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Mary (Corliss) Neff (1654 - 1722)

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Mary Neff formerly Corliss
Born in Haverhill, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married in Haverhill, MAmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Haverhill, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Corliss-4 created 14 Sep 2010 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 1,419 times.



On March 15, 1697, when she was a 51-year-old widow, Mary Corliss Neff was serving as a nurse for Hannah Emerson Dustin and her newborn baby. The women and baby were taken captive when Abenaki Indians from Quebec raided Haverhill, killed 27 of the settlers, and took 13 captive. Mary and Hannah were assigned to a family of 13 and sent north; along the way, one of the Indians killed Hannah’s six-day-old baby by smashing it into a tree.

The two women and a 14-year-old captive from Worcester, Samuel Leonardson, killed 10 of the 12 Indians who held them in captivity (two men, three women, and seven children, with one woman and one child surviving) — with Hannah killing 9 out of the 10. They returned to Haverhill with the scalps, to collect the bounty that was in effect for killing Indians. They were rewarded by the colony in both cash and land and became famous through Cotton Mather’s telling of the tale.

The story became popular again in the nineteenth century as the United States was undertaking major campaigns against Indians. John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne (the only one to call Dustin an “awful woman” for the violence) all retold the story. Admirers erected a bronze statue in Haverhill and a large statue on the island in the Merrimack River (near Boscawen, New Hampshire) where the event took place.


A List of accounts of the Dustin events is on the website [Hawthorne in Salem] A documentary is available on YouTube: Savage: The Hannah Dustin Massacre A nice summary of the accounts is at Miner Descent

This person was created through the import of Wilson.ged on 14 September 2010. The following data was included in the gedcom. You may wish to edit it for readability.

Date: 22 Oct 1722
Place: Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts
Ancestral File Number: 1RBG-KH
User ID: 0D3124D6E6D14ADD8FB372876C1ECBF2982F

Could not parse date out of 23 Jan 1664/65.

@F287@ FAM
Husband: @I639@
Wife: @I472@
Date: 23 Jan 1664/65
Place: Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts
Data Changed:
Date: 10 Nov 2000
Time: 12:54


Mary was born to George and Joanna (Davis) Corlis in 1646.[1]

"Willi : Neff of Haverhill and Mary Corley or Haverhill, Jan. 23, 1665" [2]

Mary never remarried and died at Haverhill on October 22, 1722. [3] Her estate can be found in the Essex County, Massachusetts, Probate Records #19221. The inventory was taken in 1722 by Daniel Little, Philip Haseltine and Jonathan Emerson.[4]


  • Source: S-208Dorothy Neff Curry. The descendants of William Neff who married Mary Corliss, January 23, 1665, Haverhill, Massachusetts. S.l: s.n., 1958. Olen Library
  • Source: S-209Sidney Perley, editor. The Essex Antiquarian (EA). Vol. 6. Salem, MA: The Essex Antiquarian, 1900. Google Books
  • Source: S-211Haverhill (Mass.). Vital records of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Volume 1 - Births. Topsfield, Mass: Topsfield historical society, 1910. Open Library
  • Source: S-212Haverhill (Mass.). Vital records of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Volume 2 - Marriages and Death. Topsfield, Mass: Topsfield historical society, 1910. Google Books
  • Source: S516 Author: Title: Public Member Trees Publication: Name: Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2006; Repository: #R19
  1. #S-211 Vol. 1
  2. #S-209 Old Norfolk County Records "Haverhill Marriages" EA 4:140
  3. #S-212 Vol. 2, Page 450
  4. #S-208

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No known carriers of Mary's mitochondrial DNA have taken an mtDNA test.

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On 31 Mar 2014 at 20:58 GMT Vic Watt wrote:

Corliss-4 and Corliss-29 appear to represent the same person because: According to the Haverhill Vital Records, Mary was born on Sept. 8, 1646. Please merge. Thanks.

Mary is 13 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 18 degrees from Robynne Lozier, 12 degrees from Pocahontas Rolfe and 16 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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