Merrill family history and genealogy to the benefit of all.


VII. Nathaniel1 and His Sons
      The Will of Nathaniel1

2nd Generation - Daniel
A Merrill Memorial

    Samuel Merrill, 1928, reprint 1983

Nathaniel1 of Newbury and His Sons - Chapter VII, pp 66-101

Daniel2 Merrill - pp 91-96

    Daniel2 Merrill was born 20 Aug. 1642, in Newbury. He was a carpenter as well as a farmer. The site of his homestead is not now known.

   The Colonial charter required that the inhabitants take the oath of allegiance to the King. Political disorders under the Commonwealth and after the Restoration had resulted in the requirement remaining for a time in abeyance, but, in a modified form, some of the inhabitants were ultimately called upon to take the oath. It is recorded that "Daniell Merrill" of "Newberie" took "ye oath of ffidelitie vnto this gouerment ye 25 of february sixty eight," and again in 1678 he took the oath of allegiance, his age (See p. 74) being given at that time as thirty-four years. In 1677 he was chosen fence viewer, and in 1689 he was one of four "way wardens."

His Military Service

   In a list of "Soldiars under ye command of Capt Tho Noyes," in 1688, is the name of Daniell Merell. He was then forty-five years old. He is called Sergt. Merrill in papers of that time. In the General Register of the Society of Colonial Wars for 1899-1902 (page 709) it is stated that he was "in Lieut.-Col. Thomas Noyes' company of Snowshoe Men, 1706." But in 1706 Daniel2 Merrill was living in Salisbury. Furthermore, at sixty-three years of age he would hardly have been rated as an effective campaigner on snowshoes. The snowshoe-man of 1706 was his son, Daniel3 Merrill of Newbury, then thirty-four years old. The snowshoe men were "apointed to keep snow shous & moggensons," in addition to the muskets which all inhabitants were required to have ready for use in any emergency. (Currier, History of Newbury, pp. 528, 540, 541.)

An Old Heirloom

   A silver teaspoon which is supposed to have belonged to Daniel2 Merrill was handed down in the line of William-Patten7 Merrill of Topsham, Maine. (See pages 532, 533) It is now in the possession of his daughters. On the back of the handle are engraved the initials of Daniel Merrill and Sarah Clough, with the date of their marriage, and the initials of John3, John4, John5, Abel6 and William-Patten7 Merrill, which were added in later years. The bowl of the spoon shows a number of dents, probably the teeth-marks of youthful Merrills of many generations ago. (*) My drawing is from a photograph which was given me by Mary-Jane7 Merrill, sister of William-Patten7, when she was eighty-seven years of age. To her friendly interest I am indebted for many facts about her line in the family.

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   At the Registry of Deeds in Salem may be found the record of fifteen conveyances under which Daniel2 Merrill acquired title to various lots of land in Newbury, Salisbury and Haverhill. The earliest of these was dated 5 May, 1668, and the latest 27 Feb. 1706/7. Some of the earlier ones were not recorded until after his death.

   In 1668, for £ 55, he bought sixteen acres, with buildings, "near the great pine swamp," (in the southern part of Newbury, not far from Parker River). In 1673, jointly with his brother Abel, he bought fifty-six acres in Haverhill, the purchase price being £ 52. The following year the two bought twenty acres adjoining their previous purchase, this being described as situated at "Hogghill" in Haverhill (in the present town of Atkinson, N.H.) The consideration for this second purchase was "a Cow and a Yoke of Oxen and ffive pounds in cloathing in hand payd."

   John Clough, senior, of Salisbury, in 1686, in consideration of love and good will, gave a deed to "my sone Daniell Merrill & Sarah his wyfe of Nubury," conveying one-half of all the grantor's land in Haverhill, together with rights of commonage. It was stipulated in the deed that "John Merrill ye sone of Sarah Merrill shalbe considered & allowed some prehemenency in ye abovesd lands abov ye rest of ye sd Sarahs children."

   Daniel Merrill began buying land in Salisbury in 1682, his purchases including two tracts in the "Barbary meadows," £ 46.5s.; six acres in the "Higglede Pigglede lotts," £ 20; two tracts in the Goodale Swamp Division, £ 20; besides upland at the Great Plain and at Munday's Hill, and other land now not easily identified.

   The tax list of 1688 showed that Daniel Merrill owned two houses, with twelve acres of arable land, in Newbury, and his farm was stocked with two horses, a yoke of oxen, five cows, four three-year-old. heifers and four yearlings, (**) besides thirty sheep and six hogs. The absence of pasture in the enumeration is explained by the practice of pasturing cattle on land held in common.

   At what time he removed to Salisbury is not known. He is described as of Newbury when, 28 Jan. 1696/7, he purchased, from Richard Hubbard of Boston, a forty-acre tract in Salisbury, bounded easterly by Daniel Moody, northerly by Nathaniel Brown, westerly by "the highway," and southerly by "a way." Five years later, 31 Jan. 1701/2, he bought land at the Birchen Meadow, near Turkey Hill, in Newbury, being then described as of Salisbury. He evidently acquired other land also in Salisbury and Haverhill, by deeds which were not recorded, or otherwise, for he made several conveyances of other property, which are recorded with the Essex deeds.

