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Thomas Betterly (1723-1775)
Elizabeth Carson (1732-1775)

Last updated: Wednesday, 18-Mar-2015 13:29:55 MDT William Carson Betterly Home

ThomasB Betterly & ElizabethB Carson ( WilliamA)

"A new plan of ye great town of Boston in New England in America with the many additionall buildings & new streets, to the year, 1769" Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

I would like to acknowledge the many contributions to our knowledge of the ancestors of William Betterly made by my fellow Betterly researchers, in particular, Jean Betterly, Loren Dahling, Anne McGrath, Esther Mott and Phylicia Salisbury.

Thomas Betterly was born 17 November 1723 in Boston, the son of Thomas Betterly and Elizabeth Alden. [1]   He was baptized at King’s Chapel on 18 December.[2]  Although his father, a feltmaker [hatmaker] by profession, was then firmly established in Edenton, North Carolina, serving as a Justice of the Peace at that place, there is reason to believe that Elizabeth and son remained in Boston.[3]  Edenton at the time was a rough-and-ready place where disputes were settled by personal violence as much as by any other means and would not have been suitable for raising a family with a wife used to the relative civility of Boston.

Detail from "A new plan of ye great town of Boston in New England in America with the many additionall buildings & new streets, to the year, 1769" showing the Sudbury Street property, Queen's Street (location of the Writing School) and King's Chapel. Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

In 1729, when Thomas was 5 years old, his father died, leaving his estate to his wife to be used for the “education, support & maintenance” of his son "untill he shall attaine the age of ffifteen yeares,"  the remainder to go to his wife, who, two years later, was supporting herself by selling Bohea Tea in Sudbury Street, Boston.[4]  This is the residence that she inherited a one third interest in from her father, the other two thirds going to her sisters.  The property is at an angle formed by Sudbury Street and Alden Lane.[5]

Thomas’ education could have been at one of Boston’s free public schools: either at one of the Writing Schools, where students were taught spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic and the catechism, an education that would “qualify them for common and ordinary Employments,” or at a Grammar School, where Latin and Greek were taught and where those so “inclined may have the opportunity of being initiated into a further Degree of Education.”[6]  Since he eventually became a tailor, a profession learned by apprenticeship, it is not likely he attended a Grammar School.[7]  Instead, he probably attended a Writing school, beginning at the customary age of 7 (1730 for Thomas).[8]  The nearby Writing School in Queen’s Street is the most likely candidate. [9]  The school master there at this time was Edward Mills succeeded in 1733 by Samuel Holyoke.[10]  Another possibility is that, having received some money for his education by his father’s will, he may have attended one of the many of private schools in Boston at the time, where a much broader curriculum was to be found including such things as accounting, navigation and astronomy.[11]

Apprenticeships typically began at age 14 (1737) and concluded at age 21 (1744).[12]  It is interesting to speculate that Thomas may have begun his apprenticeship with George Monk (1683-1740), a Boston tailor, whose step-daughter Jane Carson, was the mother of Thomas’ future wife, and that perhaps this is how they met.  In any case, Thomas and Elizabeth Carson were married by Rev. Henry Canor at King’s Chapel on 6 April 1749, 5 years after the likely completion of Thomas’ apprenticeship.[13]  Elizabeth was born 22 March 1732, daughter of William Carson and Jane Howard .[14]  According to family legend, she was born in Scotland and arrived in the colonies at the age of 1 ½.[15]

As there is no record of Thomas owning property at this time, Thomas and Elizabeth either lived with his mother in the Sudbury Street home, or rented.  The couple’s first child – Elizabeth – was born 16 January 1750, was baptized 10 days later and died 15 February of the same year.[16]  She is buried at King’s Chapel.[17]  Their second child – Thomas – was born 28 April 1751 and baptized at King’s Chapel on 8 May.[18]

1753 was a tragic year for the family.  First, Elizabeth (Carson) Betterly’s grandmother, Elizabeth (?) (Howard) (Monk) Warner died and was buried at Trinity Church Burial Ground on 2 February.[19]  Eleven days later, Thomas’ mother, Elizabeth (Alden) Betterly died.[20]  She was buried in King’s Chapel Burial Ground on 17 February.[21]  Later in the year, Luke Vardy, second husband of Elizabeth (Carson) Betterly’s mother, Jane (Howard) Carson, died.[22]  He was buried at King’s Chapel on 13 September.  Jane died that same month and was buried at King’s Chapel on 26 September.[23]

