Friday, March 12, 2021

52 Ancestors - Week 373: #584 Joseph Keyes (1667-1757) of Chelmsford and Westford, Massachusetts

 Joseph Keyes (1667-1757)  is number 584 on my Ahnentafel List, my 7th great-grandfather, who married #585 Joanna Cleaveland (1670-1758) on 28 May 1690  in Chelmsford, Middlesex County,  Massachusetts.

I am descended through:

*  their son #292 Joseph Keyes (1698-1744) who married #293 Elizabeth Fletcher (1698-1775) in 1720. 
*  their son #146 Jonathan Keyes (1722-1781) who married #147 Elizabeth Fletcher (1720-1761) in 1746.
*  their daughter #73 Elizabeth Keyes (1759-1793) who married #72 Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1829) in 1777.
*  their son #36 Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857) who married  #37 Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857)  in 1810.
*  their son #18 Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) who married #19 Sophia Newton (1834-1923) in 1852.
*  their daughter #9 Hattie Louisa Hildreth (1857-1920) who married  #8 Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) in 1874.
*  their son #4 Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) who married #5 Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) in 1900.
*  their son #2 Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) who married #3 Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)  in 1942.
*  their son #1 Randall Jeffrey Seaver (1943-living)


1)  PERSON (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Name:                           Joseph Keyes[1–10]    

*  Sex:                               Male    

*  Father:                          Solomon Keyes (1631-1702)    
*  Mother:                         Frances Grant (1634-1708)  

2)  INDIVIDUAL EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Birth:                             24 May 1667, Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1–3,9]    

*  Distribution:                 14 April 1702 (age 34), father's will proved; Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[6]    

*  Death:                           9 June 1757 (age 90), Westford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1,7–9]    
*  Burial:                          after 9 June 1757 (after age 90), Fairview Cemetery, Westford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1,9]    

*  Probate:                       11 July 1757 (age 90), will proved; Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[10]  

3)  SHARED EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Spouse 1:                   Joanna Cleaveland (1670-1758)
*  Marriage 1:                28 May 1690 (age 23), Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1,4–5]

*  Child 1:                     Miriam Keyes (1691- )
*  Child 2:                     Lydia Keyes (1693-1762)
*  Child 3:                     Joanna Keyes (1695-1787)
*  Child 4:                     Joseph Keyes Jr. (1698-1744)    
4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):  

 The family history of Joseph Keyes is treated in the Asa Keyes book on the genealogy of Robert Keyes of Watertown and Solomon Keyes of Newbury and Chelmsford[1].  For Joseph, the book says:
"He is mentioned in Chelmsford records as one of the town 'Commity' until 1720, possibly later.  His descendants seem to have remained generally in, or in the vicinity of, Chelsmford and Westford..."
Joseph Keyes was born 24 May 1667 in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, the son of Solomon and Frances (Grant) Keyes[1-3,9].  

On 28 May 1690, Joseph married Joanna Cleaveland (1670-1758) in Chelmsford[1,4-5].  She was the daughter of Moses and Ann (Winn) Grant of Woburn, Massachusetts.  They had four children, all born and recorded in Chelmsford:

*  Miriam Keyes (1691-????), married 1728 John Lawson (1705-????).
*  Lydia Keyes (1693-1762), married 1712 John Mudge (1686-1762).
*  Joanna Keyes (1695-1787), married (1) 1716 Thomas Kidder (1690-1729); (2) 1732 Samuel Fitch (1699-1775).
*  Joseph Keyes (1698-1744), married 1720 Elizabeth Fletcher (1698-1775).

Joseph's father, Solomon Keyes (1631-1702) wrote his will on 16 December 1701 and it was proved on 14 April 1702 in Middlesex County Probate Court[6].  In his will, he left his son Joseph:
"Item I have given to my sun Joseph his full proportion by a deed of gifte except five shilings wch I hear will unto him."
Joseph Keyes died 9 June 1757 at age 90 in Westford, Massachusetts (which had split off from Chelmsford in about 1730)[1,7-9].  The gravestones of Joseph Keyes and his wife Joanna are in the Fairview Cemetery in Westford[9].  His gravestone in Fairview Cemetery in Westford says:

Here lies the Body of
Mr Joseph Keyes
the Grandfather of
Mr Jonathan Keyes
who departed the Life
June ye 9th 1757
Being 90 Years & 3 days.

Joseph Keyes died testate, having written his will on 29 June 1745, which was proved on 11 July 1757 in Middlesex County Probate Court.  The probate file is in Probate Packet #13,196[10]. The will reads:
"In the Name of God Amen.  I Joseph Keyes of Westford in the County of Middlesex Gen^n being in Bodyly health & of sound and Disposing mind and memory Thanks be given unto God, therefore Calling unto mind the Mortality of my body and Knowing that it is appointed for all Men to dye, Do for Avoiding Controversies after my Decease Make Publish & Declare this my Last Will and Testament in maner following And first of all I give and Recommend my Soul unto the Hands of God that gave it, and my body I Recommend to the Earth to be Buried In Decent Christian Burial at the Discretion of my Executor.  Nothing Doubting but at ye General Resurrection I Shall Receive the same again by the Mighty power of god.  And as Touching such Worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to Bless me in this Life I Give Demiss and Despose of the same in the following manner and form.

