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Electious and Mary (Pease) Reynolds of Salem and Middleboro, MA

New Discovery For the Electious Line
by Susan E. Clement
© 1992 Reynolds Family Associaton

The battle cry for genealogists should always be "Never give up!" The shred of information that could provide the key to unlocking part, if not all, of the family's secrets could be on that very next piece of paper you look at. Such was the case with James2 Reynolds, the eldest son of Electious1.

All previous writings on Electious and his family have held that he removed from Salem MA to Middleboro MA about 1690-92, and remained there for the rest of his life. It has also been commonly held that James, the first born son of Electious and Mary, must have died young as no further record of him had been found. New discoveries in the Middlesex County, Mass. Registry of Deeds have proven both of these theories false.

We knew that Electious sold half of his property in Middleboro in July 1712 to Thomas Palmer. The following April, 1713, he sold Palmer the remaining half, "being the two lots on which I now dwell." The next deed recorded in Plymouth County for Electious is in December 1719, when he, "of Littleton in the County of Middlesex," bought all right to a parcel of land in Middleboro from John Jones.

It is these intervening years from 1713 to 1719 that are now of interest to us. Despite being called of Littleton, it has been held that there were no records of Electious in that town. Actually several deeds were recorded in Middlesex County involving Electious, and there are at least two found to date for his son James up to 1719.

On 18 May 1713 Electious bought two parcels of land in Nashoba [Littleton]. On 1 March 1716 he sold a fifty acre tract of Upland Swamp. This deed was signed by both Electious and by Mary with her mark. On 24 Sep 1719 he sold a two acre parcel of meadow which "lyeth in a meadow called Plain Meadow a little distant from my house where I now live." It was bounded on the south and east by "my own land" and on the north by "my own meadow." Electious signed this deed alone with his mark, and it was witnessed by James Rennols and Benoni Hemenway. (21:542)

This is undoubtedly Electious' son James, at age 31, who had been presumed dead by previous family researchers! There are three other deeds for James which show that as a young man he settled in Littleton, and, presumably, this was the reason for Electious' removal there.

On 23 Feb 1705/6, Eleazer Lawrence of Groton, Isaac Powers of Littleton and Jonathan Persons of Concord, "for and on behalf of the inhabitants of Nashoba or Littleton" sold for thirty pounds to James Reynolds of Littleton two parcels of land in Littleton. The first parcel contained 70 acres and 104 rods of meadow and upland, and the second contained 21 acres and 111 rods (20:182). On 5 Jan 1718, James Rennols of Littleton sold for thirty pounds to Thomas Chamberlin Jr. of Chelmsford, 21 acres of upland meadow in Littleton (19:431). On 2 Nov 1719, less than two months after his father sold land in Littleton and presumably moved back to Middleboro, James sold land there "where I now dwell or keephouse," with all meadows, buildings, fences and Orchards. James personally appeared in Middlesex County to acknowledge this deed on 28 Feb 1719/20.

There is no mention of James or Electious in the Vital Records of Littleton. After a thorough search, these deeds represent the only Middlesex County records found to date. But, certainly, the records of James from age 19 to 32 are very promising. Did he marry and have a family? We may have a whole new branch of Electious descendants waiting to be discovered!

No further records have been found that would hint at what happened to James after presumably leaving Littleton in 1720. There is no evidence that he returned to Middleboro with his father, and based on other records, we can assume that he did not.

If anyone has any information on an unidentified James Reynolds, born about 1688, anywhere in the colonies after Feb. 1720, please contact Susan Clement, 19 Hemlock Dr., Swansea MA 02777.


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