Detail from "A new plan of ye great town of Boston in New England in America with the many additionall buildings & new streets, to the year, 1769" showing the Betterly properties at Pleasant and Orange Street, the South Writing School, the Liberty Tree and Trinity Church. Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Thomas inherited the Sudbury Street property from his mother.[24]  He was also that year appointed administrator of Elizabeth Warner’s estate.[25]  Included in the estate were two properties in what was then the South End of Boston near the Neck and near the intersection of Orange (later Washington) Street and Pleasant (formerly Bennet) Street.  One property, valued at £120, was on Orange Street and included a ½ share in a dwelling house.  The property also had a well and a passageway.  The second property, around the corner on Pleasant Street, was a house lot valued at 33 pounds, 6 shillings and eight pence.  Although this lot is larger than the Orange Street property, its lower value suggests that it did not yet have a house erected on it.  Also included in the estate were two bonds valued at 21 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence and 33 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence respectively.  By the time the probate was complete, Elizabeth Warner’s daughter, Jane Vardy, who would have inherited the estate, was also dead, so the estate went to the granddaughter, Thomas Betterly’s wife Elizabeth.[26]

Thomas was also appointed administrator of the estate of Luke Vardy.  The estate, which included “one old Negro Woman,” was valued at 10 pounds, 7 shillings and 6 pence, which was not enough to cover the funeral expenses and debts, and so would have gone to Thomas in his role as administrator.  Nothing is known about the fate of the slave.[27]

The Betterlys rented out the Orange Street property but do not seem to have had much luck with tenants.  On 11 December 1754, Thomas and his wife sued Moses Pierce, glazier, for the recovery of 29 pounds, 13 shillings, and 4 pence, claiming that Moses had failed to pay for a house and land on Orange Street which he had held from January 1752 until November 1754.[28]  Evidently, Moses was originally the tenant of Elizabeth Warner, since Thomas and Elizabeth didn’t inherit the place until 1754.

Eighteen years later, Thomas was still having to sue to recover rents owed on the property.

On 21 April 1772, Thomas sued Joseph Winslow to recover his house and barn on Orange Street.  Thomas had leased the property to Winslow who, when the term was up, refused to relinquish it.  Thomas claimed £70 damages.[29]

Again, on 21 September 1773, Thomas sued to recover 13 pounds, 10 shillings from Jonas Raymond of Boston, laborer and distiller, for 3/4 of a year's rent on a house on Orange Street in the Southerly part of Boston which he had occupied from 18 December 1772 to 18 September 1773.[30]

In contrast to the events of 1753, 1754 brought happier news to the family with the birth of their second daughter, also named Elizabeth, on 7 April.[31]  She was baptized 7 days later at Trinity Church.[32]  The fact that they had switched from King’s Chapel on School Street to Trinity Church on Summer Street may be an indication that they had moved across town to the Bennet Street property by this time, as Trinity is closer to that place than King’s.

On St. Patrick’s Day 1755, Thomas Betterly received a judgment against Jonathon Prescott of Littleton, Middlesex County, for 10 pounds, 9 shillings plus court costs.  The records do not indicate what this was all about.[33]

Beginning in the year 1758, the Betterly children began to reach school age: first Thomas, then Elizabeth in 1761 and finally William (born 1762) in 1769.  By the time George (born 1769) was old enough to go to school, the family had already left Boston.[34]  Thomas, and later William, would likely have attended the South Writing School in nearby Boston Common.  The School Master there during the time that Thomas might have attended was Abiah Holbrook.  During William’s time, Abiah’s brother Samuel was the School Master.[35]  Since the public schools were for boys only, Elizabeth would not have attended there, but may well have attended one of the many private schools in Boston.[36]  In fact, Thomas and William may have as well, as many of these schools accepted children of both genders, while others were more specialized.  For example, George Suckling advertised that “young Gentlemen and Ladies may be boarded and educated, and taught English, Writing and Arithmetick, both Vulgar and Decimal; with several other Branches of the Mathematicks, after a very easy and concise Method,” while in the same advertisement Bridget Suckling advertised that “young Ladies may be taught plain Work, Dresden, Point (or Lace) Work for Child Bed Linnen, Crossstitch, Tentstich, and all other Sorts of Needle Work.”[37]

