A Rayment-Scruggs timeline conundrum

+7 votes

What seems a 1934 error in print concerns the age at death of John Rayment, Jr. A report by Walter Goodwin Davis[1] apparently confused age information in records dated 1722 (prior to John’s death death [2]) and 1725 (John’s death[2][3][4]). As such, John Rayment, Jr.’s age at death became reported as 74, when the record provides 77.

Why does this matter?

Davis’ work was one of three sources cited by Robert Charles Anderson in 2007 when Great Migration reported the father, John Rayment, had married Rachel Scruggs “by about 1650.”[5] Even though Anderson’s report didn’t further address children born to the marriage, it is the most recent published account of the marriage known to me.[6] Other than for children’s births, I am not informed as to historical rationale by which the marriage date would be described “about” three years prior to reports confirming the groom's presence at Salem, as below.  

This does not seem to be a case where Rachel (Scruggs) Rayment is known to have had a son, John Rayment, Jr., but the other way around. John Rayment, Sr., first noticed of Salem in 1653,[7] [8] is known to have had such a son, John.[9] The settler is separately known to have been married to Rachel (bp. 1627-1666). She was the only surviving child of immigrant Thomas Scruggs. Notice of Rachel’s marriage first appears on 24 June 1654, when Thomas Scruggs’ widow transferred the family estate to “son-in-law, John Raymont.”[10][11]

Various accounts of when John Rayment and Rachel Scruggs married appear in print. Others may be able to add to this list, but three noteworthy accounts are

  1. In 1931, when Walter Goodwin Davis wrote about the the Scruggs family he placed the Rayment-Scruggs marriage at “before 1654.”[12]
  2. The same year (1931), Mary Walton Ferris wrote about the marriage saying “John married [to Rachel] certainly before 1654, and probably as early as 1647-8.” Among her references, however, are (a) an undocumented child list reporting John, Jr.’s birth as “about 1650” and (b) an undocumented lineage society report about another son of John Rayment, Thomas. (Thomas’ birth is reported often in the 1652 range, but in an initial survey, I find no historical justification for that birth estimate.)[13]
  3. In 1947, John Benjamin Nichols wrote “Notes on the Scruggs-Rayment Genealogy” (TAG 24:156-160). Nichols placed the Rayment-Scruggs marriage at “apparently about 1653-4” and thus called John, Jr. the “son of John, Sr., and an unknown or uncertain wife.” (Nicholas’ work was one of three sources cited by Anderson in 2007.) [14]

Questions for the WikiTree/Puritan Great Migration community:

1. Based on the records from 1722 and 1725, should we report “about 1648” as the birth of John Rayment, Jr., until or unless we are able to discover better evidence? (And, might you have something to add?)

2. Should we continue to report John Rayment, Jr. as the son of John Rayment *and* Rachel Scruggs with an obvious note that the child’s birth falls prior to the time John Rayment was either known to be of Salem, Massachusetts, or married to Rachel Scruggs. In the alternative, how would you like to see this child-parent association in WikiTree?

3. Based on the 1654 historical record, should we report the marriage date of John Rayment and Rachel Scruggs as “before 24 June 1654” until or unless we are able to discover better evidence? (And, might you have something to add?)

Will post references as comment. Pardon typos.  

WikiTree profile: John Rayment
in Genealogy Help by GeneJ X G2G6 Mach 5 (50.3k points)
edited by GeneJ X

[1] Walter Goodwin Davis, _The ancestry of Bethia Harris, 1748-1833, wife of Dudley Wildes of Topsfield, Massachusetts_ (1934), 131; digital images, _Hathi Trust_ (accessed 2013). Without further reference, reports John Rayment, Jr's  wife as Martha ____ and that he died "Middleboro June 5, 1725, age 74." Latter report seems oversight when compared to Willard's Middleborough gravestone records and report of his death as published by First Church of Middleborough--both report his death 5 June 1725, saying he was ae 77. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/wu.89066158148?urlappend=%3Bseq=147

