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0001. John Meader (c.1625 - c.1715) Gender: M
Born: c.1625 in Fordington, Dorset, England
Died: c.1715 in Oyster River, New Hampshire

0001. John Meader (c.1625 - c.1715)

There are two versions of the parentage and marriage of John Meader. The following section is from the first published volume of Meader genealogy, collected by Dr. Granville Meader, copyright 1975:

John Meader, who may have been the son of John Meader of Fordington (c.1603-p.1642) and grandson of Thomas Meader (1586-1626) and Elizabeth Wellstead of Bere Regis, was probably born about 1625 in Fordington, Dorset, England and died about 1715 in Oyster River, New Hampshire.

John Meader married Abigail Tuttle in 1653. She was the daughter of John and Joan Antrobus Tuttle, born November 4, 1628 in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England and died in Durham, NH before April 4, 1674. The Tuttle family arrived in New England in 1635 on the ship "Planter".

This selection is from the information collected for the unpublished fifth volume of the Meader genealogy, assembled by Dr Meader in ????. Note the historical citation at the end:

John Meader was baptized at Fordington, Dorset December 4. 1625, son of John Meader (c.1603-c.1642) and Eleanor Seager. He may have married in England, and his wife may have been named Abigail. It is certain, however, that she was not related to either the Tuttle or Follett families of the Piscataqua area as neither family had a possible daughter named Abigail. He signed a church petition in 1715, evidence that he was then living. His second wife was Dorothy, who outlived him.

- Greene, David L., 212 - NH Prov Records, 3~16;11-566

Until additional information is available showing to whom John was actually married, Abigail is shown here as the mother of his children.

Volume One continues with this information on John Meader:

He apparently came to New England about 1647, just before the execution of King Charles I and the Interregnum in England. Two principal groups had formed there during the power struggle of the 1640s: The Royalists, loyal to the King, and the Cavaliers, or Roundheads, who opposed him. When Charles I fell, and was beheaded in 1649, many common citizens who had signed the Proclamation Returns of 1641/2 or otherwise professed their loyalty to the King fled to America. John Meader must at that time have been about 22 years of age. He was certainly a Protestant, since he had signed the Proclamation Return that contained these words:

"I do, in the presence of Almighty God, promise, vow and protest to maintain and defend, so far as lawfully I may, with my life, power, and estate, the true Reformed Protestant Religion expressed in the Doctrine of the Church of England, against all Popery and Popish Innovations within this Realm contrary to the same Doctrine and according to the duty of my Allegiance to His Majesty's Royal Person, honor and estate..."

He would have come into his inheritance of five shillings from his grandfather Thomas when he reached 21, perhaps in 1646, and he might have had additional funds from his father. Raised as a farmer, his father cut off without the proverbial shilling from Thomas Meader, and perhaps in difficulties with the authorities for a minor (mis-pasturing a heifer) or major (loyalty to the king) reason, it is possible he took ship for the New World. The voyage would have cost upwards of five pounds [Abbott Emerson Smith, Colonists in Bondage, p. 35], and he might have had to borrow part of the sum and repay it with services in New England.

He undoubtedly did not come to this country as an indentured servant. There were almost no indentured servants in New England, as "The Puritan communities, scanty in their agriculture, chary of favors, hostile to newcomers as they were, received few." [Smith, op.cit., p.4]. In about 1650, of 6,000 persons living in Massachusetts only 240 were listed as servants or laborers [Charles Henry Pope, The Pioneers of Massachusetts, p.524]. And Edward Randolph [C.S.P. Colonial, 1675-1676] wrote:

"...no servants but on hired wages, except a few who serve four years for the charge of being transported thither."

It is quite possible that John Meader received "hired wages" for at least part of the period from 1647 to 1653, when he was married, or 1656, when he received a grant of land. According to one source, he "knew" Robert Huckins' land in 1647 or 1648.The verb "to know" can mean "to care for, look after, protect," and thus the source may be indicating that he was taking care of Robert Huckins' land. The same source mentions that by about 1650 John Meader "lived with" Mr. Valentine Hill, perhaps also maintaining his farm.

In 1656 John Meader had a 100-acre grant of land with William Sheffield, and in 1660 he bought more land from Valentine Hill, near the mouth of the Oyster River where he lived. Certainly by this time, if not earlier, he must have had all the rights of a citizen.