On 28 December 1758, Thomas and Elizabeth sold their interest in the Sudbury Street house and land to Joseph Gale for 86 pounds, 13 shillings and 4 pence.[38]    

On 11 May 1759, Thomas Betterly extended his Bennet Street property to the northwest by purchasing land from Hopestill Foster for 23 pounds, 18 shillings, and 8 pence.[39]

The second son of Thomas and Elizabeth Betterly - William Carson – was born 29 Mar 1762 and baptized 9 April at Trinity Church.[40] 

Two entries in the Boston Selectmen’s Minutes indicate that the Betterlys were taking in lodgers during this period: 13 November 1763 - “Mr. Thomas Bettersby [sic] informed the Selectmen that he had taken into his House as a Lodger a Stranger, but has forgot his Name;”[41] and 10 March 1764 - “Mr. Thomas Betterly attended, and acquainted the Selectmen that he had received into his House, last Fryday as Lodgers three Dutch Persons all single men their Names are Thomas Myers, Godfrey Aderholz & August Newman? - who came to this Town with design to carry on the Business of Baking Ginger Bread, provided they can obtain the approbation of the Selectmen.”[42]

Thomas, Jr. reached the age of 14 the following year, the typical age for beginning an apprenticeship.  Since Thomas would later earn his living as a baker, it is possible that he learned the trade from these Dutchmen.[43]  However, on 17 July 1767, which would have been only two years into this supposed apprenticeship, Thomas is seen taking up lodging with Mrs. Hannah Metcalf, widow, in Wrentham, some 30 miles from Boston.[44]  So, we are left to wonder whether Thomas apprenticed with the Dutchmen, and, if so, why that was cut short, and what his stay in Wrentham was all about.  Is it possible that one apprenticeship was ended and another begun?  It is possible that his sister, Elizabeth, when she reached 14 years of age in 1768, began some sort of apprenticeship as well.  Girls would normally apprentice until the age of 18, or when they married.[45]

The last decade of the lives of Thomas and Elizabeth Betterly – 1765 to 1775 – coincided with the ever-intensifying sequence of events that propelled the American colonies toward open rebellion against Great Britain.  As these events occurred mainly in Boston, a town of merely 15,520 in 1765, the family could not have been unaffected.[46]  At a minimum, conversation around the dinner table must surely have included discussion of the issues and events of the day.

Following the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763, Great Britain, finding herself with a national debt of nearly £130,000,000 and facing annual expenses of around £225,000 to maintain an army in North America, passed several acts to raise money from her American colonies.  These were direct taxes on the colonies by Parliament, a body in which the colonists were not represented.  This direct taxation was new to the colonists, who had heretofore voted taxes through their own assemblies, and they resented it.  The Sugar Act of 1764, which imposed a 3% tax on imported molasses, was followed the next year by the Stamp Act which required that most legal documents use paper having an official stamp, the purchase of the pre-stamped paper constituting the tax.  Britain had moved from taxing imports to an “internal” tax.[47]

Reaction to the Stamp Act was initially peaceful.  In Boston, efforts were made to boycott British goods.  In New York, a Stamp Act Congress was convened including representatives from eight of the colonies.  In Virginia, Patrick Henry gave speeches in the House of Burgesses regarding Virginians’ “inestimable” rights to self-government and self-taxation.[48]  But, on August 13, 1765, an effigy of Andrew Oliver, designated stamp officer for the colony of Massachusetts Bay, was hung on the Liberty Tree at the corner of Essex Street and Orange Street, about a quarter of a mile from the Betterly property.  The following day, a mob proceeded from there to King’s street where they pulled down a building recently erected by Oliver presumably for the purpose of distributing the stamped paper.  The mob proceeded to Oliver’s house where they did considerable damage and from there to Fort Hill where they burned his effigy.[49]  The mob next turned its attention to the homes of other Royal officials, including the near-destruction of the home of the province’s Lieutenant-Governor, Thomas Hutchinson, in the North End, on the night of August the 26th.[50]  The Stamp Act was repealed on 17 March of the following year.[51]

Amid all this turmoil, the activities of daily life continued. 

