De Nicholas Noyes “First to Step Ashore”

Landing Place "Parker River"

# Name: Nicholas Noyes

# Sex: M

# Birth: 1616 in Cholderton, Wiltshire, England

# Death: 23 NOV 1701 in Newbury, Essex Co, MA

Son of William Noyes (Noyce) and Ann Parker from England.

Nicholas and Mary (Cutting) Noyes, b. Oct. 30, 1643. Nicholas was a brother of Rev.

James Noyes of Newbury, and was a son of Rev. William and Anne (Parker) Noyes, of Cholderton, Eng. Rev. William Noyes, the father, was a clergyman of excellent repute; their mother, Anne, was a daughter of Rev. Robert Parker, a very celebrated preacher and author. Her will, probated April 20, 1658, bequeathed something to her sons James and Nicholas in New England.

Nicholas Noyes is said to have been the first man to step ashore at Parker river, Newbury, in 1635.


As a young man, Nicholas Noyes (b. 1615-16) is recorded as the first of the new settlers to leap ashore at the landing site in Newbury, MA in 1635. There is an historical marker at the location, which is on the left bank of the Parker River as you look toward the Atlantic Ocean from the bridge on Route 1A that crosses the river. The site, near the spot where River bends to the right, may be reached by turning right from Route 1A onto Cottage Rd., just past the Lower Green, and following Cottage Rd. until it ends at a parking area and boat landing; the marker is a boulder on the left. Nicholas was chosen Deacon of the First Parish Church of Newbury when it was gathered. In 1637 he walked the forty miles from Newbury to Cambridge to qualify as a freeman and voter. About 1640 he married Mary Cutting, daughter of a shipmaster, Capt. John Cutting and his wife Mary.

Nicholas and Mary Noyes had ten children born in Newbury: Mary (1641), Hannah (1643), John (1645), (Reverand) Nicholas (1647), Cutting (1649), Sarah (1653), Timothy (1655), James (1657), Abigail (1659), Rachel (1661) and Thomas (1663).


Nicholas Noyes, Rev. William A. and Anne (Stephens) Anne Parker Noyes, was born at Cholderton, Wiltshire, about 1614 (about 60 in 1674), died at Newbury MA 23 Nov. 1701, aged about 86; married about 1640 Mary Cutting, born in England say 1620, died at Newbury before Nicholas, daughter of Capt. John and Mary Cutting.

Nicholas and his brother James came to Ipswich MA on the Mary and John in 1634. On board also were John Woodbridge, George Brown, Richard Brown and Thomas Parker, perhaps relatives. All passengers signed the oath of allegiance to the king and the church 24 Mar. 1633-4, before they were allowed to sail from London. The brothers settled briefly at Medford.

In 1635 they joined the 23 men and their families who formed a cattle-breeding company and settled at Newbury in 1635. Newbury’s first minister was Thomas Parker, a cousin. A monument marks the spot where the settlers disembarked in May or June, 1635. Tradition states that young Nicholas was the first person to leap ashore when their boat anchored in the Quascacumquen (now the Parker) River.

Nicholas returned to England on business, and returned in 1639 on the Jonathan, accompanied by Anthony Somerby of Newbury and Peter Noyes of Sudbury.

Nicholas took the freeman’s oath 17 May 1637, when he and eight others walked from Newbury to Cambridge to vote for Gov. Winthrop. He served Newbury on the school committee in 1652, and was deputy to the general court in 1660, 1679, 1680 and 1681. He was named deacon in 1683/4, supporting the Rev. Parker in a long bitter church vs state dispute. His will made 4 July 1700 was proved 29 Dec. 1701. He left an estate of 2700 pounds.

In 1653 Mary was charged with violating the sumptuary laws by wearing a silk hood and scarf, but won release by proving her husband was worth over 200 pounds.

REF> Harriette Eliza Noyes, Col. Henry Noyes First manuscript (only original copy) singed and dated 1897.

Children (Noyes), born at Newbury:

i.        Mary2, b. 15 Oct. 1641, d. Newbury 5 Sept. 1721; m. 23 Mar. 1659 John French of Salisbury, d. 4 May 1706, son of Edward and Ann (Goodale) French: 10 French ch.

ii.        Hannah, b. 30 Oct. 1643, d. Newbury 5 Jan. 1705; m. 1st there 14 May 1663 Peter Cheney, b. in 1639, d. Newbury in Jan. 1694, son of John and Martha Cheney: 11 Cheney ch.; m. 2nd Newbury 3 June 1700 John Atkinson, b. Boston in 1636, will proved 29 Sept. 1715: no ch. Atkinson had m. 1st 27 Apr. 1664 Sarah Mirick: 10 Atkinson ch.

