Monday, March 23, 2015

The Woeful Life of a Colonial Woman

My 5th great grandmother, Mary (also known as Lucy) Mixer was born 21 November 1727 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.   Her parents, Joseph Mixer and Mary Ball, were from Watertown (near Boston), married there, and had eight children in Shrewsbury, thirty miles inland.

At age 22 Mary married Daniel Simonds  “of Westborough” on 13 November 1749 in Shrewsbury, and removed to Lexington where her five children were born.  Her marriage was recorded in Shrewsbury, Westborough and Lexington, Massachusetts.  She lost her husband on 9 February 1761, at age 41 years.  Mary gave birth to a daughter, Lucy, posthumously on 18 August 1761. 

Two years later she married Andrew Munroe, my 5th great grandfather on 25 May 1763 in Lexington.  She had Andrew, Jr. in 1764 (my 4th great grandfather), and then her husband died on 16 September 1766.  He was only 48 years old, and Mary gave birth to her second posthumous child, Ishmael, on 9 October 1766.  She was destitute this time, a second time widow with seven children.   She administered Andrew’s estate with her brother in law, Jonas Parker (who was later killed in the Battle of Lexington Green on 19 April 1775).  Mary had to ask the town for a pauper’s allowance for lying in with a posthumous child and for care of two minor children by Andrew. 

Mary married her third husband, Caleb Simonds, on 6 December 1774 in Lexington, just two short years before the start of the war, and the big Battles of Lexington and Concord.  During the battle on Lexington Green, Jonas Parker was killed, and so was Andrew's brother Robert Munroe.

Caleb Simonds, Mary's third husband, was a cousin of her first husband, Daniel Simonds.  He also served in the Revolutionary War.  After such a hard life, Mary seemed to have found a good husband, who only served in the war for six months and came home safely to their house in Woburn, Massachusetts.   The Revolutionary War, that affected so many lives in Lexington, ended in 1783. 

But on 3 September 1783, according to family tradition, Mary went for a pail of water at the well and was kicked by a horse.  She fell and struck her head on the door stone, and was instantly killed.  She was 55 years old.  This family story is verified by the town records written by Reverend Mr. Marrett of Woburn, Massachusetts “She was instantly killed by a runaway horse while standing at her own door”, and in the Lexington Vital Records where next to her death date it read “Killed by a horse running over her killing her instantly”.

Mary’s child, Andrew Munroe, Jr (1764 – 1836) married a girl named Ruth Simonds.  Ruth’s parents were Caleb Simonds and Susanna Converse.   Caleb was Mary Mixer’s third husband, and so my 4th great grandparents were two step siblings who married each other. 

Although Mary had a tragic life, she must have eventually made a happy home for her seven children and her eight step children from her three marriages.  It is nice to think that something good came from her woeful story.   Andrew, Jr. and Ruth  removed to Danvers, Massachusetts and had eleven children who all married and had children of their own.  During the Revolutionary War, Andrew Jr. rose to the rank of Colonel and was granted land in New Grafton, New Hampshire.   They were able to pass on quite a legacy from Mary. 

The photograph is from Vincent Rojo, taken at Plimoth Plantation 2008. 

The URL for this post is
Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo 


  1. Interesting story, and the first time I've read a blog post about someone with a connection to anyone I know. Andrew Munroe's grandfather was William Munroe, and my husband is descended from William's son Josiah.

    1. Hi Carol, please click on the label MUNROE in the right side column of my blog. I've written dozens of stories about William Munroe and his family in Lexington. I'll be writing more near Patriot's Day (April 19th). Your husband and I must be cousins!