On 21 March 1766, Thomas sold the extension to the Bennet Street property that he had purchased from Hopestill Foster 7 years earlier to Edward Blake, housewright, for £24, nearly the same price he had paid for it.[52]

Having abandoned the idea of raising revenue from its colonies by means of “internal” taxes, Britain turned again to “external” taxes.  The Townshend Acts, five acts passed beginning in 1767, among other things, imposed duties on items imported to the colonies from Great Britain, including paper, paint, lead, glass, and tea.  Also included in the acts were measures for more effectively enforcing the customs laws.  The measures were opposed by merchants of Boston and elsewhere with agreements that called for the non-importation of British goods.[53]

On 29 July 1767, Thomas and his wife sold a piece of the Bennet Street property to their neighbor to the Southwest, Samuel Proctor, in exchange for a strip of land providing a passageway from the back of the Bennet Street property to the back of the Orange Street property.[54]

Thomas and his wife, on 1 October of that same year, borrowed £60 from James Smith of Milton, merchant, to be paid by 1 April 1768 at 6 percent annual interest.  There was a penalty of £150 for non-payment.  They put up their properties on Bennet and Orange streets as surety.  The debt was repaid.[55]

Meanwhile, in order to administer the Townshend acts, the American Customs Board was established in Boston backed by the 50-gun HMS Romney which arrived in May 1768.  The following month, customs officials seized the sloop Liberty, owned by John Hancock, after an incident in which a customs official had been locked inside the ship’s cabin while smuggled wine was removed from the ship in an effort to evade the Townshend duties.  Bostonians reacted to the seizure by rioting following which the customs officials retreated to Castle William on an island in Boston Harbor.[56]

"The town of Boston in New England and British ships of war landing their troops! 1768," engraving by Paul Revere, 1770, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The British responded to the unrest in Boston by sending 2 regiments of infantry – the 14th and the 29th Regiments of Foot – along with naval support to Boston.[57]  The troops began to disembark in the town on 1 October.[58]  More would follow in the coming months.[59]  At first, the 29th encamped in tents on Boston Commons while the 14th was quartered in Faneuil Hall and the Town House.  Throughout the month, the town resisted the efforts of the British to secure more favorable quarters.  Eventually, however, the troops were housed in leased warehouses in the vicinity of the Customs House.[60]

Thomas and Elizabeth’s third son – George – was born 18 August 1769.[61]

On 22 February 1770, a crowd gathered in front of a shop in the North End to protest the selling of British goods.   Ebenezer Richardson, who some years earlier was engaged as an informer for the customs service, lived nearby.  He attempted to break up the protest at which the mob turned its attention to Richardson’s house, pelting it with sticks and stones. Richardson fired his musket into the crowd killing a young boy by the name of Christopher Seider [or Snider].  Boston was outraged at the killing.[62]

"The bloody massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of the 29th Regt.," engraving by Paul Revere, 1770,

Eleven days later, in the evening of March the 5th, a scuffle broke out with a soldier of the 29th standing guard at the Customs House in King’s Street.  A crowd gathered, the guard was called out (Capt. Thomas Preston and 7 others, all from the 29th), the soldiers were taunted, things were thrown and soldiers were hit.  Eventually, the soldiers fired into the mob, striking eleven people.  Three died instantly, and two more died later of their wounds.  Then Acting Governor Thomas Hutchinson, speaking from the balcony of the Town House convinced the mob to disperse after promising an inquiry.  The incident came to be known as the Boston Massacre.  The soldiers were arrested and tried.  Defended by John Adams, two were convicted of manslaughter and the others acquitted.[63]

Following the incident, the two regiments were removed from Boston to Castle Island.  On 17 March, the 29th left Massachusetts altogether and proceeded to New Jersey.[64]  A year later, William Carson of the 29th (not one of those involved in the Boston Massacre), recently promoted to Corporal, took leave from his regiment and returned to Boston, where, on 19 December, he married 17-year-old Elizabeth Betterly at Trinity Church.  William, and presumably his young bride, by November of 1772, rejoined his regiment, now in St. Augustine, Florida.[65]

On 1 May 1772, a note, dated 17 October of the previous year, in which Thomas Betterly had promised to pay 5 pounds, 10 shillings and 2 pence to Henry Gardner within 6 months, was signed over to Phillip Freeman of Boston, shopkeeper.  The next month, Freeman brought suit against Thomas for the recovery of the money.  The Deputy Sheriff attached a chain to the estate of Thomas Betterly and summoned him to court.[66]

