- "The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III (Online database: NewEnglandAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2002), pp. 493-95, by Robert Charles Anderson, 1995. Note that the entry was later edited and republished in 2014 by the same author; see "The Winthrop Fleet; Massachusetts Bay Company Immigrants to New England 1629-1630" (NEHGS; Boston, 2014). The version below is the most current version:
MIGRATION: 1630 (based on appearance at court on 22 March 1630/1 [MBCR 1:85]).
FIRST RESIDENCE: Charlestown
REMOVES: Watertown by about 1633, Groton 1666, Watertown by 1681.
OCCUPATION: Mason [MLR 3:173].
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Admission to Watertown church prior to 6 May 1646 implied by freemanship.
FREEMAN: 6 May 1646 [MBCR 2:294].
EDUCATION: Signed deed of 25 September 1666.
OFFICES: On 13 April 1681 Watertown selectmen ordered that "Benjamin Crispe" have "the charge of the meeting house committed to him to sweep and ring the bell and what else is needful to be done to fasten the doors and windows when the exercise is done" [WaTR 2:7, 8].
ESTATE: On 25 July 1636, "Benjamin Crispe" was granted a Great Dividend of twenty acres in Watertown [WaBOP 4]. On 28 February 1636/7, "Benjamin Creispe" was granted three acres in Beaverbrook Plowlands [WaBOP 6]. On 26 June 1637, "Benjamin Crispe" was granted three acres in Remote Meadows [WaBOP 9]. On 10 May 1642, "Beniamen Crispe" was granted a sixty-four acre farm [WaBOP 12].
In the Watertown Inventory of Grants, "Benjamin Crispe" held six parcels of land: "an homestall of seven acres"; "twenty acres of upland ... being a Great Dividend in the 3 division & the 8 lot"; "nine acres of upland beyond the Further Plain & ... beyoung the Further Plain & the sixty-four lot"; "one acre of meadow ... at Beaverbrook Meadow"; "four [sic] acres of Remote Meadow; and three acres of plowland ... in the Hither Plain [WaBOP 88].
In the Watertown Composite Inventory, "Benjamin Crispe" held four parcels of land: "an homestall of seven acres"; "twenty acres of upland being a Great Dividend in the 3 division & the 8 lot"; "nine acres of upland beyond the Further Plain & the 64 lot"; and "a Farm of sixty-four acres upland" [WaBOP 31].
On 25 September 1666, "Benjamin Crispe of Watertown, mason," joined by "Bridget Crispe, his wife," sold to Thomas Boyden of Groton four parcels of land in Watertown: seven acres of upland and buildings; twenty acres of Great Dividend; twelve acres in Lieu of Township; and a fifty-three acre farm [MLR 3:173]. (Since the Lieu of Township land was the same as the upland beyond the Further Plain, and since the farms, as finally surveyed, were somewhat smaller than originally granted, these four parcels are the same as the holdings more than twenty years earlier in the Composite Inventory.)
BIRTH: About 1610 (deposed aged forty-five in 1656, fifty-two in 1662 and seventy-seven in 1683 [Sarah Hildreth Anc 56, presumably from Middlesex Court Files]).
DEATH: Watertown between 5 November 1683 and 21 December 1683 (Frederick C. Warner suggested this range of dates because on the latter date Crisp was replaced in his duties about the meetinghouse, but on the former date at a town meeting no mention was made of the need for such a replacement [WaTR 2:15]; certainly he is seen in no record after 31 October 1682 when he sold his son Jonathan's property [MLR 8:227]).
MARRIAGE: (1) By 1636 Bridget _____; she d. Groton about the time of King Philip's War, and perhaps in consequence of the raid on Groton during that conflict.
(2) After 29 November 1680 Joanna (Goffe?) Longley, widow of William Longley Sr. [TAG 62:26]. She died at Charlestown on 18 April 1698, aged 79 [ChVR 1:173; Wyman 248, citing gravestone]. She settled her estate on her Longley children [MPR 9:231; MLR 12:77].
With first wife
i ELIZABETH CRISP, b. Watertown 8 January 1636[/7?] [NEHGR 7:159; WaVR 1:4]; m. Watertown 29 September 1657 George Lawrence [WaVR 20].
ii MARY CRISP, b. Watertown 20 May 1638 [NEHGR 7:160; WaVR 1:5]; m. by 1661 William Green (eldest child b. Cambridge 21 May 1661) [TAG 62:25, citing MLR 20:338, 25:555].
iii JONATHAN CRISP, b. Watertown 29 January 1639/40 [NEHGR 7:161; WaVR 1:6]; served in King Philip's War [Bodge 122, 272, 359, 360], and d. before 25 October 1680, when his father administered his estate [MPR 5:109; see also MLR 8:227]; apparently unmarried.
iv ELEAZER CRISP, b. Watertown 14 January 1641[/2?] [NEHGR 7:281; WaVR 1:9]; no further record (but see TAG 62:27).
v ZACHARIAH CRISP, b. say 1644; served in King Philip's War (including duty at Groton garrison) [Bodge 71, 360]; did not marry, but had an illegitimate child with Mary Stanwood (see Sarah Hildreth Anc 58 for details on his "turbulent youth").
vi MEHITABLE CRISP, b. Watertown 21 January 1645/6 [WaVR 1:12]; no further record.
vii MERCY CRISP, b. say 1648; m. Chelmsford 11 April 1667 Robert Parish (or Parris).
viii DELIVERANCE CRISP, b. about 1650 (deposed in 1670 aged twenty [TAG 62:27]); m. by 1674 William Longley Jr. of Groton (her stepbrother) [TAG 62:27, and sources cited there].
