Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ordinary - or maybe not

After thrashing through some of our Hale, Northend and Webster ancestors recently, Traea's Grandma finally emerged into what she thought was the more familiar Sawyer family in the late 1600s.  By then just about everyone leading up to the Sawyers had immigrated from England, settling in what became Essex County, Massachusetts..

Here was the family of Samuel SAWYER and Mary EMERY, who produced, among others, sons Benjamin and Samuel, both of whom eventually contributed DNA to this grandma.  (For inquiring minds, it took a loooong time and a LOT of different families to bring those genes back together.)

Anyway, fun facts emerged during subsequent wanderings through Googleland.  (Dig past the collection of genealogists whose identical listings on almost any family member appear online.  The gems may instead be in descriptions of those relatives who come alive in books describing an area's history.)

Turns out that in Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts, Hugh March (no relation that I know of) was first licensed in 1670 by the Ipswich courts to "keep an ordinary and to sell strong drink."  This is from the book Ould Newbury, written by John J. Currier and published in Boston by Damrell and Upham in 1896.  

I had known that "the necessary," was the outhouse, but "an ordinary" as a tavern was a new fact.  

According to Ould Newbury, one of our Samuel Sawyers (probably senior since Samuel junior was born in 1674) is listed as a licensed innholder from 1693 to 1716, quite possibly at Hugh March's ordinary, which is by now known as the Blue Anchor Tavern, also written as the Blew Anchor Tavern.  He must have rented the place, because he is only listed as buying it in 1715.

Ould Newbury continues that Samuel resold this property almost immediately to Benjamin Sawyer, a weaver.  Benjamin only lasted until 1718 as the innkeeper / tavern owner.  He sold the "house and 2 3/4 acres of land in Newbury aforesd, commonly known by ye name of ye Blew Anchor Tavern, together with all ye houses, outhouses, Barns, Buildings, stables, orchards, Gardens, &c.," that he had acquired from Samuel.  Quite a sale!

Then history smugly lures us with contradictions.  Ould Newbury relates that the tavern was taken down following a subsequent land sale a few years later.  The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities may support this when they explain a structure they own, the Swett-Ilsley House, sits adjacent to land Hugh March purchased.  Find photos and information at .  Although Swett-Ilsley was used as a variety of commercial endeavors, the Antiquities people don't link it specifically with the Blue Anchor Tavern.

On the other hand, several modern writers describe and document that the former Blue Anchor Tavern is indeed today's Swett-Ilsley House.  Traea's Grandmother doesn't know enough to take sides on this contradiction, but it certainly has been a fun find!

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