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Martha (Cross) Durkee (1643 - 1727)

Martha Durkee formerly Cross aka Dirkey, Durgee
Born in Ipswich, Massachusetts Bay Colonymap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 20 Dec 1664 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 83 in Windham, Windham County, Connecticut Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Nov 2009
This page has been accessed 3,502 times.



This profile is part of the Chebacco Parish, Massachusetts One Place Study.

Martha Cross was a daughter of Robert Cross and Anna (Hannah) Jordan. She was born on 15 March 1643 at Ipswich, Massachusetts.[1] The Cross and Jordan lines are well proven by interesting wills.


“In 1664, a problem came up in Robert Cross’s family. His daughter Martha became pregnant out of wedlock with William Durkee being the father of the expected child. Martha felt that she was cast out of her father’s favor so she moved in with her sister Elizabeth Nelson. Elizabeth went to her parents and found them “in a sad and sorrowful condition, very much harried in spirit, not knowing which way to turn or what to say.” They were advised that a marriage was thought to be the best solution to the sad problem. Robert Cross, however, would not let the situation end and he sued William Durkee for abusing his daughter. William then sued Robert Cross for withdrawing his consent to the marriage after giving his permission. William and Martha were married soon afterwards.” Sources: “Cross: Three hundred years of One Line.” Compiled by Elizabeth Preston Baty; Book: 929.273 C884 bep;

The original Court records regarding this sad situation is as follows: (I have left the spelling just as it appears in the original court documents.)

Writ dated Feb. 22 1664, signed by Robert Lord for the court, and served by Theophilus Wilson, constable of Ipswich. Margrit Biship testified that being asked by Martha (Cross) whether she should go home to her father, deponent told her that it was best for her to do so, “at that William being discontented, she desired me in the presence of God to beare witnesse that she would have no other man but he furthermore she said why will not you trust me as well as I have trusted you hitherto. And hereupon she went away to her father.” Sworn in Court

Grace Searl testified that she heard Martha Crosse say, when her friends came for her, that she told William that if she went away she would come again and would not forsake him. Sworn in court.

Thomas Biship testified that Martha Crosse desired him several times to speak to her father that she and William Durgy might be married. Sworn in court.

Mary Biship testified that Martha said it was her greatest comfort that her father had given his consent to her marriage, which was to take place on the nineteenth of the present month. Sworn in court. “Honored Sier you may Esilie understand how the Case stands conserne my daufter: & I give them leve to marie. Yor Seruant Rob. Crosse.” “Naybor Booship: to you & your wife this is to let you understand our mindes is so the Case standing as it dous: wee leue your seruants to your dis----and for the-----you may poot it to ana period as soone as you please: we shall no ways hinder it: ----hates are sore oprest: wee ar as full of sorro the----ous & goyd you in the thing: Yours: Robert Cross; “The 12 of the 7th month 64” On the reverse of the foregoing paper: “For heer muche respected frende Mr. Robert Crosse att Ipswich in newe Ingland. These present with Care.”

Writ dated, Sept 22, 1664, signed by Daniel Denison for the court, and served by Theophilus Wilson, constable of Ipswich. Goodman Storie deposed that “Martha Crosse being at her Sister Nellsonnes house neere to Goodman Storie, Martha being in sore destresse of mind in the Considoration as shee Conseued she had binn cast out of her fathers favor: & familie: was so haried & distressed in mind; that her Sistor Nellsonn came downe to mee much affected lamenten with tears yet much affected my hart to heare her, who sayd I thought my Sistor would haue died to night but shee thought shee could not live another in that Condition; I being much affected with her Condition sayd: Why doe you not goe to your father & make your condition knowen unto him; to which shee answered Oh I dayer not goe to speack a word in her behalfe then I sayd: will you goe if I goe downe with you? Then Goodey Nelson sayd I, with all my hart; So wee went downe to Goodman Cross and there wee found them in a sad & sorrofull Condition verie much harried in there sperite not knowing which way to turen or what to say; & as my aprehenson then lead mee did treat with them about the sufferen them to marey the which hee did agree that was the way then we thought to bee the best.” Sworn in Court;

March 1664: Martha Dirky, for fornication, was ordered to be whipped unless she bring a note from the treasurer, of three pounds paid to him.