Twenty-one-year-old Thomas Jr. married Lydia Warren the day before Christmas 1772 at the Betterly home on Pleasant Street.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. William Walter, pastor of Trinity Church.  Attending the wedding were Thomas Sr. and his wife, James Lovell and wife (“she that is now Mrs. Phillips and was once Mary Warren”), Abigail Warren (“she that is since Mrs. Green”), Hannah Hutchinson, Hannah Raymond, Benjamin Coleman, and Sarah Coleman.[67]  Their first son, also named Thomas, was baptized at Trinity Church on 24 August 1773.[68]  That same year, Thomas was serving in the Boston militia in the Company of Capt. John Haskins, in the Regiment of Col. John Erving.[69]

"Americans throwing Cargoes of the Tea Ships into the River, at Boston," from W.D. Cooper, "Boston Tea Party" The History of North America (London: E. Newberry, 1789),

Even though most of the provisions of the Townshend Acts were repealed in 1770, the 3 penny per pound tax on tea remained.  In October 1773, seven ships carrying East India Company tea were sent to ports along the eastern seaboard.  The Sons of Liberty organized protests which resulted in most of the ships returning to Europe without unloading their cargoes, and, therefore, without paying the tea tax.  In Boston, however, Governor Hutchinson refused to permit the 3 ships in the harbor loaded with tea to leave the port without paying the duties.  Not able to return, and yet prevented by the protestors from unloading their cargoes, the ships remained in Boston Harbor until the night of 16 December  1773, when, following a mass meeting at Old South Meeting House, a group of men, some dressed as Mohawk warriors, dumped the tea into the harbor.[70]  

Thomas Betterly and his wife sold their Orange Street property on 3 January 1774 to Edward Tuckerman of Boston, baker, for 124 pounds, 14 shillings, and 8 pence.[71]

Meanwhile, in response to what became known as the Boston Tea Party, Great Britain, in 1774, enacted a series of laws known variously as the Intolerable or Coercive Acts.  Among other things, the port of Boston was closed until the East India Company was repaid for the tea destroyed during the Tea Party, Massachusetts government positions were made appointees of the King or his Royal Governor in the province and activities of the town meetings were severely restricted.  Accused Royal officials could be sent to England for trial instead of being tried in the colonies, and, if a colony refused to provide quarters for British troops, the Royal Governor of that colony was empowered to order the troops to be quartered in unoccupied buildings.[72]  On 13 May 1774, Gen. Thomas Gage arrived in Boston, having been appointed military Royal Governor of the colony, replacing Thomas Hutchinson.[73]  He was followed shortly by eleven regiments of British troops.[74]  Boston was now under military rule.

An indication of what life was like under military rule is given by the following incident reported by one John Andrews, Esq. of Boston in a letter to his brother-in-law William Barrell, a Philadelphia merchant, dated 21 August 1774:

This evening two officers of the 38th were very severely drub’d for going into a house in Pleasant street and ill-using two women, whose husbands happen’d to be at home :  whereby one of the officers got a contusion on his head from the stroke of a pistol, apply’d by a son of Vulcan :  who followed him, took away his sword and broke it[,] while the other was feeling the effects of an injur’d husbands rage.  They then both went and press’d a complaint to Lord Percy :  what satisfaction he gave ‘em, cant learn, but from his disposition to punish every misbehaviour, either in officers or soldiers, am perswaded he will do them justice.[75]

If this wasn’t the Betterly household, then it was that of one of their Pleasant Street neighbors.

A Plan of the Town of Boston, with the Intrenchments &c. of His Majestys Forces in 1775: from the Observations of Lieut. Page of His Majesty's Corps of Engineers; and from the Plans of other Gentlemen showing the fortifications on the Boston Neck near the Betterly property. Published by William Fadden, 1777. Norman B. Levanthal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.

In September, General Gage began strengthening fortifications on Boston Neck, a natural causeway connecting Boston to Roxbury, the only route by land into Boston.[76]  The fortifications on the Neck ran up to the corner of Bennet and Orange streets.

On 19 April 1775, about 700 British troops set out from Boston to Concord to capture military stores being stockpiled there by Massachusetts militia.  After clashing briefly with militia at Lexington, they proceeded to Concord where a part of their force met and were defeated by approximately 500 militiamen at North Bridge.  Meanwhile, militia were being called out from nearby towns.  The British retreated precipitately towards Boston, all the while fired upon by the ever-increasing number of militia who inflicted heavy losses on the British.[77]  Following the Battles of Lexington and Concord, militia from the New England colonies, under the leadership of Gen. Artemas Ward, surrounded Boston.  The town was under siege.  Some movement of civilians in and out of the town was allowed, but passes were required, and guns were prohibited.[78]  The public schools were closed on or shortly after the battles and did not re-open until after the British evacuated the city the following year.[79]  This would have affected William who still had another year of schooling to go.

