Climbing My Family Tree, Part 14

Immigrants Thomas Moore, Ann Grafton, Daniel Ladd, George Corliss, Thomas Davis, and Christian Coffer

This week I introduce six more of my ancestors who immigrated from England in the first half of the 17th Century. They were among the original founders of the town of Haverhill, Massachusetts, a part of the wild western frontier of that time.

The immigrants suffered no small heartbreak when one of their sons was killed by Native Americans, and a grandson was captured and physically maimed. 

The first three of the six immigrants include Daniel Ladd (my nine times great-grandfather), and his wife’s parents.

Daniel Ladd was born in England and sailed to the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the Mary and John in 1633, around the age of 18.

He sailed with Rev. Thomas Parker, an accomplished academic, and nonconforming clergyman, who held strong Puritan beliefs. Parker brought around 100 Englishmen with him to New England in a search of religious freedom.

The group of immigrants settled in Agawam (later renamed Ipswich). Daniel lived there for a short period before moving on to Salisbury, where he married a woman by the name of Ann, and had three children.

The marriage certificate of Daniel and Ann has not been found, but it is presumed Ann’s maiden name was Moore. Ann’s parents, Thomas Moore and Ann Grafton, had immigrated from Southwell, England in 1630. And there you have the first three immigrants.

Daniel, Ann, and their three children were among the original settlers of Haverhill. Haverhill sits on the Merrimack River, just south of the New Hampshire border. There, they had five more children, including my ancestor, Samuel Ladd.

Haverhill was formally founded in 1640 by twelve English Puritans, including Daniel Ladd. The “Haverhill Deed of Township” was signed in 1642, when the settlers purchased the land for 3 pounds and 10 shillings:

“Know all men by these presents, that wee Passaqo and SaggaHew with ye consent of Passaconnaway: have sold unto ye inhabitants of Pentuckett {the original name for Haverhill} all ye lands wee have in Pentuckett; that is eyght myles in length from ye little rivver in Pentuckett Westward: Six myles in length from ye aforesaid Rivver northward: And six myles in length from ye foreseaid Rivver Eastward, with ye Ileand and ye rivver that ye ileand stand in as far in length as ye land lyes by as formaerly expressed: that is, fourteen myles in length.”

The two Indian representatives signed the document by drawing depictions of bows and arrows.

With signatures applied, the settlers received somewhere around 84 square miles of premium valley river land, situated 30 miles north of Boston and 16 miles from the Atlantic coast, for a fee of 3 pounds and 10 shillings.

According to the National Archives of the United Kingdom’s Currency Converter, 3 pounds and 10 shillings in 1640 would be valued around $385.00 in the 21st Century, making the purchase price less than one US penny per acre.

Daniel was a freeman, becoming a citizen of high standing, including serving as Selectmen. He was a “husbandman,” by trade, better known today as a farmer. He acquired several parcels of acreage along the highway, both above and below the village of Haverhill.

We must remember the “highway” of the day was but a primitive path for carts and horses, with ungraded hills, unbridged streams, and protruding stumps in the pathway. It must have been an arduous task to maintain multiple fields without the aid of modern machinery.

In 1659 Daniel and his business partner, Theophilus Shatwell, erected the first sawmill on the Spicket River in Salem, New Hampshire.

It was in 1698 when Daniel’s son, Samuel Ladd, was killed by a group of Indians. Here is his story as is recorded in Genealogy of Thomas Ruggles of Roxbury and found on

“On Feb. 22, 1698, Samuel Ladd, with his son Daniel (aged 22), and Johnathan Haines, with his son Thomas (aged 18), who lived in the western part of the town, started that morning with a yoke of oxen and one horse each to bring some hay that had been cut and stacked the preceding summer in their meadow at the extreme western part of the town. On the way home they suddenly found themselves between two files of Indians concealed in the bushes on each side of the path. Seeing that it was impossible to escape, they asked for quarter [mercy] but not before young Ladd had cut one of the horses loose, which escaped to the town and was means of giving a general alarm. What soon followed was that Ladd and Haines (the fathers) were killed by blows on their heads by the Indians. The Indians carried the boys prisoners to Pennacook. Their subsequent movements are not stated, but tradition says it was some years before Daniel Ladd could escape and return home. He (married Nov., 1701) ‘was much disfigured by slashing of his face and the insertion of gunpowder in the wounds, as a punishment for attempting to escape soon after capture.’ It is probable that Thomas Haines soon escaped or his freedom by some means bought.”

I can only imagine the terror of the wives and mothers at home when a lone horse gallops into town without his rider. I envision the townsmen gathering their arms and venturing out into the meadow where they find the bodies of the fallen men and begin a search for the missing boys.

Daniel, the son who was captured, was the oldest, at age 22. When Samuel was killed and Daniel was kidnapped, Samuel left behind his wife, Martha Corliss, and seven other children, ranging in age from 16 to 4, including Nathaniel (my seven times great-grandfather).

The other three immigrant ancestors I introduce to you today are parents and grandparents of the widow, Martha Corliss.

Martha’s father was George Corliss. George immigrated from Exeter, England around 1639. He married Joanna Davis, the daughter of Thomas Davis and Christian Coffer. Thomas and Christian had immigrated from Marlboro, England on the James in 1635. Thomas Davis was among the six signers of the Indian deed of Haverhill. His scrawled name survives today alongside the drawings of the bows and arrows.

After his father died, Nathaniel moved to Connecticut. Nathaniel’s grandson moved to Vermont, and then the family eventually landed in Maine.

While I empathize with the tragic loss of life on my side of the family, I also relate to the wrath of the Pennacook Indians (also known as the Pawtucket or Merrimack), who were decimated by infectious diseases and weakened by raids of rival tribes, as well as European colonists. Forced from their lands and facing extinction, it is expected they would fight back.


Has your family benefited from immigration to America? Do you believe our diverse population makes us stronger? Do you want to be part of the solution? Consider the following:

International Medical Corps

International Medical Corps assists people in urgent need anywhere, anytime, no matter what the conditions. They provide lifesaving health care to people in need, with an emphasis on fast response. Since 1984 International Medical Corps has helped tens of millions of people in over 75 countries.

Charity Navigator gives International Medical Corps their highest rating of 4 out of 4 for financial responsibility as well as accountability and transparency.

International Medical Corps is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs.

From the International Medical Corps website:

“Because disaster can strike anywhere, anytime, the ability to respond even in the most remote areas of the world is essential for effective emergency response. And with the acute phase of disaster response—when most lives are can be saved and life-threatening disease contained— spanning just 72 hours, deployment speed is critical. Preparing communities in advance how best to respond to adversity on their own when it occurs is also crucial, creating a response capability that is both immediate and helps build self-reliance.

Please go out of your way to be kind to immigrants and refugees.


Did you enjoy this post? Please like and share. I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!



My Family Tree:

  1. Thomas Moore & Ann Grafton  ||  Thomas Davis & Christian Coffer


  1. Daniel Ladd & Ann Moore  ||  George Corliss & Joanna Davis


  1. Samuel Ladd & Martha Corliss


  1. Nathaniel Corliss Ladd


  1. Samuel Ladd


  1. Samuel Ladd


  1. Samuel Ladd


  1. Electa Ladd


  1. Esther Elizabeth Wymam


  1. Pliny Wyman Sturtevant


  1. Electra Wyman Sturtevant


  1. Patricia Louise King


  1. Me (Alan deMeurers)


Running count of my direct immigrants from Europe to North America = 43


Reference Links:


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