Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ROGER CONANT 1592-1679

[Ancestral Link: Marguerite Anderson (Miller), daughter of Hannah Anderson (Anderson), daughter of Mary Margaret Edmiston (Anderson), daughter of Martha Jane Snow (Edmiston), daughter of Gardner Snow, son of Abigail Farr (Snow), daughter of Mercy Winslow (Farr), daughter of Rebecca Ewer (Winslow), daughter of Rebecca Conant (Ewer), daughter of Nathaniel Conant, son of Lot Conant, son of Roger Conant.]


A Brief History of Roger Conant as a leader in New England
1640, Salem, Massachusetts


Statue of Roger Conant, Beverly, Massachusetts


Roger Conant, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts



This dramatic, cloaked statue of Roger Conant faces the Salem Common and stands atop a huge boulder brought from the woods near the floating bridge at Lynn. Artist Henry H. Kitson designed this bronze statue for the Conant Family Association and the statue was dedicated on June 17, 1913. Salem, Essex, Massachusetts


The parish of East Budleigh gives its name to the Hundred. It is situated on the west side of the river Otter, about two miles from its mouth, and about fourteen miles south-east of Exeter. The manor belonged to Otterton priory, and in the year 1260 was valued at £13 13sh. 6d.; its mill alone then rented for £1 14sh. 4d. In 1337 the lordship was granted to Hugh de Courtenay, Earl of Devon. In 1536 the manor and advowson of Budleigh belonged to the Benedictine Convent of St. Catherine of Polsoe, and in this year Margaret Trewe, Prioress of Polsoe, leased the rectory with the tithes to John Drake for fifty years at a rental of £26 17sh. 3d. In 1540 the manor and advowson came into possession of Richard Duke, Esq., who purchased from Henry VIH. The church of East Budleigh, dedicated to All Saints, and consecrated by Bishop Lacy about A. D. 1430, is situated on a hill behind the village. It consists of a nave and chancels, and north and south aisles. It is 80 feet long and 48£ feet broad, and the tower, containing five bells, is 72 feet high. In the east window are to be seen the arms of Courtenay, Bishop Lacy, St. George, Holland and Bonville. The pew ends are curiously carved with arabesques, figures, heads and the armorial bearings of local families, among them Ralegh, St. Clere, Grenville, Arscot, Ford, Courtenay and others. The first vicar was Stephen de Budleigh, admitted 11 July, 1261, on presentation of the Prioress and Convent of Polsoe (see Oliver's Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Devon). Sir Walter Ralegh was born at Hays House, in East Budleigh, and his father was one of the church-wardens in 1561. The tales of adventure of Ralegh and Sir Francis Drake—for the Drakes were also connected with this parish—must have had an important influence in leading Roger and Christopher Conant to embark for America. (from A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America - 1520-1887 by Fred Odell Conant)


Plaque in Salem



The church of East Budleigh, dedicated to All Saints, and consecrated by Bishop Lacy about A. D. 1430, is situated on a hill behind the village. It consists of a nave and chancels, and north and south aisles. It is 80 feet long and 48£ feet broad, and the tower, containing five bells, is 72 feet high. In the east window are to be seen the arms of Courtenay, Bishop Lacy, St. George, Holland and Bonville. The pew ends are curiously carved with arabesques, figures, heads and the armorial bearings of local families, among them Ralegh, St. Clere, Grenville, Arscot, Ford, Courtenay and others. The first vicar was Stephen de Budleigh, admitted 11 July, 1261, on presentation of the Prioress and Convent of Polsoe (see Oliver's Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Devon). Sir Walter Ralegh was born at Hays House, in East Budleigh, and his father was one of the church-wardens in 1561. The tales of adventure of Ralegh and Sir Francis Drake—for the Drakes were also connected with this parish—must have had an important influence in leading Roger and Christopher Conant to embark for America. (from A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America - 1520-1887 by Fred Odell Conant)



Conant Mill Stone
On the patio in front of the Church Hall in East Budleigh, is a huge granite millstone. It is called the Conant Stone in memory of Roger Conant, the miller's son who sailed to North America in 1623 and founded the city of Salem, Massachusetts


Old First Church, Salem, Massachusetts


Arbitration


Notes for Gov. Roger Conant
Notes for Gov. Roger Conant:
Roger Conant, who was baptized in All Saints' Church, in the parish of East Burleigh, Devonshire, England, April 9, 1592, was the youngest member of a family of eight children born to Richard and Agnes (Clarke) Conant, and grandson of John Conant, of Devonshire. He came to America in the ship "Ann," in 1623, landing at Plymouth, where his stay, however, was brief, on account of religious differences. He was known as a "pious, sober and prudent gentleman." He was the founder of Salem in 1626, and was governor of the colony until the arrival of John Endicott, late in 1628. He married Sarah Horton. 29 March 01, 2007
Roger Conant was an Old Planter, one of the five who were called "The Five Old Planters," Conant, Palfrey, Woodbury, Balch, and William Traske, who joined them when they made their settlement at Nahumkeik. Conant was governor for the Dorchester company at Cape Ann in 1626, and at Salem in 1627-28-29, until the arrival of Captain Endicott, in September, 1629, representing new purchasers.
He was appointed under the Charter of Lord Shef-field, 1624, and remained at the head of the Colony until 1628, when he was succeeded by John Endicott. During this time he occupied the 'great white house' at Cape Ann. This was built in 1624 and was afterwards moved to Salem and occupied by succeeding Governors. It still stands after nearly three centuries. Governor Conant discovered the site and founded the town of Salem and his son was the first child born in Salem. Soon after the removal of the Colony to Salem there was danger of its abandonment
through an invitation to their minister, the Rev. John Lyford, to settle in Virginia, and the decision of most of the colonists to accompany him. They tried to induce Governor Conant to go with them, but Felt's History says: 'He had taken his position and pledged his faith though perils from savages and hardships of a new settlement clustered around him.' The success of the Massachusetts Colony rested on his decision.
He was frequently called to offices of honor and trust by his fellow townsmen. In 1634 he was chosen as Representative to the General Court at Boston, May 14. This was the second representative Assembly which met in this country, that of Virginia being first. He was deputy from Salem and thus assisted in laying the foundation of that form of Government which remains to-day our noblest heritage.
Governor Roger Conant was instrumental in settling a quarrel between Captain Miles Standish and Captain Hewes. This is memorialized by a stained glass window in a church in Dudley Centre, Massachusetts.
In Hawthorne's description of Main street, Salem, he speaks of Conant as follows: 'Roger Conant, the first settler of Naumkeag, has built his dwelling on the border of the forest path, and at this moment he comes Eastward through the vista of woods, with his gun over his shoulder, bringing home the choice portions of a deer. Roger Conant is of that class of men who do not merely find but make their place in the system of human affairs. A man of thoughtful strength, he has planted the germ of a city.'"
found on ancestry.com