ASSOCIATIONS: A "Mr. Crispe" came on the "Plough" in 1631 and settled briefly at Watertown, the same year and place where BENJAMIN CRISP is first seen. This is suggestive, but may be mere coincidence.
COMMENTS: On 22 March 1630/1, "It is orderd, that Beniamyn Cribb, John Cable, & Morris Trowent shall be whipped for stealing 3 pigs of MrBenjamin was born circa 1610 (deposed aged 45 in 1656, 52 in 1662 and 77 in 1683). Some say he was from Frisby, Lincolnshire, England, but Robert Charles Anderson gives his origins as unknown. His last name is sometimes spelled Crisp. He married Bridget ____ before 1637, probably in Watertown, Mass. A "Mr. Crispe" came on the Plough in 1631 and settled briefly at Watertown, the same year and place where Benjamin Crisp is first seen. It is not known with certainty if he is Benjamin.
He was first at Watertown (named freeman there in 1646), then removed to Groton by 1666 and was back in Watertown in 1681.
Benjamin was a mason by trade. He was literate as he signed a deed, rather than using a mark.
On 7 Oct 1656 Benjamin Crisp, aged about 45, deposed that he was a servant to Major (Edward) Gibbons "25 years agone,"so almost certainly he came to New England as an indentured servant. Edward Gibbons (c. 1600-1654) arrived first in MA aabout 1623 and lived for a time at Morton's Merrymount settlement and trading post in what is now Quincy, MA. Morton was arrested and deported for trading guns to Indians and notorious for activities best described as wanton debauchery by the Puritans. On the other hand, Morton regarded the Puritans as intolerant and narrow minded. Morton's people intermarried with Algonquins and Morton once said they were more civilized and humanitarian than his intolerant (Puritan) neighbors. Morton went ballistic when he discovered that Wollaston (who Merrymount was first named for) had been selling indentured servants into slavery on VA tobacco plantations. He raised such cain that Wollaston was forced to flee to VA in 1626. Ultimately the Puritans prevailed, chopping down their Maypoles and other things that symbolized heathen behavior to them. In 1635 Edward Gibbons, then a Lt., and Sgt. Simon Willard took a small bark to the mouth of the Connecticut with 20 carpenters and other workmen. Perhaps Benjamin Crispe accompanied. Edward Gibbons was present with Gov. John Winthrop when the Puritans negotiated with the Indians for the sale of land in Charlestown, MA and surrounding areas.
His name does not appear in records frequently for public service. On 13 April 1681 Watertown selectmen ordered that "Benjamin Crispe" have the "charge of the meeting house committed to him to sweep and ring the bell and what else is needful to be done to fasten the doors and windows when the exercise is done." (Watertown Town Records, 2:7, 8) For taking care of the meeting house, he was to receive an annual salary of 4 pounds, 10 shillings, and was also to be the keeper of the pound. He was then, by his own estimate, in his 70s. Quite remarkable he was still working at that age, which would have been a positively ancient age in the 17th century.
Benjamin received six land grants at Watertown: seven acres for his homestead, twenty acres of upland in Great Dividend, nine acres of upland beyond the Further Plain; one acre of meadow at Beaver Brook, four acres of Remote Meadow, and three acres of plowland in the Hither Plain (Beaverbrook Plowlands).
On 25 Sept 1666 "Benjamin Crispe of Watertown, mason," joined by "Bridget Crispe, his wife," for a valuable sum of money sold to Thomas Boyden of Groton four parcels of land in Watertown: seven acres of upland and buildings; twenty acres of Great Dividend; twelve acres in Lieu of Township; and a 53 acre farm.
There is no account of his lands at Groton, but they were perhaps those held by his son Jonathan. Presumably he witnessed the Indian attack on the town on 13 March 1675/6, as two of his sons were among the defenders.
Groton was destroyed on that day in March and many of the surviving citizens left town, returning two years later to rebuild.
The couple had eight children, born Watertown: Elizabeth, Mary, Jonathan, Eleazer, Zachariah/Zachary, Mehitable, Mercy, and Deliverance.
Benjamin Crispe was married second in about 1683 to Joanna Goffe, widow of William Longley, a prominent citizen of Groton. Her son William Longley Jr. married Benjamin and Bridget's daughter Deliverance. Deliverance's family suffered horribly, with perhaps 5 of their children along with Deliverance and her husband being killed by the Native Americans in an attack on Groton in 1694..