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Elder John Strong of Northampton

Updated: Jan 26, 2019

Elder John Strong was my great-grandmother, Mary (Decker) Dickinson’s 7th great-grandfather. Following is an excerpt from "The Family of Rev. William H. Dickinson", a summary of his life:

Elder John Strong was born in 1605 Chard, Somerset, England, “whence removed to London and afterwards to Plymouth”. His biography[1] is given in the New England Historical & Genealogical Register. He married first in England to Margerie Dean[2], daughter of William Dean.

On the 20th of March, 1630, at the age of 25, he, along with 140 others, departed from Plymouth, England, on the ship Mary and John[3], with the Winthrop Fleet, commanded by Capt. Squeb. They arrived at Nantasket (Hull), near Boston, on the 30th of May. Tragically, his wife died during the voyage or upon arrival in America. An infant daughter also died, just two months later.

Upon arrival in America, they searched for a good place to settle and chose a location they named Dorchester, after the English home of their revered pastor, Rev. John White, who had encouraged them to go to America. John married Abigail Ford there in 1630. In 1635 they left Dorchester and moved to Hingham, Massachusetts, and on the 9th of March, 1636, took the freeman’s oath at Boston. Then on the 4th of December, 1638, he was made a freeman of Plymouth Colony, then an inhabitant and proprietor at Taunton, Massachusetts, where he remained until about 1645. He had been deputy to the General court in Plymouth in 1641, 1643, and 1644. About 1645, he was appointed with four other including Capt. John Mason, Roger Ludlow, Israel Stoughton, and Henry Wolcott, “to superintend and bring forward the settlement of that place”, Windsor[4], Hartford County, Connecticut, which had been first settled in 1636 by many of the same group he originally settled in Dorchester with. In 1659 he left Windsor and moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, “where he was one of the first and most active founders, as he had previously of Dorchester, Hingham, Taunton, and Windsor.” There he lived for forty years, and was “a leading man in the affairs of the town and of the church”.

John obtained the office and title of “Elder” in Northampton in June of 1663, according to church records, which state that “after solemn and extraordinary seeking to God for his direction and blessing, the church chose John Strong ruling elder, and William Holton, deacon.” He was ordained by the hands of Rev. Eleazar Mather.

Elder John Strong was a tanner by trade and operated a successful tannery located at the southwest corner of Market and Main streets near the railroad depot. He owned about two hundred acres of land in and around Northampton, where he remained until his death, which occurred on the 14th (or 4th) of April, 1699, when he was 94 years old. See also footnote[5].

Aside from the daughter who died in infancy, John’s first marriage produced one son, named John who was born in England in 1626. He died at Windsor, Connecticut, on the 20th of February, 1698, at the age of 72. John and Abigail were married for fifty-eight years and had sixteen children together, including Thomas (died Oct. 3, 1689, age 56), Jedediah, mentioned previously, Josiah (born 1639, died young), Return (born abt. 1641 and died Apr. 9, 1726, age 85), Elder Ebenezer (born 1643, died Feb. 11, 1729, age 86), Abigail (born 1645, married 1st Rev. Nathaniel Chauncey, and 2nd Dea. Medad Pomeroy), Elizabeth (born in Windsor in 1647, died 1736, married Joseph Parson, Esq.), Experience (born 1650, married Zerubabel Filer), Samuel (born 1652, died 1732), Joseph (twin of Samuel, died young), Mary (born 1654, died 1738, age 84, married Dea. John Clark), Sarah (born 1656, died 1733, age 77, married Joseph Barnard), Hannah (born 1659, died 1693-4, age 34, married William Clark, brother of Dea. John Clark, above), Hester (born 1661, died 1726, age 64, married Thomas Bissell), Thankful (born 1663, married Mr. Baldwin of Milford, Ct.), and Jerijah (born 1665, died 1754, age 88). Only the last two children were born in Northampton. At the time of John’s death, he had 160 descendants from his eighteen children, fifteen of whom had families. He had 114 grandchildren and at least 33 great-grandchildren.

Elder John Strong was laid to rest in Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, his monumental marker can be seen on findagrave.

[1] “New England Historical & Genealogical Register” (N.E.H.G.R.), 1854, Vol. 5, p. 180-183.

[2] “The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong”, by Benjamin W. Dwight, 1871, Volume 1. (See also Volume 2).

[3] U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2010.

[4] “The Strongs of Strongsville”, by Albert Strong, 1931, p. 29

[5] For more information on Elder John Strong, see “History of Northampton, Massachusetts”, by Trumbull. (See also Volume 2).

See the Decker page for more information about this branch of my family.



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