Governor Roger Conant
1592 - 1679 , Salem, Massachusetts
Poor Roger Conant gets no respect.
Because of Salem's reputation as the "Witch City", and because Henry Kitson's bronze statue of the city's founding father stands in front of the salem witch museum, many visitors assume that the likeness of Conant as one respected magazine erroneously called it, that of a "determined sorceress".
Conant deserves better. it was his vision and faith that sowed the seeds of the new plantation at "this place called Naumkeake" in 1626, shortly after the demise of the English fishing settlement at Cape Ann. And it was Conant's tenacity and commitment- with probable encouragement from his wife, Sarah, who had just moved for the fourth time since leaving the comforts of London in 1623-that made the colony a success despite disease, depression and the powerful lure of the warmer Virginia climate.
Kitson's statue of Roger Conant stands in front of the Salem Witch Museum.
Photo by Jim McAllister
And it was Conant's decision to stay at Naumkeag and to cooperate with the settlers sent over by the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1628, even after the company replaced him as the legal head of the plantation, that gave the settlement it's new name: Salem, "city of peace".
Roger Conant not only stayed, he devoted his life to serving the town and colony. he was admitted to the first church in 1628 and chosen a freeman, or voting stockholder, of the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1630. Conant was one of the first two Salem representatives to the colony's general court or legislature, and was repeatedly elected a selectman by the people of Salem.
When communities were granted the right to establish district courts by the legislature, Roger Conant became a fixture on the Salem quarterly juries for sixteen years. he was frequently called upon to establish boundaries for new communities as far away as Boston and Saugus. In 1636, Conant, John Woodbury, Richard Trask and John Balch, all original settlers of the town, served on the committee which created separate lots from remaining public lands in Salem. in return for their efforts, these men were each given 200 acres of valuable agricultural land in the Bass River.
In 1659, Roger Conant led the drive by Bass River residents to form their own church. By 1667 they had their church and, a year later, Bass River became the new town of Beverly. Conant was given the task of establishing the boundaries between Salem and Beverly and was the latter's most important citizen. Before giving up civic life in 1671, he served briefly as both selectman and juror and, as he had done in Salem, oversaw the laying out of Beverly land grants.
All of Roger Conant's service was rendered against a backdrop of personal tragedy. He had to endure the death of a daughter and four of his five sons. But he trudged steadily on, working for the common good right up until his own death in 1679. His perseverance in the face of adversity, even more than his status as Salem's founding father, is his true legacy.
Jim McAllister
found on ancestry.com

Governor Roger Conant
1592-1679 , East Budleigh, Devon, England; Salem, Massachusetts
Roger Conant (ca 1592-Nov. 19, 1679), early settler of New England, was the youngest of the eight children of Richard and Agnes (Clarke) Conant of East Budleigh, Devonshire, England. He was baptized on apr. 9, 1592 in All Saints' Church in East Budleigh. The family seems to have been of the lower middle class, in fairly comfortable circumstances. Roger appears to have gone to London when about eighteen years old, and there he became a salter. On Nov. 11, 1618 he married a certain Sarah Horton of whose family nothing has been ascertained. By her he had at least nine children, the youngest being named Exercise. In 1623 he emigrated to Massachusetts with his wife and his son, Caleb, the latter subsequently returning to England and dying there. It is probable that they sailed for America on the Ann, which carried Roger's brother Christopher and which arrived at Plymouth colony with John Oldham, as "particulars," that is as independent of the "common stock" system of the first settlers. Before long, there was trouble between some of the newcomers and the original group. Oldham and Lyford were ordered out of the community, and Conant soon followed voluntarily. In religion he was not a Separatist, but merely a Non-Conformist and he seems not to have been altogether happy with the Pilgrims. In 1624 he settled at Nantasket and it was probably while there that he used the island in Boston Harbor which long bore his name. Becoming acquainted with the Rev. John White and other members of the Dorchester Company who had been trying to establish a settlement on Cape Ann, late in the autumn of 1625 at their request, he removed to their fishing settlement as manager or governor. He did not like the location and in the next autumn about forty of the settlers joined him in settling at Naumkeag (Salem). Conant continued as governor. In 1627, the colonists sent an agent to England to solicit a patent. It was obtained, however, in March 1628 by an English group with more ambitious ideas, and John Endicott came over with about fifty settlers, superseding Conant as governor. There was much ill-feeling at first, but Conant submitted and became a loyal member of the new organization. In 1634, he was elected to represent Salem in the General Court. Two years later he moved to Beverly. He acquired a moderate amount of land, tried various adventures, such as trading with the Indians, and besides being for a while justice of the quarterly court, occupied many minor public offices, indicative of the deserved confidence and esteem of his neighbors. He was an honest, conscientious man who did useful work in the seedling days of the colony, and his self- control when Endicott arrived saved the colony from what might have been a ruinous struggle. Copied from Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. IV, New York, Scribner's, 1930, pp. 336/37.
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Salem's Founder
Roger
Who is that Cloaked Man?
Roger Conant
1592 to 1679
According to records, Roger Conant was baptized in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England in 1592, the youngest of eight children. In 1623 he emigrated to Plymouth with his wife, Sarah and son, Caleb. However, he was uncomfortable with the strict Pilgrim society in Plymouth and moved his family to Nantasket in 1624. In the late autumn of 1625, Conant was invited by the Rev. John White and other members of the Dorchester Company to move to their fishing settlement on Cape Ann as their governor.
Still looking for more favorable conditions for a settlement, he led a group of people to Naumkeag, now Salem, in 1626, and continued as their governor. In 1627 a patent was solicited from England and it was obtained by a group led by John Endicott who arrived in Naumkeag in 1628. Endicott and the other settlers of the New England Company now owned the rights to Naumkeag. Fortunately for the peaceful continuity of the settlement, Conant remained in Salem and, despite what must have been a disappointment for him, acceded to Endicott's authority as the new governor.
Conant built the first Salem house on what is Essex Street today, almost opposite the Town Market. In 1639, his was one of the signatures on the building contract for enlarging the meeting house in Town House Square for the First Church in Salem. This document remains part of the town records at City Hall. He was active in the affairs of the town throughout his life. In 1679, he died at the age of 87.
This dramatic, cloaked statue of Roger Conant faces the Salem Common and stands atop a huge boulder brought from the woods near the floating bridge at Lynn. Artist Henry H. Kitson designed this heroic bronze statue for the Conant Family Association and the statue was dedicated on June 17, 1913.
Roger Conant Statue Restoration
(Salem Common Neighborhood Association)
A very brief summary of the life of Roger Conant.
found on ancestry.com

Governor of Salem, Massachusetts
According to the Wikkepedia site, Roger Conant came to the USA around the time of the Mayflower, but was unhappy with the strictness of the Puritans at Plymouth Colony. So he moved to Cape Ann, and a couple years later to Salem, Massachusetts, which he founded. He was well respected there and in honor of him, there is now a statue of Roger Conant in the Salem Town Common.
found on ancestry.com

