Massachusetts Period: 1734 - 1780

Massachusetts Period: 1734 - 1780

The first great grandfather of William Buckminster Lindsay, Sr., was Alexander Lindsay, who lived with his family in Dracut, Middlesex, Massachusetts, as early as 1736. The Massachusetts records have been covered somewhat extensively for the purpose of trying to extend the pedigree line. Although the pedigree line has not been extended, the additional information found through recent research has necessitated a reevaluation of two of our former conclusions which have been recorded and distributed widely in our family records and also submitted to the Church Archives.

The two probable errors relate to:

  • The identity of the proper Alexander Lindsay
  • The proper identification of Ruth Foster

These two questions will be discussed further in this chapter.

Methuen MA_map.png

Methuen and Dracut, Massachusetts area


Methusen Town Proceedings: 1725 - 1768

The Methuen Town Proceedings, first book 1725 - 1768, shows the following:

Under the date of 12 March 1734 mentions the "layout of a highway to Dracut which runs along the Southeast side of William Lindsay's house." (William was probably a brother to Alexander).

"Voted at a leguall Town Meeting in Methuen on December the 27 day 1736 to the commit that was chose to finish the school hous the sumb of tweenty Pounds and Eight shillings for the work all rady dun and what stuf is alrady provided for said work:

    Willliam Linse 0-15-6
    Aaixander (sic) Linsey 0-18-0"

These were included among other signatures.


Page 87, "William Lindsey chosen constable 10 July 1741; page 89, Alexander Lynesy chosen one of the surveyers of Highways 10 Mar 1741 - 42; page 92, Alexander Lunesy again chosen a surveyor of highways, 9 March 1742 - 43."

The Minutes of Town Meetings of Dracut (for the period 1743 to 1767)

First book page 102, under date of 26 May 1749, Mr. Nathanel Fox, town treasurer, paid to William Lindsay, 00-13-06; Alexander Lindsay, next beneath William, 00-17-08; Thomas Lindsay, 5th below William, 00-13-06 and others totaling 26 for work done and materials found for the meeting place.

On page 42, under date of 3 November 1749, "William Lindsy paid 00-18-00 for making doors and turning pillars of the Meeting House."

Second book, period 1750 - 1767: page 6 mention of Alexander Lindsay's house in a layout of roads (27 May 1751); and in another layout of same, 12 February 1751 - 52 is another mention of Alexander Lindsay.

Page 28 - 29 under date of 3 March 1755, William Lindsay, chosen "Dear Refe" (deer reeve). Page 50, 5 March 1759, William Lindsay Juner a Deer Reefe. On page 98, 12 February 1750 - 51, Samuel Lindsay was to be paid 0-09-04 for nails for the new meeting house.

Dracut was incorporated from common land in 1701, however its boundaries at that time were disputable in relation to surrounding places such as Methuen, Dunstable, Nottingham, Litchfield, Londenderry (New Hampshire), Pelham, Windham, Salem, Chelmsfor, Billerica, Andover, Tewksbury, etc. Methuen was set off from Haverhill in 1725.

The earliest dating of our family in the records in America is shown above (1734 and 1736). From Thomas' age at death, he was born in 1724, so it is possible that his father Alexander was in the Scotch-Irish settlements prior to 1724, or it is possible that they both immigrated to America.

Massachusetts Archives

Massachusetts Archives, State House, Boston (Mass Arch 243: 82 - 83) shows: Alexander and Robert Lindsay, both of Dracut, 5 April 1748, are petitioners favoring John Bower's lot as a site for a meeting house.

The recent research in the last few years in Massachusetts and other New England areas has been done by correspondence through the Genealogical Society. Mrs. Winnefred Lovring Holman, a professional genealogist of 278 Concord Avenue, Lexington 73, Massachusetts, did some of our best work . She says the church records for Methuen and Dracut are non-existent prior to 1765.

Middlesex County Massachusetts Land Deeds (Period 1743 - 1783)

All of the Lindsay (et vars) rantor and grantee deeds were noted in the first ante 1800 index. A search of the next index, grantor, and grantee, 1800 - 1835, showed no Thomas or Alexander. The spellings of Lindsey, Lindsay, Linsey, Linsday, and Lyndsay are grouped in the first index under grantor and Lindsey, Linsey, Lindsay, Linsday ate grouped in the first index under grantee.

