Several sources claim that Richard Hildreth was from northern England, in or near the parish of Gainford, in county of Durham. He was apparently born about 1605 as his gravestone gives his age as 88 years. It is believed that he emigrated to the American colonies with his first wife, Sarah, and their 2 children. No documentary evidence has been found which establishes his origins or his emigration from England.
It is said that Richard married Sarah (Edwards?) on 1 Aug 1639 at Norton, Derbyshire, England.
After his arrival in New England, Richard Hildreth settled first at Cambridge. The first official record found for Richard is May 10, 1643, where he was admitted as a freeman to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The Cambridge records include the following references to him:
15 June 1644, Sarah, his wife, died in Cambridge.
21 Sept 1646, birth of Elizabeth, his daughter, in Cambridge.
8 Aug 1648, birth of daughter, Sarah, in Cambridge.
By 1646, Richard had married wife Elizabeth. Torrey shows "2/wf Elizabeth HINCHMAN?"), but no record has been found which establishes her maiden name. Richard moved to Chelmsford in 1654-55, where he was a proprietor of Chelmsford and is listed frequently in the official town records and is referred to, at times, as "Bro. Hildreth" and "Sergeant Hildreth."
Many Hildreth researchers believe that Richard was a veteran and that his military service culminated in the loss of his right hand. In 1663 he petitioned the General Court for a grant of land and said that he had "a wife and many small children, and being a husbandman, am greatly disadvantaged, partly by the hand of God depriving ... of the use of my right hand ... wholly disabled to labor." He will also refers to his handicap, "... because my hand is cut off."
Richard had at least the following children:
Jane, b. about 1628, m. Robert Proctor Oct. 30, 1645 at age 17, died after July 13, 1697, when her husband's Will was proved
James, b. ca. 1630, m. Dorchester June 1, 1659, Margaret Ward.
Elizabeth "Hildred," b Cambridge Sept. 21, 1646, m. John Stephens (Stevens) Dec. 15, 1664 at Chelmsford
Persis "Hildereth", dau. Richard and Elizabeth, b. Chelmsford Feb. 8. 1659 , m. Samuell Cleveland May 23, 1682 at Chelsmford
Thomas "Hilldereth," s. Richard and Elizabeth, b. Chelmsford Feb. 1, 1661
"Isake Hilldereth," s. Richard and Elizabeth, b. Chelmsford July [20, 1661.T.C.; 1663?, m. Elisabeth Willson of Woburn Nov 12, 1685. [Jul. 24. CT. R.], d. Jan. 28, 1706 at Chelmsford (Isaac's birth may be a misprint or may be a recording date vs. the birth date).
Richard died on Feb. 23, 1693, at age 88, and is buried at the Ancient Graveyard of Chelmsford. His wife Elizabeth died on August 3, 1693, and is buried at the Bell Rock Burial Ground, Malden, with a stone identical to that for Richard. It is a mystery why Elizabeth was buried in Malden. Possibly, he died at Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
He made his Will on February 11, 1686/7, at Chelmsford, and it was probated on May 26, 1693, Chelmsford, Son Ephraim was admitted as Executor The following were mentioned in his Will:
natural son Ephraim
eldest son James
"sons and daughters"
witnesses Peeter Talbott, John Butterick, Sarah Steevens, Ely Fostere
"Know ye that I Richard Hildrith of ye towne of Chelmsford in ye County of Middlesex in ye Massachusetts Colony in New England, being aged, sick and weakly in body, tho sounde in mind, Judgement and understanding, taking into Consideration my own mortality, do here in make known my minde and will in the disposall of myself, and Estate that Remaineth to be my own to Dispose. First, I beqbeath my precious and Immortall Soul unto Christ yt hath Redeemed it and my body to ye Grave till Christ shall raise it. And for my beloved wife Elizabeth I have obliged my naturall son Ephraime Hildereth for her maintainance in all respects so long as shee remaineth with him: and as for my Sons and Daughters children god hath given to me I have discharged my duty in som measure in all respects so that they are disposed in marriage and I have doone for them all as I could but now my hand is as cut of because of inpotency and infirmyty I have been constrained to make use of what I hade for the relief of my self and my wife so that I have neither house nor lands to bequeath to them but after my decease credtors being payed and debts discharged what so ever shall be fond to be my estat I will that it be equally divided to all my children that each one may have a token of their fathers love after his death, they or theirs, and after my desease my son Ephraim shall pay or cause to be payed to my eldest Son James Hildreth out of his own estat the sume of twenty Shillings or one pound as a full fee and part or portion more than the rest of my children. I have betrusted my son Ephraim with the use of my estat whilst I live and after my death to execut this my las will and testament."
An inventory of the estate was made by Ephaim Hildreth, the appraisers being Samuel Foster and Eliazar Brown. Inventory of Estate was valued at £17:3:6, and included:
"Two Cows: one Calf: one feather bed: one straw bed: one feather bolster, 2 pillows: 2 old bolsters: I coat and hatt: 1 pr Breeches: two Pewter platters & 1 candlestick: Iron Mortar and Pestle: 2 Cleavers & a Flesh Hook: 1 Axe and 2 Pease hooks: 1 Frammell: 1 churn: 1 Iron Gridiron: 1 Wicker basket: 1 skill: one old Gun barrell (value 10 Shillings). A Wain Scott Chest: 1 Cubboard: 1 chest: an old bedstead a Table chaire: 8 chaires and a little Horn: a dough trough and 1 old chest: 2 Trays and an old Paile: 1 Jar and Chees tongs: four books: a dry cask."
The small possessions were listed on on May 19, 1693, and included "four Books at five shillings" and seven trenchers which would have been the wooden plates commonly in use.
↑ "List of Freemen," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2013.) NEHGR 3(April 1849):190
↑ "Early Records of Boston," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2013.) NEHGR 8(Oct 1854):345
↑Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: New England Marriages Prior to 1700. CD-ROM. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001. Page 16176
↑ Middlesex County, MA: Abstracts of Court Files, 1649–1675. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003), (Unpublished abstracts by Thomas Bellows Wyman, "Abstract of Middlesex court files from 1649," n.d.) Vol. 1, Page 2; James gave a deposition in 1651 in which he said he was 20 years old.
↑ "Early Records of Boston," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2013.) NEHGR 9(April 1855):168
↑ "Early Records of Boston," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2013.) NEHGR 9(April 1855):169
Crane, Ellery Bicknell; Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts, with a history of Worcester society of antiquity; New York, Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1907; p.461, p. 466