Ellis Brett, president of the Plymouth County Trust Company, of Brockton, and one of that city’s honored and respected citizens, is a worthy representative of historic New England ancestry, the Brett family having resided in this community since the first settlement of the mother town of Bridgewater, from which the town of North Bridgewater (now Brockton) was set off. Mr. Brett was born in the latter town Oct. 23, 1840, only son of Ephraim and Ruth (Copeland) Brett. The early history of the Brett family in America begins with William Brett, who came to Duxbury, Mass., in 1645, from Kent, England, and later became one of the fifty-four original proprietors and first settlers of the town of ancient Bridgewater, settling in the West parish of the town. He was an elder in the church, and often when the Rev. James Keith, the first ordained pastor of the church there, was ill, Mr. Brett preached to the people. He was a leading man in both church and town affairs, and was deputy to the General Court from the date of the in-corporation of ancient Bridgewater in 1656 to 1661. That he was well educated and intelligent is manifest from a letter to Governor Winslow, still extant, and he was much esteemed by his brethren and often employed in their secular affairs. He died Dec. 17, 1681, aged sixty-three years
The Perkins family is one of long and honorable standing in America, being one of the oldest in New England, where it is first found of record in Hampton – then in Massachusetts, now in New Hampshire. This family has numbered among its members men who have been prominent in the learned professions as well as in the business and financial circles of this country. This article is to particularly treat of that branch of the family through which descended the late John Perkins, of Bridgewater, of which town his ancestors were early settlers, and where he was actively identified with the iron manufacturing industry for a number of years. The ancestral line of this branch of the family is here given in chronological order from the first American settler, Abraham Perkins. Through his grandmother, Huldah Ames Hayward, who became the wife of Asa Perkins, Mr. Perkins is also descended from another of the oldest and best known families of Massachusetts. The progenitor of this family, Thomas Hayward, came from England to New England, becoming one of the early settlers of Duxbury before 1638. In the early part of the eighteenth century many of the Haywards changed their name to Howard, the two names in all probability having been the same originally, as both have the same Norse origin. Among the distinguished descendants of this Hayward or Howard family may be mentioned William Howard Taft, president of the United States. The branch of the family through which Mr. Perkins descends is herewith given, in chronological order.
The Barker family of Tiverton, R. I., and vicinity, represented in that section by many prominent citizens, is one of the earliest settled families of New England. The first of the name of whom there is authentic record was Robert Barker, born in 1616, who came to New England at a very early day with John Thorp. In 1641, with others, he bought from Jonathan Brewster, son of Elder Brewster, a ferry and 100 acres of land at Marshfield. Later he located at Duxbury, where for several years he was a surveyor. His death occurred about 1691. He married Lucy Williams, who died March 7, 1681 or 1682.
The Washburn name in this country is a distinguished one. Perhaps it is as yet only a tradition that John Washburn, the ancestor of the Washburns here considered, was he who first served as secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Several governors of our States have borne the Washburn name and at one and the same time four of the name occupied seats in the United States Congress. And the branch of the Massachusetts Washburns seated in Middleboro and vicinity have borne no small part in the annals of the Old Colony and later Commonwealth. Capt. Amos Washburn was in command of a company in the American Revolution; one of his sons, a graduate of Harvard, was a talented lawyer at Middleboro; Edward Washburn, brother of Capt. Amos, was another patriot in the Continental army; and his son, Gen. Abiel Washburn, was one of the leading men of his time in Middleboro, the acknowledged leader of the Federal party, and for thirty-six years held commissions through the different grades of office in the State militia; while Luther, Cyrus and the late Bradford Sumner Washburn, in turn, were substantial citizens of the town, and the latter’s son, Judge Nathan Washburn, lawyer and present Justice of the Courts of Plymouth county, is giving a good account of himself.
The Pierce families of this country are and have long been very numerous. Early in the settlement of New England came representatives from England, most of them not related, so far as now known. Among them were Abraham, of Plymouth, 1623, who became one of the original purchasers of Bridgewater in 1645; Daniel, of Newbury, blacksmith, who came from Ipswich, County of Suffolk, in 1634, aged twenty-three years; John, of Dorchester, mariner from Stepney, Middlesex, before 1631; another John, of Dorchester and Boston; John, of Watertown, 1638; Capt. Michael, of Hingham and Scituate; Richard, of Portsmouth, R. I.; Robert, of Dorchester; Thomas, of Charlestown, who was admitted to the church there in 1634; and Capt. William, of Boston, who was a distinguished shipmaster of his time.
The full manuscript contains a condensed history of the state of Iowa, a number of biographies of distinguished citizens of the state of Iowa, a descriptive history of Story county and 229 selected biographical sketches of the citizens of Story County, Iowa.
Tracing ancestors in Lowell, Massachusetts online and for free has been greatly enhanced by the University of Massachusetts in Lowell which provided digitized version of a large quantity of the Lowell public records. Combined with the cemetery and census records available freely online, you should be able to easily trace your ancestors from the founding of Lowell in 1826 through 1940, the last year of available census records. To add color to the otherwise basic facts of your ancestors existence we provide free access to a wide range of manuscripts on the history of Lowell, it’s manufactures and residents.