"Imprimus I Give and bequeath to Joannah my Dearly Beloved Wife all my Houshold goods During her Life, also I give to Mirriam Lofton my Eldest Daughter Twelve Pounds & Ten Shilling in Bills Emitted in the year One Thousand Seven Hundred and forty four or in other Bills Eaqul to the same mailing Bills of the Province of the Massachusestts Bay and one Cow.  Also I give to my Daughter Lydia Mudge Twelve Pounds and Ten Shilling in the Like Bills Described aforesaid.

"Also I give to my Daughterr Joannah Fitch Twelve Pounds and Ten Shillings in the Like Bills Described aforesaid, and Also I give to my Three Daughters Mirriam Lydia and Joannah after my wife Decease all my Houshold goods Eaquily to be Devided amongst them.  And the Sums of money that I have given to my Three Daughters before Named, my will is that Jonathan Kyes my Grandson Should pay unto my Three Daughters or to Thare Heirs or Assigns The full sum before mentioned in Two Years after my Decease.

"Also my will is that the Children of my Son Joseph Keyes deceased shall have paid out of my Estate after my Death the Sum of Twenty shillings in Bills of the Last Emittion of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

:Also I Do Nominate and appoint Josiah Sartell of Groton in the County of Middlesex to be Sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament, And I do hereby utterly Disallow Revoke and Disannul all and every other former Testament & Wils Legacies and Bequests and Executors by me in any ways before Named Willed and Bequeathed, Ratifying and Confirming this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament In Witness Whereof I have hereunto Sett my Hand and Seal this Twenty Ninth Day of June One Thousand Seven Hundred And forty five And in the Eighteenth year of his Majesties Reign.

"Signed Sealed Published
Pronounced and Declared
By the said Joseph Kyes                            Joseph Keyes
as his Last Will and
Testament In Presence
of us the Subscribers
Jacob Wright
Andrew Spaulding
Ephraim Wright"
The will of Joseph Keyes, late of Westford, gentleman, was presented for probate by Josiah Sawtell.  Jacob Wright and Andrew Spaulding made oath that they saw the said testator sign, seal and declare the will to be his last will and testament.  The will was proved by the Court on 11 July 1757.

1. Asa Keyes, Genealogy: Robert Keyes of Watertown, Mass., 1633; Solomon Keyes of Newbury and Chelmsford, Mass., 1653, and Their Descendants; Also, Others of the Name (Barattleboro, Vt. : Geo. E. Selleck, Printer, 1880), page 148, #II (8) Joseph Keyes family sketch.

2. "Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988," indexed database and digital image, (, Chelmsford, "Town Records, births, Marriages, deaths," no page number (image 79 of 93), Joseph Keyes birth entry, 24 May 1667.

3. Town of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Vital Records of Chelmsford, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Salem, Mass. : The Essex Institute, 1914), Births, page 68, Joseph Keyes entry, 24 May 1667.

4. Massachusetts, Town Records, 1620-1988, digital images,, Chelmsford, "Town and Land Records, with Birhs, Marriages and deaths," page 30 (penned) (image 37 of 230), Joseph Keyes and Joanna Cleaveland marriage entry.

5. Town of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Vital Records of Chelmsford, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, Marriages, page 262, Joseph Keyes and Joanna Cleaveland entry, 28 May 1690.

6. "Middlesex County, Mass.: Probate Papers, 1648-1871," digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 11 March 2021), Estate file 13,203, Solomon Keyes of Chelmsford estate, 1702.

7. Vital Records of Westford, Massachusetts to the Year 1849 (Salem, Mass. : The Essex Institute, 1915), Deaths, page 293, Joseph Keyes entry, 9 June 1757.

8. Massachusetts, Town Records, 1620-1988, digital images,, "Westford Births, Marriages and Deaths," Page 81 (Image 47 of 1750), Joseph Keyes death entry, 9 June 1757.

9. Find A Grave, indexed database and digital image,  (, Fairview Cemetery, Westford, Mass., Joseph Keyes (1667-1757) memorial # 36127493.

10. "Middlesex County, MA: Probate Papers, 1648-1871," digital image, American Ancestors ( : accessed 10 February 2018), Probate Packet #13,196 (6 images), Joseph Keyes of Westford, 1757.


NOTE: In 2014, Amy Johnson Crow suggested a weekly blog theme of "52 Ancestors" in her blog post 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on the No Story Too Small blog. I have extended this theme in 2021 for an eighth year to 416 Ancestors in 416 Weeks. The list of 52 Ancestors biographies from my great-grandparents to the 7th great-grandparents (in work) is in

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