Week 13 (March 26 – April 1) – Different. What ancestor seems to be your polar opposite? What ancestor did something that seems completely different than what they “should” have done or what you would have done?
Job Tyler is my eleventh great-grandfather. He was born in 1617 in Cranbrook, Kent, England and baptised on October 12, 1617 according to the “Tyler Index to Parish Registers, 1538-1874”.
…in 1638, an 18 year-old who may have been a descendant by the name of Job Tyler became the first settler of Andover, Massachusetts. He and his brother (John Tyler) had left England when their father was beheaded by King Charles I, due to bitter debates rising from a law-making body of which he was a member. (From The Legacy of the Tylers By Clark L. Smithson)
He arrived in Newport, Rhode Island in 1638 and on March 20 of that year he married Mary Horton (Possibly the Widow Horton). They had Moses in 1641, Twins – of which one died – the other, Hopestill survived in 1645, son Tyler Tyler in 1646 who died that same year. Hannah was born in 1648, John in 1650 who died in 1652, another son John who was born in 1653 and Samuel in 1655.
What a rabble-rouser Job was. He was a fighter for what he perceived as his rights, whether he was in the right or wrong and as it seems, he was mostly in the wrong and not shy about stirring up trouble when it suited his purpose. He was evil personified with no conscience, remorse or guilt. His evilness was like a cancer that spread and it infected the entire family most of whom were the victims, except for his son Moses Tyler, who was a little more spiteful or revengeful than his father and also without a conscience. He turned against his own family in a personal vendetta accusing many of the wives of his brothers of being witches and convincing the husbands that they were. -Jeanette Maloney
There are records of legal issues and complaints that go from Andover to Rowley to Mendon and around the region. It looks like Job didn’t suffer fools easily and defended his family with fierce protectiveness – until he and Moses turned on his family for, it appears, not being independent enough and following the herd of social pressure.
“Job had much legal trouble in Andover. We find in 1658 that a charge was brought against John Godfrey of witchcraft and the accuser and principal sufferer from his “wiles” was Mary, wife of Job Tyler. This accusation was brought in connection with a law suit against Godfrey and the accusation was not established.”(p.6) The Tyler Genealogy”
John Godfrey, described as “a most active patron of country courts and a stirrer up of strife,” was a man who knew how to make effective use of the law suit. In a series of disputes over the mortgage and other things, Job Tyler and Godfrey instigated law suits against each other. Still frustrated, Job discovered an effective means that made the establishment sit up and take notice. Job accused Godfrey of witchcraft in 1659. Although never convicted on this count, Godfrey was discredited and his standing weakened.
Job realized that a witchcraft allegation acted as powerful medicine for his otherwise failing cases.” by Jeanette Maloney Jeanette Maloney further writes: “In 1671, with little more than the clothes on their backs, Job and his family moved west to the new town of Mendon, a land of apple trees and wild cranberries. They settled beyond the last garrison houses, the only places of safety during Indian raids. There, up the Blackstone River, Job helped establish the new settlement. His blacksmith son, Hopestill, was attracted by the iron ore found in the swamps. His daughter, Mary, now married to widower John Post, went with the family.
In 1676 an Indian raid on Mendon destroyed the town, yet again leaving the family with nothing except the pewter plates and brass kettles that they managed to bury in time in the swamps. John Post was killed by the Indians. His wife Mary (Tyler) Post and their young daughters, Mary Post and Hannah Post, survived as well as his daughter, Susannah Post, by his previous marriage. In 1678, Hopestill Tyler married Mary Lovett, daughter of Mendon neighbor Richard Lovett. In the next year Hopestill and his new wife loaded their precious feather bed and settled in the south part of Andover, where he took up his trade as blacksmith. Hopestill’s sister Mary (Tyler) Post, now remarried to blacksmith John Bridges, settled in the north part of Andover.
Mary (Tyler) Post Bridges and Mary (Lovett) Tyler, both wives of Andover blacksmiths, would be arrested for witchcraft in 1692. The original Andover blacksmith, Thomas Chandler, aged 65, still spiteful from his previous dealings with Job Tyler, was on the side of the accusers.
By 1680 Job and his sons, Moses Tyler and John Tyler, managed to make their way back to their original safe haven in Rowley Village, and settled there permanently. As before, they tried to avoid the taxes of both Rowley Village and Andover by settling in the area between the two centers. However, Job Tyler and his son Moses were duly inspected to see if they attended church services, with the result that they were assigned to pay rates to the Andover church.
Job died in 1700 and was buried in Andover in the old burying ground.Job’s son Moses Tyler learned and retained one important lesson from his father’s experiences; witchcraft accusations represented a powerful weapon to use against enemies.
