, Elizabeth

Birth Name Elizabeth
Gender female
Age at Death unknown


In an attempt to try to clear up the WRONG records that have made their way to the genealogy files of the world, I would like to quote here, the information on Elizabeth Cummings who has so often --mistakenly-- been assigned to our John.
Pg. 139 Harmon Genealogy as mentioned in sources:
"Mrs. Delia Patterson Rich lives at Old Orchard on the original Saco Patent property, and is a descendant of the original Elizabeth Harmon, who was b. at Old Orchard. Mrs. Rich is a well-known genealogist and perhaps knows more about the history of the Harmons in Maine, than any one now living in Maine. (before 1920) She has furnished considerable history for the Harmon book and special mention is due her." Delia's line of descent is: Delia Patterson dau of Samuel Patterson, son of Capt. David Patterson and Phebe Banks. Phebe is dau of Cummings Banks and Mary Foss; Cummings Banks is son of Samuel Banks Jr. and Phebe Stackpole. Samuel Jr. is son of Samuel Banks and Sarah Webster. Samuel Banks is son of Elizabeth Harmon who md. Richard Banks. Elizabeth is the ONLY daughter of Elizabeth Cummings who md. 1. John Foxwell and 2. John Harmon.{of Saco, Maine}
The following is about our Elizabeth whose surname is not known at this time (2002)
Elizabeth married (1) John Harmon and (2) Anthony Dorchester. She bore eight children in a sixteen year period. One of those children--her youngest-- was drowned in "ye mill brook" at the age of three. She also lost her namesake daughter at the age of three. The six remaining children all grew to adulthood.

In her husband's will, Elizabeth is described by her companion as "a tender mother." John left everything he had to his wife with no clause about it being hers only until she remarry as so many early wills had.

At the time of her husband's death in March 1661; Elizabeth had six unmarried children. John Jr. was 20; Samuel was 18; Sarah, who was to be married in May 1661, was 17; Joseph was 15; Mary was 10; and my ancestor, Nathaniel, was 7 years old.

Elizabeth's maiden name does not appear on the Springfield records. She was supposedly born in England. After the death of John, she married Anthony Dorchester, who died in Springfield 28 Aug 1683. She died in Springfield 16 May 1699, aged ninety-one years (according to Massachusetts records). She spent sixteen years as a widow after the death of Anthony. Did she live with her married children?

Massachusetts Vital Records: Springfield 1640-1894 Vol I gives birth dates for the six children born in Springfield to John Harmon. See also NEHG Register, Vol 18, Jan-Apr 1864; Vol 19, Jan-July 1865.

About two years after John's death, Elizabeth married a neighbor and widower who also had six living children. Anthony Dorchester's second wife died in December 1662 and he married Elizabeth sometime in 1663. At that time he had the following children: Benjamin age 12 and Sarah age 10; (he had just buried Hester who was six years old in 1662). These were children of his second wife. By his first wife, he had children: John age 19; Mary age 18; and James age 15. A few years down the road, Elizabeth's daughter, Mary, married Anthony's son, John, and Anthony's daughter, Mary, married Elizabeth's son, John!

Judge George Washington Harmon carefully searched out our Harmon ancestors and willed his manuscripts to the town of Suffield, Connecticut which was founded by our Harmon family. It is from his work that Artemus C. Harmon was able to compile his book on The Harmon Genealogy. In Judge Harmon's work he does NOT claim that our John came on the ship Love. He does state, however, "John Harmon 1st born in England 1617; died Mar 3, 1661, in Springfield, Mass; md in 1640 to Elizabeth (...) b. in England 1617. She md. again before 1664 to Anthony Dorchester. He died Aug 28, 1683 in Springfield. She died May 16, 1699." Of all the sources I have studied on the Harmon family, the one source consistently the most correct seems to be The Harmon Genealogy.

