Saturday, January 27, 2018

Surname Saturday ~ CREE of Topsfield, Massachusetts


My 7th great grandfather, Nicholas Cree, is a mystery.  I don’t know his birth or death, but only that he married Keziah Dwinell of Topsfield and had six children born there.  His marriage record says he was “Of Marblehead”.   This brickwall ancestor has many researchers searching for his origins, probably in Scotland. 

Not much is known of his son, Richard Cree (1727 – 1769), my 6th great grandfather.  I have his vital records, and his death record states he was “a middle aged man who was drownded”.    I descend from his eldest son, Stephen Cree (1760  - 1821), who married his bride, Hannah Smith, in the town of Holden, Massachusetts, many miles from Topsfield.  The interesting thing is that I was married in the town of Holden, too, about 200 years after the marriage of Stephen and Hannah Cree.  Hannah’s origins are unknown, but I found her birth record in Worcester in 1763, to her father, Joseph Smith.  Perhaps he is related to the Smith family of Topsfield? Another mystery.

My 4th great grandmother, Sarah Cree (1792 – 1835) married first at age 16 to John W. Ham in 1808 and had one child.  Then she remarried to James Phillips in Topsfield in 1815.  They had two children and he died young in 1820.  Sarah never remarried and died young herself in 1835.   Her daughter, my 3rd great grandmother, Hannah Phillips (about 1821 – 1851) also died young after having three children born in Salem.  

The Cree surname is considered to be Scots, a derivation of the same CREIGH or CRAY.  There are several DNA studies ongoing to find the origins of Nicholas Cree, the immigrant ancestor in New England.

Some CREE resources:

The CREE One-Name Study

The Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society (some volumes available online at, including Volumes nine and ten with the Topsfield marriage records)

The True Genealogy of the Dunnel and Dwinnell Family of New England, by Henry Gale Dunnel, 1862.

My CREE genealogy:

Generation 1:  Nicolas Cree married on 7 October 1723 in Topsfield, Massachusetts to Keziah Dwinel, daughter of John Dwinell and Mary Read.  She was born 14 December 1703 in Topsfield.  Six children born in Topsfield. 

Generation 2:  Richard Cree, born 13 August 1727 in Topsfield, died 15 April 1769 in Topsfield; married on 5 February 1756 in Topsfield to Ruth Johnson, daughter of Stephen Johnson and Rebecca Towne.  She was born 30 August 1731 in Topsfield and died 29 June 1800 in Topsfield.  Five children.

Generation 3:  Stephen Cree, was born 30 October 1760 in Topsfield, died 15 October 1821 in Topsfield; married on 27 February 1787 in Holden, Massachusetts to Hannah Smith, daughter of Joseph Smith of Worcester.  She was born 22 May 1763 in Worcester, and died 19 October 1839 in Topsfield.  Five children.

Generation 4:  Sarah Cree, born 30 September 1792 in Topsfield, died 3 May 1835 in Topsfield; married 6 August 1820 in Topsfield to James Phillips.  He was born about 1792 probably in Rowley, and died 5 April 1820 in Topsfield.  Two children.

Generation 5:  Hannah Phillips m. Thomas Russell Lewis
Generation 6:  Hannah Eliza Lewis m. Abijah Franklin Hitchings
Generation 7:  Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 8:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ CREE of Topsfield, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 27, 2018, ( accessed [access date]). 


  1. Have you traced your Wilkinson history? My gr-grandmother was a Wilkinson, born in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

    1. Bill, Yes, my WILKINSON lineage goes back to about 1700 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1715 Thomas Wilkinson "of London" married Elizabeth Caverly in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. You can read that blog post here:
      Also, I have done a study of all the known descendants of Thomas Wilkinson. You can click on that link at the top of the blog page under the photograph of the Morrison House Museum. His probable kinsman was Samuel Wilkinson, and I have traced most of his known descendants, too, at the next tab.