Who is that Cloaked Man?
According to records, Roger Conant was baptized in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England in 1592, the youngest of eight children. In 1623 he emigrated to Plymouth with his wife, Sarah and son, Caleb. However, he was uncomfortable with the strict Pilgrim society in Plymouth and moved his family to Nantasket in 1624. In the late autumn of 1625, Conant was invited by the Rev. John White and other members of the Dorchester Company to move to their fishing settlement on Cape Ann as their governor.
Still looking for more favorable conditions for a settlement, he led a group of people to Naumkeag, now Salem, in 1626, and continued as their governor. In 1627 a patent was solicited from England and it was obtained by a group led by John Endicott who arrived in Naumkeag in 1628. Endicott and the other settlers of the New England Company now owned the rights to Naumkeag. Fortunately for the peaceful continuity of the settlement, Conant remained in Salem and, despite what must have been a disappointment for him, acceded to Endicott's authority as the new governor.
Conant built the first Salem house on what is Essex Street today, almost opposite the Town Market. In 1639, his was one of the signatures on the building contract for enlarging the meeting house in Town House Square for the First Church in Salem. This document remains part of the town records at City Hall. He was active in the affairs of the town throughout his life. In 1679, he died at the age of 87.
found on ancestry.com

Roger Conant
Roger Conant was baptized 9 April 1592 in All Saintts Church in East Budleigh, England. One of his brothers was educated at Oxford; Roger also received a good education.
On January 20, 1619, Christopher Conant, grocer, and his brother Roger Conant, salter, both of the parish of St. Lawrence in London signed a composition bond with a third brother. Roger probably lived in London for at least seven years.
In America, Roger settled first in Plymouth, but owing to differences in religious belief, he followed the Reverend John Lyford to Nantasket (Hull). While there he made use of Governor's Island, which for some time was called Conants Island.
In 1624, Roger Conant was chosen by the Dorcester Company to govern their colony at Cape Ann. Therefore, he can be considered one of the first governors of Massachussetts. After a year at the cape, he moved to Naumkeag, later called Salem. His house was the first built in Salem.
Roger Conant served as Justice of the court in Salem for three years. He was also town selectman during the years 1637-1641, 1651-1654, 1657-1658.
He was one of the original members of the Beverly Church. He died November 19, 1679. His will was dated March 1, 1677.
He married Sarah Horton on November 18, 1618, in the parish of Blackfriars, London.
Source: http://books.google.com/books?id=l84UAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1253&dq=%22john+conant%22&lr=&as_ brr=1&ei=b6pISc32FZOeMuf3kLwH
found on ancestory.com

Roger Conant - Last Will and Testament
Last Will and Testament of Roger Conant

" At Salem Court, 25:9:1679. The Last will and testament of Roger Conant, dated the 1st of the 1 mo. [March] 1677. I roger Conant aged about eightie fiue yeares, being of perfect vnderstandin though weak and feeble in body, doe hereby declare my will and minde wherein in the first place I doe bequeath my soule vnto God that gaue it & my body to the graue, in hope of a blessed resurection: & for my outward estate and goods, I giue vnto my Sonne Exercise one hundred and fortie acres of Land lyeing neer adjoining vnto the new towne of Dunstable a part of two hundred acres granted me by the General court: also I giue & bequeath vnto him ten acres of Land next adjoining vnto his p'sont home lott and land Lying by the side of william Dodgeses his land, and butts on the land of thomas Herrick: also I give him two acres of marsh at the south end of the grat pond by whenham, or if my daughter Elizabeth Conant will exchange to have soe much at the great marsh neer wenham: also I give him my swamp at the head of the railes which is yet undivided betwixt me and Benjamin Balch adjoining vnto william Dodgeses swamp: also I giue him my portion of land Lying by Henry Haggats on wenham side: toward the discharge of such Legassis as I have given & bequeathed: accordin as is hereafter sett down.

more I giue vnto my grandchild John Conant sonne of Roger Conant ten acres of Land adjoing to his twenty acres by the great pond side he paying twenty pounds for the same towards the payment of gegassis as after mentioned.

more I giue vnto my grandchild Joshua Conant seaventeen acres of Land Lying by the south side of the great marsh neer wenham and bounding unto the land of peeter woodbery: and the rest to return to my Executor.

also I giue vnto my Daughter Sarah two acres of Land lying between the gead of the railes and Isaac Hull his ground as part of six acres betwixt me and Benjamin Balch: this to her and her children.

also sixtie acres oif Land out of my farm granted me by the General Court neer the new town of Dunstable I giue and bequeath unto the hands of Capt Roger Clap of the castle neer Dorchester for the use of a daughter of one mrs. pitts deceased whose daughter now Liueth in culleton a towne in Devon in old England and is in lue for certaine goods sold for the said mrs. pitts in London and was there to be paid many years since but it is alleaged was neuer paid and the aforesaid capt clap to giue a discharge as theire atturney according as he is impowered and intrusted in theire behalfe:

furthermore as lagacies I doe giue vnto my sonne lott his ten children twenty pounds to be equally divided: to my daughter Sarahs Children to John five pounds to the foure daughters fiue pounds betwixt ym: to my daughter Mary Dodge to herself fiue pounds and fiue pounds to her fiue children equally divided: to Exercise his children foure pounds betwixt them: to Adoniron Veren three pounds to his sister Hannah twenty shillings and her two children each ten shillings: to my cozen Mary Veren wife to Hillier veren three pounds as also three pounds unto the daughters of My Cozen Jane Mason deceased to be divided amongst them including Loue steevens her children a share:

my wearing apparell I giue and household implements not otherwise disposed of and my Gray horse and cattle to my sonn Exercise and sheepe I giue to Rebacka Connant my grandchild and one sheep to Mary Leach:

and whereas there remains in my hands a certain portion of cattle belonging vnto one Mr. Dudeney in England and by him assigned vnto his nephew Richard Conant valued at twenty five pounds and now left in the hands of my sonne exercise Conant that there be a rendering vp of such cattle or theire valuation mentioned unto the said Richard Conant upon seasonable demand he giuing a full discharge for the same.

and further my will is that my sonn Exercise be my executor to my will and Testament and for further help in seeing these things forementioned my sonne william Dodge and my grandchild John Conant Senior to be overseears of the same. In witness whereof I haue haere vnto sett my hand the day and yeare aboure written. The blotting our of part of a line and a whole line under the part was before signing hereof.

