Saturday, June 16, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Collston of Reading, Massachusetts


Adam Collston’s origins are unknown.  He settled in Reading, Massachusetts before 1668, and was the schoolmaster from 1679 to 1681.  This will was found in England and reprinted in the NEHGS Register in January 1884, page 68.

"Elizabeth Bretland, late the wife of William Bretland, deceased, Barbados, 6 October 1687.  Legacies to daughters Elizabeth Taylor and Millecent Acklam; to grandson Peter Jones; to grandsons John and Jacob Legay.  I give and bequeath to my brother Adam Coulson's children, of Reading near Boston, in New England, the sum of one hundred pounds, to be equally divided among them or the survivor of them.
            Cousin Edward Munday and Mr. John Mortimer of London, merchants, to be executors of the will.
            Item, I give unto my brother Adam Coulson's chilren, of Reading, near Boston, In New England, one negro woman, by name Sarah, being my own proper purchase, or to the survivor of the, to be sent to them the first opportunity after my decease.  I leave, according to the desire of my dear husband, Mr. Edward Munday, to my three daughters, Elizabeth, Millecent and Mary, thirty five pounds of silver, at twelve ounces to the pound. 
            Friends, Capt. Elisha Mellowes and Mr. John Hooker, to be executors for that portion of the estate in the Barbados.
            The witnesses made depostion as to this will 3 April 1689.  It was entered and recorded in the Secretary's Office, 17 February 1689.  Proved in London 5 December 1690.”

Adam’s daughter, Elizabeth, is my 8x great grandmother.  At sixteen she was arrested on a charge of witchcraft, along with three other women in her family (Lydia Dustin her grandmother, Sarah Dustin her aunt, and Mary Collston her mother).  Young Elizabeth was very brave and escaped twice!  The first time was from Cambridge jail, and the second while she was being transported to Charlestown.  Grandmother Lydia Dustin died in prison in Cambridge.

Elizabeth had an illegitimate daughter, Mary Collston my 7x great grandmother.  Her husband Adam Hart was made guardian to Mary. I don’t know when Elizabeth died, but Adam had two more wives- Abigail Deal and Dorcas Brown.  Adam Hart’s mother, Elizabeth (Hutchinson) Hart, had also been arrested for witchcraft.

Mary (Collston) Flint’s son, Jonathan Flint (1730 – 1800) married Lydia Proctor, a great granddaughter of the John Proctor (1631 – 1692) who was hung as a witch (also my 8 x great grandfather).  As you can see, this holds up my theory that the families of accused and executed witches formed a very tight bond in the generations immediately following the 1692 witch hysteria.

There have been no books or articles written about the early Collstons.  All my Collston information came from vital records, the Reading town histories and records, and from documents produced around the witch trials in the 1690s (except for the will mentioned above).

My lineage from Adam Collston:

Generation 1: Adam Collston, died 1 March 1686 in Reading, Massachusetts; married on 7 September 1668 in Reading, Massachusetts to Mary Duston/Dustin/Dastin.  She was the daughter of Josiah Dustin and Lydia Unknown.  Six children.  Mary remarried on 26 September 1701 to Cornelius Brown as his third wife.

Generation 2: Elizabeth Collston, born 9 October 1676, married about 1703 to Adam Hart as his first of three wives.  She had a daughter, Mary, as an illegimate child.

Generation 3: Mary Collston, born 22 September 1704 in Reading; married on 18 February 1723 in Reading to Jonathan Flint, son of Thomas Flint and Mary Dounton.  He was born on 8 November 1689 in Salem Village (now Danvers).  At least two children.

Generation 4. Jonathan Flint married Lydia Proctor
Generation 5: John Flint married Phebe Flint
Generation 6: Olive Flint married Luther Simonds Munroe
Generation 7: Phebe Cross Munroe married Robert Wilson Wilkinson
Generation 8: Albert Munroe Wilkinson married Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 9: Donald Munroe Wilkinson married Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)


Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Adam was my 8th great-grandfather via grand-daughter by Mary, Lydia Hutchinson and Nathan Flint. I only recently discovered the multiple connections to the witch trials despite my grandmother's intense interest in family history and having recently done an intensive search for the descendents of another great-grandfather Abraham Jaquith (d. 1679).

  2. I may have a clue that would put Adam Collston/Colson's origins in Derbyshire, England. Based on the 1687 will from Barbados quoted above, Adam's apparent sister Elizabeth Colson married Edward Munday and had three daughters: Mary Munday, Elizabeth Munday, and Millicent Munday. After his death, she married William Bretland, and they had no children. If you check out, you'll find the daughters marrying.

    1. Mary Munday m. [day and month unreadable] 1667 Edward Jones in St. John, Barbados. They had a son Peter Jones. On 6 April 1671, Mary Joanes marries Peter Legay in St. Michael, Barbados. They have sons John Legay, bapt. 17 July 1673, and Jacob Legay, bapt. 30 March 1675, in St. Michael, Barbados.

    2. Elizabeth (Munday) Taylor possibly is the Elizabetham Mundy who marries Richardum Taylor on 20 Feb 1678 in Radbourne, Derby, England.

    3. Millicent (Munday) Acklam possibly is the Millicent Mundy who marries Johnathan Acklan 10 Jan 1681 in Radbourne, Derby, England.

    More research would need to be done for Elizabeth and Millicent, but Mary (Munday) (Jones) Legay seems like the correct match.