[2] _First Church in Middleborough, Mass. : Mr. Putnam's century and half discourses, an historical account : and a catalogue of members / published by the church_ (1854), 84; digital images, _Hathi Trust_ (accessed 2013). Transcribed church record reporting "John Raymond sr." was church member on 29 April 1722, "in his 74th yr."; his death reported as "Ju. 5, 1725; ae 77th." Abbreviations on page 79 specify "Ju" as the abbreviation for "June." http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uma.ark:/13960/t77s7w38f?urlappend=%3Bseq=92

[3] John W. Willard, "Gravestone Records from the old cemetery at "The Green," Middleborough, Mass.," _The Mayflower Descendant_ 14 (1912):84, for Rayment entries; digital images, _AmericanAncestors.org_ (accessed 2014). Entry for John "died 5 June 1725, in his 77th year." [This record can be viewed at Hathi Trust, see http://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101076382678?urlappend=%3Bseq=102 ]

[4] Alfred Wood, _Record of Deaths, Middleboro, Massachusetts_ (1947), 140; digital images, _Hathi Trust_ (accessed 2014). For Raymond entry, “John, June 5, 1725, in 77th year. [G2].” Note, List of Abbreviations reports that “G3” represents, “Grave at the Green.” http://hdl.handle.net/2027/wu.89067487421?urlappend=%3Bseq=154

[5] Robert Charles Anderson, _The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VI, R-S_ (2007), 221-223, “Thomas Scruggs”; digital images, _AmericanAncestors.org_ (accessed 2014).

[6] Might anyone be able to improve on this knowledge?

[7] Wm. P. Upham, “Town Records of Salem, 1634-1659,” published as, _Essex Institute Historical Collections. Second Series, Vol. I, Part I_ (1868), 173, for entry “the 2nd first 53”; digital images, _Internet Archive_ (accessed 2014). On “2nd first [month] 1653,” Salem granted 50 acres to “John Remont,” subject to agreement with Jacob Barney. https://archive.org/stream/townrecordsofsal02sale#page/173/mode/1up

[8] George F. Dow, _Records and files of the Quarterly courts of Essex county, Massachusetts_, 9 vols. (1911-1975), 1:313; digital images, _Hathi Trust_ (accessed 2014). “Jon. Rament” is seated on a grand jury, 29 November 1653. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/inu.30000064462322?urlappend=%3Bseq=325

[9] "Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986", images, _FamilySearch_ (accessed 2014), Essex > Deeds 1700-1702 vol 14-15 > image 138 of 665. [Essex Deeds 14:128, John Rayment Senr to John Rayment Junr“ (dated 12 January 1696[/97]; recorded 23 April 1701).] “I john Rayment Senr …. yeoman for & in consideration of my paternal love & afection unto my sonne John Rayment Junr  … yeoman …” https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-36329-14352-35?cc=2106411&wc=MCBG-Q36:361613201,361859901

[10] George F. Dow, _The probate records of Essex County, Massachusetts_, 3 vols. (1916-1920), 1:185-186, for “Estate of Thomas Scruggs of Salem”; digital images, _Hathi Trust_ (accessed 2014), cites “_Salem Quarterly Court Records, vol. 3, leaf 74_ about which the published account is found in George F. Dow, _Records and files of the Quarterly courts of Essex county, Massachusetts_ 1:359. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101062077308?urlappend=%3Bseq=219

[11] George F. Dow, _Records and files of the Quarterly courts of Essex county, Massachusetts_, 9 vols. (1911-1975), 1:359; digital images, _Hathi Trust_ (accessed 2014). “Margery (her mark) Scruggs of Salem, widow, 24: 4: 1654, conveyed to her son-in-law, John Raymont, her lands and goods …” http://hdl.handle.net/2027/inu.30000064462322?urlappend=%3Bseq=371

[12] Walter Goodwin Davis, “Scruggs of Salem, Mass.” (part of the series, “Genealogical Research in England”), _The New England Historical and Genealogical Register_ 85 (1931):388-395, in particular, p. 395; digital images, _AmericanAncestors.org_ (accessed 2014).

[13] Mary Walton Ferris, _Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines, a Memorial Volume_ 2 vols. (Milwaukee: privately printed, 1931-43), 2: 697-701, “Raymond (John)” family; digital images, _Heritage Quest_ (accessed 2013 via a local library Internet portal).

