Table of Contents

Name Origin
Family Origin
The Oak
Edmund &
In Lynn
Spread of Family



  As to the character and qualities of Edmund and Francis Ingalls we can do no more than deduce. We know of no words of either of them except in their wills. Nevertheless we have strong grounds for inferences. 

  They must have been bold and courageous men to enter upon the great adventure that they did. Also were they independent and energetic. They did not like Endicott's ways and they cut loose from him at the first opportunity. They were confident of their ability to conduct themselves alone and to get along with the Indians. Consequently we may infer their intelligence. As the immigrant population increased they never fell into step with the ruling religious party and consequently kept aloof from public service. On the other hand they kept out of trouble, which is not saying a little, for the bigotry of the theocratic, governing faction was terrible and the treatment of infractors of the rules was cruel. As we study colonial records we find that human nature was the same in the seventeenth century as in the twentieth, but the domination and repression by the church was of a nature to make us shudder and reflects a state of mind in respect of which we may feel no ancestral pride, and therefore we rejoice in evidences of dissent on the part of Edmund Ingalls. 

  It is of record that Edmund had a malt house, whence it is to be inferred that he knew how to malt grain and brew beer, and probably did so. It is likewise probable that he drank of what he brewed. According to the accounts there was a convivial time, with much hilarity and profanity, when his house was erected with the assistance of his friends. We do not therefore imagine our ancestor as being a severe Puritan. On one occasion (in 1646) he was caught by a neighbor in the act of carrying a bundle of sticks on a Sunday and was hailed to court and fined for this violation of the Sabbath.

  We may remind ourselves that from the earliest years in Massachusetts there were two parties among the colonists, one the sternly Puritan and the other the more broadminded. Out of the bitter controversy between them the Puritans emerged on top and for many decades thereafter they ran things in their own way. We may infer that the Ingalls were in the opposition. It is not of record that Edmund Ingalls ever became a freeman, which means that he did not acquire the right to vote. This implies nothing in respect of social status. In order to become a freeman a man had to be a member of the Congregational church in good standing. Edmund Ingalls either could not so qualify or he did not want to. Francis Ingalls was sworn as a freeman in 1661. Liberalization was then in the air and in 1665 the General Court enacted that thereafter the political rights of citizenship should be extended to others than members of the church, though a certificate from a minister was still required. It is significant that Robert Ingalls and his sons did not become freemen until after 1690, in which year the religious qualification was entirely abolished and there was substituted the requirement of a certificate of good standing by the civil authorities. Immediately following this the principal adult male members of the family enrolled. 

  Edmund Ingalls lost his life in March 1648, by falling with his horse through a defective bridge over the Saugus River where it is crossed by the road that is now Boston Street.* He was probably then about 53 years of age. His eldest son, Robert, who was then 27 years of age petitioned the General Court for damages in the amount of 100 in accordance with a law just previously enacted in the Colony. This may have been the first claim of that sort in New England. I believe it was allowed, after finding by a jury. 

  It is interesting to examine the inventory of the property that Edmund Ingalls left in 1648. Let it be remembered that at that period there was but little gold and silver in circulation and there were no bank accounts. Property could not therefore take the forms of gold and silver or of bank credits, but had to find mainly* a physical expression, i.e., in land and goods. So it was that Edmund Ingalls left his house, barn and outbuildings along with his original farm and also his grant of land. In addition thereto he had a house and land in West Lynn, that he had acquired from Jeremy Fitts, and another house with six acres of land together with three acres in Rumney Marsh that he had got from Goodman West.** These must have been acquired as investments, seeing that they were remote from his own estate. Besides these lands he still retained three acres in England. Let it be remembered that Edmund Ingalls was an Englishman, and that his descendants for four generations after him owed allegiance to the King of England.

 * Lewis gives this date. It is perplexing that the will of Edmund Ingalls is dated Aug. 28, 1648, having been offered for probate Sept. 14, 1648. Indeed, it is rather astonishing that Edmund, who was then only of middle age and evidently in good health should have executed a will in the same year when he met with accidental death. There seems to be no doubt in respect of the time of the accident. On Mar. 23, 1648, the General Court allowed the town of Lynn 20 toward repairing the bridge. I make no attempt to explain this puzzle. The will of Edmund Ingalls was signed by his mark, which does not ipso facto imply illiteracy. In fact at this period the same man is to be found signing himself autographically and subsequently by his mark. There are numerous instances of this. In the first autograph of Francis Ingalls, whereof I know, be signs himself, in 1645, Francs Ingols. 

 ** The valuations of estates at this time were clearly more or less nominal, especially as to houses and lands. Edmund's sons John and Henry, to whom respectively he bequeathed the houses and lots of Jeremy Fitts and Goodman West, within a few years sold them for sums aggregating nearly to the total valuation put upon all of the real estate of Edmund. It would be interesting to know why Edmund retained a parcel of land in England for 20 years after he had abandoned his home there, and what eventually became of it.

