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GRIDLEY, RICHARD [1631, Boston]




ORIGIN: Groton, Suffolk



OCCUPATION: Brickmaker. On 19 August 1639 Robert Meriam of Concord put William Boreman "apprentice to Richard Gridley of Boston in New England Brickmaker, for 6 years from 29 Sept. next," and on 17 October 1639 Gridley passed Boreman along to William Townsend of Boston, thatcher [Lechford 162-63, 210].

CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Admitted to Boston church before 10 June 1632, when he had a daughter baptized and was called "our brother Richard Gridley" [BChR 278]. (This is one of the few instances in which the Boston church records fail to include a known member in the membership lists.)

FREEMAN: 1 April 1634 [MBCR 1:368].

EDUCATION: He gave 4s. for the maintenance of a free school master, 12 August 1636 [BTR 1:160]. His inventory included "a great Bible & two old Bibles." In 1667 he made his mark to his deposition and he and wife Grace made their marks to all deeds.

OFFICES: Boston surveyor, 18 March 1647[/8] [BTR 90]. Fenceviewer for Fort Field, 21 March 1635/6, 17 April 1637, 16 April 1638, 25 March 1639 [BTR 9, 17, 33, 39]. Water bailey, 10 March 1655[/6], 4 March 1658[/9], 12 March 1659/60 [BTR 129, 150, 154]. Overseer of swine, 5 May 1659 [BTR 151].

ESTATE: In the Boston Book of Possessions Richard Gridley held two parcels: a house and lot, and another lot; these two parcels bracketed a lot held by John Harrison [BBOP 37-38]. "B[rother] Gridley" was one of three men offerred marsh at Hogg Island at an agreeable rate 27 April 1640, but he passed on the offer [BTR 1:53, 55].

On 12 February 1657[/8] "Richard Gridley of Boston Bricklayer" quitclaimed rights to James Robinson in a house and land in Boston [SLR 3:106].

On 5 October 1659 "Richard Gridly of Boston ... Brickmaker" with the consent of "Grace Gridly" for "love and affection I bear unto my son-in-law Edward Davis of the same Boston laborer and the natural love and affection I have and bear to my daughter Hannah his wife and to their children" gave them land in Boston [SLR 3:523].

On 5 October 1659 "Richard Gridley of Boston ... Brickmaker, & Grace his wife" sold to Edward Drinker of Boston, potter, land at the upper end of their field in Boston [SLR 5:62]

On 30 September 1662 Richard Gridley of Boston, brickmaker, for "the natural affection & love which I bear unto my wellbeloved son-in-law John Davis of the same Boston brickmaker, and to my daughter Return wife of the said Davis" a parcel of land abutting the house of John Harrison [SLR 11:364]. On 30 September 1662 "I Rich[ar]d Gridley of Boston... brickmaker & I Grace his wife" for the "natural love which we bear unto our son Joseph Gridly of the same place Brickmaker" gave him a parcel of land in Boston near the salt sea [SLR 7:113]

On 5 November 1666 "Richard Gridley of Boston ... brickmaker & Grace his wife" sold to "John Harrison of Boston ... ropemaker" land at the end of Harrison's workhouse. The description of the property was refined and agreed to by Gridley and Harrison on 30 November 1672 [SLR 5:99]

On 1 April 1668, "Richard Gridley of Boston ... brickmaker & Grace his wife" sold to "Colonel Daniell Searle now residing in the town of Boston" a parcel of land at Fort Hill [SLR 5:102-03] On 21 July 1668 Richard Gridley of Boston and Grace his wife sold to Robert Carver of Boston a parcel of land in the brick kiln yard by the sea [SLR 8:245].

On 27 January 1670[/1] Richard Gridley of Boston, brickmaker, "with the free consent of his now wife Grace Gridley," sold to Robert Marshall land in the tenure of John Harrison, ropemaker, a small parcel of land in Boston [SLR 7:137]. On 24 March 1671 Richard Gridley of Boston, brickmaker, and Grace his wife, sold to John Harrison a small parcel of land in Boston [SLR 11:365]. On 11 March 1672[/3] "Richard Gridly" with the consent of "Grace Gridly his wife," sold to John Gill of Boston land near Gridley's lime kiln in the southerly end of Boston [SLR 8:352].

On 8 [blank] 1674 Richard Gridley of Boston, brickmaker, and Grace his wife sold to Thomas Peck of Boston, shipwright, land next to that which belonged to "my son Beleve Gridley late deceased" [SLR 8:395].

On 20 January 1674[/5] "Grace Gridley of Boston ... widow & executrix of ... her late husband Richard Gridley of the said Boston deceased" sold to John Harrison of Boston, ropemaker, a small parcel of ground in Boston [SLR 10:304].

