John was chr Aug 22, 1612 in Howden, Knedlington, Yorkshire, Eng son of Robert Haseltine & Joanna Swanne (The Haseltine Genealogy by Earl D. Campbell & Frederick W. Richardson). About the time John was 26, & his brother Robert was 29, they decided to join a group of Puritans escaping religious persecution & travel to America with Rev. Ezekiel Rogers of the Rowley Parish Church near Little Weighton, Yorkshire, England which was about 38 miles from the place they were born. Virtually nothing is known about their lives up until they board the John of London in the port of Hull & embark upon their journey with about 20 other families all who had been exiled from England in the late Spring of 1638.
They arrived in Salem, MA in the fall of 1638, and shortly thereafter John Winthrop notes Rev Rogers asked if he & his followers could share in the Lord’s Supper with the Church of Boston. Rogers spoke to the elders in the church about what they had experienced in England and their vision for their new lives here.
Shortly thereafter, in 1639, Rogers was granted an area of land between Ipswich & Newbury which he would name Rowley after his home church in England where he had preached since about 1620. The first mention I could find in The First Church of Boston Records mentioning Rowley was on the 24th day of the 9th month 1639 [pg 25 – November 24 1639] where it mentions Mr Henry Sandys, Willyam Stickney, Richard Swanne, and Michaell Hopkinson were dismissed to the gathering of a Church at Rowley “if the Lord so please”.
Upon settling in the new settlement of Rowley much land was dispersed to as many as 60 families who were now following the Rev Rogers. John & Robert’s 2 acre house lots were located on what is Central St today. Comparing a copy of map that the Rowley Historical Society sent me which has many of the original settlers house lots on it with a Google Earth map of today, it seems likely that John Haseltine’s first home was on or very near Plantation Lane. His brother Robert’s lot being just a little further up the road on or very near Benischeck Lane. They were separated by the house lot of Thomas Tenneys property. In addition to the house lot each brother received 8 acres of upland in what is referred to as “Northeast Field”, 1.25 acres in Satchells Meadow, 2 acres of salt marsh. A couple other divisions of land took place and John would receive his share of parcels.
John & Robert both took The Oath of a Freeman on May 13 1640. The oath, for those who may not know, was a vow men certain men took to participate, & defend the new government. You can read the oath here at the Winthrop Society’s page.
At some point John met a woman by the name of "Joan Anter a maid servant of one Mr. Martin Holman of Biddiford in Devonshire, England" who was admitted as a member of the First Church of Boston on “The 18th day of the same 12th moneth (1643)” [which today would be considered Feb 1644]. Joan is said by some to have been born a1612 near Biddeford, England, however I really think this birthdate is much too early. It seems to me that if she was a “maid servant” odds are she was likely much younger. Perhaps even as young as 14-18 in 1644, and 16-20 years old when she married John Haseltine, placing her birth about 1626-1630. Not to mention that if her birth year was a1612 would have made her 54y when Nathaniel was born & that really doesn’t seem likely.
Nothing is known of Joan’s family, to my knowledge at least. Anter seems to be German name, but we can’t really be sure. It seems she came alone or with others we do not know of on a ship we cannot name. The only clue being that she worked for Martin Holman, yet it doesn’t seem Mr Holman came to America leaving even more mystery. I did find one other notation of him in Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, edited by William Henry Whitmore, William Summer Appleton,etal pg 3 or pg 397 on google books which states  “Exported by the Defence of Boston [ie the ship name] Mr Edw: count of Martin Holman & to him consigned, vizt,. One hundred bush. Wheat & seventy foure Kintalls three quarters of fish.”
John married Joan Anter between Mar 31 1644- May 1645 but an exact date has not been found in early records. We know it is after Mar 31 1644 as she is noted on that day in the records of The First Church, Boston which were published in 1961 by Richard D. Pierce, editor, and titled The Records of the First Church in Boston 1630-1868, Volume XXXIX. It states: Pg 40 "The 31st day of the 1st month 1644" (31 March 1644) "Our sister Joan Anter had with the consent of the church by their silence letters of Recommendation graunted unto hir unto the church at Rowley."
A few pages later it states:
Pg 45 "The 8th day of ye 1st moneth 1646" (8 March 1646) "Our sister Joan Anter now the wife of one [John] Heseltine a Member of the Church of Rowley with the Consent of the Church by their silence, had letters of Dismission granted her unto the Church at Rowley according to her desire by letter."
In addition, we can guess that it was at least 9 months prior to the birth of their oldest son,
Samuell Haseltine who was born “20: 12m: 1645” or what would now be Feb 20 1646. From this we can gain they likely married before Jun 1645. SIDE NOTE: Is anyone else bothered by the fact that they named their oldest son Samuell and yet we have no knowledge of why or who he might have been named after….? It sort of makes me think it might be a hint as to Joan’s father – just sayin’….
John & Joan lived in Rowley on the homestead noted above until at least 1649 when John, his brother Robert & William Wild took up an agreement with the Town of Rowley to settle the land upon the Merrimack River about 14 miles away. On the 3rd day of the 4th month 1651 the selectman officially wrote up the offer the town had granted them, however having it still not made clear at that time and later challenged by Robert, John & William, another document was written on the 29th day of the 10th month in the year 1652.