After the death of Moses’ wife in1689, Moses married Sarah (Hasey) Sprague, the widow of Phineas Sprague. Her daughter, Martha Sprague, aged 13 in 1689, provided the ideal means for Moses Tyler to make witchcraft accusations in 1692. Martha became the leader of the Andover circle of afflicted girls. The following are the dates in 1692, names, ages, and relationship of the women and girls of his own family that Moses Tyler directly or indirectly accused as witches:
1. Jul 28, Mary (Tyler) Post Bridges, 48, (Moses’ sister Mary) Not Guilty
2. Aug 2, Mary Post, 28 (Daughter of Moses’ sister Mary) Condemned/ Reprieved
3. Aug 25, Susannah Post, 31 (Stepdaughter of Moses’ sister Mary)
4. Aug 25, Hannah Post, 26 (Daughter of Moses’ sister Mary)
5. Aug 25, Sarah Bridges, 17 (Stepdaughter of Moses’ sister Mary)
6. Aug 25, Mary Bridges, Jr, 13 (Daughter of Moses’ sister Mary)
7. Aug 31, Mary Parker, 55 (Mother-in-law of Moses’ brother John) Hanged as a witch
8. Sep 7, Mary (Lovett) Tyler, 40 (Wife of Moses’ brother Hopestill)
9. Sep 7, Hannah Tyler, 14 (Daughter of Moses’ brother Hopestill)
10. Sep 7, Joanna Tyler, 11 (Daughter of Moses’ brother Hopestill)
11. Sep 7, Martha Tyler, 11 (Daughter of Moses’ brother Hopestill)”
By 1688, Job had returned to Mendon. The last official record of him was his deed of his land in Mendon to his son Moses in November 1700.
History of the Tyler Homestead Also known as Boxford House, Tyler-Wood House, “Witch Hollow Farm”
The Tyler Homestead is a very integral part of the Job Tyler family history. The following presents the best information we have been able to collect on the history of the place, and is taken from interviews with local historians, from “Memory Hold the Door,” written by Arthur Pinkham, from data submitted by The Friends of Witch Hollow Farm, from information gathered at Reunion ’88, from Colonel O.Z. Tyler’s Sweet Land of Liberty, and from miscellaneous collected articles and clippings. (If you know of other good sources, please pass them along.)
The Tyler Homestead in West Boxford, Massachusetts, is the earliest home known of the Job Tyler family. Job, the first Tyler known in America, came to Boxford in 1640 and was one of the very first settlers in the community of Boxford. The first Tyler home was built on a tract of land at the corner of Ipswich Road and Main Street. The hearth of that very early structure is still in the rear of the large white house, sometimes known as the Boxford House.
The oldest part of the house is the dining room, and was built (1694?) by Moses Tyler (#2), son of Job. Moses had come to clear land and establish a farm, and likely Job lived and worked with him at least for a few years.
Moses was probably involved with the construction of the barn and the stone wall still remaining on the property, and in some ways the barn should be considered as predating the house. Moses had an earlier dwelling on the property, but it has long since been demolished.
The main house was built by Captain John Tyler (#11), probably with the assistance of Moses, who was in his 80s at the time. A good description of the work during this period come from Volume I of The Descendants of Job Tyler (p. 41). The house at present standing (that is, the rear part) was built by Moses’ son, Captain John Tyler, probably about the time of Moses’ death, 1727. Some “bricks” have recently been found buried in the present driveway, which would appear to locate the old fireplace of Moses at a few rods to the east of the present dwelling (1666?): and it is not at all unlikely that when the first house was abandoned for purposes of living, it continued to be used as a storehouse, until it finally passed off the scene in decay. …The present imposing country house is due to the kindly efforts of Gideon Tyler, son of Captain John, who succeeded to the premises upon his father’s death …Captain John’s “rear rooms” are very well preserved and quaint, being quite low-posted, with heavy beams exposed to view, and the poem of a cozy fireplace… The second portion of the house was joined to the first in 1748, when Gideon (# 72) was married.
Gideon passed the house on to his son, John (#272), who was married in 1791. However, Gideon’s will said rooms had to be set aside for Gideon’s sisters, Mehitable and Anna, who never married. Two rooms with chimneys were constructed in an ell plan specifically for them, where they lived until both died in 1833, when they were in their eighties. John’s daughter, Mehitable, married Captain Enoch Wood, a sea-captain from another prominent Essex County family.
Their daughter, Rebecca Wood, who never married, moved into the Boxford House and lived in it until she died in 1918, giving it the name of Tyler-Wood House.
