Saturday, June 15, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ Hands of Boston


Mark Hands was a nailer, who according to Savage came to America in the ship Jonathan in 1639, aged 20.  He is found in early Boston records buying land, and witnessing documents.   In the inventory of the estate of John Hanniford, his wife Abigail names Mark Hands as her brother.  John Hanniford’s estate listed sugar and wine debts from the Barbados.  

The deposition Mark Hands signed in 1652 which stated he arrived in the Jonathan in 1639 was stolen because it contained the signature of Richard Bellingham, who was governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  [The Historical Magazine, Volume 8, page 334] Here is a transcription:

“Mark Hume of Boston aged 33 years or thereabouts deposeth and Sayth:

That about thirteen years since this depont Came into New England
in a Shipp called the Jonathan, wth Thomas Blanchard and his wyfe and
two children, and his wives mother (as the depont was informed) an old
Sickly Wooman and very weak. And this depont Sayth that he well
remembers that the sayd Thomas Blanchard took very much paynes wth the
said old woman, and was very carefull of her, and Kept a candle
burning by her (for the most part) all the night long, in so much that
this depont, (having a Cabbin over against her in the said Shipp) did
marvaile that he was able to endure the paynes & charges he
continually had about her and the two children.

Sworne 5.-2.-1652. before me, R. BELLINGHAM.”

Mark Hands went to Barbados in 1661 and never returned, probably dying at sea since his will was proved on 17 June 1664.   However, he had written out his will before his voyage, and named his two children and some other family members.  The will of Mark Hands, written in 1661, can be read at Google Book search,  Suffolk County Wills, by New England Historic Genealogical Society, Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2005, page 234.  See below.

It is thought that Mary, wife of Mark Hands, was the daughter of Damaris (Sibley) Shattuck, the last wife of Thomas Gardner of Salem.  If this is true, I am twice descended of William Sibley, the father of Damaris, because I already have a line of descent from her brother Richard Sibley (1630 – 1676) of Salem.  I am descended from Thomas Gardner, Damaris’s second husband, through his daughter, Sarah Gardner (abt 1627 0 5 April 1686) and her husband, Benjamin Balch of Beverly, Massachusetts.  A very tangled family tree indeed!

There are few sources for this family.  I found court records, and a few mentions in Boston histories.  You can read the short sketch about Mark Hands in James Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary of the first settlers of New England.  


Generation 1: Mark Hands, born about 1619 in England, died about 17 June 1664 at sea; married to Mary Shattuck?.  Two children: John and Mehitable.

Generation 2: John Hands, born 10 September 1654 in Boston, Massachusetts, married about 1677 to Mary Bell, daughter of Abraham Bell and Katherine Bullfinch. 

Generation 3:  Katherine Hands, born about 1681 in Charlestown, died 8 March 1748; married first on 30 May 1705 to Jacob Waters, son of Jacob Waters and Sarah Hutson (no children); married second on 8 May 1707 in Boston to Jonathan Kettell, son of Jonathan Kettell and Abigail Converse.  Ten children.

Generation 4: Katherine Kettell m. Caleb Rand
Generation 5: Caleb Rand m. Mary Mayhew
Generation 6: Mary Rand m. Asahel Bill
Generation 7: Rev. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill m. Isabella Lyons
Generation 8: Caleb Rand Bill m. Ann Margaret Bollman
Generation 9: Isabella Lyons Bill m. Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Generation 10: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. You know what, in the 1600s my (English) ancestors in Barbados were probably helping grow sugar on the new plantations there to send to your ancestors in Massachusetts. It was all about money and the slave trade. That was shortly before my ancestors migrated to SC in search of plantations they liked better. Sometimes the past seems very close.

  2. You mention that Katherine Hands married Jonathan Kettell. Jonathan Kettell was the son of Jonathan Kettell born 1646. He had 6 children including Jonathan who married Katherine. However, I have Katherine's name as Katherine waters, daughter of Jacob Waters. interestingly, Jonathan's grandfather is Richard Kettell (mentioned in Surname Saturday-Kettell of Charlestown). I have Jonathan with Katherine having 9 children (Katherine-1708; Abigail-1710;Jonathan-1712; Mary-1714; Mark-1716; Mehitable-1718; Ann-1721; David-1724; and Joseph-1727). Jonathan later remarries right after Katherine's death in 1748 to Eunice Tredway, having no further children.

  3. Perhaps you have the gentlemen confused. Jacob Waters was married to Katherine Hands, daughter of John Hands and Mary Bell as her first husband. When she married Jonathan Kettell she was known as "Katherine Waters". Yes, Jonathan's second wife was Eunice Treadway.

    1. I'm changing my post to reflect both marriages.

    2. Thank you for clarifying Katherine's first marriage. I am working from a reprinted Treatise on the Kettell family from 1851 where it's noted "daughter of". I also posted to Kettell of Charlestown. Any assistance as to the connection in England would be appreciated. There is clearly a connection to John (Ralph being 1 of his sons). I haven't yet made the connection between Richard and John.