In his will, dated 19 October 1674 and proved 9 [blank] 1674, "Richard Gridly" bequeathed to "my beloved wife Grase Gridly" the entire estate during her life "and for my orchard which I have given to my son Trimbel that is dead, I give it to his child that is now living & in case the child die without issue it shall return to the Gridly's again"; residue after "my wife's death, I do give to my daughter Dorlom 10 that doth live at the eastward"; "my beloved wife Grase Gridly" executrix; "if that there be anything left I give to my grandchild Mary Gridly shall have 5 & the like I do give to my grandchild Beleave Gridley"; "my beloved friends John Harrison and Henery Alline & Robert Somderson" overseers [SPR 6:63].

The inventory of the estate of "Richard Gridly of Boston" was taken 28 October 1674 and totalled 92 5s., including real estate valued at 65, "the dwelling house & land from the orchard" [SPR 5:213].

The inventory of the estate of "Grace Gridley late of Boston deceased" was taken 3 June 1675 and totalled 83 2s., of which 60 was "a house that Rodger Billing is to have" [SPR 5:249].

BIRTH: About 1602 (deposed 4 March 1662 aged sixty years [SJC #508]).

DEATH: Boston between 19 October 1674 (date of will) and 28 October 1674 (date of inventory).

MARRIAGE: Groton, Suffolk, 25 July 1627 Grace Surrey [not 1626 as in NEHGR 76:240]; "Grace Gridley the wife of our brother Richard Gridley" admitted to Boston church 29 December 1633 [BChR 17]; she died after 20 January 1674/5 [SLR 10:304].


i ABRAHAM, bp. Groton, Suffolk, 21 April 1628 [not 27 April as in NEHGR 76:240]; bur. there 22 April 1628.


ii JOSEPH, bp. Groton, Suffolk, 20 May 1629 [NEHGR 76:240]; m. (1) Boston 9 June 1654 "Joseph Gridley & Lydia Flood widow" [BVR 48]; m. (2) Dorchester 24 June 1675 Elizabeth (Emmons) Hincksman, daughter of Thomas Emmons and widow of John Hincksman [DVR 23; TAG 20:178]. (An earlier wife Elizabeth, surname unknown, has been claimed for Joseph Gridley before he married the widow Flood, but the evidence for this is not seen [TAG 20:178].)


iii MARY, b. Boston 14 April 1632 [BVR 1]; bp. 10 June 1632 [BChR 278]; m. Boston about 1650 Philip Wharton. "Peircis Harrison further testifieth that within one month after she was married unto her present husband John Harrison (which was near twenty-seven years since), the said Phillip Wharton was married unto Mary daughter of said Richard Gridley," 16 November 1677 [SLR 11:9-10].


iv SARAH, b. 14 April 1634 [BVR 2]; bp. 1 June 1634 [BChR 279]; probably the "daughter Dorlom ... that doth live at the eastward." (See COMMENTS below.)


v HANNAH, b. 10 April 1636 [BVR 4]; bp. 24 April 1636 [BChR 281]; "Edward Davis & Hannah Gridley daughter of Richard Gridley of Boston" m. Boston 16 September 1657 [BVR 62].


vi RETURN, bp. 8 April 1638 [BChR 282]; "John Davis & Returne Gridley daughter of Richard Gridley of Boston" m. Boston 9 April 1656 [BVR 57].


vii BELIEVE (son), b. 1 May 1640 [BVR 9]; bp. 3 May 1640 [BChR 285]; married by 1664 Ann _____ [BVR 92; SCC 812].


viii TREMBLE (son), b. 14 March 1642 [sic] [BVR 12]; bp. 2 April 1643 "about 7 days old" [BChR 292]; m. by 1671 Elizabeth Bateman [TAG 35:207-10].

ASSOCIATIONS: Writing from Groton, Suffolk, to John Winthrop on 2 March 1639/40, Thomas Gostlin added the following postscript: "The wid[ow] Grigly remembers her service to you and desires to hear how her children do. I pray when you write let us hear of them" [WP 4:213]. On the assumption that "Grigly" is the same as "Gridley," this implies that Richard Gridley was joined in New England by one or more sisters (or perhaps by one or more half-siblings).

For more than thirty years Richard Gridley was closely associated with John Harrison, ropemaker, and his family. Their lands adjoined at the time of compilation of the Boston Book of Possessions, they were frequently involved together in land transactions, and in 1677 the second wife of John Harrison deposed regarding the marriage of one of Gridley's daughters. Perhaps Harrison's first wife was a sister of Richard Gridley, or in some other way related to him.