The mark X of Roger CONANT his seale

JOHN BENNET
BENJAMIN BALCH
Sealed in the presence of the aforesaid witnesses and delivered
JOHN BENNET
BENJAMIN BALCH

25-9-mo 1679 Benjamin Balch and John Bennett gave oath in Court at Salem that they signed as witnesses to the within written that then the said Roger Conant declared the same to be his last will and testament and there is no later will of his that they know of

Attest Hilliard Veren Cler:
-------------------------------
Estate Inventory
The estate of Roger Conant deceased a true Inventory there of appraised by John Rayment and William Rayment this 24th 9 mo 1679££-ss-d
200 acres land lying at Dunstable not improved60-00-0
more land sold to Elizabeth Conant not paid for 40-00-0
more land 10 acres and more 10 acres 20 40-00-0
more land 23 acres 59-00-0
more two acres of meddow 10-00-0
swampy land 20s 2 acres of land 5 pounds 6-00-0
more land 1-00-0
2 cows and a horse 10 pounds cattell 15 pounds 4 sheep 1 pound 26-10-0
a bed and furniture 5 pounds wearing cloathes and linen 9 pounds 14-00-0
a chest trunk and box 20s and other things 20s 2-00-0
found on ancestry.com

more
Roger CONANT was born 9 March 1592 in, East Budleigh, Devonshire, England and was christened 9 April 1592 in All Saints, East Budleigh, Devonshire, England. He died19 November 1679 in Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts, USA. Roger married Sarah HORTON on 11 November 1618 in St Ann Blackfriars, London, Middlesex, England.

Roger had a will probated > 25 November 1979 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA. A handsome statue of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem, stands outside the Salem Witch Museum. Because of the statue's proximity to the museum and because of his cloak and hat and generally impressive appearance, Roger Conant is often mistaken for a participant in the Salem witch trials. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

ROGER CONANT ORIGIN: London

MIGRATION: 1624

FIRST RESIDENCE: Plymouth

REMOVES: Nantasket 1624, Cape Ann 1625, Salem 1626, Beverly

OCCUPATION: Salter. He signed the composition bond of his brother, John, 20 January 1619/20 as "Roger Conant, salter," implying that he was free of the Salters' Company and a Citizen of London.

CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: "Roger Connant" is in the list of Salem church members compiled in late 1636.

FREEMAN: Requested 19 October 1631 (as "Mr. Roger Conant") and admitted 18 May 1631.

EDUCATION: His hand is seen on many documents at Essex court and in the early Salem Town records. "Mr. Roger Conant" was one of those chosen to consider how to lay the division of Marblehead neck so that it would not "hinder the building of a college," 18 April 1636.

OFFICES: Deputy to General Court for Salem, 9 May 1632. Committee to lay out land for John Humphrey, 7 November 1632. Committee to determine bounds between Salem and Saugus, 20 November 1637. Appointed Essex magistrate, 17 May 1637. Essex magistrate, 27 June 1637, 3 October 1637, 27 March 1638, 26 June 1638, 25 December 1638, 25 March 1639 . Grand jury, 9 July 1644, 6 July 1647, 25 December 1649, 25 June 1650, 25 November 1651; 29 June 1652 , 27 November 1655 . Essex jury, 27 December 1636, 20 October 1653 (foreman) . Petit jury, 27 December 1642 (foreman), 26 Decembe r 1643 (foreman), 31 December 1644, 8 July 1645, 30 June 1646, 29 November 1653, 28 November 1654, 24 November 1657. Essex surveyor of canoes, 27 June 1636. Salem selectman, 1637-41, 1650-54/5, 1657-58. Salem town clerk (at least he kept the minutes of the selectmen's meeting), 11 September 1637 . Committee to draw the line between Ipswich and Salem, 27 March 1643. Surveyor of lots, 2 January 1636, 27 January 1636, 20 February 1636, 10 April 1637, 15 May 1654, 16 January 1656, 8 March 1657/8. Auditor, 12 November 1638, 20 March 1647 (ordered to give an account). Director of highway repairs, 26 February 1643. Surveyor of highways, 13 June 1644. Rater, 22 September 1645. Arbitrator, 16 February 1655, 24 February 1656, 20 June 1658.

ESTATE: "Mr. Connant" was one of the five prominent men to receive a two hundred acre farm in the freeman's lands at the head of Bass River 25 January 1635 . He received one acre in the Salem grant of 1637 with a household of nine persons . This grant is in Roger Conant's hand. On 4 February 1638 Henry Bayley requested a piece of land "next Mr. Conants house at Catt Cove". On 7 May 1639 "Mr. Conant" received a grant of five acres of meadow "in some convenient place". At the General Court on 28 May 1679, "Mr. Roger Conant of Beverly, alias Bass River," received one parcel of land in the wilderness on the eastern side of Merrimack River consisting of two hundred acres as laid out by Jonathan Danforth. In his will, dated 1 March 1677 and proved 25 November 1679, "Roger Conant aged about eighty-five years ... though weak & feeble in body" bequeathed to "my son Exercise" one hundred and forty acres near Dunstable (a part of two hundred acres granted by the General Court), also ten acres adjoining his present homelot, also two acres of marsh at the south end of Wenham's great pond "or if my daughter Elizabeth Conant will exchange to have so much at the great marsh near Wenham," also my swamp at the head of the rails which is yet undivided, also my portion of land lying by Henry Haggat's on Wenham side, from which land he is to pay £ 7 toward the discharge of my legacies; to "my grandchild John Conant, son of Roger Conant," ten acres adjoining his twenty acres by the great pond, he to pay £20 toward the discharge of my legacies; to "my grandchild Joshua Conant" seventeen acres by the south side of the great marsh "and the rest to return to my executor"; to "my daughter Sarah" to her and her children, two acres between the head of the rails and Isaac Hull; to "a daughter of one Mrs. Pitts deceased ... now living in Culleton a town in Devon in old England" into the hands of Capt . Roger Clap of the Castle near Dorchester as attorney for Mrs. Pitts "for certain goods sold for the said Mrs. Pitts in London and was there to be paid many years since but it is alleged was never paid"; to "my son Lott his ten children" £20 to be equally divided; to "my daughter Sarah's children, to John £5, to the four daughters" £5 between them"; to "my daughter Mary Dodge to herself £5 and £5 to her five children equally divided"; to "Exercise his children" £4 between them; to "Adoniron Veren" £3, "to his sister Hannah" 20s. and "her two children each 10s."; to "my cousin Mary Veren wife to Hillier Veren" £3; to "the daughters of my cousin Jane Mason deceased" £3 "including Love Steevens her child a share"; to "my son Exercise " residue of moveable goods and "my gray horse and cattle"; to "Rebacka Connant my grandchild " my sheep; to "Mary Leach" one sheep; "and whereas there remains in my hands a certain portion of cattle belonging unto one Mr. Dudeny in England and by him assigned unto his nephew Richard Conant valued at £25 and now left in the hands of my son Exercise Conant that there be a rendering up of such cattle or their valuation ... unto the said Richard Conant upon seasonable demand"; "son Exercise" executor; "my son William Dodge and my grandchild John Conant Senior" overseers . The inventory of the estate of "Roger Conant deceased" was taken 24 November 1679 and totalled £258 10s. of which £198 was real estate: "two hundred acres of land lying at Dunstable, not improved," £60; "more land sold to Elizabeth Conant not paid for," £40; "more land ten acres and more ten acres 20," £20; "more land 23 acres," £59; "more two acres of meadow," £10; "swampy land 20s. two acres of land £5," £6; and "more land," £1 .

