Abraham Morrill at Eliot Burying Ground

August 5, 2022 | Roxbury (Boston), MA

On the way back to Boston from Dedham, we made a quick stop to see the resting place of Abraham Morrill, my 9th great grandfather.

Abraham & Sarah (née Clements) Morrill > Sarah Morrill > John Rowell > Enoch Rowell > Enoch Rowell > Samuel Duncan Rowell > Judith Lucretia Rowell > James Franklin Gile > Evelyn Judith Gile

From MorrillOnline:

By 1640, Abraham becomes a founding member of the Puritan plantation at Salisbury, Massachusetts. He was granted a house-lot on the “Green.” By 1642, he and Henry Saywood were granted 60 acres to build a corn mill.
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From Find a Grave:

Abraham Morrill was born in Hatfield-Broadoak, Essex, England, most likely in 1615. Birth year is estimated from the following three facts: First, if Abraham traveled on the ship Lyon in 1632 with his brother Isaac, he was probably considered a minor because he was not on the list of those who gave the oath to the King. Second, two years later we find him living alone in Cambridge, apparently old enough to take care of himself. Third, Isaac’s oldest child is twenty years older than Abraham’s oldest child. It is estimated Abraham was much younger than Isaac and probably in his early to mid-teens in 1632. Place of birth is calculated from brother Isaac’s sale of real estate in 1632, in Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex, England.

Abraham was the son of Richard Morrill and Joan Childe. He married Sarah Clements, 10 June 1645 in Salisbury, Essex, Massachusetts.

Sarah (my 9th great grandmother) was Daughter of Robert Clements and Lydia Drummer. She was born in 1626 in Ansley, Warwick, England and died 1694 Salisbury, MA.

Sarah Clements was the daughter of Robert Clements, the pioneer of Haverhill, Mass. He was influential and wealty in that community, and the owner of the first grist mill. He was one of the five to take the deed of the town from the Passagut and Saggahew Indians in 1642. He eventually came to own an island in the Merrimack River that is still known as Clements Island. Percival Wood Clement, Ancestors and Descendents of Robert Clements (Philadelphia: Press of Patterson & White, 1927), Source Medium: Book.

They had nine children:

1) Isaac Morrill, born 10 July 1646
2) Jacob Morrill, born 24 August 1648
3) Sarah Morrill, born 14 October 1650 (my 8th great grandmother)
4) Abraham Morrill, born 15 November 1652
5) Moses Morrill, born 28 December 1655
6) Aaron Morrill, born 9 August 1658
7) Richard Morrill, born 6 February 1660
8) Lydia Morrill, born 8 March 1661
9) Hepzibah Morrill, born January 1663

Abraham Morrill died on June 20, 1662, in Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Sonnet Tidwell gives this history of Abraham Morrill:

“He most likely came on the ship Lyon in 1632 with his older brother Isaac. We think he was young because he did not sign the Oath of Allegiance to the King, and only adult men were required to sign the Oath.

We first find Abraham living alone in Cambridge, Massachusetts, paying taxes in 1634. By 1640, Abraham becomes a founding member of the Puritan plantation at Salisbury, Massachusetts. He was granted a house-lot on the “Green.” By 1642, he and Henry Saywood were granted 60 acres to build a corn mill.

Abraham Morrill died in Roxbury while visiting his brother. The will of Abraham Morrill is signed two days before his death, the signature being not much more than a scribble.

The descendants of Abraham Morrill include David L. Morrill, Governor of New Hampshire 1817-23, and Justin Smith Morrill, Congressman from Vermont for 43 years and responsible for the Morrill Land Grant Act that established the country’s agricultural colleges or ‘Aggies.’”

History – Most people in America who spell their surname “Morrill” are descendants of Abraham. It seems that his brother, Isaac, had a number of children. Isaac did have sons, but they did not survive infancy and early adulthood, so his name was not passed on through generations.

Abraham Morrill and his brother, Isaac Morrill sailed from England in 1632 on “The Lyon” to Cambridge, Massachusetts. They arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on 16 September 1632, under the leadership of the Reverend Thomas Hooker. Isaac settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts where he became one of the most wealthy citizens of that town.

Abraham, a young man at the time, remained with the Reverend. Rev. Hooker established a town which he called Newtown, Middlesex, Massachusetts. This town later became Cambridge, home of Harvard University.

Abraham settled first in Cambridge, his homestead, settled there in 1634, was on lot number 28, check out the photo of Cambridge three years after it was established. Simon Bradstreet, who lived on lot #27 became Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1979. The Reverend Thomas Hooker lived at #4, the location that is now part of Harvard Yard. The college was founded in the “cow yard” in 1636.

In 1638 Abraham was a member of the “Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company”. This is now an expensive fraternity focused on charitable giving. In fact, President John Kennedy was a prominent modern member, so Isaac and Abraham were part of this honorable Company centuries ago.

Abraham was most likely young when he emigrated to New England as he did not sign an Oath of Allegiance to the King, the reason being, only adult males were required to sign the Oath. The first time Abraham is found paying taxes is in 1634 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Being young in 1632, and a property owner in 1635, tells his birth year was around 1615.

About 1640, Abraham left Cambridge, moving to Salisbury, a new Puritan settlement on the northern coastline of Massachusetts. There he received a lot in the division of Salisbury. It must have been difficult to set up a town in the are of woody hills, add the heavy winter snows and those that settled close to the ocean found their homes and lands washed into the sea on more than one occasion. Indian attacks were common.

The home where Abraham resided is now a church yard. Another interesting thing about the area, the graves were covered with a large stone to prevent the wolves from digging up loved ones, and the stones are still found in the “Green” cemetery.

Abraham joined with Henry Saywook to obtain a grant of 60 acres. Together they built a corn mill on the Powow River in 1642. Abraham was primarily a blacksmith who kept a farm, cattle and horses. It seems he was industrious. We find Abraham on the Commoner taxed rolls in 1650, and he signed a petition of 1658.

Abraham went to visit his brother, Isaac, in June of 1662. He was ill and should not have gone on this trip, but he did and he died while he was there. He is buried next to his brother in the “Old First Burying Place” in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

His will is dated only two days before his death. We can only assume he was too ill to sign his will as it was known that he could read and write. Abraham died several months before his daughter, Hepzibah, was born. In all, his wife, Sarah, was left with six boys and three girls, ranging from an unborn to a 16-year-old. After three years, Sarah remarried Thomas Mudgett.

Vital Records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 (Name: Topsfield, MA: Topsfield Historical Society, 1915;)

Morrill Family in the USA

2 responses to “Abraham Morrill at Eliot Burying Ground”

  1. How are you related to Abraham Morrill?


    1. Grandma Evelyn – see the paragraph below the photo of the fire station.


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