  Of chattels Edmund Ingalls left one ox, two steers, three cows, one calf and four yearlings, one mare, two sheep, and four hogs, which would constitute a good inventory of livestock for a farmer in New England today. He had farming implements, household furniture and household utensils. He had no silver ware, but he possessed some pewter and he had three brass kettles. He had two guns whence we may infer that he knew how to use them, and three bibles, wherefore we may imagine him reading from them by rush light or candle light during winter nights; and we may conjecture that he was pious even if not a member of the Congregational Church. Finally the inventory of his goods lists one beer barrel, which reminds us that he malted grain, and probably brewed beer, and likewise probably drank it. We may also picture Edmund Ingalls as a kindly man. In his will he remembered all of his children and he was especially solicitous that his daughter Mary should have a heifer calf of which she had been fond. Our evidences are scanty, but from the fragments we get a homely, pleasant picture. 

  If we give any thought to our immigrant ancestors we probably visualize them much as we do our immediate grandfathers. We are prone to forget that they were not Americans but were thorough Englishmen, who had migrated from the old country to the new, carrying their customs with them. I think that many of the latter and even their speech would be quite unfamiliar to us. They may have had some difficulty in conversing with each other, especially the first comers; for the common speech of Lincolnshire is very different from that of Dorsetshire. Difficulty of that nature diminished as more persons came from Lincolnshire and the dialect of the Danelagh made the same profound impression upon the language of New England that it did upon that of old England. Indeed many of our present peculiar words and phrases are those of three centuries ago in East Anglia. While retaining those, however, the differences of dialect evidently were rapidly amalgamated, and the people of all classes and all origins could understand each other, which in England they can not do at the present time. 

  The history of Francis Ingalls between 1629 and 1647 is obscure. We know only that he located his tannery in 1630. What he was doing previous to that date we can do nothing but surmise. We can not place him in the same way that we can Edmund and fail to do so chiefly owing to the absence of land history. We know that Robert the son and heir of Edmund gave a deed in 1697 that defined the northern portion of his land and as regards the southern portion we know the lines pretty well from the fact that his descendants owned them until recently. But in respect of Francis we have no such guides. The place where he built his tannery was far from the center of settlement that had then developed in Lynn, Edmund being on the eastern edge, while Humphrey's brook was further east. We can only imagine that Francis took up the land to the east of Edmund and tilled it until he went to live on Sagamore hill. Probably he was accompanied to America by his wife, Mary, and early in this period he had a daughter, Lydia. We may only be sure that he had a family and was under the obligation to support them, and that the tanning of leather alone would not have been sufficient at that time, wherefore he must have done some husbandry.* Probably  he worked to the west, in the loop of Stacey's brook, but I do not know his lines and consequently made no attempt to indicate them on my map. It may be pointed out that the land both to the north and the south of Edmund remained untaken for nearly 10 years. 

*The vital records of Lynn previous to 1650 are practically non-existent. Interments were largely in private graveyards, whereof there are no traces. Private records were lost. The main resource of the genealogist for this period is wills and inventories.

  In 1641 John Humphrey mortgaged his Sagamore Hill farm and windmill to Increase Nowell for 21 years to secure a loan of 80, the windmill itself being valued at 100 at this time. Henry Dunster subsequently became interested in this mortgage. Some years later Mr. Humphrey's agent suggested a settlement, and in 1647 Messr. Nowell and Dunster sold the property to Francis Ingalls, they having obtained the permission of the Court of Assistants, which decided that this would be to the best interest of Mr. Humphrey. However, this transaction was destined to cause trouble. In an affidavit long subsequently Francis Ingalls testified that when he went there to live the farm had been idle for six years and was in a state of waste and disrepair. This property was only a short distance to the west of Edmund's homestead at Ingalls pond. From this time onward Francis appears to have pursued jointly the avocations of tanner and farmer. It is clear, however, that he was a primitive manufacturer rather than a farmer. 

  In a description of Lynn in the History of New England, by Edward Johnson, published in 1651, it is said that the place then comprised about 100 houses, widely scattered. In speaking of trades he remarks that "As for tanners and shoemakers it being naturalized into their occupations to have a higher reach in managing these manufacturers than other men in New England are, having not changed their nature in this, between them both they have kept men to their stand hitherto, almost doubling the price of their commodities, according to the rate they were sold for in England, yet the plenty of leather is beyond what they had there." This implies prosperity for Francis Ingalls, at this time. 