29 August, 1743, Nath. Cheever of Dracut, yeoman, for £110 conveys to Alexander Lindsey of Methuen, husbandman, land in east part of Dracut containing about 50 acres; signs as Nathaniel; no rld.; wit: John Craige and Ebenezer Barber; ack. 2 September 1743 and rec'd 18 June 1759 (Midddlesex Deeds 57:39).

10 May 1749, William Lindsey, of Methuen, husbandman, for £50 conveyed to his son, Robert Lindsay, of Dracut, husbandman, one maiety (½ part) of 23 acres in Dracut, which was formerly purchased by said grantor of Nathanel Davidson and is land north of that owned by Ephraim Curtis and between land of William Lindsey and George Davis; signed by mark; wit: John Osgood and Ebenezer Barber; ack. 9 May 1749 and rec'd 18 May 1749 (ibid, 48:292).

21 January, 1754, Robert Linsday, or Dracut, husbamdman, for 4s paid him by Ephraim Curtis, of same, conveys a small piece of land there of about 30 rods adjacent to said Curtis; signed by "Robert Lindsey"; wit: Jabez and Elizabeth Colburn; ack. same day; rec'd 1 December, 1757. (ibid, 55:164).

3 April, 1754, Abiel Barber of Dracut, yeoman, for £80 sold Thomas Lindsday, of same, yeoman, about 30 acres there bounded on southwest by land of Alexander Lindsay; Jean Barber releases her dower rights; he signs and she makes her mark; wit: Wm. Harvey and John Varnum, Jr.; ack. at Andover, 30 March, 1756; rec'd 26 April, 1781. (ibid, 81:153).

18 July, 1758, Alexander Lindsey, of Dracut, husbamdman, for £130, paid by my son, William Lindsey, Junr., of Dracut, husbandman, convey to him land there, about 50 acres, bounded by land of my son, Thomas Lindsey; signed by Alexander Lindsay; wit: Benjamin Evans and John Osgood, Jr.; ack. 27 April, 1759 by "Mr" Alexander Lindsay; rec'd 18 June 1759. (ibid, 57:39).

13 January, 1766, Ezekiel Cheever, of Dracut, yeoman, as administrator of the estate of Nath'l Cheever, late of same dec'd, yeoman, for £18-13-04 paid by William Linsday, Jr., and Thomas Linsday, both of Dracut, yeomen, conveys to them land there about 70 acres, near Methuen line, bounded by said Linsday's land, southeast by said William Linsday, Jr., northwest by Thomas Linsday's homesteas, to be equally divided between them; signs; wit: Nathan Parker, Jno Varnum; ack. 13 January, 1766; rec'd 26 April, 1781. (ibid, 82:254).

7 September, 1767, Daniel Linsey, of Mendon, Worcester Co., "Linnen Wheelmaker", for love and good will to my brother, John Linsey, of same, hatter, quitclaim to him all rights to 20 acres of land in Westford, Middlesex Co., that came to me by heirship from my father, James Linsey, dec'd, which land he bought of Joseph Ledget; signs; sit: Thomas Darling and Ed. Rawson; ack. 5 March, 1770 at Mendon; rec'd 3 September, 1770. (ibid, 70:437).

10 April, 1779, William Linsday, of Dracut, housewright, for £80, paid me by my brother, Thomas Linsday, of Dracut, yeoman, convey to him 2 acres there, bounded by my own land mainly; Sarah Linsday makes her mark but William signs; Sarah of course r.d.; wit: Samuel Muars and Rachel Osgood; ack. 8 September, 1779, at Methuen; rec'd 26 April, 1781. (ibid, 82:253).

11 February, 1780, William Linsday, of Londonderry, Rockingham Co., New Hampshire, for £400 (depreciated currency of the war years), conveys to Samuel Kittridge of Andover, Massachusetts, 42 acres in Dracut, near road that leads from Dracut to Methuen, and by the "House of Mr. Thomas Linsday"; he signs; wit: Jon Trull and J. Barnum; ack. September, 1784 by said Trull, at a General Court of Sessions that he saw said William Linsday "now absent" from this Commonwealth, sign the same and that he, said deponant, with Joseph Bradley Barnum (now absent) were witnesses at the time; rec'd 17 June, 1785. (ibid, 91:31).

