THE FAMILY OF ZACCHEUS GOULD
The story of the Gould family of Topsfield, Massachusetts is also a
well documented one. From the hanging of John Gould, to the Salem Witch Trials,
the Gould family's history is rich and colorful.
Zaccheus Gould was born in 1589 in England. In a deposition he made
on March 26, 1661, he stated that he was 72 years old. He lived at Hemel
Hempstead and Great Missenden. He was married to Phebe Deacon.
Zaccheus and Phebe had the following children; Phebe (bapt 1620-aft
1691) who married Deacon Thomas Perkins in 1640, Mary (bapt 1621-) who married
John Redington of Topsfield, Martha (bapt 1623-1699) who married John Newmarch
of Ipswich, Priscilla (-1663) who married John Wildes, and John (1635-1709/10)
who married Sarah Baker in 1660. Phebe, Mary, and Martha were all baptized
at Hemel Hempstead, England.
Zaccheus came to New England around 1638. His brother Jeremy who settled
in Rhode Island in 1638 and a number of other relatives preceded him. These
included Nathan who settled in Salisbury in 1650, Sarah, and Zaccheus. These
three were children of his brother John Gould of Kings Langley, England.
Zaccheus first settled in Weymouth, Mass. where he bought land from
his brother, Jeremy, in 1639. He was also the overseer of Henry Russell's
will. Henry died in 1639/40. Jeremy Gould was also a witness to this will.
From 1639 to 1644, Zaccheus lived in Lynn, Mass. where he owned a mill
on the Saugus River. He also leased 300 acres of Salem land from John Humphrey.
The lease went into effect on September 29, 1640 and the farm was called
"Plain Farm". This lease called for an annual rent of 400 bushels of rye,
300 of wheat, 200 of barley along with 8 oxen, 5 cows, 2 heifers, 4 calves
and 2 mares. At the same time, he also leased another farm, the "ponds" from
Mr. Humphrey. This land called for rent of 160 pounds the first year and
200 pounds the next. The rent was to be paid in the form of farm goods.
In 1640, Zaccheus petitioned the General Court for relief from militia
training. The petition follows;
"To the right worshipful Governor, Council and Assistants and the rest
of the General Court now assembled, October 7, 1640.
The humble petition of Zaccheus Gould of Lynn, husbandman, in behalf
of himself and all other husbandman in the country
Sheweth that wheras Husbandry and tillage much concern the good of this
Commonwealth, and your petitioners have undertaken the managing and tilling
of divers farms in this country and sowing of English Corn, their servants
are oftentimes drawn from their work to train, in seed time, hay time and
harvest, to the great discouragement and damage of your petitioners, and
your petitioner the said Zaccheus Gould for himself saith that for one
days training this year he was much damnified in his hay. And forasmuch
as fishermen upon just grounds are exempted from training because their trade
is also for the Commonwealth,
Your petioners humbly pray that this Court will be pleased to take the
premises into their grave consideration and thereupon to give order for the
encouragement of your petitioners who are husbandmen employed about English
grain, that they and their servants be exempted from ordinary trainings in
seed time, hat time and harvest. And your petitioners shall as their duty
binds them pray etc."
The General Court agreed with this petition and gave much discretion
to the local officials for the "avoiding of loss of time and the opportunities
of the furtherance of husbandry."
By 1644, Zaccheus was living in Ipswich, in the section now occupied
by Topsfield. Zaccheus' son-in-law stated in 1665 that "about 21 years before,
William Paine sold land to Zaccheus Gould, where his house now stands."
In 1644, Zaccheus petitioned the General Court to have the section of
Ipswich he lived incorporated as a separate town from Ipswich. The General
Court agreed to this on October 18, 1650;
"In answer to the request of Zaccheus Gould and William Howard of Topsfield,
the Court doth grant that Topsfield shall henceforth be a town, and have
power within themselves to order all civil affairs, as other towns have."
Zaccheus Gould, William Paine and Brian Hamilton sent the General Court
a petition concerning the name of their new town.
"We humbly Intreate this honored Court that you wold be pleased to bestowe
a name upon our village at the new medowes at Ipswich which wee suppose may
bee an incoragment to others to Come to live amongst us: and also a meanes
to further a ministry amongst us, wee think that hempsteed will be a fit
name if the Court please to gratify us herewith.'
The General Court replied;
"This dept. have granted this Pet. wth Refference to the Consent of
or honoured magists."
Wm Torrey by order &c
The magtrs (upon conference wth som of the principall [persons] interested)
doe thinke it fitt it should be called Toppesfeild weh they referre to the
consent of ye brn the Deptyes.