BIRTH: Baptized East Budleigh, Devonshire, 9 April 1592, youngest of the eight children of Richard and Agnes (Clarke) Conant.

DEATH: Beverly 19 November 1679.

MARRIAGE: St Ann Blackfriars, London 11 November 1618 Sarah Horton, daughter of Thomas and Catherine (Satchfield) Horton . "Sarah Connant" is included in the list of Salem church members compiled in late 1636. She was alive in November 1660 to depose about the marriage of James Bede and the widow "Ellot". She is not named in her husband's will and therefore probably died before 1 March 1677/8.

ASSOCIATIONS: Christopher Conant who received one acre in Plymouth Colony in 1623 as a passenger on the Anne, was Roger's brother. Jane (Knowles) Bennett, wife of WILLIAM BENNETT of Salem was niece of Roger Conant.

COMMENTS: Despite Roger Conant's prominence and his reputation as the leader among the Old Planters, there are a number of disquieting questions which still hover about him. Although we do not claim to have resolved these questions here, we would like to propose an interpretation that would provide a relatively simple answer. The questions come in two groups. First, did Roger Conant reside at Plymouth when he first arrived, and was he the salter who arrived in 1624 with Rev. JOHN LYFORD and who was described uncharitably by Bradford? Second, given the great advantages available to Conant, including his many prominent connections in English Puritan circles, and his appointment in 1625 to direct the activities of the Dorchester Adventurers at Cape Ann, why did he not take a larger part in the affairs of Massachusetts Bay after the early 1630s? Attempts to place Conant and his family on one ship or another face an inconsistency in the records that defies certain resolution. The 28 May 1671 petition of Roger Conant places his arrival in New England before May of 1623: The humble petition of Roger Conant of Bass River alias Beverly, who have been a planter in New England forty-eight years and upward, being one of the first, if not the first, that resolved and made good my settlement under God, in matter of plantation with my family, in this colony of the Massachusetts Bay, and have been instrumental, both for the founding and carrying on of the same, and when in the infancy thereof, it was in great hazard of being deserted, I was a means, through grace assisting me, to stop the flight of those few that then were here with me, and that by my utter denial to go away with them, who would have gone either for England or mostly for Virginia, but hereupon stayed to the hazard of our lives. Now my humble suit and request is unto this honorable court only that the name of our town or plantation may be altered or changed from Beverly and be called Budleigh. I have two reasons that have moved me to this request. The first is the great dislike and discontent of many of our people for this name of Beverly, because (we being but a small place) it hath caused on us a constant nickname of "beggarly", being in the mouths of many, and no order was given or consent by the people here to their agent for any name until they were sure of being a town granted in the first place. Secondly, I being the first that had house in Salem (and never had any hand in naming either that or any other town) and myself with those that were then with me, being all from the western part of England, desire this western name of Budleigh, a market town of Devonshire and near unto the sea as we are here, in this place and where myself was born. Now in regard of our firstness and antiquity in this so famous a colony, we should humbly request this little privilege with your favors and consent, to give this name abovesaid unto our town. I never yet made suit or request unto the General Court for the least matter, tho ' I think I might as well have done, as many others have, who have obtained much without hazard of life or prefering the public good before their own interest, which I praise God I have done ... . Hubbard would have Conant at Plymouth initially, either contradicting Conant who said he came before May 1623 or the Plymouth Colony records which make no allotment of land to Conant i n 1623 when even single women who came on the Anne and refugees from the failed settlement at Wessgusset received their shares by name . Robert Cushman wrote to Bradford 24 January 1623 saying "the salt-man is a skillful & industrious man, put some to him that may quickly apprehend the mystery of it ..." , but Bradford refers to this person in less glowing terms:...he whom they sent to make salt was an ignorant, foolish, selfwilled fellow ... he caused them to send c arpenters to rear a great frame for a large house, to receive the salt & such other uses. But in the end all proved vain. Then he laid fault of the ground, in which he was deceived; but if he might have the lighter to carry clay, he was sure then he could do it ... he could not do anything but boil salt in pans, and yet would make them that were joined with him believe there was so great a mystery in it as was not easy to be attained, and made them do many unnecessary things to blind their eyes, till they discerned his subtlety. The next year he was sent to Cape Anne and the pans were set up there where the fishing was; but before summer was out, he burnt the house, and the fire was so vehement as it spoiled the pans ... . Hubbard says: There (Nantasket) Mr. Roger Conant, with some few others, after Mr. Lyford and Mr. Oldham were, for some offence, real or supposed, discharged from having anything more to do at Plymouth, found a place of retirement and reception for themselves and families for a space of a year and some few months, till a door was opened for them at Cape Anne, a place on the other side of the Bay, whither they removed about the year 1625 . He further says: ... Mr. White with the rest of the Adventurers, hearing of some religious and well-affected persons ...of which number Mr. Roger Conant was one, a religious, sober and prudent gentleman, yet surviving about Salem till the year 1680, wherein he finished his pilgrimage, having a great hand in all these forementioned transactions about Cape Anne ... . From these remarks it is assumed that Hubbard was acquainted with Roger Conant and had at some time perhaps discussed the history with him. To go on,... they pitched upon him, the said Conant, for the managing and government of their affairs at Cape Anne. The information he had of him was from one Mr. Conant, a brother of his, and well known to Mr. White; and he was so well satisfied therein, that he engaged Mr. Humphrey, the treasurer of the joint Adventurers, to write to him in their names, and to signify that they had chosen him to be their governor in that place, and would commit unto him the charge of all their affairs..It must here b e noted, that Mr. Roger Conant, on the foresaid occasion made the superintendent of their aff airs , disliked the place as much as the Adventurers disliked the business; and therefore, in the meanwhile, had made some inquiry into a more commodious place near adjoining, on the other side of a creek, called Naumkeag, a little to the westward, where was much better encouragement as to the design of a plantation, than that which they had attempted upon before at Cape Anne, secretly conceiving in his mind, that in following times (as since i s fallen out) it might prove a receptacle for such as upon the account of religion would be willing to begin a foreign plantation in this part of the world; to which he gave some intimation to his friends in England. Hubbard would have "Mr. Roger Conant" settle briefly at Nantasket with Mr. Oldham (whom Conant certainly knew and respected, yet no direct evidence supports his presence), then choose Cape Ann "a place on the other side of the Bay (more convenient for those that belong to the tribe of Zebulon than for those that chose to dwell in the tents of Issachar), wither they removed about the year 1625". Hubbard further says that Mr. Roger Conant was present at Cape Ann in 1625 and helped to resolve the dispute between Capt. Standish and Mr. Hewe sover the fishing stages at Cape Ann . The dispute grew to be very hot, and high words passed between them; which might have ended in blows, if not in blood and slaughter, had not the prudence and moderation of Mr. Roger Conant, at that time there present, and Mr. Peirce's interposition, that lay just by with his ship, timely prevented . These events closely parallel Bradford's history of the salter, but no one agrees on the personal traits of this individual. Hubbard again casts Conant in the role of peacemaker when Mr . Endicott and his company come to take the reins from the old planters in 1628 and a controversy arose over the changing of the name of the settlement from "Nahumkeik" to Salem: ...the late controversy that had been agitated with too much animosity betwixt the forementioned Dorchester planters and their new agent, Mr. Endicot, and his company then sent over, being by the prudent moderation of Mr. Conant, agent before for the Dorchester merchants, quietly composed ... . A possible resolution of the seeming conflict among all these accounts is that they do indeed refer to one man, Roger Conant, but as seen through different sets of eyes. If Conant were one of Hubbard's regular informants, as seems quite likely, then he could well have fed the historian with slanted versions of his part in the early history of Massachusetts Bay. Bradford, on the other hand, with no stake in Conant's reputation, was speaking his mind, even though he did not name the subject of his wrath, perhaps out of respect for the living. This combination of great promises but little results (as reported by Bradford) and the willingness to distort his actions in hindsight (if we are interpreting correctly Conant's influence on Hubbard) may be the collection of character faults which prevented Conant from rising beyond local importance in the later history of Massachusetts Bay, despite his great early advantages. Another point should be made here. Bradford is speaking of a salter, and we do know there wa s at least one other salter in Plymouth in these early years, William Hilton. But Hilton had already arrived in Plymouth in 1621 and could not have been the man sent over by Cushman in 1624. On the other hand, to suppose that Conant is not the man castigated by Bradford we would have to assume that there were three salters in Plymouth and vicinity during this brief time, which seems an excess. We take the position, then, that Conant arrived in 1624 (and therefore made an error of one year in his petition nearly half a century later), resided briefly at Plymouth, Nantasket and Cape Ann, and then settled Salem. Roger Conant deposed on 29 November 1664 about being one of the first inhabitants of the town of Salem, and one of the lot layers there . In depositions some twenty years after the fact, we learn that Roger Conant was in partnership in the 1630s with Peter Palfrey, Anthony Dike and Mr. Francis Johnson, in an enterprise t o collect and ship beaver skins and other goods . At court 25 June 1678 "Mr. Roger Conant, aged about eighty-six years" deposed that about si x or eight years since, William Hoar's two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth came to his house to buy apples. While he was in the cellar, he had enough canvas stolen to make a lady's apron , no one being in the house but them. Later he met one of them and asked why they had stolen his canvas, and she replied that it was not she, if anybody, it was her sister. On 4 June 1679 "Mr. Roger Conant, aged about eighty-seven years" deposed that sixteen years a go Benjamin Balch and Mary Balch, widow of John Balch, now wife of William Dodge, came to a n agreement .

BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: The basic treatment of the Conant family was published in 1887 by Frederick Odell Conant . Mary Walton Ferris wrote at length about Conant . The identity of the wife of Roger Conant and the consequent extensi ve Puritan connections of Roger Conant are explored by Robert Charles Anderson . Roger Conant cuts a romantic figure in Hawthorne's "Main Street." 1st Govenor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.Source from The Improvement ERA of 1950 page 269 by Archibald F. Bennett Roger was the youngest of eight children born to Richard and Agnes (CLARK) CONANT. He and his family came to New England on the "Ann", arriving in Plymouth Massachusetts in Jul 1623. Though Puritan, he was non-Separatist in ideology and as such did not get along too well with t he Pilgrims at Plymouth. The Chronological History of Massachusetts relates the role that Roger played in early New England: "1623 - Myles Standish successfully conducted the first organized war against the Indians who had been stirred to form a conspiracy against the English by the behavior of Andrew Weston' s men in June of 1621 and other troublemakers among the colonists. It was another lean year but boats came over from England every season. Some 200 or more Separatists would join the group on four different ships. .. Meanwhile, in England, a group of wealthy English merchants formed the Dorchester Company of Adventurers, of whom the less-radical Puritan conformist clergyman John White was prominent. Another member was Mistress Elizabeth Poole of Taunton, Somerset, who later founded Taunton, Massachusetts. With a patent from the council of New England , a group of fishermen and planters took the Fellowship to Cape Ann where they constructe d a house and fishing stage at Stage Fort Point...Sometime during the year, non-Separatist Ro ger Conant and his wife arrived in Plymouth. "1624 - Plymouth colonists, tired of their 'common course and condition,' convinced Bradford to end the annual practice of drawing for plots of land and, instead, to grant permanent allotments. Later expanded, the new practice spurred colonists to work harder and produce more as they were assured of enjoying the fruits of their own labors. In July, when a fierce drought threatened to destroy the crops, the colonists were driven to "seek the Lord in humble and fervent prayer," according to Bradford, "and He was pleased to give them a gracious and speedy answer, both to their own and the Indians' admiration that lived among them." The gentle rains came and stayed so that, as Bradford wrote, "instead of famine now God gave them plenty .. . so as any general want or famine has not been among them since to this day (1644)." Excluded by the Separatist Pilgrims, a disgruntled Roger Conant drew a number of non-Separatists to himself and removed up the coast to found Nantasket. "1625 - In England, Charles I succeeded the wildly extravagant and scandalous James I whose reign had encouraged a rampage of the rich and opportunistic, unsettling the balance of the economy. Now Charles gave ear to the highly ritualistic, anti-Puritan, Anglican Bishop William Laud. Those Puritans who had wished to reform England and its Church from within began to lose hope. Bradford wrote friends in his homeland that the colonists had 'never felt the sweetness of the country till this year.' Roger Conant was summoned from Nantasket to Cape Ann to manage the floundering outpost, followed by his loyal group of non-separatist Puritans. Having unknowingly acquired a scurrilo us title to a part of Cape Ann, the Plymouth residents commenced building in the area a fishing stage of their own which was seized by the Cape Ann interests. Captain Myles Standish almost fought the group but Conant cooled the soldier's temper by offering to build a new fishing stage for the Pilgrims.Hostilities continued to build between the Separatists and non-Separatists. The same year, Captain Wollaston founded a colony at Passonagessit. Among the colonists was Anglican Thomas Morton who would change Mount Wollaston to Merrymount and cause grave concern among settlements from Maine to Nantasket. "1626 - ...In the autumn, Roger Conant led the remnant of the Cape Ann expedition, some 20 to 30 persons, down the coast to a place the Indians called Naumkeag, where a number of rivers formed a safe harbor and good farmland was close by. Soon to be known as the Old Planters, these were the hardy souls who declined the dissolved Dorchester Company's offer of return passage to England. Meanwhile in England, the undaunted clergymen John White and John Conant looked for new settlers and capital." The settlement called Naumkeag by the Indians and founded by Roger Conant and his group of "Old Planters" was renamed Salem in 1628 by a consortium of the old group and a new one headed by John Endicott. The "Old Planters" were allotted land in what is now Beverly Massachusetts. Salem erected a statue of him, a picture of which can be seen on Welcome to Salem Biographical information, undoubtedly penned by a descendant and submitted to the 1903 Biographical tome for Tolland and Windham Counties, Conn reads as follows: "His reputation was that of a pious, sober and prudent gentleman and as he was more strongly Puritan than the people around him he was chosen to head the settlement at Cape Ann, near Stage Head, on the north side of what is now Gloucester Harbor. Though not recognized as the first governor of Massachusetts, it seems he should be, as the colony over whose destinies he so ably provided made the first real advance toward a permanent settlement within the limits of what is now the State. Roger Conant was a man of intelligence, and historians pay glowing tributes to his ability, integrity and honor. He was a member of the second representative assembly ever held in America, very shortly following a similar gathering in Virginia.(Apparently refers to the October, 1630 meeting of the General Court of Boston. Though in violation of their charter, leaders of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts decided that the governor and deputy governor would be elected by the freemen of the Colony, including the "Old Planters" , by demand of those in attendance, granted May 1631) The record of his active labor in formi ng that system of government which has made the U.S. great and mighty in every field of labor , or department of thought, was the noblest heritage he could leave his children. Many import ant offices were held by him in Salem, and for many years his services were continually in de mand by the people. He and his wife were among the members who assisted in forming the 1st Ch urch at Salem in 1637, and both signed the Covenant. Fellow Conant researcher, Betty I. Ralph tells me that Roger Conant was mentioned in Nathanie l Hawthorne's "Main Street, Salem" and that Governor's Island in Boston Harbor was once know n as Conant's Island. Sources: "Chronological History of Massachusetts", Flying the Colors: Massachusetts Facts: John Clements, 1987; Tolland and Windham Counties, Connecticut Biographies - 1903; Mayflower Gedcom; LDS Ancestral File; Research of John F. Chandler and Betty I. RalphBIRTH: Baptized East Budleigh, Devonshire, 9 April 1592, youngest of the eight children of Richard and Agnes (Clarke) Conant . DEATH: Beverly 19 November 1679. MARRIAGE: St Ann Blackfriars, London 11 November 1618 Sarah Horton, daughter of Thomas and Catherine (Satchfield) Horton . "Sarah Connant" is included in the list of Salem church members compiled in late 1636 . She was alive in November 1660 to depose about the marriage of James Bede and the widow "Ellot" . She is not named in her husband's will and therefore probably died before 1 March 1677/8.