Arthur Pinkham, a Tyler descendant, learned this was his ancestral home at a meeting of the Whiting Club, a social fraternity, and then read about it in Volumes I and II. Both Mr. Pinkham and his wife had ancestors in the family ten generations back. He went to see it, and bought the property with 120 acres in 1929 for $11,000. The structure was not in good condition, and the Pinkhams began making many necessary interior alterations and gradually did much ot its restoration. Many antique artifacts came with the house.
For instance, they found an oaken hand-loom older than one on display at Williamsburg. A wooden keg was found in the Tap Room which had the initials of Gideon Tyler. The biggest problem for the Pinkhams was there was not water in the well for modern plumbing. When he explained to a neighbor the only problem with the property was there was no water, his neighbor replied, “Why, that’s the only thing the matter with Hell!” They put in an artesian well, which created the lovely pond now found on the property.
The house and barn are historically significant not only because of their important Tyler history, but also because of their age and integrity architecturally. The logs used for the walls were so hard they couldn’t be drilled through to install electrical wiring. The windows still have shutters that are built into the wall, so they could be closed from the inside in case of Indian attack. The interior horizontal paneling is the oldest form found in New England, and is referred to as “thumb and feather” design.
The barn also is a very important structure historically, and at one time was the largest barn in the country. The structure is as it was when originally built in the 1600s. The floor is made of solid wood planks 14 to 16 inches wide. When recent owners needed to replace some of them, they had great difficulty finding boards wide enought to match the original.
After the Pinkhams, the Tyler Homestead property was sold to Edward French in 1958, the first owner who was not in the Job Tyler lineage. In 1970, it was purchased by David and Audrey Ladd. The Ladds continued much of the restoration work, including cleaning of the walls and chimneys and exposing the original surfaces.
Audrey Ladd also did much toward recording the history of the place, and was the first to refer to it as Witch Hollow Farm, a name given because of its association with the Salem witch trials. Boxford’s witch, Rebecca Eames, was the sister of Prudence Blake, who married Quartermaster Moses Tyler. Rebecca claimed in court that she had been bewitched by the Devil in the hollow through which Ipswich Road runs. Some of the hangings are said to have taken place at the back of the property. Also, the spirit of Mary Tyler (#3), sister of Quartermaster Moses (#2), is still said to inhabit the house 300 years later.
The property was then purchased by the Rich’s in the 1980s. In 1997, it was designated as a historic site and the house and the remaining farmland were split. The farm was designated as a conservancy preserve and the house was bought by Lawrence and Tina Morris, who give it loving care. – Norman Tyler
Witch Hollow is an old farm house built around 1666 by Job Tyler. It is actually three houses joined together and includes two secret passages, reportedly used in case of indian raids (or were they used for someother sinister purpose?) In the late 1600’s it was the home of Mary Tyler.
She had a suitor by the name of Timothy Swan, but Mary did not care for him. Finally Timothy couldn’t bear her rejection any more and had her arrested. They took her off by oxcart to Salem where she was tried and convicted of witchcraft for having a pact with the Devil and doing detestable acts on Timothy Swan (“he was tortured and afflicted and pined and wasted away”)However, for some unknown reason Mary was not executed but imprisoned instead.
Finally she was freed and returned to Witch Hollow where some say she still resides today. She has been reportedly seen by the former owners roaming the house and grounds carrying a curry comb. Noise such as a loud banging and the rustling of paper have also been heard in the attic. A black pitch-like substance of an unknown source has also been seen dripping from the living room ceiling.
“He did not, as Professor Tyler said, “learn prudence very fast, but he was himself…He had a good deal of individuality and he gave utterance to it at times with more vigor than grace. He did not shape his words to suit sensitive ears. He resented dictation and found it hard to restrain himself from what he wanted to do through any prudential policy.”
Yet, when you shall read hereafter what manner of men his sons and grandsons were and what they stood for in all the places where they lived; as you come down through the years, generation by generation, and see what thousands of his descendants have stood for in their homes and before the public, in peace and in war, as pioneers and as dwellers in the cities, you will realize that there must have been good stock in the old man; and he trained a family to be useful and honored in the communities where they dwelt.” (p.15)
“From this old canvas there gazes steadily out, not an ideal but a very real personage, and out and out Yankee type.” (p. 15) (From The Tyler Genealogy by Willard I. Tyler Brigham )
There is much about Job Tyler that could be considered “evil” and manipulative, but I have also discovered that he was a fiercely protective family man, one who used whatever tools necessary to survive and thrive in the colonies.