I have no dependable source giving the ancestral identity of Elizabeth Harmon. When I published my first book, My Harmon Heritage--Descendants of John Harmon and Elizabeth Southwell, I had no idea what a Pandora's box I was opening. Upon being challenged for sources of Elizabeth's maiden name of Southwell, I found that my only reply was a naive "This is the way it has always been in my family's records." Since that time I have been trying to discover if Elizabeth could be a Southwell or if she was a Cummings or a Potter or a Sampson as others have suggested. It is not helpful that so much error has been perpetuated through the years. This type of research requires original sources which may not be available at this time. The fact that Elizabeth Cummings and Elizabeth Southwell have been named mothers of our John's children has compounded the error. I will examine some of my findings here:

After much careful research and combing of many early researcher's works, I am not at all sure who our Elizabeth Harmon is. We know our John Harmon settled in Springfield, Massachusetts in the early 1640s with his wife, Elizabeth, (surname unproven) and two sons, John and Samuel.


The Ancestral File favorite by far for Elizabeth's surname is Cummings. My research has shown that an Elizabeth Cummings did indeed marry a John Harmon. However, contrary to the Ancestral File, her John was NOT our John Harmon. Artemus Harmon's book, The Harmon Genealogy, Comprising All Branches in New England published in 1920 by Gibson Bros. Inc. in Washington D.C. clearly identifies Elizabeth Cummings and distinctly names her children. This information needs to be brought to the attention of those who claim the Cummings surname as that of our Elizabeth. Our Elizabeth is NOT the Elizabeth Cummings listed on the Ancestral File!

Quoting Artemus Harmon from Harmon Genealogy--Comprising All Branches in New Englandprinted by Gibson Bros., Inc. Washington, D.C. 1920 page 138: "John Harmon was one of the few persons in Saco [Maine] who owned horses in 1674. Carriages were unknown. On July 28, 1674, Richard Cummings, John Harmon, and others with their horses were allowed use of Humphrey Scammon's ferry, near the mouth of Saco River.

Elizabeth Harmon, born at Old Orchard, the only daughter of Richard Cummings, married. 1st her cousin, John Foxwell, and after his death she married John Harmon, previous to 1680. Mr. Harmon became the sole heir to that part of the Boynthon Patent which fell to the wife of Cummings. John Harmon and Elizabeth Cummings had an only child named Elizabeth. She married Joseph Banks, of York, to which place Harmon removed before 1690. Banks thus acquired Harmon's right, but in 1714 conveyed one half of it to Peter Weare and others. John Harmon and Thomas Cummings were the administrators of the estate of Richard Cummings, who d. abt 1676. Thomas did not long survive his father. John Harmon was sent by Saco, as Deputy to the Assembly in 1681."

The John Harmon who married Elizabeth Cummings is a son of James. This John was born about 1650 and married in 1673 Elizabeth Cummings Foxwell. After the death of Elizabeth Cummings Foxwell Harmon, John married 2nd in York, Maine--abt 1675-- Deborah Johnson. He died in York, Maine in 1695.

John Harmon and Elizabeth Cummings had ONLY one child, Elizabeth. A descendant of this daughter supplied the information that Artemus Harmon used in his book. For years, genealogists have copied others research and claim that our Elizabeth is this Miss Cummings. That is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!! Elizabeth Cummings is carefully documented and she did not marry our John! Please help me correct this error!!!!!



As mentioned previously, I have no documentation to prove the origin of the Southwell Elizabeth as John's wife. Later generations of our Harmon family married into the Southwell family--even a John, but not the Springfield John! According to Savage's Dictionary of First Settlers, Ebenezer Southwell of Northampton is the son of William of Northampton and he married Elizabeth Judd, daughter of Samuel. They had a daughter, Elizabeth born 1721; and Ebenezer removed to Suffield, CT.

William Southwell, of Northampton, married on 24 Feb 1687, Sarah Stebbins, daughter of John of Northampton and had: Mary, Enoch, Sarah, Ebenezer, Abigail, Hannah, Enoch, and John. Savage suggests that William immigrated later than 1670. Since our Elizabeth was over 90 in 1699, these Southwells could not be her family. I humbly admit my error in claiming that our Elizabeth is a Southwell. She probably is NOT! Apparently some previous genealogist in my family copied someone elses' records without documentation just as I did!