He served on a jury in 1659-1660 and on grand juries in 1661-1662, 1665, 1670, 1678 and 1693.

According to the Dover Town Records, John Meader was taxed on July 21, 1657 and also in 1661-1667. He with others petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts in 1669 to make Oyster River a separate township. In 1685 he was one of a group of petitioners from Exeter, Hampton, Portsmouth and Dover who appointed Nathaniel Weare of Hampton as their agent to go to England to protest to the King (James II) about the arbitrary methods of Governor Cranfield. At a court session on October 19, 1709 to settle the ownership of some land disputed by Nathaniel Hill, presumably related to Valentine Hill, and a Stephenson, Joseph Meader [0005] and John Meader [0001], the latter then claiming the age of 80, both testified for Hill. Again, John Meader [0001], claiming to be 82, testified on January 30, 1712 that Charles Adams had owned land at the mouth of the Oyster River about 1650, further evidence if any were needed that John Meader had been there at that time.

Besides five Puritan colonies in New England when John Meader arrived, there were two proprietary colonies. New Hampshire and Maine. New Hampshire had begun as the personal estate of Captain Richard Mason, and it consisted on a few hundred people in Portsmouth, Exeter and other settlements on tidewater. In 1684 John Meader with others was dispossessed of his land by suits at law which had been brought by Robert T. Mason, who was the grandson of Captain John Mason, on the ground of Captain Mason's grant. Executions were levied, but officers could neither retain possession nor find purchasers. The property soon returned to the actual settlers. Mason sold out to the British Crown. That same year, 1685, King James II gave Joseph Dudley, son of an old Puritan governor, a commission to rule Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, then renamed the Dominion of New England. In 1691 William and Mary created the Royal Province of Massachusetts Bay, with Sir William Phips as Governor. The Dominion included the Bay and Plymouth colonies, together with Maine. Rhode Island and Connecticut were not included. New Hampshire became a separate royal province.

John Meader's grant of land was on a beautiful peninsula between the Piscataqua and Oyster Rivers above Portsmouth, NH. There a settlement, called "Oyster River," was established with at least fifteen garrison houses grouped in the area before 1694. The families were; 1. Charles Adams, 2. Beard, 3. Bickford, 4. James Bunker, 5. Burnham, 6. Lt. (later Colonel) James Davis and his brother Joseph. Abigail Meader appears to have married into this family [see 6], 7. John Dean, 8. William Drew, ancestor of Ruth Hill, who married Samuel Meader [0049], 9. Edgerly, 10. Goddard, 11. Robert Huckins, whose land John Meader first tilled, 12. Lt. Stephen Jones, 13. John Meader, 14. Joseph Smith, and 15. John Woodman. Of these fifteen names, only three - Burnham, Bickford and Goddard - do not occur later in this genealogy.

Ten of the garrison houses formed a line of defense on each side of the river itself below the tidewater; that is, below the falls in the present village of Durham. The Meader garrison house was at the mouth of the Oyster River, overlooking the Piscataqua. John Meader was taxed there as early as 1656, and his house was built before September 20, 1660, on which date Valentine Hill conveyed to him a "cornfield and orchard adjacent to his now dwelling house."

In the Indian attack of 1694 apparently a number of homes, including that of John Meader, were consumed by fire. Accounts differ, however, as to the number of garrisons burned, and it is not even positive that John Meader lost his home at the time, although from the accounts that much is highly probable.

If the Meader garrison was destroyed in 1694 it must have been immediately rebuilt, for one soldier was quartered there from July 18, 1694 until November 24, and other soldiers were stationed there from November 2, 1695 until March 6, 1696.

The children of John Meader and Abigail Tuttle were:


0002 i. John Meader, born about 1660 and died in 1736.

1198 ii. Joseph Meader, born in 1664 and died about 1739.

1301 iii. Elizabeth Meader, born March 28, 1665.

0003 iv. Sarah Meader, born January 11, 1668/9 and died in 1719.

0004 v. Nathaniel Meader, born June 14, 1671 and killed by Indians on April 25, 1704.

1302 vi. Nicholas Meader, who was probably killed by Indians at the massacre of 1694 or 1704, since his name does not appear in any record.