  There is an economic significance in this. We see here a community of persons thrown upon their own aptitude to utilize natural resources in the raw. They can grow their own food. They can do their own building with the use of axe, adze and saw. They can gather clamshells and burn their own lime. They can make their own clothing out of wool and flax to be spun and woven in their homes. But they need the assistance of the miller in grinding their wheat and corn, for that requires power. And above all things they need iron and leather, which they are unable to make for themselves. The people of Lynn essayed to make iron and erected the first smeltery in America, but they failed in this for the reason that they did not have either good or ample ore. In respect of leather the condition was different. The hides could be supplied and Francis Ingalls could do the tanning. Shoemaking naturally followed. 

  The inception of the great industry of Lynn is therefore directly traceable to the accident that Edmund and Francis Ingalls chose to become its first settlers. Otherwise Lynn might have remained as stagnant as Ipswich, let us say, for it had no natural advantages as a seaport, like Salem and Boston, or in any other way. In the industrial history of the United States it is outstanding that Lynn is the place where it was first tried to make iron and leather, that both were done and that the manufacture of leather was enduring. Francis Ingalls must have been an artisan of real capacity, and must have been an important figure in the economy of the community. Besides being a tanner there is some reason to believe that he was also a brickmaker. It is not until the third generation in the Massachusetts Bay colony that men began to be commonly described as coopers, smiths, carpenters, housewrights and shipwrights, or as artisans of other kinds. Previously most of them had been husbandmen, i.e. farmers. I take this from the records of the Ingalls family, and it probably is a good sample. 

  For some reason that is obscure the windmill on Sagamore Hill was torn down. This was to the great inconvenience of the Lynn farmers, who then had to carry their corn to Salem to be ground. There was another mill in Lynn, but its operation was irregular and unsatisfactory.* 

  John Humphrey, having died in 1651, his administrators in 1662 brought suit against the executors of Henry Dunster to recover the Sagamore Hill property, for having illegally disposed of it, and they obtained judgment in their favor. This was evidently, on the ground that the mortgagees had no right to foreclose a 21-year mortgage, notwithstanding the sanction of the Court of Assistants. The records do not show how Francis Ingalls fared in this denouement. It may be inferred that he was the victim. However, he continued to occupy Sagamore Hill as tenant, paying a yearly rental of 10 10s. 

  The farm house of Sagamore Hill stood on the east side of Nahant street between Ocean and Baltimore. The administrators of John Humphrey's estate having regained this property in 1663 it passed to Ann Humphrey who in 1681 sold the house (which was still standing in my boyhood) to Richard Hood, together with part of the land, while another part of the land passed to William Bassett, jr. The Sagamore Hill farm extended to the eastward of the summit of the hill, where the windmill was, and is supposed to have connected with John Humphrey's farm called Swampscott, which he sold to Lady Deborah Moody in 1641. Toward the end of the seventeenth century a large part of this was known as the Bassett farm, this being to the south of Lewis street and the Lewis land. 

*According to deposition by Henry Collins. The Humphrey windmill was built in 1636. Other mills, all water power, are mentioned in early records, but evidently they did not survive. Apparently they were driven by undershot wheels. The brooks were small and they froze in winter. With such conditions the windmill was the more practicable.

  Francis Ingalls was clearly a man of many parts and many interests. We find him continually appearing as an appraiser of estates, as debtor or creditor in accounts, as figuring in law suits and as sitting year after year on the grand jury at Salem. In 1657 he was one of the commissioners to allot the common lands of Nahant. As late as 1663 he was still pursuing his trade as tanner. About 1668 he gave up the Sagamore Hill farm, and between that time and 1672 he sold to John Pearson his half of the Ingalls grant and removed to Boston, apparently to follow his son-in-law, Joseph Belknap, who previously may have worked with him in the Swampscott tannery. This removal may have been associated with the death of Lydia Belknap at about this time. 

  It may be deduced that Francis Ingalls, as a pioneer manufacturer, had business troubles. He left but little property, including only five acres of meadow land at Lynn, besides a parcel in "the wilderness of Lynn," and the inventory of his estate makes no mention of his tannery. Possibly it was comprised within the five acres of meadow land. From such evidence we may infer that Edmund was the more substantial man of the two, and probably was the leader. He established an estate, which Francis failed to do. Nevertheless in the history of Francis Ingalls, shadowy though it be, we sense something interesting and attractive. He must have known everybody and must have been esteemed. He was the first industrialist of Lynn and he paved the way for its great industry. 

  Francis Ingalls died in 1672 at the age of 71. His widow survived him. Their daughter Lydia, she who married Joseph Belknap, had died previous to 1670. There is no record of any other children. Francis named Elizabeth Farnham of Andover as his residuary legatee, for which he must have had some good reason, but we are unable to discern any connection. Anyhow, it is certain that there is no record of any male descendants from Francis. All of the Ingalls family in America. who emanate from Lynn therefore trace their ancestry to Edmund.

pp. 23 -32

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