This change in name was probably due to the influence of one of the
governors assistants, Samuel Symonds, who was from Topsfield,
In 1651, Zaccheus took the oath of Fidelity but he never became a
Zaccheus appeared in Ipswich Court on a number of occasions. On January
26, Richard Shatswell brought 1650/51 a complaint against him. Shatswell
claimed that he took one of his mares that had strayed from his farm. The
court found for Shatswell and Zaccheus had to return the mare. A related
suit involved a charge of slander brought against Joseph Fowler by Zaccheus.
Apparently, Fowler had called Zaccheus a horsethief. The court awarded Zaccheus
damages of 10 pounds.
On April 24, 1656 Zaccheus was arraigned, in the Ipswich Court, for
absence from meeting on the Lords Day.
In 1659 on March 29, Zaccheus was brought before the Ipswich Court on
charges that he had disturbed the church services. He was accused of having
"sat down on the end of the table about which the minister and scribe sit,
with his hat full on his head and his back toward all the rest. Although
spoken to by the minister and others he altered not his posture. He spoke
audibly when the minister was speaking" Witnesses against him in this case
were Captain William Perkins and Isaac Cummings. Isaac Cummings appears to
have been involved in a number of court cases against Zaccheus. In this case
the court ordered that Zaccheus be "admonished".
In another case, Zaccheus Gould was found guilty of entertaining Quakers
and fined 3 pounds. His nephew, Daniel Gould, a recent convert of the Quakers,
was sentenced to be whipped with 30 stripes and to depart the town within
five days. If he failed to depart, he would be placed in jail. This shows
how serious the community took the "approved" religion and how they treated
dissenters. Zaccheus himself seemed to be fairly liberal about religious
matters, being friendly both to the Baptists and the Quakers, neither of
whom were looked upon with favor by the prevailing religion.
This fine was later remitted in the spring of 1660. This was apparently
because Zaccheus' property had sustained some serious losses due to a fire.
The first house built on the farm, purchased from William Paine, was
a garrison or blockhouse designed as a place of refugee against Indian raids.
Zaccheus died between March 30, 1688 and November 13, 1688. He was buried
on land near the town meeting house. At the time of his death, he was one
of the largest landholders in the area, having amassed 3000 acres in the
area, which was then Rowley Village and later Boxford.
John Gould was born in 1635. On October 12, 1660, he married Sarah the
daughter of John and Elizabeth Baker. They had eight children; John (1662-1724)
who married Phebe French, Sarah Bixby (1664-1723), Thomas (1666-1752), Samuel
(1669/70-1724), Zaccheus (1672-1739), Priscilla Curtice (1674-1715), Joseph
(1677-1753), and Mary (1681-1689). He and Sarah were married for almost 50
years, she dying in 1708/9.
John Gould was a prominent member of the Topsfield community. He served
as a selectman for a number of years including a stretch of 14 straight years.
John became involved with a plan to create a foundry where iron could
be smelted. In 1668, a company, The Iron Works at Rowley Village, was started
on land owned by John. After about a dozen years the foundry was abandoned
and John became owner of the abandoned land and works. The house that was
on the property he later sold to his son Samuel who lived there for years.
The house lasted until the 19th century.
In 1671, John was in court because of a long-standing problem he had
had with his minister. It appears that the minister, Rev. Thomas Gilbert,
had a problem with drink. In 1670, he was charged with intemperance. He was
described as going "into the pulpit in a disordered state, which he had betrayed
by the confusion of his thoughts and the clipping of his words, and especially
by forgetting the order of the exercises". For the Goulds this came
to a head in 1671 with the following court cases;
"Mr. Thomas Gilbert v. Ensign John Gould, for Sary Goulds defaming
him. Verdict for defendant.
Also an action for assault. Verdict for plaintiff. Fine 20s.
Also another action of slander, for saying he was a lying in the pulpet.
Verdict for defendant.
Ensign John Gould in behalf of his wife Sarah, v. Mr. Thomas Gilbert.
Action of slander. Verdict for plaintiff. 40s."
In 1675-6 John Gould served in the Narragansett campaign. He was in
the "Three-County Troop" under the command of Captain Hutchinson and later
under Captain Wheeler. Later, John became a Lieutenant and commanded the
Topsfield company of militia.
In 1685, King James II appointed Edmund Andros as the Royal Governor
of Mass. This appointment led to serious unrest. John Gould became involved
in the controversy and with the help of some old enemies of the Gould's was
in serious trouble. A Warrant was issued for his arrest:
"Case of John Gould, charged with Treason Boston, Sc.
