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LIFE OF WALTER HARRIMAN.
In the year 1638, the orphan brothers, John and Leonard Harriman, came over to New England. They accompanied Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, a clergyman of learning and eminence, who in that year emigrated from England with some sixty Puritan families. He had faithfully labored for seventeen years in the parish of Rowley, county of Yorkshire; his benefice having been conferred by Sir Francis Barrington of Essex. But in those days of tyranny in church and state, — the days of Strafford and Laud, — the ministerial functions of the stanch Puritan divine were suspended, and at the age of forty-eight he left his old home, and, with “many of his hearers,” sailed away from Hull, in ships of his own procuring, to seek a new abode in the wilderness beyond the sea.
Having arrived at Salem, he planted his colony, the next year (1639), upon unoccupied territory between that place and Newburyport, in Essex County, Massachusetts. The settlement, called at first Rogers' Plantation, was afterwards given the name RowLEY, after that of the English parish. Rowley then embraced the town now bearing that name, and also the present Boxford, Georgetown, Bradford, and Groveland. Upon his arrival in New England, Mr. Rogers had been strongly importuned to go to New Haven; and he did not decide as to his place of settlement until he
had asked the advice of the assembled ministers of Massachusetts.
Those who came with him have been characterized as godly people, and many of them of good estate.” They settled upon village lots along streets destined to remain as originally laid out. Each family had its outlands; and the people labored in common for five years. They had their full share of pioneer hardships and privations. Mr. Rogers remained minister of the parish until his death in 1660.
John Harriman, the older of the two immigrant brothers, did not remain in Rowley, but went to New Haven, where he is found among the first settlers, in 1640 or 1641. He took the “oath of fidelity,” July, 1644, and received the “charge of freeman,” April, 1646. He was for many years “a respected member of the church, and a man of note.” He died in 1681. In his will he mentions himself as “stricken in years," and names only one son. This son, whose name was John, was born in 1647, and graduated at Harvard College in 1667. He was a man of superior ability. He preached twenty years in New Haven and the vicinity, and moreover held positions of much responsibility under the civil government. In 1690 he removed to Elizabethtown, New Jersey, and was settled over the church there till his death in 1704. He left a family of seven sons and one or more daughters. Probably none of his descendants are now in New England; but they are somewhat numerous in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Leonard Harriman, who was but sixteen years old when he left his English home, made his permanent abode at Rowley, and in 1647 was “admitted freeman."
He married ; and to him and his wife, Margaret, were born a daughter in 1649, and afterwards three sons — John in 1650; Matthew in 1652; Jonathan in 1657. He was a farmer and a mechanic, and, in the latter capacity, manufactured looms. His wife, Margaret, died in 1676; he himself, May 26, 1691. From his will, made and subscribed fourteen days before his death, it appears that he was a man of considerable means for that period; a competence being, doubtless, one of the rewards of his industrious, wellspent life.' This Leonard was the ancestor of all the Harrimans in New England. John, his first-born son, was of Capt. Thomas Lathrop's company of a hundred young men, — "the flower of Essex County,” — who, in King Philip's War, when attacked by an overwhelming force of Indians, on the 18th of September, 1675, at Bloody Brook in Deerfield, Mass., perished all save eight. Of the slain, one was John Harriman. Matthew, the second son, settled in Haverhill, Mass., and had a numerous family.
1 His home in Rowley was on Bradford Street, now at the corner of Bradford and Common streets. It is thought that the loom shop stood on the brook, at the rear of the other buildings, and was run by water.
Jonathan, the youngest son, remained on the home. stead. He married, on the 19th of August, 1691, Margaret, widow of Samuel Wood, who went as soldier, in the quota of Rowley for the expedition against Quebec, in 1690, and never returned. Six sons were born to this couple : Jonathan, in 1692 ; Leonard, 1694; Nathaniel, 1696; John, 1703 ; Samuel, 1705; Jeremiah, 1709. The descendants of these, as well as those of Matthew (second son of Leonard the first), are found in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and many other States.
Samuel Harriman, fifth son of Jonathan, married, October 16, 1729, Jane Coleman, of Newbury. At the organization of the Second Church in Rowley, he was one of the members. During “the great epidemic" of throat distemper in 1736, when nine hundred children in Essex County alone were swept off, this couple lost their three children, all they then had. Before the dread disease had touched her family, Mrs. Harriman, being one day in the cellar, heard, as she believed, three loud, distinct raps, sounding like one “striking his knuckles against the ceiling." There may have been more superstition in that age than exists in this; however that may be, when investigation had failed to account for the rappings, the mother became painfully impressed with the conviction that what she had heard was “the forerunner of the death of her children." The disease did, indeed, soon enter her dwelling, and within a few days her three little ones were lowered into one grave.
1 The will was presented in court at Ipswich, September 29, 1691, by the executor, Jonathan Harriman, and established by its witnesses.
Exact copies of the Will and an Inventory of Estate, made by the late Ex-Governor Har. riman from the original papers in the office at Salem, Mass., are printed at the end of this chapter.
Samuel Harriman had a farm in Rowley, and lived either there or in Newburyport, in 1756, when his death, caused by falling from the beams of his barn, occurred. He left two children, born after the pestilence of 1736, — Jane, in 1740, and Asa, in 1742. The former became the wife of Benjamin Evans, Esq., of Rocky Hill, Salisbury, Mass.
Asa Harriman, being fourteen years old at his father's death, was put under the guardianship of his uncle Coleman. In 1759, at the age of seventeen, he served in Col. Joseph Gerrish's regiment, raised for aiding the invasion of Canada, in the French War. Though young, he possessed great muscular power, and, when off duty, engaged much in “wrestling, jumping the pole, lifting at stiff heels,” and other athletic exercises. He subsequently served in the Revolutionary War. While in the military service he obtained a fund of story that lasted him through a long life, and upon which he could draw with a great faculty of interesting old and young in the recital.
He married, March 25, 1760, Joanna Beal, of York, Maine, a maiden of sixteen years. She is represented as having been, in her maturity, "a large, courtly woman, of fine personal appearance, and much goodness of heart.” Asa, having inherited the Rowley farm from his father, took thither his young bride. After some years the pair removed to Epping, New Hampshire, where they afterwards dwelt. The children of Asa and Joanna were: James, born in 1762 ; Asa, Jr., 1766 ; Phebe, 1768 ; Betsey, 1770; Samuel, 1773 ; Dudley, 1776 ; Jesse, 1778 ; Sally, 1780; John, 1783. The descendants of these are to be found in
1 The farm then purchased, and upon which they lived, was, more than a hundred years later, owned and occupied by Capt. George N. Shepard, of the Eleventh Regiment of N. H. Volunteers in the War for the Union.