Saturday, February 11, 2017

Surname Saturday ~ NORCROSS of Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge, Massachusetts

John Norcross, my 10th great grandfather, is one of those rare Great Migration ancestors who came to New England, but returned to England.  I have very few who returned – Rev. Stephen Batchelder, Rev. John Mayhew and a handful of others.  The rest, of course stayed, and that is where my story begins, in New England.

John Norcross, the son of Thomas Norcross and Mary Chappell was a London merchant, and a member of the Haberdashers Company.  Records show that Thomas Norcross was a merchant in London, too, and also a member of the Haberdashers guild, and he was freed from his apprenticeship in 1579. This allows his birthdate to be calculated at about 1560. A Thomas Norcross (it is unknown if it is the same one) lived on Fleet Street and died in 1617, and was buried at St. Dunstan’s.  He left money to the Ribchester Church in Lancashire.  There have been members of the Norcross family living in Ribchester since the thirteenth century according to the records at St. Wilfred’s parish in Ribchester.

John Norcross and his brother, Jeremiah, came to New England in 1638.  John bought 22 acres in Cambridge and lived there until 1642.  His brother Jeremiah bought land in Watertown.  John’s wife is unknown, but he had two children, Anna and Thomas.  Anna, my 9th great grandmother, was married in London to Samuel Davis.  They probably came to New England with her father,  and remained here when he returned to England.  There is no evidence of the son Thomas living in Massachusetts, but he died in Ribchester, Lancashire, England in 1662, one of his sons, William Norcross, became a Quaker and immigrated back to the New World and settled in Buck’s County, Pennsylvania. 

Anna’s Uncle Jeremiah Norcross lived in Watertown on land next to Nathaniel Foote (my 10th great grandfather on my paternal side).  Jeremiah’s  last will mentioned Anna [Middlesex 1: 117]:

"In the name and by the help of my Lord Jesus Christ, I Jeremiah Norcrosse being well in my body and mind (thanks be to God) but going to sea do make my last will and testament.

First, I give my soul into the hand of the father of spirits who gave it to me, and my body to the elements to be committed for a time out of which it was made in sure and certain hope ( with the word of him who cannot lie) of my resurrection of both soul and body together unto everlasting life purchased by the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

And for such worldly Estate as the Lord hath lent me and left me, my will is that they be appraised when I am dead and divided into three equal parts.
The first third I give to my beloved wife Adrean Norcrosse.

The second third I give unto my children Nathaniel, Richard and Sarah Massy, the wife of Francis Massy, assigning my eldest son, Nathaniel as his due a double portion.  Nevertheless for as much as Sarah my daughter had a full share (and more as it now falleth out) of my Estate, I will that, that shall be in full of her portion.

And of the last third of my Estate I give as followeth, I give and bequeath unto my daughter the wife of my son Richard, one ewe sheep, and her daughter, my grandchild, a like ewe sheep, and to the wife of my wife's son John Smith one like ewe sheep.  To my brother's daughter Anna Davis, the wife of Samuel Davis a like ewe sheep (in specie) and to her daughter Hannah her eldest child one like ewe sheep and unto the poor members of Jesus Christ in Watertown, I give two ewe sheep to be delivered into the pastors and deacons hands to breed as a stock, the males to be sold at the fittest season to give to the poor as they need and the females to be kept for the purpose of breeding.

As a testimony of my love to my Lord for all his love to me I give (as a cup of cold water wishing I had better for them) unto his ministers Mr. Sherman, Mr. Symes, Mr. Mather, each of them twenty shillings.

And for my grandchildren in Old England, if the Lord brings me or if goods I have with me I shall distribute myself or appoint.  I will and ordain my son Richard Norcrosse my sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament and I entreat my brother Charles Chadwick to be overseer and help unto him, and I do give him as a small token of my love, twenty shillings, and pronounce this to be my last will and Testament, revoking all other Wills heretofore made.  In witness whereof I set to my hand and seal this 15th day of September 1654.”

Some NORCROSS resources:

The English Norcross Family and Some Descendants of William Norcross 1699 to America, edited by Elsie M. Cameron, 1954 [at NEHGS call number CS71 .N83 1954] 

The Ancestry of Dr. J. P. Guilford, by Joan S. Guilford, Orange, CA: 1990, Volume II, pages 288-293

My NORCROSS genealogy:

Generation 1: Thomas Norcross, born about 1560, probably in Ribchester, Lancashire, England, died 1617 in St. Dunstan’s, London, England; married Mary Chapell, daughter of William Chapell and Elizabeth Bedel.  She died 1603 in St. Dunstan’s.  At least three children

Generation 2: John Norcross, born about 1583 in London, died 1657; married unknown.  At least two children.

Generation 3:  Anna Norcross, born about 1615 in England; married on 30 November 1631 at Allhallow’s, Bread Street, London, England to Samuel Davis.  He was born about 1615 and died between 2 May and 4 July 1672 in Braintree, Massachusetts.  Ten children.

Generation 4:  Mary Davis m. Thomas Townsend
Generation 5: Susannah Townsend m. Daniel Hitchings
Generation 6:  Daniel Hitchings m. Hannah Ingalls
Generation 7: Abijah Hitchings m. Mary Gardner
Generation 8:  Abijah Hitchings m. Mary Cloutman
Generation 9:  Abijah Hitchings m. Eliza Ann Treadwell
Generation 10:  Abijah Franklin Hitchings m. Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 11:  Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 12:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandfather)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ NORCROSS of Cambridge, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 11, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

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