Saturday, December 27, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ BALCH of Beverly, Massachusetts

Balch House, Beverly, Massachusetts, circa 1679
operated by the Beverly Historical Society


I’m glad to be writing about John Balch now, especially since I attended the Balch family reunion in Beverly, Massachusetts this fall, and at this meeting the newest edition of the Balch genealogy was debuted (see below).  It’s always fun to see your own name in print (check out pages 668 and 743!)  I’m also glad to write about the Balch family because the homestead of John Balch is still standing and is located just a few blocks from where I grew up in Beverly, Massachusetts.   For twelve generations in a row this lineage has lived in the city of Beverly.

John Balch arrived in the New World as part of the Dorchester Company, which came to Cape Ann, Massachusetts to fish.  Some of these men decided to stay and settle, and eventually joined the colony at Salem headed up by Conant. These families are known as “The Old Planters”.  According to Charles Edward Banks in his book Planters of the Commonwealth, John Balch arrived in 1624 aboard the Zouch Phenix, a consort of the Unity, with the Balch, Woodbury and Gardner families.  Other Old Planter families include Trask, Jeffrey, Palfrey, Allen, Norman and Knight.  I descend from the families highlighted in yellow.

John Balch was granted land in Salem and in the area that is now the city of Beverly, Massachusetts. This land was bequeathed to his wife Annis/Agnes and to his oldest son Benjamin (my 8th great grandfather).  This is the land where the Balch house still stands, operated as a museum by the Beverly Historical Society.  Archeological digs in the front yard show that a much earlier house once stood there, probably John Balch’s original homestead.

Benjamin Balch married Sarah Gardner, the daughter of another Old Planter.  All his children were born in the Balch house.  He was married three times.  The Balch family was only slightly involved with the 1692 Salem witch hysteria.  There is a deposition by the wife of Benjamin Balch, Junior against Sarah Bishop, and a mention of the Balch family in a deposition by Mary Gage against Dorcas Hoar of Beverly.  Benjamin’s son, Freeborn Balch (1660 – 1729), married Miriam Moulton, who brother, John Moulton, was married to Elizabeth Corey, the daughter of Giles Corey who died while being tortured to confess as a witch on 19 September 1692 in Salem.

For the truly curious:

Descendants of John Balch, by Robin Balch Hodgkins (an update to Genealogy of the Balch Family in America by Galusha Balch, 1897), published by the Beverly Historical Society, Beverly, Massachusetts, 2014.

The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620 - 1633, by Robert Charles Anderson, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, 1995, page 84 -86.

My Balch Genealogy:

Generation 1:  John Balch, born in England and died 25 May 1648 in Salem, Massachusetts; married first to  Margery Unknown (mother of his children), she died 1682; he married second to Annis Unknown.   Three children.

Generation 2:  Benjamin Balch, born about 1628 in Beverly, died after January 1715 in Beverly, married first about 1650 to Sarah Gardner (mother of his children), daughter of Thomas Gardner and Margaret Frier; married on 5 February 1688/9 in Marblehead to Abigail Clarke; married third 15 March 1691/2 in Beverly to Grace Mallet.  Eleven children.

Generation 3:  Mary Balch, born about 1667 in Beverly, died 12 March 1737 in Beverly; married on 26 March 1689 in Beverly to Nathaniel Stone, son of Nathaniel Stone and Remember Corning.  He was born 15 September 1663 in Salem and died 23 February 1741 in Beverly.  Nine children.

Generation 4: Josiah Stone m. Dorithy Fuller
Generation 5: Josiah Stone m. Martha Ashby
Generation 6: Josiah Stone m. Susanna Hix
Generation 7: Eunice Stone m. Peter Hoogerzeil
Generation 8:  Peter Hoogerzeil m. Mary Etta Healey
Generation 9: Florence Etta Hoogerzeil m. Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Generation 10: Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. I like your blog very well. I have just started a similar one with my own ancestors. I descend through Freeborn. We took a vacation a few years ago to the area and were very excited to find his headstone! Massachusetts has done a fantastic job in preserving history. I loved all the historic name plates on the houses and the streets are all named after my ancestors still.

    1. Thanks for dropping by my blog! I wish you had left the URL of your new blog, especially since we have a cousin connection.