PREFACE. For the purpose of preserving what information I have been able to gather of the Proctor family, in England and after coming to New England, I publish the following. Commencing with Robert Proctor of Concord, I give what may be considered a correct genealogy of my branch of the family, together with what information I have of the other branches.
HERE LYETH THE BODY OF
The work was commenced more for amusement than otherwise, but as it progressed interest was increased until I determined to submit in this form for future generations what I could collect, without becoming responsible for anything beyond what I know to be true from personal knowledge. William Lawrence Proctor. Ogdensburg, N. Y., 1897.
The above, written by Mr. Proctor toward the close of his life, indicates his purpose in respect to this work. In 1873 he had gathered some information concerning the family which he preserved in a small pamphlet. Afterwards he received from various sources a much larger amount of material which he had begun to arrange for publication when a serious illness unfitted him for accomplishing his purpose. Partly to interest his mind in something pleasant and to give occupation, I continued to write to different persons, arranging as best I could what was obtained.
In the early part of 1897 a large amount of material was received from Frank W. Proctor, Esq. of Andover, N. II., (No. 444:1) who had been more than ten years in gathering it but was not well enough to complete the work and was quite willing to add his collections to that already obtained. I think he has furnished far more than any other individual, and therefore should receive the largest share of thanks.
Next to him Mr. Oliver Proctor of Townsend Harbor, Mass., (No. 390) should be mentioned. He has furnished a large amount of data, especially concerning the line of Robert's son Peter. He has also done very much by correspondence in many directions to awaken an interest in Proctor genealogy.
The genealogy of the families of Solomon, Thomas, Experience, John, (Capt. Leonard, Thomas, Samuel, Robert) is contributed by Anne D. Proctor, assisted by Mrs. Elizabeth Marion (Proctor) Churchill of St. Louis, Mo., Mrs. Valeria (Blood-Proctor) French and Albin S. Burbank of Proctorsville, Vermont. These families comprise numbers 127, 128, 131, 132, 257-259, 269-279, 502-507, 517-526, 642, 643. To Miss Proctor (No. 258:1) is due the entire credit for furnishing and arranging the matter and correcting the proof sheets under these numbers and in the notes under her initials on pages 246 and 290. Several others have responded nobly and have rendered valuable assistance. If time and space would permit I would like to mention each by name, but in spirit I would take them by the hand and heartily thank them all for the kindness with which they have answered every appeal for assistance in the prosecution of the work.
Among the books that have been found useful are Allen's History of Chelmsford, Mass., Rev. E. R. Hodgman's History of Westford, J. G. Locke's "Book of Lockes," all loaned by Oliver Proctor, Hudson's History of Lexington and "The Dows or Dowse Family in America," compiled by Azro M. Dows of Lowell, Mass., which we were permitted to use through the kindness of Miss Amanda Dows of Cazenovia, N. Y. (No. 248:1). We have consulted everything in the Congressional Library at Washington which we thought could assist us, from Savage's Genealogical Dictionary to books relating to single families only.
All the material might have been collected and still the book have failed of completion had not some one competent to arrange it for the press come to our assistance. The summer of 1897 found Professor Henry E. Sawyer of Washington, D. C., providentially in our home. In response to a half-playful suggestion he undertook to arrange a few pages of contributed matter with no thought of anything further. From this beginning, however, he has been kept seriously at work for months in correspondence, preparing copy, and carrying the book through the press.
We wish to express our greatful appreciation of all help and trust the book will repay all who have assisted in its preparation by being more nearly complete than otherwise it could have been. We have not been able to reach every family, and frequently hear of new branches. But we have reached a point where it seems necessary to call a halt. We have added blank leaves so that each family may make its own additions or corrections.
He who began the work haw been called above to join the ancestors of years agone leaving us with the task to finish. It may not be done as well as he would have done it, but in loving memory of him it has been carried to such completeness as was possible. Those who have ever undertaken this kind of work will appreciate its difficulties, and doubtless will find much to criticise. But they will know that it is almost impossible to avoid errors in a volume containing several thousand names and dates belonging to hundreds of widely scattered and constantly changing families. Some mistakes are due to indistinctness or conflicting statements in communications. A few errors involving only differences of a few days in dates have not been corrected, as the necessary changes can so easily be made by those interested.
No genealogy that we have examined is perfect and we know that this is not. But such as it is we send it forth on its mission, trusting that many in whose veins flows the blood of ROBERT PROCTOR will find pleasure in its persual and that it will awaken in some one a desire to follow out more completely the lines of descent herein recorded.
Persons noticing errors in the book are kindly requested to report them to the undersigned, and if descendants of Robert Proctor who may have genealogical notes not included herein will send copies of them to me it will be regarded as a favor.
Dolly Pauline Proctor. Ogdensburg, N. Y., Nov. 1898.
FROM "A History of Northumberland." published by Andrew Reid & Co., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, it appears that "the Proctor family, originally settled in Yorkshire, was established at Shawdon at the beginning of the sixteenth Century, through the marriage of William Proctor of Nether Bordley, to Isabel, daughter of John Lilburn of Shawdon."
From "Notes from the Beauchamp-Proctor family in England," it appears that William De Beauchamp, cousin of John, Karl of Pembroke, who died in 1375, held the Manor of Tottenham by virtue of a grant from him, and Ephraim Beauchamp possessed lands in the same Manor which afterwards vested in George Beauchamp Proctor, Esq., of Thetford in Norfolk, by a bequest thereof from his father, Sir William Beauehamp Proctor. This circumstance tends not a little to establish the descent of the present family.
