate to Tristram Coffin of Nantucket, and being then about three-score-and- ten years of age it is presumed that he devoted the rest of his life to his trade and tilling the soil. There is no record as to the location of his house, but in all probability it was in his "Field." His public services were few. He was constable in 1675, road surveyor in 1678 and 1687, and was chosen to divide common lands in 1689 and 1690. On March 2, 1677-8, the grgrand jury presented him "for contempt of authoritie in not obeying the summons in his Majesties Name to give in testimony" and for this he was mulcted in the sum of five shillings. In 1681 he sued Simon Athearn in the sum of £20 "for non payment of a frame of an house," but the two compromised on £7 and divided the costs. On July 12, 1689, being then about 82 years of age, he gave his homestead by deed of gift to his only son Samuel, then just entering his 21st year, and from that date on until 1701 his name appears but once in the records, when he gave some "information" about the ancient bounds of a town lot, being then in his 84th year. He passed the century mark in 1707 and died April 5, 1710, at the remarkable age of 103, undoubtedly the oldest person who has ever lived in the town. It is not known whether he survived his wife Elizabeth, as there is no record of her death nor a stone at her grave. If she survived she was 82 when her husband died. Of his children further evidences of longevity are noticeable. His daughter Abigail Pease died in her 80th year and Hannah Skiffe at 97 years.”

      “A biographical sketch of JOSEPH MERRY (1) the ancestor of this family, may be found in Vol. II, Annals of W. T., pp. 58-60, and nothing has since been found to add further knowledge of him or his antecedents. [*He was related to Phillip Wollidgdge of Salisbury, Mass. whom he galled "nephew" and possibly to Henry Monday of the same town, who also called Woollidge his nephew. Henry Smith of London, gent. in his will 1647 made a bequest to his "nephew" Henry Mundy. These relationships maay be clues to Joseph Merry's antecedents.] The name is very rarely found in English records of his time except in the southwest counties, particularly in Gloucestershire, but no connection has been established between him and his home in England prior to migration. He m. MARY _____, who d. 4 Apr. 1657; (2) Mrs. ELIZABETH (Parkhurst) HILLIARD abt. Dec. 1659 (wid. of Emanuel) HILLIARD of Hampton, N. H. dau. of George and Phebe Parkhurst of Ipswich, England, where she was bapt. 18 May 16628. [Priscilla Haines adds, "George and Phebe (LEETE) Parkhurst; Joseph md Elizabeth (Parkhurst) Hilliard, md 14 Dec 1659; Elizabeth chr. 18 May 1628 at St. Mary le Tower, Ipswich, Eng.; Son Joseph (of Mary .....) b. iin Hampton, Rock., NH. My source is 50 Colonial Immigrants by John B. Threlfall."] The date of her death is unknown. He d. a centenarian 15 Apr. 1710 being, as his gravestone states, "103 years old." and it further amplifies his advanced years by the following legend: "That being verified in him Psalm 92, v. 14: They shall briny forth fruit in old age," which is not an exact quotation, nor is the reference correct. ["They also shall bring forth more fruit in their age". (Psalm 92, v. 13.) The claim of fruitfulness in old age is not strikingly illustrated in this case as he was but 62 when his last child was born.]”



      West Tisbury Village Cemetery Stone:

      “Mr. JOSEPH MERREY
      WHO DIED APRIL ye 15th
      1710 BEING
      103 YEARS OLD
      [THAT] BEING VERIFIED IN
      [HIM PS]ALM'S 92 14 THEY
      [SHALL BRING FORTH
      FRUIT IN OLD AGE.]”««s35»», ««s35»» [1]
    Person ID I6951  Lowell&Block
    Last Modified 8 Jul 2013 

    Family 1 Mary ?,   d. 4 Apr 1657, Hampton, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Bef 1647 
    Children 
     1. Martha MERRY,   b. 1647
     2. Joseph MERRY,   b. 19 Dec 1654
    Last Modified 8 May 2017 
    Family ID F2552  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Elizabeth PARKHURST,   b. Abt 1610, Ipswich, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Dec 1659 
    Children 
     1. Hannah MERRY,   b. 29 Nov 1660,   bur. Chilmark Cemetery, Chilmark, Dukes, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Abigail MERRY,   b. 19 Oct 1662
    +3. Bathsheba MERRY,   b. 16 Jun 1665
     4. Samuel MERRY,   b. 16 Nov 1669, Chilmark, Dukes, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Oct 1727, West Tisbury, Dukes, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years)
    Last Modified 8 May 2017 
    Family ID F2550  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - West Tisbury Village Cemetery, West Tisbury, Dukes, Massachusetts, USA Link to Google Earth
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  • Headstones
    Merry, Joseph
    Merry, Joseph

  • Sources 
    1. [S35] The History of Martha’s Vineyard, Dukes County, Massachusetts., Banks, Charles., (Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society, 1911. 3 v.).