Zaccheus Gould history
THE FAMILY OF ZACCHEUS GOULD (My 9th great grandfather)
Zaccheus Gould (My 9th great grandfather) was born in 1589 in England. In a deposition he
made on March 26, 1661, he stated that he was 72 years old. He lived at Hemel Hempstead
and Great Missenden. He was married to Phebe Deacon. (My 9th great grandmother)
Zaccheus and Phebe had the following children; Phebe (bapt 1620-aft 1691) who married
Deacon Thomas Perkins in 1640, Mary (bapt 1621-) who married John Redington of Topsfield,
Martha (bapt 1623-1699) who married John Newmarch of Ipswich, Priscilla (my 8th great
grandmother) (-1663) who married John Wildes,(my 8th great grandfather) and John
(1635-1709/10) who married Sarah Baker in 1660. Phebe, Mary, and Martha were all baptized
at Hemel Hempstead, England.
Zaccheus (My 9th great grandfather) came to New England around 1638. His brother Jeremy
who settled in Rhode Island in 1638 and a number of other relatives preceded him. These
included Nathan who settled in Salisbury in 1650, Sarah, and Zaccheus. These three were
children of his brother John Gould of King’s Langley, England.
Zaccheus (My 9th great grandfather) first settled in Weymouth, Mass. where he bought land
from his brother, Jeremy, in 1639. He was also the overseer of Henry Russell’s will. Henry died
in 1639/40. Jeremy Gould was also a witness to this will.
From 1639 to 1644, Zaccheus lived in Lynn, Mass. where he owned a mill on the Saugus River.
He also leased 300 acres of Salem land from John Humphrey. The lease went into effect on
September 29, 1640 and the farm was called “Plain Farm”. This lease called for an annual rent
of 400 bushels of rye, 300 of wheat, 200 of barley along with 8 oxen, 5 cows, 2 heifers, 4 calves
and 2 mares. At the same time, he also leased another farm, the “ponds” from Mr. Humphrey.
This land called for rent of 160 pounds the first year and 200 pounds the next. The rent was to
be paid in the form of farm goods.
In 1640, Zaccheus petitioned the General Court for relief from militia training. The petition
“To the right worshipful Governor, Council and Assistants and the rest of the General Court now
assembled, October 7, 1640.
The humble petition of Zaccheus Gould of Lynn, husbandman, in behalf of himself and all other
husbandman in the country—
Sheweth that wheras Husbandry and tillage much concern the good of this Commonwealth, and
your petitioners have undertaken the managing and tilling of divers farms in this country and
sowing of English Corn, their servants are oftentimes drawn from their work to train, in seed
time, hay time and harvest, to the great discouragement and damage of your petitioners, and
your petitioner the said Zaccheus Gould for himself saith that for one day’s training this year he
was much damnified in his hay. And forasmuch as fishermen upon just grounds are exempted
from training because their trade is also for the Commonwealth,
Your petioners humbly pray that this Court will be pleased to take the premises into their grave
consideration and thereupon to give order for the encouragement of your petitioners who are
husbandmen employed about English grain, that they and their servants be exempted from
ordinary trainings in seed time, hat time and harvest. And your petitioners shall as their duty
binds them pray etc.”
The General Court agreed with this petition and gave much discretion to the local officials for
the “avoiding of loss of time and the opportunities of the furtherance of husbandry.”
By 1644, Zaccheus was living in Ipswich, in the section now occupied by Topsfield. Zaccheus’
son-in-law stated in 1665 that “about 21 years before, William Paine sold land to Zaccheus
Gould, where his house now stands.”
In 1644, Zaccheus petitioned the General Court to have the section of Ipswich he lived
incorporated as a separate town from Ipswich. The General Court agreed to this on October 18,
“In answer to the request of Zaccheus Gould and William Howard of Topsfield, the Court doth
grant that Topsfield shall henceforth be a town, and have power within themselves to order all
civil affairs, as other towns have.”
Zaccheus Gould, William Paine and Brian Hamilton sent the General Court a petition
concerning the name of their new town.
“We humbly Intreate this honored Court that you wold be pleased to bestowe a name upon our
village at the new medowes at Ipswich which wee suppose may bee an incoragment to others
to Come to live amongst us: and also a meanes to further a ministry amongst us, wee think that
hempsteed will be a fit name if the Court please to gratify us herewith.’
The General Court replied;
“This dept. have granted this Pet. wth Refference to the Consent of or honoured magists.”
Wm Torrey by order &c
The magtrs (upon conference wth som of the principall [persons] interested) doe thinke it fitt it
should be called Toppesfeild weh they referre to the consent of ye brn the Deptyes.
This change in name was probably due to the influence of one of the governor’s assistants,
Samuel Symonds, who was from Topsfield, England.
In 1651, Zaccheus took the oath of Fidelity but he never became a freeman.
Zaccheus appeared in Ipswich Court on a number of occasions. On January 26, Richard
Shatswell brought 1650/51 a complaint against him. Shatswell claimed that he took one of his
mares that had strayed from his farm. The court found for Shatswell and Zaccheus had to return
the mare. A related suit involved a charge of slander brought against Joseph Fowler by
Zaccheus. Apparently, Fowler had called Zaccheus a horsethief. The court awarded Zaccheus
damages of 10 pounds.
On April 24, 1656 Zaccheus was arraigned, in the Ipswich Court, for absence from meeting on
the Lord’s Day.
In 1659 on March 29, Zaccheus was brought before the Ipswich Court on charges that he had
disturbed the church services. He was accused of having “sat down on the end of the table
about which the minister and scribe sit, with his hat full on his head and his back toward all the
rest. Although spoken to by the minister and others he altered not his posture. He spoke audibly
when the minister was speaking” Witnesses against him in this case were Captain William
Perkins and Isaac Cummings. Isaac Cummings appears to have been involved in a number of
court cases against Zaccheus. In this case the court ordered that Zaccheus be “admonished”.
In another case, Zaccheus Gould was found guilty of entertaining Quakers and fined 3 pounds.
His nephew, Daniel Gould, a recent convert of the Quakers, was sentenced to be whipped with
30 stripes and to depart the town within five days. If he failed to depart, he would be placed in
jail. This shows how serious the community took the “approved” religion and how they treated
dissenters. Zaccheus himself seemed to be fairly liberal about religious matters, being friendly
both to the Baptists and the Quakers, neither of whom were looked upon with favor by the
This fine was later remitted in the spring of 1660. This was apparently because Zaccheus’
property had sustained some serious losses due to a fire.
The first house built on the farm, purchased from William Paine, was a garrison or blockhouse
designed as a place of refugee against Indian raids.
Zaccheus died between March 30, 1688 and November 13, 1688. He was buried on land near
the town meeting house. At the time of his death, he was one of the largest landholders in the
area, having amassed 3000 acres in the area, which was then Rowley Village and later Boxford.