52 Ancestors: #6 Puritan Wife and Mother Hannah Littlefield Cloyes

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Filed under 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks

For my 52 Ancestors post this week, I’d like to introduce you to Hannah Littlefield Cloyes, a Puritan wife and mother and my 9th great-grandmother on my maternal line. As with many of my women ancestors, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries, there is often no record of their lives beyond birth, marriage and death. That’s if you’re lucky (and persistent). I was – and I did discover these milestones for Hannah.

Hannah was born 10 July 1633 in Titchfield, Hampshire, England. She was the daughter of Edmund Littlefield and his wife, Annis Austin who immigrated to the American colonies, along with many other Puritans seeking to escape an increasingly Catholic England for religious freedom in America.

Hannah is listed as a 5-year-old passenger with her mother, five siblings and two servant men who sailed on the “Bevis”. They landed in Massachusetts in May 1638 and soon moved to Wells, Maine where Edmund Littlefield was one of the original settlers.

There is no record of Hannah’s early years in Maine. We do know that her father was well-to-do and as such, Hannah likely had a somewhat privileged lifestyle. As a young Puritan girl, Hannah (who was also known as “Anne”) would have been educated to read the Bible and write. Ultimately, the life goals for her were to marry, maintain a home, raise a family and be pious.

puritan woman 52 Ancestors: #6 Puritan Wife and Mother Hannah Littlefield Cloyes

How a Puritan woman like Hannah Cloyes might have dressed.

Hannah married Peter Cloyes (Clois, Clayes) around 1662. Peter was originally from Watertown, Massachusetts but had also moved northward into Maine. The couple settled there and had five children. I am descended from Hannah and Peter through their daughter, Sarah who married John Cunnabell (Cunibal).

Hannah died around 1680. There are no specifics about her death. She was, however, alive and mentioned as a beneficiary in her mother’s will in December, 1677. But by 1682, her husband, Peter Cloyes had remarried widow, Sarah Towne Bridges in Salem, Massachusetts who would later be accused of witchcraft.

Although there’s so much I’ll never know about Hannah Littlefield Cloyes, I’ve tried to understand who she was by reading about the lifestyle of Puritan women in 17th century New England. It’s given me a broader perspective on how my 9th great-grandmother might have lived.

Sources:

[1] Colonial Times; part 2, pp. 45-207, lists passengers and the ships they arrived on (3,600 passengers on 213 ships). From the Custom House records of English ports. Much of the information is contained in nos. 7906 and 7907, Savage; nos. 1672 and 1674, Drake; and no. 3283, Hotten. Also Edmund West, comp.. Family Data Collection – Births [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2001.

[2] Pope, Charles Henry. The Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire, 1623-1660. n.p., 1908.

[3] Torry, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004.

[4]  Maine Wills 1640-1760 by Wm M. Sargent; page 76: The Last Will and Testament of Annis (Austin) Littlefield.

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Karen Batchelor About Karen Batchelor

Karen Batchelor is a genealogist and founder of ExtremeAncestry.com where she blogs about more than three decades of climbing her family tree. Learn more about her here and connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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