"View of the Attack on Bunker's Hill with the Burning of Charlestown," engraving by Lodge after the drawing by Millar, 1783,

On 16 June 1775, colonial militia began construction of positions on Breed’s Hill in Charlestown, from which Boston could be reached by patriot artillery fire.  The next morning, the British attacked the rebel position.  The battle was viewed by many in Boston from the hills and from rooftops.  When it was all over, the Americans had withdrawn, but the British had lost nearly 1/6th of their entire force in Boston either dead or wounded.[80]

Thomas Betterly died on 28 July 1775 and his wife on 7 August.  They were buried together on the 23rd in the Trinity Church burial grounds.[81]

Thomas died intestate.  An inventory of his estate dated 9 October 1778 by his attorney and administrator Benjamin Coleman, who had 6 years earlier attended the wedding of Thomas Jr., listed a dwelling house and land at the South End of Boston valued at £300.[82]  Thomas Betterly of Worcester, baker, also an administrator of the estate of Thomas Betterly, late of Boston, tailor, sold the property to William Crane of Boston, distiller, for £650 on 23 February of the following year.[83]

Related Articles
Parents of Thomas Betterly:
Parents of Elizabeth Carson:
Children of Thomas Betterly & Elizabeth Carson:
  • Elizabeth Betterly (1750-1750)
  • Thomas Betterly (1751-1836)
  • Elizabeth Betterly (1754-?)
  • William Betterly (1762-1841)
  • George Betterly (1769-1839)

[1] A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston Containing Boston Births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800, City Document No. 43, Births - 1723 (Boston: Rockwell & Churchill, City Publishers, 1894) 158, researcher: Jean Betterly; A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston Containing the Boston Marriages from 1700 to 1751, City Document No. 150, Boston Marriages, 1720 (Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1898) 86, researcher: Jean Betterly.

[2] Records of Baptisms of King's Chapel, Boston, 1703-1821 [FHL 837,128].

[3] Margaret M. Hoffman, Chowan Precinct, North Carolina, 1696 to 1723, Genealogical Abstracts of Deed Books (Weldon, NC: The Roanoke News Company. 1976) 55-6:21:442; Hoffman 129:521:1053; Hoffman 61:71:484.

[4] William S. Price, Jr., ed. "Richard v. Betterley Administrator,” The Colonial Records of North Carolina, [Second Series], Volume VI, North Carolina Higher-Court Minutes, 1724-1730  (Raleigh, NC: Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 1981)  557, 585; John Anderson Brayton, comp. Transcriptions of Provincial North Carolina Wills, 1663-1729/30 (Memphis, TN: John Anderson Brayton, 2003-5) 1:48-9, researcher: Henry Hoff, NEHGS; "Advertisement," The Boston News-Letter 9 thru 16 Dec. 1731:2, researcher: Esther Mott.

[5] “[The Will of Capt. William Alden],” The Mayflower Descendant, Volume X 1908: 79-80, Mayflower Descendant Legacy, CD-ROM, Wheat Ridge, CO: Search & Research Publishing Co., 1996, researcher Jean Betterly.

[6] Robert Francis Seybolt, The Public Schools of Colonial Boston, 1635-1775 (New York City: Arno Press & The New York Times, 1969) 5, 68, 70-1, 76.

[7] Suffolk County Probate Records, 1753-1754 48:405-6 [FHL 493,872]; Robert Francis Seybolt, Apprenticeship & Apprenticeship Education in Colonial New England & New York (New York City: Teacher’s College, Columbia University, 1917) 91.

[8] Seybolt, The Public Schools of Colonial Boston, 1635-1775  67

[9] Seybolt, The Public Schools of Colonial Boston, 1635-1775 10.

[10] Seybolt, The Public Schools of Colonial Boston, 1635-1775 21-2.

[11] Robert Francis Seybolt, The Private Schools of Colonial Boston (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1970) 15.

[12] Suffolk County Probate Records, 1753-1754 48:405-6 [FHL 493,872]; Seybolt, Apprenticeship & Apprenticeship Education in Colonial New England & New York 25.