His Salisbury Homestead

   Daniel2 Merrill continued to own a homestead in Newbury, which descended to his eldest son under his will, besides the Salisbury homestead, which fell to his youngest son. This Salisbury homestead at the "Great Plain" was probably near the ancient cemetery which lies a mile and a half north from East Salisbury village, where the road leading west to Amesbury and South Hampton branches off from the road north to Seabrook. Moses3 Merrill, son of Daniel2, is known to have lived across the road (***) from this cemetery, toward the northwest. This neighborhood was variously known as the Great Plain and Pitch Pine Plain.

   Daniel2 Merrill was admitted a freeman by the General Court, and took the freeman's oath 7 Feb. 1682/3. (See p. 85.)

His Will

   The will of Daniel2 Merrill is in the fair clerkly handwriting of Jacob Bradbury. The following copy conforms to the original, line for line, as closely as may be by means of printed letters. The "long s" (f) was used generally by the writer of the will, except at the end of a word, but I have not found it practicable to attempt to indicate this by means of my typewriter.

Jn ye. Name of God amen
Daniel Merrill of ye: town of salisbury in ye: County
of Essex in ye: Province of ye: Massachusetts bay in new eng
land Carpenter this tenth day of May 1717 being weak
in body but of perfeot mind & memory. thanks be given
to God. therefore caling to ming the mortality of my
body & knowing that it is appointed for all men once
to die do make & ordain this my last will & testament
that is to say principally & first of all J give & recommend
my soul into the hands of God yt: gaue it & my body J re
comend to the earth to be buryed in decent christian bu
rial at ye: discretion of my executor nothing doubting
but at ye: general resurrection J shall receive ye: same a
gain by the mighty power of God. & as touching such
worly estate wherewth: it has pleased God to bless me
in this life J give demise & dispose of ye: same in ye: follow
ing manner & form. ---------------------------------------
Jmprimis J give & beqveath unto Daniel my oldest sone
all my homested housing & land in newberry as also all my
salt marsh my rate lot & wood lot so called & birchin
meadow in sd. newberry aforesd he paying out legacys as fol
loweth to my daughter Sarah Morse fourty shillings also to
my son in lay Onesiphorus Page sixteen pounds wch: my de
sire is that he would devide eqvally amongst ye. four chilldr
en wch: he had by my daughter Ruth when they come of
ago also sixteen pounds to my daughter Martha True
all wch: to be paid in or as money wth: in five years after
my decease ------------------------------------------------
2ly. J giue & bequeath unto John my second son two thirds
of my hoge hill lot so called in Haverhill wch: was given
me by my father Clough as also ye: Barbary meadow yt
was my father Cloughs -----------------------------------
3ly: J give & bequeath unto my third son Moses Merrill --
the other third of my hoghill lot to gether wth: all my right
to ye: other lands & meadow wch: is between my Cousin Tho
mas Merrill & J in Haverhill aforesd. as also ye: Pilsbury lot of
salt marsh so caled lying in ye: barbary Meadows in salisbury
4ll. J give & beqveath unto my youngest son stephen Merrill
Whom J likewise make constitute & ordain my sole Exe
cutor of this my last will & testament, all my homested
buildings & appertenances together wth: my land on ye: Great
plain ajoyning to it as also my pasture & meadow Ground
in Goodale swamp so called containing about thirty acres
as also two lots in ye: salt Marsh at ye: Barbary the one known
by the name of ye: Downer & the other ye: Bayly lot
as also all my stock & moueables also my will is yt: my sd:
sone stephen do take Care of my beloved Wife Sarah
Merrill after my decease that is to say to find her a con
venient fire room in my now dwelling house with ne
cessary & convenient privelidges & to maintain her two
Cows winter & summer (she finding ye: Cows) also to find
her ten load of convenient fire wood at her aforesd. dwell
ing place & to pay her five pounds per annum in money or
good provision pay at money price & all this as a yearly an
nuity according to a covenant made between me & y
my wife before marriage & J do hereby utterly disalow
revoke & dissanul all & every other former testaments wills
legacys & beqvests and executors by me in any ways be
fore named willed & bequeathed Ratifying & confirm
ing this & no other to be my last will & testement in
witness whereof J haue hereunto set my hand & seal
the day & year aboue written ------------------------
signed sealed published
pronounced & declared       <!--Image for Daniel signature]-->
by the sd. Danll: Merrill
as his last will & testament
in presents of us ye: subscribers
       Jsrael ShaparD
       moses clouf
       Jacob Bradbury

   (****) This will was sealed with a few drops of red wax, now broken. The seal shows no impress, save a fingerprint of some hand which has long since returned to dust. No inventory of the estate is to be found in the probate files in Salem. The will was proved 12 July, 1717.

   "My cousin Thomas Merrill," in the thirty-fifth line, refers to the testator's nephew, Thomas3 (Abel2) Merrill. The word "cousin" was used in the old general sense of kinsman.

* The length of the spoon is 4 5/8 inches. On the shank, above the bowl, is stamped the maker's initials, J.M

** Currier, History of Newbury, p. 205; New England Historical and Genealogical Register, xxxii, 161.

*** When I was a young man my father pointed out to me a depression in the earth at this point, which, he said, without doubt marked the site of Moses Merrill's cellar. S.M.

**** See infra, page 169. See also Currier's History of Newbury, pp. 103, 116, 177, 181, 208, 528, 659.


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     © - Updated 30 July, 2002