[14] John Benjamin Nichols, “Notes on the Scruggs-Rayment Genealogy,” _The American Genealogist_ 24 (1947):156-160.

Note: By virtue of his father's will, most believe the immigrant was at New England "before 26 June 1651." See Henry F. Waters (1833-1913), _Genealogical gleanings in England_, 2 v. (1901), 2:984, entry for George Rayment; digital images, _Hathi Trust_  (accessed 2013). http://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101073398487?urlappend=%3Bseq=152

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
Excellent summary, GeneJ.  The Essex Quarterly court records are available on Archive.org only, and I have downloaded them in PDF for further reference.

My database, such as it is, shows a first wife for John Raynemtn named Margaret --?-- who died before 1651, and had an unnamed child in England.  It is possible, and who knows how probable, that this unnamed child is John Rayment Jr.  It is also possible that there was no Margaret as a first wife. I don't have a source for Margaret, perhaps it was a Rayment book entry.

The "in 77th year " implies a birh between 16 July 1648 and 15 July 1649.  We all know that many notes of this sort are hearsay at best.  On the other hand, it's the only real clue we have to John Jr.s date of birth.

Thomas Scruggs and family came to New England in the 1634-5 time frame, so John Rayment certainly married Rachel Scruggs in Massachusetts before 1651 when George Rayment wrote his will.

So we probably should indicate 1648-1649 for John Rayment Jr's birth date based on the best available evidence, and who knows who the mother is, or where it occurred?
by Randy Seaver G2G Crew (780 points)
selected by GeneJ X

Hi Randy!

Much appreciate that you took the time to respond.  

A list of published genealogies about early immigrants of the name is available as Robert Raymond’s "Rayment/Raymond Genealogical Bibliography" (last updated 2007). Not included  are manuscripts referenced by other authors and various English records. What seem two noteworthy manuscripts are reportedly held by NEHGS in Boston:

  • “Anan Raymond, MSS (October 1965), Appendix C, files at New England Historical and Genealogical Library, Boston.“[1]
  • “Genealogy of the Raymond Families of New England, 1518-1920, manuscript by Raymond V. Chick examined [by John Marshall Raymond,] courtesy of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.”[2]

1. Margaret.

The notion that John had an early first wife Margaret is traced to a 1918 article by George Lansing Raymond.[3] Based on that account, she is unlikely the mother of John Rayment's children as we know them from records at New England.

For this union, the 1918 author referenced the "registry of St. Benedict's Church, Glastonbury" reporting burial 28 May 1639 of "Margaret Raymond, wife of John Raymond."

At least at this point in my own research, it seems the 1918 author was either uninformed (or misinformed) as to record variance about John Rayment's age.[4] (The immigrant’s birth was more narrowly pegged in that work as "1616-1618.")

Other family genealogies have disputed parts what was written in 1918,[5] but the notion of wife Margaret lingers on. Indeed, a 1972 published genealogy attributes to that union a "child, d. in infancy in England." For these associations, the 1972 work cites a seemingly erroneous source.[6][7]

A later dated and likely worthwhile source that I haven't reviewed is John Marshall Raymond, _The Ancestry of George Raymond of Glastonbury, County Somerset, England_ (1982). Based on earlier dated materials, however, there are reports of different men, John Rayment/Raymond at England in this time period. There seem at least two (and maybe more) who were likely about areas of South West England and/or Glastonbury. Given reported gaps in some parish registers[8] and varying accounts of the immigrant's age, it is not clear to me how folks could know which "John" was Margaret's husband.

2. "John Rayment certainly married Rachel Scruggs in Massachusetts before 1651 …"

Hoping only to be helpful ...The father’s will places John Rayment in New England in 1651, I’m just not sure that places the couple in the same location.* Local historians could speak better to this, but John Rayment seems to have been active on the Essex County, Massachusetts, record, but from 1653 forward. I haven't found the notice of him earlier. From the early records known to me:

  • John Rayment was at New England before 26 June 1651 (his father’s will). [Gleanings 2:984]
  • On “2nd first [month] 1653,” Salem granted 50 acres to “John Remont,” subject to agreement with Jacob Barney.  [Town Records of Salem 1:173, aka EIHC 2nd series, volume 1, pt 1]
  • John Rayment had settled at Salem before 29 November 1653 (grand jurist). [Records and Files 1:313]
  • He married Rachel Scruggs of Salem before 24 June 1654 (as her mother’s "son-in-law"). [Records and Files 1:359]