130        John, b. 20 Jan. 1645/6; m. Mary Poor.

iv.        Rev. Nicholas, b. 22 Dec. 1647, d. Salem MA 13 Dec. 1717; unmarried. Graduate of Harvard, BA in 1667, MA in 1716, pastor at Haddam CT 13 years, chaplain to the CT regiment in 1675 during the Great Swamp Fight. He was ordained at Salem 14 Nov. 1683, serving with the aging Rev. John Higginson. He was a leader in persecuting the accused witches in 1692, and officated at their excommunications and executions (Sibley, Harvard Graduates, 2:239-246).

128        Cutting, b. 23 Sept. 1649.

vi.        Sarah, b. 13 Sept. 1651, d. Newbury 21 Feb. 1651/2.

vii.        Sarah, b. 22 Aug. 1653, d. a widow; m. Newbury 13 Apr. 1674 Matthew Pettingill, b. Wenham MA c1648, d. Newbury in July 1714, son of Richard and Joanna (Ingersoll) Pettingill: 11 Pettingill ch.

viii.        Timothy, b. 23 June 1655, d. Newbury 21 Aug. 1718; m. there 13 Jan. 1681 Mary Knight, b. there 8 Sept. 1657, dau. of John and Bathsheba (Ingersoll) Knight: 11 ch.

ix.        Col. James, b. 16 May 1657, d. there in Apr. 1725; m. there 31 Mar. 1684 Hannah Knight, b. there 30 Aug. 1664, d. there 25 Sept. 1745, sister of Mary: 11 ch.

x.        Abigail, b. 11 Apr. 1659, d. Salisbury MA 27 Jan. 1747; m. 8 May 1707 Simeon French, b. Salisbury 24 Oct. 1657, d. there 19 Apr. 1732, son of Joseph and Susanna (Stacy) French: no ch. He had m. 1st in 1685 Joanna Jackson, who d. 15 May 1704, 47y: 7 ch.

xi.        Rachel, b. 20 Mar. 1660/1; d. Newbury 24 May 1720; m. there in 1682 Capt. James Jackman, b. there 2 June 1655, d. there 16 Sept. 1723, son of James and Joanna Jackman: 6 Jackman ch.

xii.        Thomas, b. 20 June 1663, d. Haverhill MA in Dec. 1695; m. Newbury 16 Nov. 1686 Sarah Knight, b. there 13 Apr. 1660, d. there 10 Mar. 1707/08, sister of Mary and Hannah: 3 ch.

xiii.        Rebecca, b. 18 May 1665, d. Newbury 21 Dec. 1683; unmarried.

He died in Newbury on 23 Nov., 1701.

Of early historical interest is the role that Rev. Nicholas (Harvard A.B., 1647), the second son of Nicholas and Mary, played in the Salem witch trials, where he officiated at the hanging of alleged witches in 1692; he later repented of his part in the persecutions and helped to provide assistance to the dependent families.

Early Noyes descendants often were ministers and teachers, and sometimes distinguished by their rectitude – for example, the Salem trials and the founding of Yale, partly motivated by the belief that Harvard College was becoming too liberal. However, descendants of the line also may be interested to know of another of their ancestors via Nicholas Noyes (Noyes Geneology (1904), cited below, vol. 1, p. 402), perhaps equally devout and committed to bringing God’s Kingdom, but at the opposite end politically – Rev. John Humphrey Noyes (1811 – 1886). He was a leader of the Perfectionist movement and founded the Oneida Community, one of the great utopian socialist experiments in American history. He was an early proponent of the equality of women and of a different approach to sexuality and marriage than his Puritan ancestors (or teachers at Yale Divinity School).(For example, Alfred Kazin wrote on the book jacket of Spencer Klaw’s Without Sin: The Life and Death of the Oneida Community (NY: Penguin Press, 1993): “The Oneida Community was the most practical and, because of its sexual code, the merriest of our nineteenth-century Utopias. Its founder and dictator, John Humphrey Noyes, would have fascinated Dostoyevsky.”)


The basic reference for the Noyes family genealogy is the remarkable work by Col. Henry E. Noyes and Miss Harriette E. Noyes in two volumes, Geneological Record of Some of the Noyes Descendants of James, Nicholas, and Peter Noyes, published in Boston, MA in 1904. [Volume 1 covers descendants of Nicholas Noyes; vol. 2 the descendants of Rev. James Noyes and of Peter Noyes, who arrived later.] A copy is available in the second floor geneological library of the Historical Society of Old Newbury, located on 98 High St. (Route 1A) in Newburyport.