The Ancestral File also has an Elizabeth Sampson, daughter of Henry and Anne Plummer Sampson as another possibility for the wife of our John Harmon. Elizabeth is married (according to the Ancestral File) to John Harmon, son of Francis. Her husband, John, has been given an approximated birth date of 1623 and a death date of 3 Mar 1661. (We have 7 Mar 1661)-- both at Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts. If the estimated dates are correct, Elizabeth Sampson would have been born when her father was about 13 years old. I have the following reservations about this Elizabeth:
1. There is a question mark by her name in the Ancestral File.
2. The estimated ages do not seem to be logical. Our Elizabeth was born probably between 1609 and 1617. She died in 1699--supposedly 90+ years old.
3. According to the Ancestral File, this John Harmon and Elizabeth Sampson had a daughter, Sarah Jane Harmon, born abt 1651 in Plymouth, MA. Our John was having children in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1651.
4. Sarah Jane married in New Jersey and raised her children there. None of our John's descendants that we know of lived in New Jersey.
5. It appears to me that Elizabeth Sampson and her husband, John Harmon, have been assigned the death dates and place of our John and Elizabeth. In order for this Elizabeth to have been over 90 years old at her death as was the Springfield Elizabeth, she would have been born abt 1609 or before. Elizabeth Sampson's father--according to the Ancestral File was born 1610. Henry Sampson's father has a complete birth date of 24 Jun 1575--making him 45 years old when Henry was born--not impossible, but somewhat questionable. Could it be possible that Henry was born earlier? If so, then he may be old enough to be the father of a daughter born in 1609. This needs further research.
6. It has been suggested that Elizabeth Sampson might be a second wife of our John. This is not possible because our John's wife outlived him by 38 years.
7. I think the biggest drawback is that Sarah Jane married Captain Samuel Doty. Our John's Sarah married Charles Ferry and her family is well documented. From this information, it seems we can eliminate Elizabeth Sampson as the wife of our John.



In the Book, Goff-Davis Ancestral Lines--The Ancestry of Moulton Babcock Goff and his wife, Agnes Hopkins Davis, Lois B. Goff suggests that Elizabeth may be a Potter--a relative of Vincent Potter. Goff's sources are currently being investigated. Agnes Hopkins Davis is descended from Sarah Ferry, daughter of Charles Ferry and Sarah Harmon. If any of Elizabeth's children would have left a clue to her identity, there is a strong possibility that her eldest daughter, Sarah, just might. I checked the Ancestral File and IGI for Vincent Potter and the IGI has a Vincent Potter born abt. 1614 in England. Thomas Gibbs Crane is listed as his relative. I cannot find anything on Thomas. In the book Pioneers of Massachusetts by Pope on page 370, I find the following about Vincent Potter: "Vincent Potter, gent., ae 21 came in the Elizabeth and Ann in May 1635. Had apprentices, John Johnson, Stephen Barrett, Henry Kenninge, and William Browne, whom he placed with new masters in 1639. He was entertained to serve at the fort in Boston for one year from 13 (8) 1636, at 10 li. wages."

On page 174 of the same book, "Thomas Fowle, gent., armiger, merchant 1639. Settled at Boston; adm. church 25 (1) 1643. Wife Margaret adm. church 31 (1) 1640. Ch: Elizabeth b. 14 (1) 1639; John b. 1 (5) 1641; Margaret b. 13 (2) 1643; Marie bapt. 16 (2) 1643 ae. 4 da.; James bapt. 8 (10) 1644 ae 5 da; Martha bapt 25 (8) 1646 ae abt. 7 da." Thomas Fowle was one of the petitioners for citizenship of non-church members in 1645. Has shipping accounts 5 (7) 1645. Thomas Fowle calls Vincent Potter his brother-in-law.

