Saturday, May 2, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ LILLIE of Reading, Massachusetts


George Lillie (about 1637 – 1691) is my 8th great grandfather.  His parents, origins and immigration are all unknown, but he was probably from England.  He settled in Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts as a school master and owned land on the north side of the Ipswich River by 1658.   In 1667 the town made a list of the 59 houses in Reading, and George Lilly is on the list.

My 7th great grandfather, John Lilley, removed to Woburn, a contiguous town and married Hannah Bassett.  Hannah was the daughter of William Bassett and Sarah Burt whose children were affected by the 1692 witch hysteria.  Their oldest daughter, Elizabeth, sister to Hannah, married John Proctor (my 8th great grandfather in another lineage).  Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor was accused of witch craft along with her husband, John, who was hung.   William Basset Jr., Hannah’s brother, had a wife Sarah (Hood) who was also arrested, tortured and tried for witch craft.   Hannah’s other sister, Mary, wife of Michael Rich, was also arrested, tortured and tried for witchcraft.  Fortunately, my 7th great grandmother, Hannah (Bassett) Lilley escaped suspicion!

My Lillie lineage daughters out with my 6th great grandmother, Phebe Lilley (1706 – 1786) who married Noah Eaton of Reading and Haverhill.  They had eight children all born in Reading. 

Some LILLIE resources:

George Lilly and his descendants, by Georgiana Hewins Lilly, 1945 – a typescript manuscript at the New England Historic Genealogical Society library in Boston, call number G LIL 964

Genealogical History of the Town of Reading, Massachusetts including the present towns of Wakefield, Reading, and North Reading with chronological and historical sketches from 1639 to 1874, by Lilley Eaton, 1874 also available online at  and also reprinted by Heritage Books of Bowie, MD in 1994 (facsimile reprint).

Be aware that in the Reading records and vital records (and probably elsewhere) the name is spelled LELLEY, LELY, LILLE, LILLIE, LILLY, LILEY and LILLEY.  Also be aware that there are unrelated LILLIE familes in Boston and Marshfield, Massachusetts. 

One big genealogy clue I like to share about this family is to look for children with the first name of "Lilley" or "Lillie" (spelled with two LLs), and they are usually sons with a grandmother or other ancestress with the maiden name LILLIE or LILLEY from Reading.  I have a 5th great grand uncle named Lilley Eaton (1738 - 1812), and I was surprised to find out he was a boy, and happy that this discovery lead to finding his mother's maiden name was LILLEY.  The historian who wrote the town history of Reading, Massachusetts in 1874 was also named Lilley Eaton (1802 - 1872), and he is a gentleman, not a woman, and is my 2nd cousin five generations removed.  He is the son of Lilley Eaton (b. 1768) and the grandson of Lilley Eaton mentioned above as my 5th great grand uncle. 

My LILLIE genealogy:

Generation 1:  George Lillie, born about 1637 in Scotland or England, died 14 February 1691 in Reading, Massachusetts; married first on 15 November 1659 in Reading to Hannah Smith (four children), daughter of Francis Smith and Alice Unknown; married second to Jane Unkown on 6 May 1667 in Reading (two children).

Generation 2: John Lillie, born 5 December 1662 in Reading, died in Woburn, Massachusetts; married to Hannah Bassett, daughter of William Bassett and Sarah Burt.  She was born about 1670 in Lynn.  Six children.

Generation 3: Phebe Lilley, born 21 February 1706 in Woburn, died 1786 in Reading; married on 21 December 1726 in Woburn to Noah Eaton, son of Jonathan Eaton and Mary Cowdry(?).  He was born 26 January 1704 in Reading and died 1770 in Reading.  Eight children.

Generation 4:  Katherine Eaton married John Emerson
Generation 5:  Romanus Emerson married Jemima Burnham
Generation 6:  George Emerson married Mary Esther Younger
Generation 7:  Mary Katharine Emerson married George E. Batchelder
Generation 8:  Carrie Maude Batchelder married Joseph Elmer Allen

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Copyright ©2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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