[13] Brattleboro Chapter, Vermont DAR, cont. "Bible Record – Betterly,” Early Records, Bible, Cemetery, Town, Revolutionary, Wills, Deeds, 58-9, typescript with photographs on microfilm, DAR Library, Washington, DC.; Records of Marriages of King's Chapel, Boston, 1718-1842 [FHL 856,698], researcher: Esther Mott.

[14] Vermont DAR 59. 

[15] James N. Betterley to James Earnest Betterley, transcript of letter, 18 Jun. 1928, researcher Loren Dahling.

[16] Dunklee; Records of Baptisms of King's Chapel, Boston, 1703-1821 [FHL 837,128].

[17] Records of Burials of King's Chapel, Boston [FHL 837,128].

[18] Dunklee; Records of Baptisms of King's Chapel, Boston, 1703-1821 [FHL 837,128].

[19] Andrew Oliver and James Bishop Peabody, eds. The Records of Trinity Church, Boston, 1728-1830 (Boston: The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1982), The Records of the Churches of Boston, CDROM, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2002.

[20] "Facsimile Copy of the Betterley Bible Page,” The Daughters of the American Revolutions Magazine Jun. 1951: 495, researchers:  Jean Betterly and Loren Dahling.

[21] Records of Burials of King's Chapel, Boston [FHL 837,128].

[22] Records of King's Chapel, 1703-1844 [FHL 856,698].

[23] Records of King's Chapel, 1703-1844 [FHL 837,129].

[24] Suffolk County Deeds, 1757-1760 92:163 [FHL 494,595].

[25] Suffolk County Probate Records, 1636-1899 48:340 [FHL 493,872].

[26] Suffolk County Probate Records, 1636-1899 49:76 [FHL 493,873]; "Thomas Betterly to Edward Tuckerman" Suffolk County Deeds, 1773-1775 125:97 [FHL 494607].

[27] Suffolk County Probate Records, 1753-1754 48:405-6 [FHL 493,872]; Suffolk County Probate Records, 1753-1754 49:454 [FHL 493,873].

[28] "Betterly v. Pierce," Suffolk County Court Files, 1629-1797 450:73635 [FHL 915,441].

[29] "Betterly v. Winslow," Suffolk County Court Files, 1629-1797 603:102190 [FHL 925,916].

[30] “Betterly v. Raymond," Suffolk County Court Files, 1629-1797 525:91805 [FHL 926,519].

[31] Dunklee.

[32] Andrew Oliver and James Bishop Peabody, eds. Records of Trinity Church, Boston 1728-1830 (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1982) 542.

[33] "Betterly v. Prescott," Suffolk County Court Files, 1629-1797 461:75962 [FHL 915,452].

[34] As will be seen, William was serving in the Massachusetts Militia from Worcester in October 1776.  On a list dated July 1777, Thomas is identified as a resident of Worcester having been driven out of Boston since the blockade (Francis Everett Blake, Esq., comp., “Gleanings from Massachusetts Archives,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, Oct 1901) LV:388-9).  Thomas became George’s guardian in 1784 (Worcester County Probate Records 118:97 [FHL 859,342]). It is assumed that Thomas, along with his wife, son and two younger brothers all left Boston for Worcester together following their parents’ deaths in 1775.

[35] Seybolt, The Public Schools of Colonial Boston, 1635-1775   26.

[36] Seybolt, The Private Schools of Colonial Boston 9; Seybolt, The Public Schools of Colonial Boston, 1635-1775 94.

[37] Seybolt, The Public Schools of Colonial Boston, 1635-1775 34-5.

[38] "Thomas Betterley to Joseph Gale," Suffolk County Deeds, 1757-1760 92:163 [FHL 494,595].

[39] " Hopestill Foster to Thomas Betterley,” Suffolk County Deeds, 1760-1761 94:129 [FHL 494,596].

[40] Dunklee; Oliver and Peabody 550.

[41] A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, Containing the Selectmen’s Minutes from 1754 through 1763 (Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1887) 286-7, 6 May 2012 <>, researcher: Phylicia Salisbury.

[42] A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, Containing the Selectmen’s Minutes from 1764 through 1768 (Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1889) 51, 6 May 2012 <>, researcher: Phylicia Salisbury.