Concerning Vincent Potter's apprentices, I found in Pope's book: pg. 35 "Stephen Barrett, Ipswich, placed by Vincent Potter 21 (4) 1639 with Wm. Foster as an apprentice. (pg. 173--Wm Foster, planter, came in 1634; settled at Ipswich; proprietor in 1634; Took an apprentice 21 (4) 1639). Pg. 266: Henry Kenninge placed as an apprentice with Wm. Parke of Roxbury 21 (4) 1639, by Vincent Potter. Rem. to Salem. Wife, Ann, Salem adm church 24 (6) 1654. Children: John bapt. 10 (7) 1654; Mary bapt. 3 (5) 1659; Sarah, bapt.29 (4) 1662. Elizabeth, of Sister K. (meaning daughter of) bapt. 1 (3) 1664. Elizabeth also bapt. 12 (3) 1666." Pg. 75: William Brown(e) arrived June 22, 1639, apprentice to Mr. Vincent Potter, who released him to Thomas Joy, carpenter Sept. 24, 1639. (Thomas Joy--pg. 264--carpenter, Boston; propr. 1636; Built townhouse 1640. Wife Joane Gallop. She d. 1690/91. He d. 1678.) pg. 260 John Johnson, ae 23, came in the Elizabeth Apr. 15, 1635. No more information.

I do not know Lois Goff's reasoning that Elizabeth may be a Potter--or a relative of Vincent. I have only seen a copy of the excerpt and have not studied her book in full. I feel this requires more looking into. Vincent is not old enough to be her father, but Lois only says "relative." Vincent placed an apprentice at Roxbury--where John Harmon supposedly lived about the time of his marriage.

Is there a piece to a puzzle here: Elizur Holyoke's kinswoman, Mary Mansfield, was married first to John Gove; then John Mansfield. In Pioneers of Massachusetts the possible spellings of Gove include Gobe, Goffe--and could we also suggest Goff? The interest in this lies in the fact that Elizue Holyoke was present when our John Harmon signed his will in Springfield,Massachusetts. John and Elizabeth had a great-great granddaughter who married a Mansfield.

Mary Gove gave her full consent for her daughter, Mary, to be adopted by Ralph Mousall and his wife after the death of her husband, John Gove. She also had two sons: John and Edward. The legacy that was to come to these three children included some brass "which is to come out of England by Mr. James Allen." (Charlestown Records; Norf. Files Reg. VII, 170)

Elizur Holyoke was among the younger members of the Springfield settlement and a leader in Indian warfare. He was the son of Edward Holyoke of Romney Marsh or Chelsea, Massachusetts. The original Holyoke home had been in Tamworth, Warwickshire, England. About 1640 he married William Pynchon's daughter, Mary. In time he became a large land holder. Mount Holyoke was named after him. He died 5 Feb 1676 while commanding troops fighting the Indians in King Phillip's War.

The possibility that Elizabeth Harmon (or her husband John) could be related to Holyoke or Pynchon--or Henry Smith seems strong. Where do Goff's come in?



In the personal history of Diantha Hanchett Gardner sent to me by a descendant, we read: "This town of Erie, Erie Co., Pa., was where our beloved Grandma Diantha Hanchett was born 17 October 1831. Her parents were of DUTCH descent. Her father was Martin Hanchett (son of Diantha Harmon and John Hanchett--grandson of Martin Harmon and Tryphena); her mother's name was Sarah Mecham. Some of her brothers and sisters were born in Kirtland, Ohio and some in MeKean, Erie, PA."

In seeking for any possible reference to Dutch ancestry, the only thing I have found is in The Charles Ferry Family In America compiled by Edward M. Ferry in 1978 and printed by the Gazette Printing Company of Northampton, Massachusetts. "That John Harmon was in Springfield before Charles Ferry there can be no doubt, as his name appears on the records as early as 1644. The origin of the Harmon family is less certain. The name Harmon, Harman, Herman, Hermain is found in the Huguenot Records as early as 1549, and in the Registers of the Norwich and Canterbury Registers at various times, but the country from which they came is uncertain. In some entries one gains the impression that the family was Dutch, while in other places the name appears to be French.

A Norwich church entry of 1549 reads as follows:--'Southward 1549 Strangers being householders Harman Cornelius Members of the Dutch Church.'

Other entries show the variation of the name. �Harman wool comber Flanders 1560 wife and three children born in England.'

