About Henry

An article in the New England Historic Genealogical Register, entitled “The Bennet Family of Ipswich”, by John M. Bradbury, states in part;

Not much can be told of Henry Bennet and his descendants; the little that has been gathered from the various accessible records is here appended.

1.   Henry Bennett, born in England about 1629, was in this country as early as 1650. In the latter part of that year or early in 1651, he married Lydia, daughter of John and Judith Perkins, of Ipswich. She died perhaps before 1672; and he married, second, Mary (Smith) Burr, the widow of John Burr, who was her second husband. Her first husband was Philip Call. She was a daughter of Richard Smith, of Shropham, co. Norfolk, England, and died perhaps before her husband, Jan. 12, 1707-8. The date of his death is not known; he was living Oct. 3, 1707.

“In 1654 Henry Bennett bought of Jonathan Wade a farm of two hundred acres situated in what is now the south-eastern part of Ipswich, and having for its southern boundary Castle Neck Creek, part of the present dividing line between Ipswich and Essex. The other bounds were on lands of Mr. Symonds, Mr. Saltonstall and the Rev. Nathaniel Rogers. This farm he occupied more than forty years, and sold it but little changed in bounds and area to John Wainwright, in1698.”

“He was usually styled Farmer Bennet, and besides his homestead he held considerable land on Hog Island, Castle Neck and Plum Island. Although he made many conveyances of land, from 1672 to 1698, the name of his wife Lydia appears on none of his deeds; the first deed signed by his second wife is dated May 14, 1680. His name is found in the list of the commoners of Ipswich in 1664; in 1666 he was one of the signers of the Ipswich petition to the general court, disapproving the action of the MA authorities in opposing the king’s commissioners. In 1672, his brother William Bennet, a vintner of Bishopsgate, London, died, and left him by will one hundred pounds sterling.”

The collection of this legacy, through the officiousness of one of his neighbors, caused him considerable trouble. Harlakenden Symonds, who appears to have been seeking an occasion to go to England, offered to collect this one hundred pounds for the modest commission of fifty pounds, which offer was of course refused. He then made a second proposal to collect the amount of the legacy for ten pounds, to which Bennet replied that if he employed him he would give him ten pounds, and if he didn’t he should “be at his liberty what to give him.”

On this slight encouragement Symonds went to England and began negotiations with the executor of Willliam Bennet’s will, but although he brought his highly respectable friends in Essex up to endorse him, he made no progress in the business for lack of proper authority to give a full discharge on payment of the money. He therefore wrote to Bennet for a letter of attorney, which he would not send him unless his father would become bound for him; this the elder Symonds declined to do. Symonds however remained in England, waiting for the letter of attorney and keeping up the show of agency for Bennet, until he learned that the executor had paid the legatee’s bill of exchange in favor of a merchant in Boston. Soon after his return Symonds brought a suit against Bennet for damages as well as services in which he was not successful. In his statement, sworn to in court, he says he was in England “better than fifteene months, and was absent from New-England and occations of his family above one yeare and nine months.” This was the visit of which Savage tells that he (Symonds) “was living at Wethersfiedl in England in 1672;” and adds, “nor is it known that he ever came back”!

Another suit in which Bennet was a party, was brought against him in 1684, by Mr. Daniel Epps, for enticing away and harboring his Indian boy, Lyonel. But the boy had been regularly indented to Bennet by his grandmother and uncle, who had been living on Epps’s bounty, and had promised to give the boy to him. The case is interesting as showing the condition of perhaps the last Indian family that lived in Ipswich. Mr. Epps lost the case and appealed to general court, but probably did not prosecute the appeal.

The indenture of the Indian boy is the only document pertaining to Bennet’s affairs, yet found, which bears the signature of a member of his first wife’s family, —Jacob Perkins, brother to Lydia, having signed as a witness, and Jacob Perkins, Jr. subsequently endorsing on the instrument that he was present when it was signed. But the families were not neighbors, Bennet’s farm being more than two miles from the village where the Perkinses lived, and this sufficiently accounts for the seeming lack of intercourse between them.

He was a voter in town affairs in 1679, but does not appear to have ever become a freeman.
Mr. Bennett was undoubtedly a shrewed, sagacious, energetic man, though his education seems to have been quite limited. He had disposed of his real estate some years before his death, and living to a quite advanced age, perhaps becoming the second time a widower, he probably settled his own affairs by distributing his property among his children. Certainly there is no will of his or any administration of his estate on record.

His children, as far as known, were all by his first wife and born in Ipswich.

2. i.    Jacob b. 1651.
ii.   John, b. 1655; killed at Bloody Brook, Sept. 18, 1675.
iii.  William, b. 1657; living at Ipswich 1685.
3. iv.   Henry, b. 1664.
4. v.    Thomas, b.

Stephen Bennet died July, 1680 and Benjamin Bennet witnessed a deed in 1692. These may have been (additional) sons of Henry Bennett.” [NEHGR 29:167-169, 1875]

Note: We believe our Y-DNA evidence proves that Benjamin Bennett is indeed a son of Henry Bennett of Ipswich, our immigrant ancestor!