27 August, 1783, Thomas Lindsay, of Londonderry, New Hampshire, a "Studente" for £30 sold John Friend, of Dracut, weaver, about 30 acres of land in Dracut; signed by Thom Lindsay; wit: Benjamin and Isaac Friend; ack. 7 October, 1783 at Dracut; rec'd 20 November, 1795. (ibid, 120:265).

Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors (Military Service Records), Library of Congress

The following is some of the most significant information extracted by Rex Lindsay in the evenings and on the weekend during a business trip to Washington, DC:

Thomas Lindsay, the grandfather of William Buckminster Lindsay, served in the 2nd Dracut Company. He was returned home by the town selectmen of Dracut "as having done more than then ratable proportion of service in the war based upon an average made in 1777."

Three of Thomas Lindsay's sons served in the Revolutionary War. They were Ephraim Lindsay, who was the father of William Buckminster Lindsay, Sr., Thomas Lindsay (Jr.), and David Lindsay. David continued in the miliatry service until he reached the rank of Captain.

Lois Lindsay Anderson, Byron, Wyoming, found in her research that the town of Guildhall, Essex, Vermont, had a headstone placed on David Lindsay's grave at his death because of the honor and esteem they had for him. David served part of the time in his father-in-law's, Captain William Varnum's, company. David's daughter was granted a pension. Pension granted in the 1820s.

Ephraim Lindsay enlisted when he was 17 years old. His service records not only give his age and residence but also include a description of him. His stature was given as five feet six inches and also as five feet seven inches in another record. His complexion was light. He served two different enlistments, first June through December, 1780, for six months, and second, August through November, 1781, as a corporal, for three months.

James Lindsay, Jr., took the oath in Middlesex, 6 July, 1775, and served in Captain Lindsey Company. It is not known how he fits into the family. William Lindsay also served. William Lindsay and Thomas Lindsay answered the alarm of 19 April, 1775. Thomas Lindsay, Jr., reported as belonging to the train band.

There were dozens on Lindsay entries under various spellings. The military service records are a good example of how the relationships and identification of relatives must be proven carefully, since there are both relatives and non-relatives mixed together in the same localities and time periods. The Massachusetts service records included ten of my handscribed pages and probably over a hundred entries of Lindsay men who served in the war.

Vital Statistics

The Vital Statistics for both Methuen and for Dracut have been extracted. There does not seem to be enough information in these records to make family groups complete and to know which families some of the individuals belonged to. There seems to be a need for research in the records all the way from Wisconson to Massachusetts in order to properly complete the family groups, particularly the families of the children of our grandparents, but including direct ancestral sheets also. Even William Buskminster Lindsay, Sr.'s, sheet may be incomplete.

The Vital Statistics data will be distributed via family group sheet, since that is where it fits the best.

Local Town Histories

Howe, J.S., The Growth of Methuen, F 74 M6 H7, Library of Congress. Gives a good history pf the town but no Lindsay names are mentioned. Pamphlet-size.

Coburn, Silar Roger, History of Dracut, Lowell, Massachusetts, Press of the Courier-Citizen, 1922. F 74 D75C6, Library of Congress. This is a fairly long and interesting history of early Dracut. Only one or two brief mentions of Lindsay names -- these in reference to military service. Winnefred L. Holman had recommended paging of this book, which has been done now. Page 274 of this book states:

"The burial places of the early settlers of Dracut are unknown. It was the custom to bury the bodies in some retired spot on the farm and the graves were seldom marked. Sometimes a flat stone from the field, with initials and date of death rudely cut on it, would be placed at the head of the grave but when broken and the grave leveled by the elements the place would be forgotten. The oldest burial ground of Dracut in the early days is now in Lowell, Massachusetts -- no very old headstones are to be seen."

Many other records in this New England area have been searched but with little result. there are a few clues still to follow, e.g., the Massachusetts State census of 1765 may give us a little help in grouping some of the residents into families, however it is most likely to give numbers and not names. Even numbers would be help, though.