There seem to be any number of hiccups in the Salem records about the children born to John and Rachel. The earliest birth I have found on the record is Bethia, 1655. The only of John's surviving children for whom I have not found birth/baptismal records are sons John and Thomas.[9]  

*Surely there is more to be learned about these sons and/or children; hopefully, the parents. This work isn't so much about trying to prove or disprove notions that the two sons (John, Thomas) were born to John and Rachel, just hope to be transparent about the reasoning we use, as family historians, when extending the historical record.

(Will post references as separate comment). 


[1] Manuscript cited for claim, “George Rayment of Glastonbury was definitely the son of Robert Raymond of Charlton Mackrell,” see Samuel Edward Raymond and Louvera Horn Raymond in _Raymond Genealogy Volume II: Descendants of John and William Raymond_ (Tacoma, Washington: Homestead Press, 1972), 7.

[2] Manuscript cited for claim, “Another authority seems to be in error in stating that John and William Raymond of Salem … were children of William Raymond of London,” by John Marshall Raymond, _Corrections and Additions II to Raymond, Abbot, Jackson and Allied Families_ (1969), 14, 19; digital images, _Heritage Quest_ (accessed via a local  library Internet portal, 2013).   

[3] John Lansing Raymond, “English ancestors of John and William Raymond of Beverly, Mass.,” _Americana_ 12 (1918):343-351; digital images, _Hathi Trust_ (accessed 2013). 

[4] My personal notes report about five different accounts of John Rayment’s birth or age. I continue to seek historical records to justify all but two of those accounts.

[5] See particular comments and documentation in John Marshall Raymond, _Notes on Raymond, Abbot, Jackson and Allied Families_ (1962), 2-3; digital images, _Heritage Quest_ (accessed via local library Internet portal, 2013). In 1969, author released _Corrections and Additions II to Raymond, Abbot, Jackson ..._, 27 pp.

[6] Cites “Henry F. Waters AM, Genealogical Gleanings in England, III (1901),” without page reference, for claims about the union with Margaret ____ and birth of child, see Raymond and Raymond, _Raymond Genealogy Volume II: Descendants of John and William Raymond_ (1972), 2. Note: Waters’ series “Genealogical Gleanings in England” was published in NEHGR; the series was re-compiled and published by the society in 1901 as two volumes, _Genealogical Gleanings in England_. No identifiable volume “III” has been discovered. Will of George Rayment of Glastonbury and Waters’ comments at 2:984. No mention there of “Margaret” or the English infant. [See note 7.] 

[7] Raymond and Raymond’s volume 2 seems not to have been widely distributed; both authors are now deceased. Work cited only three different sources for entries about John Rayment, including only “Beverly Vital Records” for children born to John and Rachel. Those who work with this material and are familiar with the sources cited will surmise that the referenced works do not support many of the authors’ claims.

Authors FindAGrave memorials http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=78148601 ; http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=66199254

[8] “The records of St. John’s [Glastonbury] are missing between about 1621 and 1653,” as per John Marshall Raymond, _Notes on Raymond, Abbot, Jackson …_” (1962), 91.

[9] For an early published account of the Salem births/deaths see "First Book of Births, Marriages and Deaths of the City of Salem." EIHC 3 (1861):95  

An 1874 certified copy of what seems the underlying "First Book .." appears at FamilySearch ("a true copy of ‘A Book of Record … begun in the year 1658’"). "Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records" [Essex > Salem > Birth, marriage, death 1644-1867 vol 1-2, B > image 60 of 327

+2 votes

I see that two years later, Gene's wonderful research has not been reflected in the profile. I have gone ahead and made the changes she recommends; namely (what I did):

  • I changed Rayment-26 (the son)'s birth year from 1651 to about 1648.
  • I changed the marriage of his parents to before 24 Jun 1654
  • I marked as uncertain Rachel Scruggs as mother of John Rayment-26.
We miss you, Gene, and hope you are well.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (764k points)

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