CHILDREN:

i SARAH, baptized St Lawrence Jewry, London, 19 September 1619; buried there 30 October 1620.

ii CALEB, baptized St Lawrence Jewry, London, 27 May 1622; died before 11 November 1633 when administration was taken by his paternal uncle John Conant, clerk, on the estate of "Caleb Conant, late beyond seas, deceased, a bachelor".

iii SARAH, born New England say 1623 (named in grandmother's will in 1627); married John Leach (apparently mother of Mary Leach called kinswoman in will of Lot Conant, and probaby the family of which Roger Conant says "my daughter Sarah, her son John, and four daughters" in his will).

iv LOT, born about 1624 (aged "about fifty years" in his will dated 24 September 1674 ); married as her first husband Elizabeth Walton, baptized Seaton, Devonshire 27 October 1629, daughter of Rev. William Walton (her brother Nathaniel Walton names her "Elizabeth Conant" in his will). She married (2) Lynn 10 January 168 as his third wife Andrew Mansfield Sr.

v (poss.) JOANNA, born say 1626; for striking whom Lydia Gutch was fined at court February 1648/9

vi ROGER, born Salem say 1628 "being the first born child in Salem"; married before 22 January 1661 Elizabeth _____ (her child baptized at Salem on that date "upon the letter from the Church at Corke testifying of her membership there").

vii JOSHUA, born Salem say 1630; married by 1657 Seeth Gardner, daughter of THOMAS GARDNER; she married (2) Salem 1 December 1659 Joseph Grafton.

viii MARY, born Salem say 1632; married (1) say 1652 John Balch, son of JOHN BALCH (his estate showed a large debt to Lot Conant of Marblehead and was appraised by Roger Conant); married (2) by 1663 William Dodge, son of WILLIAM DODGE ("my son William Dodge" named in Roger Conant's will; called "Mary Balch, widow of John Balch, now wife of William Dodge" on 4 June 1679).

ix ELIZABETH, born say 1635; living unmarried at the time of her father's will.

x EXERCISE, baptized Salem 24 December 1637; married by 14 February 1668/9 Sarah _____ (baptism at Beverly of first known child).
found on ancestry.com


