The Meader Family Association

John Meader was born about 1625 in Fordington, Dorset County, England. He was probably descended from Jarmayne Meader, the earliest recorded Meader in England. Jarmayne was born in 1488, perhaps in France, and came to England in 1508. He may have been a Huguenot and was listed as an alien July 1, 1544. Tree diagram of Meaders in Dorset County, England

This is a picture of the Oyster River, taken from a location near where the Meader garrison house was believed to be located.

John came to New England about 1647 and worked as a farm hand at oyster River, New Hampshire, near present day Durham.

In 1653 he married Abigail Tuttle of Ipswich, Massachusetts. They probably lived on Valentine Hill’s farm near the mouth of the Oyster River from 1653 to 1660.

John was granted 100 acres in 1656 adjoining Hill’s 60 acre farm, and was first taxed in 1657.

By 1660, John had built his garrison house on the 100 acre grant. Map (current address: 184 Piscataqua Rd, Durham, NH) On September 20, 1660 he purchased Hill’s 60 acre farm. Later he was granted 80 acres by the town of Dover.

Between 1661 and 1693 John served on many grand juries and several Coroner’s Juries. June 30, 1663 John took oath as Constable of Dover, and on July 4, 1663 was ordered to tie Edward Wharton, “a vagabond Quaker” to “ye Carte tayle” and whip him out of town, administering not more than 10 lashes. Another of John’s cases, Elizabeth Giles, was tried for “cursing and swearing and abusing her husband.” Sentenced to receive twenty lashes, and her servant boy to have ten lashes for lying. John was paid five shillings.

This is the Bunker Garrison House, Durham, NH. This photo was taken about 1875 and appears in the February, 1911 Bulletin of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. It is similar to the type of garrison house that John Meader would have built. See note at end for more information on this garrison house.

In 1669 John signed a petition asking that Oyster River be made a separate town, which was denied.

Abigail (Tuttle) Meader is said to have died before April 4, 1674, but is mentioned in a 1686 property deed.

In 1684, John Meader and at least 33 other landowners, were disposed of their lands when they refused to pay rents to the heirs of Captain John Mason. In 1685 the settlers petitioned King James II for relief from the arbitrary decisions of Governor Cranfield, and appointed Nathaniel Weare as their representative. He was successful in having he land suits suspended, and later the settlers’ land and all rights were restored.

In 1686 John deeded the 60 acre Hill farm, where he had once lived and worked, plus an additional 20 acres, to his son Joseph. Joseph gave this farm to his nephew Daniel Meader in 1730.

During the 1694 Oyster River massacre, John Meader’s garrison was abandoned and burned by the Indians, the family escaping by boat. Joseph’s house nearby was also burned. Both house were soon rebuild.

This is a picture of a portion of the Oyster River shoreline. It is near the Meader garrison house location and would be similar to the shoreline where the Meader families escaped the Indians.

John and other settlers again petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts in 1695, asking the Oyster River be made a separate town. Again the request was denied.

John signed a church petition in late 1715 and on a later petition if February of 1716, at age 91, was apparently unable to sigh his name so made his mark. It is believed that he did soon afterwards.

–This excerpt is from, in most part, from the dedication booklet for the Meader Garrison Marker, July 19, 1986.

From the Bulletin of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities: "Since the burning of the Woodman garrison in 1896, this has been the only remaining garrison house of the Oyster River settlement attacked by the French and indians in 1694. Buring the last decade the garrison hoiuse has been allowed to fall into decay, and not long since the building collapsed. The walls, excepting the gable ends, are of hewn hemlock logs nine inches in thickness. Those of the southern end are in almost perfect condition and most of the front (east), and northern end, are still sound. the western side is much decayed, but fortunately the log containing the only loophole not later enlarged for a window still exists. The present owner [as of 1911, ed.] is Mrs John Garvy, widow of Mr. George P. Emerson."
As of 2017, Rosamond Emerson Leland’s land is owned by her daughter Diane Leland Newick.

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*Picture is courtesy of the Historic New England Library.

Map of Durham NH Meader lands

53 page PDF written in 2017 by Durham Historic Association describing historic resources in Durham NH with mention of Meader lands and many images