September 1664: Robert Cross Verses William Dirkey. For abusing his daughter. Verdict for plaintiff: “William Nelson deposed that William Dorkei said, at deponent’s house, after Goodman Stories had been at his father’s that he wished he had never spoken as he had, owning the child to be his, but he had eighteen meals a week and would spare six of them to keep the child.”

“Joseph Biship deposed that he heard William Durgee say that he had rather keep the child than keep her, but he presently said if he kept one he would keep the other, and they agreed to be married the next day.”

“October 1664: William Dirkey, presented for fornication, was ordered to be whipped not exceeding twenty stripes, and to put in security of 201i. to save the town of Ipswich harmless from the charges of keeping the child, or else go to prison. Thomas Biship, surety.” Source: Records And Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: Volume III: 1662-1667: Book: 974.45 P2e;

Despite the difficult situation between my Grandfather William Durkee & Robert Cross, the marriage took place.

Another version of the marriage story, from unidentified source

Also found listed as Durgy and O'Durgy when first coming to America. Listed as Turkee when in Ireland

William Durkee of Ipswich married Martha Cross, daughter of Robert Cross, Sr. Durkee was a servant to Thomas Bishop of Ipswich. William Durkee was an Irish Catholic soldier captured on the battlefield by Cornwall's forces and sold into slavery in Barbados where he toiled on sugar Plantations. Being among the thousands freed by proclamation of Charles II and having no means of support, he sold his services to Thomas Bishop and was taken to his settlement. He married Martha in 1664 a year after his arrival. William Durkee was persecuted by the Puritans for his religious beliefs - his wife however, remained a Protestant and raised their children as Protestants.

William Durkee was the very first Irish Catholic to settle in Massachusetts. He was fined for not attending the Protestant church. He was sentenced to receive 25 lashes or pay a fine of 5 pounds for each Sunday he missed church. The fine was paid for by his Owner, Thomas Bishop.

When he married Martha in 1664, the Crosses objected bitterly to the marriage. When William was questioned by the court as to his ability to support a wife, he answered he received a salary of 15 meals a week, and was willing to divide them with her.

What became of William is a mystery. He is recorded as being in Dover, New Hampshire in 1684 and his name appears on Essex County land deeds as late as 1713. No cemetery reveals his resting place.

Martha reared her family in the Protestant faith, and their eldest son, John, became a Deacon.


  • William Durkee 1630 – 1704


  • Martha Durkee 1647 – 1748
  • John Durkee 1665 – 1739
  • Doctor Thomas Durkee 1666 – 1757
  • Mary Durkee 1666 –
  • Elizabeth Durkee 1670 – 1731
  • William Durkee 1672 – 1732
  • Jane Durkee 1674 – 1731
  • Ann Durkee 1680 – 1761
  • Henry Durkee 1682 – 1682
  • Mercy Durkee 1684 – 1730


Martha Durkee died 11 January 1727 in Windham (location now in the Town of Hampton), Connecticut.[3]


  1. OneWorldTree [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc. Ancestry Tree|6676093|-1250178173}}
  2. Ancestry Family Trees. Martha Cross page at
  3. Barbour Collection of Connecticut Vital Records Windham, p. 80 "Martha, wid., d. Jna. 11, 1726/7, age about 87."
See also:
  • Society of Family Durkee.
  • Else L. Hambleton. Daughters of Eve: Pregnant Brides and Unwed Mothers in Seventeenth Century Essex County, Massachusetts. Taylor & Francis, 2004. pages 120-122.


  • Jay Byrne, Click the Changes tab for the details of edits by Jay and others.
  • WikiTree profile Cross-881 created through the import of EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING.ged on Oct 14, 2011 by April Mavros. See the Changes page for the details of edits by April and others.
  • Robert Palmer. Click the Changes tab for the details of edits by Robert and others.
  • Timothy Leno. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Timothy and others.

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Categories: Hampton, Connecticut | Ipswich, Massachusetts | Chebacco Parish, Massachusetts One Place Study