After Richard Gridley's death some uncertainty arose regarding the ownership of land exchanged between Gridley and John Harrison. "Mary Gridley sometimes the wife of Phillip Wharton, aged about forty-seven years," testified that "about half a year before my marriage with the said Phillip Wharton I heard my father promise and declare that he would give a good piece of land with me in marriage to the said Wharton and that afterwards my father set out to the said Wharton in consideration of the said Wharton's marriage with me ... all the land whereon he built his house" [SLR 11:9-10].

COMMENTS: The Boston vital records include "Susanna of Richard & Anna Gridley" born 23 October 1658 [BVR 65]. This cannot be a son of Richard Gridley the immigrant, who had only wife Grace, and who does not name a daughter Susannah in his will. This may be an error for some other name; there was a Richard Critchley in Boston during these years, but he does not seem to have had a wife Ann either.

The bequest to "my daughter Dorlom ... that doth live at the eastward" poses an interesting problem. Some have identified her as Katherine, wife of George Darling of Marblehead. This cannot be, as she was his wife as early as 1641 [EPR 1:46], too soon to be a daughter of Richard Gridley. Furthermore, "to the eastward" generally means east of the Piscataqua, which Marblehead is not. For all these reasons no daughter Katherine is included in the lists of children above.

Another attempt to identify "daughter Dorlom" is to make her wife of John Dollen of Monhegan and Pemaquid [GDMNH 198]. This is certainly the right location, and may be correct, but no evidence is given beyond the similarity of surname.

On 2 November 1637 "Rich[a]rd Gridley being convented for having his hand to the said seditious writing, or libel [in support of Wheelwright], & not acknowledging his fault, is disfranchised" [MBCR 1:207]. On 20 November 1637 Richard Gridley was in the list of Boston men to be disarmed [MBCR 1:211]. On about 22 November 1637 "Rich[ard] Gridlye" renounced his adherence to the remonstrance in favor of Wheelwright; the editor of this document notes that the signature is in the hand of Governor Winthrop [WP 3:513]. On 22 May 1639 "Rich[a]rd Gridley, upon his acknowledgement of his fault, & giving satisfaction to the Court, was readmitted again to the freedom of this body" [MBCR 1:259].

On 13 May 1647 "Richard Gridley of Boston" granted power of attorney to "Jasper Rawlins of Roxbury to sue & prosecute Robert Parks of Hartford for breach of covenant touching his daughter Hannah Gridley, and to recover her out of his hands" [Aspinwall 76-77].

Thomas Sewell and his wife were admitted to Boston on the request of Richard "Greedly" and four others, 31 May 1652 [BTR 1:111]. He was paid 10 for lime and bricks delivered at Fort Hill, 28 April 1656 [BTR 1:130]. He was to be paid for building the schoolhouse chimney, 29 December 1656 [BTR 1:132].

Having witnessed a deed of "William Beamslay" on 14 September 1658, Richard Gridley and Thomas Clarke were called upon 28 April 1659 to confirm it, since WILLIAM BEAMSLEY had died in the interim without acknowledging the deed [SLR 3:306].

In several depositions given over the last two decades of his life Richard Gridley provided useful information about various Boston families, and also testified consistently about his age. On 2 July 1660 "Richard Gridley aged about fifty-nine years testifieth & saith that about thirteen years since I heard William Leatherland say that he would give unto Nathaniell Pa[r]tridge the one half of the house he then lived in..." and further stated that the wife of Nathaniel Partridge was the sister of William Leatherland [SLR 3:382].

On 1 August 1667 or shortly before Richard Gridley testified regarding the affairs of Benjamin Ward and his wife:

The testimony of Richard Gridley aged sixty-five years, testifieth & saith that having had conference with Brother Ward, deceased, about two years since, hearing of him complain of the trouble he had with his servants, I did ask of him how he did carry on his work now. And he did answer me that he was eased of his trouble by his two sons, for they did carry on the work comfortably & that they did agree very well & then I did ask of him, how he did think to dispose of his estate lying as it did abroad & at home, he did tell me that they did the better it should be for them, for it should be divided together, for they did each one the work to his great comfort [NEHGR 18:156].

On 31 January 1670[/1] "Richard Gridly aged about sixty-eight years testifieth when I was at work with Mr. Browne & Mr. Curwin both of Salem about setting down a wharf joining to Mr. Joshua Scotto his ground, the said Scotto came & forwarned us and said we trespassed upon his ground charging us not to proceed ... this work was done in the year 1663" [SLR 7:100].

"Richard Gridley aged seventy-four years or thereabouts" deposed 28 April 1674 regarding a time when "Joshua Scottow did set up his warehouse behind Phillip Wharton's house" [SLR 8:439].

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