To the Keeper of his Majesty's Jail in Boston.
The President of his Majesty's Territory & Dominion of New England,
with the Deputy President and others of his Majesty's Council, in Council
assembled, the 5th day of August, 1686, having received information upon
the oaths of ISAAC CUMMINGS, JOHN WILD, & JOHN HOW, of several treasonable
and seditious words, spoken by JOHN GOULD of Topsfield, against our Soverign
Lord the King, &c. These are, therefore in his Majesty's name to require
you to take into your custody the body of the said JOHN GOULD, and him safely
keep until he shall be delivered by due course of law, and for so doing this
shall be your warrant, given at the Council House in Boston, the said 5th
day of August, Anno Dom.1686, Annoque RR. Jacobi Dei Gratia Angliae &c,---
Vera Copia Ed. Randolph, Sec.
John Gould petitioned the Council and the reply was;
By the President and Council of His Majesty's Territory and Dominion
of New England
Upon reading the petition of John Gould, now prisoner in the jail of
Boston, desiring liberty of the Prison yard to walk in, by reason of his
indisposition of body. It is ordered That the Prison keeper do permit the
said John Gould, to have the benifit of the Prison yard, to walk in during
his sickness (the keeper taking care the said Gould make not an escape) till
Ed. Randolph, Sec'ry
Another document read;
Council House, Boston August 12, 1686
New England, Sc.
Rex contra Gould, in Sessione Speciali, 19th August , 1686
The Jurors for our Soverign Lord, the King, do upon their oaths present
that JOHN GOULD, SEN, otherwise called LIEUT. GOULD, of Topsfield, in the
County of Essex, husbandman, by force and arms, that is to say, between the
23d and 30th of May, in the second year of the reign of our Soverign Lord
&c, being evilly affested against our most sacred Lord the King, aforesaid,
his supreme and natural Lord, and devising with all his might, and intending
to disturb the peace and common tranquillity of this his Majesty's Territory
& Dominion of New England, as the same is now settled by his Majesty's
Royal Commission under his great Seal of England, and the introducing again
of the late Government, dissolved by law, at a Riotous Muster of armed men
gathered together by him, the aforesaid JOHN GOULD as their pretended officer
at Topsfield aforesaid, in the year aforesaid, he the said JOHN GOULD as
aforesaid, then and there being, did against the duty of his Allegience,
and in terror of his Majesty's liege people, maliciously, wickedly, seditously,
treasonably and advisedly speak and utter these malicious treasonable and
seditious speeches following, viz: If the Country was of his mind, they would
keep Salem Court with the former Magistrates, and if the Country would go
the rounds, he would make the first, and would go & keep Salem Court,
and would have his company down to do it. And further, he, the said JOHN
GOULD as aforesaid, on or about the 11th day of July, at Topsfield aforesaid,
in the County aforesaid, in the year aforesaid, Maliciously, advisedly and
treasonably, did say and utter these malicious, treasonable and seditious
words following, viz: That he was under another Governmant, and had sworn
to another Government, and did not know this government, and this in manifest
contempt of his majesty's laws and Government here in New England, to the
evil and pernicious example of all others in the like case offending, and
against the peace of our said Soverign Lord the King, his Crown and
ISAAC CUMMINGS } Witnesses
John Gould decided to make amends with the government and wrote the
government a petition expressing his sorrow at the whole affair. The governments
By the President & Council of His Majesty's Territory of New
Upon reading the petition of JOHN GOULD, and considering the poverty
of his family, it is ordered, That upon the payment of 50 pounds in money,
and charges of Prosecution the remainder of his fine be respited, and he
be released of his imprisionment, he giving bonds for his good behavior,
according to order of Court.
Aug. 25th, 1686 Ed. Randolph, Secretary
This unrest came to a head in April of 1689 when news of the landing
of the Prince of Orange in England, became known. They rose in insurrection
and asked the former governor Bradstreet to face Andros. Bradstreet demanded
that Andros surrender the government and Boston's fortifications. Andros
refused and took refuge in the fort where he was soon forced to surrender.
He was imprisoned in the same jail John Gould had been in. In the following
July, Andos was sent back to England and Bradstreet elected governor, a position
he served until 1692 when Sir William Phils arrived with a new Charter.