In the parish church of St. Olard, in the city of York, is an early record of the Proctor family in the following inscription on a monument:
IVAN FARLEY. WIFE OF FABIEN FARLEY, AND DAUGHTER OF
JOHN PROCTOR, OF LANKLAND HALL.
Who died at the age of 86 years.
The arms of the Proctor family (see frontispiece) were granted A.D. 1436, and the shield is described as "argent with two chevrons sable, between three martlets sable." The chevron is used to distinguish those families who came over with William the Conqueror, and the martlet to mark the younger branches in contradistinction to the main stem.
There is evidence that John, Richard, George and Robert Proctor came across the water and settled in Massachusetts between the years 1635 and 1643. It is probable that some if not all of these four were descendants of the William above mentioned, although it is not possible at present to establish the fact of such descent.
It is not certain that any one of the four was related to any of the others. But coming from England so nearly at the same time, and settling as they did within such short distances of one another, it seems reasonable to suppose that some, if not all, of them were brothers, or at least that there was some relationship existing among them.
John settled in Ipswich. Records show that he came from London in the ship "Susan & Ellen," in 1635, when he was forty years old. With him came his wife Martha and two children, John, aged three years and Mary, one year. He was afterwards settled in Salem. His will, proved Nov. 28, 1672, names his wife and seven children, viz: John, Joseph, Benjamin, Martha White, Abigail Varney, Sarah Dodge and Hannah Weeden(!) This last named John and his wife were condemned on charge of witchcraft during the execrable fanaticism of 1692. He was executed, hut his wife escaped by delay. Two of his daughters were imprisoned on the same charge but probably released without trial. Many descendants of John, the first settler, can he found in Boston and on Cape Ann.
Richard Proctor settled in Yarmouth, where he was living in 1643. No record of his marriage or evidence that he left any posterity has come to hand.
George Proctor settled in Dorchester. His will, dated January 27, 1661, mentions four daughters, Mary, Hannah, Sarah and Abigail, and one son, Samuel, who was made residuary legatee and named as joint executor with his mother. The inventory of the estate, amounting to 458:16:9, was dated February 14, 1661.
Robert Proctor settled in Concord, where he was made a freeman in 1643. He may have come from England with the three already named. There is, however, another tradition concerning his ancestry. Under date of April 26, 1897, Mrs. Lucretia A. Lawrence of Leominster, a daughter of Jacob Proctor of Littleton, Mass., writes as follows: "My father in his last days dwelt much upon the history of his family and events of his early life. He said his grandfather," ( who was Nathaniel Proctor, a great-grandson of Robert of Concord) "told him that three brothers from a wealthy family in Scotland came to this country in a ship of their own. One of the brothers settled in or near Chelmsford. The Littleton branch descended from this brother. My father remembered visits back and forth with the Chelmsford relations."
The conflict between these traditions must remain unsettled, at least until additional evidence in favor of one or the other can be obtained.
Robert Proctor, the earliest American ancestor of the families to which this volume is devoted, first appears in this country at Concord, Massachusetts, where he was made. a freeman in 1643. He married, Dec. 31, 1645, Jane, the eldest daughter of Richard Hildreth of Concord and Chelmsford, the ancestor of the Hildreths of America, who died at Chelmsford in 1688, and whose younger daughter, Abigail, became the wife of Moses Parker.
In 1653 Robert Proctor, in connection with Richard Hildreth and twenty-seven others, petitioned the General Court for a grant of land six miles square, ' ' to begin at Merrimack river at a neck of land next to Concord river, and so run up by Concord river south, and west into the country to make up that circumference or quantity of land as is above expressed." The petition was granted. In 1654 Mr. Proctor removed to the new plantation which was organized, November twenty-second of that year, as a town under the name of Chelmsford. The first four or five of his children were born in Concord, the others in Chelmsford. His descendants resided in many of the neighboring towns, and at an early date some of them pushed back into the wilderness and settled in New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, and have since scattered over the West.
He died at Chelmsford, April 28, 1697. Letters of administration upon his estate were granted to Jane Proctor, executrix, July 13, 1697. In his will, dated March 10, 1695-6, he speaks of having already deeded lands to his sons Gershom, Peter, James, John, Samuel and Israel, and mentions son Thomas, to whom certain lands are given if he "live and return from Sea to New England;" also daughters Dorothy Barrett, Elizabeth Proctor, Sarah Chamberlain and Mary Bourne. Some of his children settled in what afterwards became the West Precinct, and later the town of Westford. His children were as follows:
||Sarah, b. Oct. 12, 1646; m. Aug. 10. 1606. Thos. Chamberlain|
||Gershom, b. May 13.1648|
||Mary, b. Apr. 20. 165O; m. 1685. John Bourne|
||Peter, b. 1652|
||Dorothy, b. 1654; m. Dec. 18. 1679, John Barrett. Jr.|
||Elizabeth, b. Dec. 16, 1656; became in 1765 the third wife of Samuel Fletcher|
||James, b. Jan. 8. 1658|
||Lydia, b. Feb. 19, 1660 ; d. Aug. 13. 1661|
||John, b. Aug. 17. 1663|
||Samuel, b. Sept. 15, 1665|
||Israel, b. Apr. 39, 1668|
||Thomas, b. Apr. 30, 1671; went to sea and there Is no evidence that he returned|