Roger, sixthe son and youngest of the eight children of Richard and Agnes (Clarke) Conant, was baptized at All Saints Church, in the parish of East Budleigh, Devonshire, England, April 9, 1592. It is probable that he received a good education for his day, as his parents were people of substance and intelligence as well as of exemplary piety. Roger Conant was frequently called upon to survey lands, lay out boundaries and tranact public business. On January 20, 1619-20, Christopher Conant, grocer, and Roger Conant, salter, signed a bond for their brother John. The two signers register themselves as both of the parish of St. Lawrence, Jewry, London. Various circumstances indicate that Roger was a freeman of the Salter's Guild, the ninth of the twelve great livery companies, which would require an apprenticeship of seven years. It is probable that he remained in London about fourteen years, or until the time of his migration to America. Roger Conant reached this country in 1623, and the supposition is that he came over with his brother Christopher, who sailed on the ship "Ann," which arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in July that year. Roger did not long remain at the Pilgrims' town, owing to a difference in religious belief between the original proprietors and himself. They were separatists, and he a non-conformist, or Puritan, and in 1624 he found it desirable to join some newly arrived immigrants at Nantasket, or Hull. It was probably while here that he made use of what is now known as Governor's Island, in Boston Harbor, but which at that time and for some years after, bore the name of Conant's Island. During the next winter, Rev. John White, of Dorchester, hearing of the settlement at Nantasket, and of Roger Conant, "a pious, sober and prudent Gentleman," chose him to manage the affairs of the Dorchester Company at Cape Ann. It was soon found that this region was a poor place for planting, and many of the settlers returned to England; but Roger Conant and a few sturdy followers decided to remain and fix their habitation at Naumkeag, now Salem. His was the first house built in that now historic town. Let use read Hawthorne's beautiful description of the scene:"You perceive, at a glance, that this is the ancient and primitive wood - the ever-youthful and venerably old - verdant with new twigs, yet hoary, as it were, with the snowfall of innumerable years, that have accumulated upon its intermingled branches.. . . . . Roger Conant, the first settler in Naumkeag, has built his dwelling, months ago, on the border of the forest-path; and at this moment he comes eastward, through the vista of the woods, with a gun over his shoulder, bringing home the choice portions of a deer. His stalwart figure, clad in a leathern jerkin and breeches of the same, strides sturdily onward, with such an air of physical force and energy that we night almost expect the very trees to stand aside and give him room to pass. And so, indeed, they must; for humble as is his name in history, Roger Conant still is of that class of men who do not merely find, but make, their place in the sytem of human affairs; a man of thoughtful strength, he has planted the germ of a city. There stands his habitation, showing in its rough architecture some features of the Indian wigwam, and some of the log cabin, and somewhat too, of the straw-thatched cottage of Old England, where this good yeoman had his birth and breeding. The dwelling is surrounded by a cleared space of a few acres, where Indian corn grows thrivingly among the stumps of the trees; while the dark forest hems it in, and seems to gaze silently and solemnly, as if wondering at the breadth of sunshine which the white man spreads around him."Perpahs further mention should be made of Conant's connection with Cape Ann. Although he remained there only about four years (1624-28), he was the head of the settlement, the first permanent one in Massachusetts territory, and the germ from which the Mass. Bay Colony sprung. John Wingate Thornton, in his valuable historical investigation, contends that Conant was the first and only governor under the Sheffield, or Cape Ann Charter, as Endicott was the first under the second and Massachusetts Charter. Contrasting the characters of Conant and Endicott, Thornton says: "Beside strict integrity, there was little common to them. Each was particularly fitted for the duties and periods assigned to him, and had the order been reversed the result would have been fatal. Conant was moderate in his views, tolerant, mild and conciliatory, quiet and unobtrusive, ingenuous and unambitious, preferring the public good to his private interests; with the passive virtues he combined great courge, and an indonitable will. * * * Governor Conant's true courage and simplicity of heart and strength of principle eminently qualified him for the conflicts of those rude days of perils, deprivation and trail. * * Endicott was the opposite of Conant, arbitrary and sometimes violent, he ruled with a determined hand, and carried the sword unsheathed, quick to assert and ready to maintain his rights; firm and unyielding; * * * a man of theological asperuty, and bigoted."That Conant was a man of dignity and influence in the Salem and Cape Ann region we have ample official evidence. During the year 1634 the freemen elected twenty-four of their own number as deputies to the general court, which met at Boston, on May 14. This was the second representative assembly which met in this country, that of Virginia being the first. Roger Conant was one of the deputies from Salem, and thus assisted in laying the foundation stones of our govenment. His name constantly appears as a member of the jury, as one of the committee to determine bounds, or in some relation to the meeting-house. He was one of the selectmen in 1637-38-39, 1640-41, 1651-52-53-54-57. Both Roger Conant and his wife were among the original members of the First Church at Salem, and in 1637 both signed the renewed covenant. In 1667 the residents of what is now known as Beverly were dismissed from the church at Salem and organized into a separate congregation. The name of Roger Conant is first on the list of members, and he was on the committee to fix the salary of Rev. John Hale. The next year the part of Salem known as Bass river, on Cape Ann side, was incorporated under the name of Beverly. The latter name was not acceptable to Conant, and on March 28, 1671, he drew up a petition to the "honorabel Generall Court" concerning the matter. This petition, which was signed by thirty-four others besides himself, is so quaint that a few sentences may be worth quoting:"Now my unble suite and request is vnto this honorabel Court onlie that the name of our towne or plantation nay be altered or changed from Beverly and called Burleigh. I have two reasons that have moved me to this request. The first is the great dislike and discontent of many of our people for this name of Beverky, because (wee being but a small place) it hath caused on us a constant nickname of beggarly . . . . Secondly: I being the firs that had house in Salem (and never had any hand in naming either that or any other towne) and myelf with those that were then with me, being all from the western part of England, desire this western name of Budleigh, a marker towne of Deunosheer and neere vnto the sea as we are heere in this place and where myself was borne. Now in regard of our firtnesse and antiquity in this soe famous a colony, we shoud umblie request this littell priedlidg with your fauors and consent, to giue this name abousesaid vunto our town."This petition was not granted, but it is worth recording as showing the sentiment of Roger Conant for his childhood home, which he had left nearly fifty years before. Roger Conant died November 19, 1679, in the eighty-eighth year of his age, but the place of is burial is not known. He left a will, and an estate whose inventory amounted to two hundred and fifty-eight pounds, ten shillings.On Nov. 11, 1618, Roger Conant married Sarah Horton, in the parish of Saint Ann's, Blackfriars, London. She was living in 1666, but probably died before her husband, as she is not mentioned in the will. There were nine children by this marriage, all of whom but the two elder were born in this country.

Children:

1. Sarah, christened in London, September 19, 1619, died next year.

2. Caleb, christened May 27, 1622, in London; died young.

3. Lot.

4. Rober, born 1626, the first white child born in Salem, Massachusetts.

5. Sarah, born 1628.

6. Joshua.

7. Mary.

8. Elizabeth.

9. Exercise, baptized December 24, 1637.

found on ancestry.com

4 comments:

  1. Hi Arn and Jody
    I am writing from Budleigh Salterton, UK, just a few miles from East Budleigh. A friend of mine was researching the life of Roger Conant, and would be impressed by all the material you have gathered. I will tell her about your blog.
    Best wishes
    Michael
    (Michael Downes Email: mr.downes@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Arn and Judy,
    Congratulations on a great posting. Enjoyed reading your biographical information on Roger Conant very mucy. I'm always frustrated by those who try to associate him with the Salem Witch trials.
    He is my 9th great-grandfather (Cecily daughter of Charles N. Cone, Jr.; son of Charles N. Cone; son of Frederick Naaman Cone; son of William Warner Cone; son of Naaman and Joanna (Warner) Cone; daughter of Thomas and Rhoda (Hopkins) Warner; daughter of Elisha and Drucilla/Priscilla (Conant) Hopkins; daughter of Malachi and Sarah (Freeman) Conant; spn of Caleb and Hannah (Crane) Conant; som of Exercise and Sarah (Andrews) Conant; son of Roger and Sarah (Horton) Conant.

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  3. Hello cousins,

    I also found your information quite enlightening and interesting about Roger Conant and his historical roles.

    Roger Conant is my 11th GGF (Joseph Howley, me; mother Rosemary Corcoran, daughter of Charles Corcoran, son of Margaret Ann Adams, daughter of Joseph E. Adams, son of Ephraim Adams, son of Ruth Conant, daughter of Zebulon Conant, son of Andrew Conant, son of Andrew Conant, son of Roger Conant, son of Lot Conant, son of John Conant, son of Lot Conant, son of Roger Conant) so it is very intereresting to see the many significant events in which he was prominently involved.

    As far as the Witch Trials are concerned, my family tree is involved there too: Giles Corey, famously executed by 'pressing' for refusing to testify against his wife, is a 10th GGF. So I guess I have plenty of history in the Salem area, for better or worse.

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  4. Wow, I had no idea...I must visit Salem in the future. Thank you for all the work put into these articles, realm amazing stuff.

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