According to Daniel Gould, John's great-grandson, John
" was a high liberty man. He lost his commission as Captain of the company,
under the tyrannical administration of Governor Sir Edmund Andros for saying
at the head of the company that ' if they were all of his mind, they would
go and mob the governor out of Boston.' Information of which was given to
Governor Andros by one JOHN HOW of Topsfield, who it appears was as great
a tyrant as the governor himself; and also was an envious and self-conceited
man, so that when he was asked by the Governor, who should be appointed in
the place of Captain Gould, answered, 'The eyes of the people are upon myself,
Sir!' Accordingly Capt. Gould was displaced and said How was appointed in
his room. But Captain How, in his turn was himself afterwards deposed, upon
the revolution which took place in England, and Mary and William ascended
the British throne in 1692. And Captain Gould was again commissioned as captain
of the company in August 1696, by William Stoughton Esq, Lieut. Governor,
and at this time Commander in Chief."
Apparently this feud between Gould and How started about 1675. The Rev.
Joseph Capen of Topsfield describes how it started;
"June 13, 1692. A church meeting was at my house which was to see if
they could put an end to the difference that has been between Lieut. Gould
and Capt. How and Jacob Towne, senr. Capt. How did then take some blame to
himself with respect to an oath which he had taken against Lieut. Gould,
about 16 or 17 years before, about Lieut. Gould his not restraining the Indians
that were about his house. Capt. How did own that, although the substance
of the oath was true, yet being not so safely worded as might have been,
was sorry that he had not perused that said oath better, before he took it.
Also that he was heartly sorry that he had been an occasion of so much trouble
to Lieut. Gould in Sir Edmunds time, as also that he had spoken publickly,
in the Court at Boston, anything that might be taken to Reflect on the town
of Topsfield, in saying because he was for Resignation he was so maligned
that he was afraid of his life, although he intended it not as to the Town
in general, but 2 or 3 particular persons.
Ensign Towne that was also complained of for signing false things to
the Court against Lieut. Gould being made choice of for a captain, Ensign
Towne did own that whereas he had said in the writing that there were but
27 votes for Lieut. Gould, and several of them boys, and so not legal voters,
as also0 that the major part of the Town would attest to those things, in
those two expressions he owned his error in subscribing to, whereas he did
not so intend or understand and that for the future he would be more cautious
to what he did set his hands. The Church did then upon Capt. How and Ensign
Towne their owning these things, in which the church did apprehend them to
be blameworthy, the church did then by their votes particularly declare their
satisfaction with them.
And at the same time Lieut. Gould being called to an account for his
withdrawing from the sacrament so long, looking on these things which he
objected against Capt. How as being no grounds to withdraw his communion
from the rest of the church, he did so far fall under it as to express sorrow
for any offence in the matter which he had given the church. Whereupon the
church passed a vote for to express their willingness that he should again
partake with them at the Lords table.
Also at the same time, Lieut. Gould and Capt. How, in token of their
mutual forgiveness as to whatever had been previous between tem, did take
each other by the hand, promising better for the future. Also Ensign Towne
and Lieut. Gould did the like."
The original dispute arose over a group of Indians who were encamped
near John Gould's house. John did not feel that they were hostile, and allowed
them to stay despite that fact that his neighbor, Capt. How, wanted them
out of the area and entreated Gould to drive them off. Gould laughed at this
suggestion and refused. Howe took this as a personal; affront and the enmity
lasted between them for years.
Meanwhile John Gould resumed his position of esteem and leadership in
Topsfield. He was again elected as selectman and in 1690 chosen to be the
deputy of Topsfield to the General Court. John Gould died at the age of 75.
Thomas Gould was born in 1666. He married Mary Yates of Harwich on December
2, 1700. They had nine children; Thomas (1701-1771) who married Mary Gould,
Jacob (1702/3-1787) who married Dorothy Goodridge, Deborah (1704-1706), Deborah
(1707-1767) who married Joseph Page, Simon (1709/10-1803) who married Jane
Palmer, Mercy (1711/12-1785) who married Nathaniel Page, Yates (1713/4-1736),
Benjamin (1716-1746) who married Esther Pierce, Nathaniel (1718-1747) who
was killed by Indians in Charlestown, NH.
Thomas was a weaver, as was his brother John.
His first wife died before 1728/9 which is when he married his second
wife, Mary Dorman, the widow of Joseph Stanley. Thomas died on June 29,
Deborah married Joseph Page on December 3, 1730. Joseph was one of the
original settlers of Lunenburg. Later they moved to Rindge, NH. She died
Sources; "The Family of Zaccheus Gould of Topsfield" by Benjamin Gould
(Nichols Pub.,Lynn,Ma. 1895. Ancestry and Genealogy of Thomas Grover, by
Joel P. Grover . Privately Published. Los Angeles, California. 1959.
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