The final agreement gave each Robert, John & William the following: 40 acres of upland; commons for 20 head of cattle (which they had the right to fence their shares as they see fit, but the town restricted them to building more than three tenements on any of the upland or commons); 20 acres of meadow which was to be laid out when they desired it; liberty granted to get each of them 1000 of pipestauves yearly during the next 7 years (from 1649); liberty on the common to cut firewood for 3 families & also timber for building & fencing providing they did not fall any fencing stuff within a quarter mile of the pasture fence; they were to be freed from all charges belonging to the Town [ie taxes] for their lands, houses & up to 4 oxen, 6 cows & 4 calves each during the space of 7 years beginning in 1649; and lastly they were to have liberty to keep swine on the commons. In exchange, John, Robert & William obviously begin the settlement and are to look after the Town of Rowley’s herd of cattle for 7 years, although they would be paid 2 shillings per day for looking after them. It also stipulates that the 3 men shall provide a convenient diet & lodging to anyone the Town sends to keep any herd there. “This agreement representing the agreement made for the settlement at Merrimack in 1649 is set to paper 30th day of the 10th month 1652. (pg 80-82 Early Records of Rowley MA 1639-1672 Vol One).
The three men & their families venturing off from Rowley, founded Bradford, MA. Today, Bradford is not considered a township of its own, but instead is considered part of Haverhill. Those that live there today though will disagree & be quick to tell you Bradford & Haverhill are very different and are in many ways separate communities. According to the Memorial History of Bradford on pg 7 the men build the first house on “a sunny spot, on the easterly slope of the pleasant grove”, “near the site of the old town house & pound”.
Life in Bradford thrived and by 1655 Robert Haseltine was ordered to run a ferry between Bradford and Haverhill which laid across the river & had been first settled in 1640 by 12 men after a purchase from Native Americans who called the area Pentucket. Very few Natives remained in the area by the time the small sum was given to them for the land that would come to be Haverhill.
1656 closed the term on the agreement between Rowley & the three founders of Bradford. In 1664 John & Robert requested the 20 acres still due to them from their agreement with Rowley and are granted an additional 200 acres each in what was then known as Rowley Village on the Merrimack. John’s portion, according to the Memorial History of Bradford pg 10 included “the west half of the village. His lower corner is where the road turns by Jacob Kimball’s.” His property also incorporated “Along the river from the ferry ran the road to Rowley. In 1662, this road was relaid, and coming up what is now Main St, turned at John Haseltine’s corner, which is the corner of Main & Salem Streets” – pg 12 MHB
Not forgetting about his part in the founding of Bradford, John Haseltine donated an acre of land to the Town of Bradford for a meetinghouse and burial ground in 1665 on “Indian Hill”. This is the plot of land where the Old Burial Ground still remains on Salem St. John’s brother Robert is likely buried there, but a stone does not mark his or his wife’s graves.
Somewhere around 1663 John Sr with sons John Jr & Nathaniel, jumped the river so to speak, and removed to Haverhill leaving Samuel to man the family estate in Bradford. The land in Haverhill was west of Little River by Long Hill on the street now known as North Broadway which begins off Broadway (now known as Rt 97) & runs north to where it meets Sawyer Ave in Atkinson, NH. There is a story on pg 224 in Chase’s History of Haverhill & in the footnote of that page it explains that a “severe skirmish” discussed on the page [1708; French & Indian attack] took place at “the rise of land nearly west of the house of S. Eaton, Esq. about half way between Derry Rd and the Parsonage Road [now Hilldale], and south-east of Long Hill, in the West Parish.” From maps of Haverhill in 1832 & 1872 we can determine No Broadway & Derry Rd were one in the same. Both maps show Haseltine familes still living on both sides that road over quite a large span. It seems safe to say from this, the deed to Philip from John Jr., and the will, John Haseltine’s original land in Haverhill was in that greater vicinity.
The earliest mention of John in Haverhill records that I came across was in 1665-6 when he was one of the Selectmen. He also held that position in 1668, 1671 & 1673 which can be confirmed on Google Books in The City Charter as Amended by Subsequent Legislation and the Ordinances of…by Haverhill, MA, and also The History of Haverhill from its First Settlement by Chase, 1861.
In 1671 liberty was granted to John, or any other man to build a corn-mill upon Sawmill River or upon the East-meadow River” pg 49 of The History of Haverhill by Mirick & Whittier, 1832, which it seems is the book Chase pretty much copied in his expanded 1861 version, so it is also in that.
On June 24, 1681 John Sr granted Haverhill a 2 acre parcel of land situated north of Winter St & between Little River & the Commons for the use of a parsonage & burial ground much like he had for Bradford. Although it doesn’t seem Haverhill actually did anything with this land as 2 years later they were still trying to figure out if they should build a new meetinghouse & where, a topic which is covered more under John Jr’s sketch.
John Senior died Dec 23, 1690 “abt 70y” in Haverhill, Ma (Haverhill VR). It seems about was said with quite a bit of liberty as if his birth in Knedlington is correct he was at least 78yrs. His will was dated Aug 17, 1689 and proved Mar 1, 1691, Essex County Probate File # 12670
“Jean, wid. John, sr.” died July 17, 1698 in Haverhill, Ma (Haverhill VR). Like with his son John Jr. their burial place is unknown. If I was to guess where, I would say they were also more likely to be buried in the Ancient West Parish Burial Ground on Carleton St rather than Pentucket Burial Ground due to the location of the family estate.
Quite a life & legacy for a man who could not sign his name.
Children of John & Joan were:
1. Samuell Haseltine b: “20: 12m: 1645” [Feb 20 1645-6] (Rowley VR – “Joan”)
2. Mary Haseltine b: “9: 10m: 1648” [Dec 9 1648] (Rowley VR – “Joan”)
3. John Haseltine b: about 1650-56 - Click for blog on John Haseltine Jr & Mary Nelson
4. Nathaniel Haseltine b: “20: 7m: 1666” [Sept 20 1666] (Rowley VR – “Joane”)
Copyright Amylynne Baker-Santagate @ NHGenealogist.com
Amylynne (Baker) Murphy