�Sept. 19, 1571. Charles Harman and others were warned not to disturb the church or they would be turned out.'

�Cornelius Harman weaver 30 years of age and Catherine his wife 44 years of age. Hollanders having a daughter of 11 years and have been three years here. Came for the cause of religion.'

From a state paper we find the following:--"Domestic. Reign of Queen Elizabeth. Returns of Strangers in the suburbs of London 18-20 Dec. 1571 Aleysander Harman of Cologne. Church St. Racheim. Anne Harman his wife of Luke. Same Church. Naturalized inhabitant.'

�Nov 10, 1571. Corn. Cornelius Harmon born in Colleyn Cologne servant. Came into the kingdom about six years ago. Dutchman.'

�Sept 1588. Harmans Dierich, cobbler, A householder, dutchman.'

The above quotations were taken from The Wallloons and their Church at Norwich and quoted in the aforementioned Ferry book on page 11. The following are taken from the Registers of the Church of the Strangers at Canterbury.:

�April 22, 1630. Marriages. Jacque Du Miny.... and Marie Hermain daughter of Andrew Hermain also of Canterbury.'

�May 4, 1690. Baptism,---Anne daughter of Pierre Ferre witness. Jaques Herman.' This entry indicates that at least some Ferre and Harmon/Herman families were acquainted in England-- even though the date is thirty years after Charles Ferry came to America.

The name of Charles Ferry first appears in the records of Springfield as early as 18 Apr 1659 when he purchased land from Joseph Crowfoot. Just when did he come? "If one follows the notation in the Canterbury Church Register when his sister Marie was married 23 Feb 1659/60, that she was the daughter of the �late Jean Ferret,' the occasion for his departure from England may have been his father's death. His coming to Springfield was perhaps the result of acquaintance with the Harmon (Harman/Herman) family in England. The name Harman is found in the Registers of the Hugenot churches in both Canterbury and Norwich."

So--what is Charles Ferry's connection to the Harmons once in Springfield? He married their oldest daughter, Sarah Harmon on 29 March 1661; purchased land of the Widow Harmon and built the first home on the east side on the meadow lands.

The possibility of Dutch ancestry has not even been tapped as far as I know. If there is Dutch ancestry, the clues in the Ferry book bear checking out. Since Sarah is the eldest daughter of John and Elizabeth, the chances of her family knowing something about this are very strong.


In summary, who is Elizabeth Harmon? I don't know. I do know she went into the wilderness with her husband and babies and she made a home for them. She was a tender mother and well loved by her husband. She had nine children and raised several of her second husband's children as well. She braved Indian raids, children dying; a babe drowning in the brook; having her town burned to the ground; dealt with a rebellious teenager who misbehaved in church; dealt with grown, married children fighting over land; lived to a very elderly age--the last sixteen years of which she was without a husband and at a very advanced age.


Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth 1609/1617 ,,,England   1
Death 1699-05-16 Springfield,Hampden,Massachusetts   2 1 3


Family of Harmon, John and , Elizabeth

Married Husband Harmon, John ( * 1617 + 1661-03-07 )
Event Date Place Description Sources
Marriage about 1640      
Name Birth Date Death Date
Harmon, John16411712-02-13
Harmon, Samuel16431677-09-07
Harmon, Sarah1644/5-01-24 (Julian)1740-10-31
Harmon, Joseph1646/7-01-04 (Julian)1729-10-28
Harmon, Elizabeth1649-04-151652-06-07
Harmon, Mary1651-11-121715-10-05
Harmon, Nathaniel1653/4-03-13 (Julian)1712-05-02
Harmon, Ebenezer1657-08-121660-08-07
Type Value Notes Sources
_UID 2F8541EF9E017043825827FD060AB13E33C3

Family of Dorchester, Anthony and , Elizabeth

Married Husband Dorchester, Anthony ( * + 1683-08-28 )
Event Date Place Description Sources
Marriage before 1664 Springfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts    
Type Value Notes Sources
_UID F27348EFA3631342BF78604D81BF6924A81D


Type Value Notes Sources
_UID 10FE74423C585049B95EB71D648E3D4E5914