[43] Suffolk County Probate Records, 1778 77:307:16503; "Thomas Betterly to William Crane," Suffolk Deeds, 1775-1779 129:268 [FHL 494,608]; "Francis Willson to Thomas Betterly," Worcester County Deeds 83:392 [FHL 843,363]; "Thomas Betterly to Stephen White," Worcester County Deeds 85:85 [FHL 843,364].

[44] Esther L. Friend , "Notifications and Warnings Out: Strangers Taken Into Wrentham, Massachusetts, Between 1732 and 1812,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Jul. 1987: 179.

[45] Seybolt, Apprenticeship & Apprenticeship Education in Colonial New England & New York 25.

[46] Hiller B. Zobel, The Boston Massacre (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1970) 5.

[47] “Stamp Act 1765,” 15 Apr. 1012, 7 May 2012 <>.

[48] Zobel, 25-6.

[49] Zobel, 29-30.

[50] Zobel, 32-4.

[51] “Stamp Act 1765.”

[52] "Thomas Betterly to Edward Blake," Suffolk County Deeds, 1766-1767 110:118 [FHL 494602].

[53]Townshend Acts,” 3 May 2012, 9 May 2012 <”>.

[54] "Thomas Betterly to Samuel Proctor," Suffolk County Deeds, 1767-1769 111: 263 [FHL 494,603]; "Samuel Proctor to Thomas Betterly," Suffolk County Deeds, 1767-1769 111:116 [FHL 494,603].

[55] "Thomas Betterly to James Smith," Suffolk County Deeds, 1767-1769 111:129 [FHL 494,603].

[56] “Townshend Acts”; “HMS Liberty (1768),” 14 Jan. 2012, 9 May 2012 <>.

[57] Zobel, 85, 93.

[58] Zobel, 99.

[59] Zobel, 107.

[60] Zobel, 100-4.

[61] Edward E. Parker, History of Brookline, Formerly Raby , Hillsborough County, New Hampshire (published by the town, 1906) 471-2.

[62] Zobel, 173-9.

[63] “Boston Massacre,” 9 May 2012, 10 May 2012 <>; Zobel, 184, 203-4.

[64] Zobel, 209-10, 228.

[65]Commissary General of Musters Office and Successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists,” Records Created or Inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and Related Bodies WO 12:4493-4, National Archives [of Great Britain], Kew; Oliver and Peabody 731.

[66] "Freeman v. Betterly,” Suffolk County Court Files, 1629-1797 522:91053 [FHL 926,516].

[67] William French Chapter, Vermont DAR, cont. "Bible and Family Records,” The
Twenty-fifth Book of Records
, 118, typescript on microfilm, DAR Library, Washington, DC[?], researcher: Loren Dahling.

[68] Oliver and Peabody 565.

[69] “The Alarm List of the Company of Militia under the Command of Capt. John Haskins, 1773,” The New England Historical & Genealogical Register­ and Antiquarian Journal, Volume XXVII (Boston: New England Historic, Genealogical Society, 1873) 56.

[70] “Boston Tea Party,” 9 May 2012, 12 May 2012 <>.

[71] "Thomas Betterly to Edward Tuckerman," Suffolk County Deeds, 1773-1775 125:97 [FHL 494607].

[72] “Intolerable Acts,” 11 May 2012, 12 May 2012 < 11>.

[73] Thomas Gage,” 9 May 2012, 12 May 2012 <>.

[74] Esther Forbes, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999) 220-1.

[75] Winthrop Sargent, comp. Letters of John Andrews, Esq., of Boston 1772-1776 (Cambridge: Press of John Wilson and Sons, 1866) 32, 21 Apr. 2012 <>.

[76] “Boston Neck,” 9 Jan. 2012, 12 May 2012 <>.

[77] “Battles of Lexington and Concord,” 9 May 2012, 12 May 2012 <>.

[78] “Siege of Boston,” 15 Apr 2012, 12 May 2012 <>; Boston 41n.

[79] Seybolt, The Public Schools of Colonial Boston, 1635-1775 11n.

[80] “Battle of Bunker Hill,” 7 May 2012, 12 May 2012 <>; Brendan Morrissey, Boston 1775, The Shot Heard Around the World (Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 1993) 53.

[81] Vermont DAR 58-9; Oliver and Peabody 787.

[82] Suffolk County Probate Records, 1778 77:307:16503.

[83] "Thomas Betterly to William Crane," Suffolk Deeds 1775-1779 129:268 [FHL 494,608].