Week # 6 - Hannah Carter (~1620 - 1657 )
An ancestor a week for 52 Weeks! #52ancestors
I am continuing to pursue information about my ancestors whose parents were migrants in the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640). In this case Hannah Carter is the daughter of Thomas and Mary Carter who immigrated about 1635 and settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts, basically one of the oldest neighborhoods of Boston. Thos. Carter was admitted to the Charlestown church on 8 January 1637 and was very likely made Freeman on 9 March 1637. There are some other Thomas Carters in the colonies but this man appears to be a blacksmith and surveyor. His detailed will is transcribed on Wikitree.
I am most interested in Hannah, our 8th great-grandmother. Hannah was supposedly born about 1620 in Branscombe, Devonshire, England so she came over with her family of eight people on a boat about age 15. We know from previous research the cost of that journey was about £35, a huge outlay for father.
Thomas Carter dies about 1652 but Hannah is not mentioned in her father's will. We do see mention of his grandson John Greene AND, Thomas had recorded a deed of gift to "son-in-law" Wm Green half of 135 acres in Woburn, quite an extensive property. The other half goes to Hannah's brother, "Uncle John." Hannah married William Greene about 1642 and it appears he died 7 Jan 1654 in Woburn.
In December of 1640, William was one of the original subscribers to "town orders" for the founding of Woburn (incorporated in 1642). These original founders were exempt from taxes for the first two years, so the first year we find William paying taxes is 1645.
Using the old style dating- Hannah's husband, William Greene, writes in "The 6th of the 11 mo. 1653 [6 Jan 1654]" leaving all of his movable goods to his wife Hannah. His inventory indicates he accumulated £200 in his 14 years in the colonies so researchers believe he was an educated man who brought means with him from England.
Hannah dies very young, about age 38, 20 Sept 1657, not long after her first husband's death. She seems to have married a second time to Thomas Brown about 1654 but no children from that marriage.
Since the five children were young it is possible they grew up in their Uncle John Carter's house or one of the other three Carter uncles, all brothers to Hannah, living nearby in Charlestown and Woburn. Hannah's oldest son, John, writes- "yt I John Green sonne to William Green late of Woburne in New England doe acknowledge ye receite of all that estate willed unto me by ye sd William Greene my father I say received ye sd estate of my much respected unkell John Carter senr of Woburn he being one of ye overseers of the said estate 4th of ye 2d 1671. [4 Apr 1671]"
At this point John Green is 22 and able to manage his own affairs. Do you suppose the children were split up? Uncle John also had five children. The uncles have a petition in Middlesex court saying their brother died "leaving Wife and five small children." [18 Oct 1659]
Mary (1645) is twelve when her mother dies; Hannah (1647); John (1649); William (1651) [our 8th Great-Grandfather]; and Ebenezer (1653).
It is amazing to me how well this family is documented and the detailed court proceedings involved in transfer of property to the children even years after the death of the father. William and Hannah's oldest daughter, Mary seems to do very well marrying John Snow about 1667 and having 7 children. On 21 Jun 1672, about the time her second son, Zerubbabel, is born, is a record "I John Snow, of Woburn acknowledge to have received of my uncle Jno. Carter of the same town £34 6s. 11d. as the full of my wife's portion by her father William Green." It must have been wonderful that Mary had a sort of dowery from her father to bring to this marriage. Uncle John seems to have kept detailed records and been very faithful to his brother-in-law's wishes even 20 years after William's death.
It's sad to think that Hannah never knew the legacy that she had begun. I am sure she had wonderful hopes and dreams looking on the faces of those five little children. It is a similar case with our more recent ancestors as my Great-grandfather, Elkanah Howes Sears, died at age 65, in 1914 but his first grandchild was not born until the following year. Ten grandchildren that he would never know.
 NEHGS digitized court abstracts for Middlesex County, Massachusetts- misc.. probate book 181
 Middlesex Deeds Book 4 Folio 424.