Category Archives: family

John Bent Sr.–Father of the Bent Family in America

 John Bent 1596-1672

Weyhill Church

The Weyhill church where John Bent’s family members were baptized, married and buried from the 16th century.

The Bent Family in England

John Bent’s father was Robert Bent of Penton-Grafton, Weyhill Parish in Hampshire County, England. His grandfather’s name: John Bent. The small village lies about seventy miles south of London. To put the history in perspective, when John Bent was born, Elizabeth I was still Queen. He had two older brothers, Richard and Robert, and an older sister, Jane. By the time he was six years old,  three younger sisters would be added to the family.

Names are important to John Bent’s story.  His aunt Joanne Bent married a William Noyes–a family closely intertwined with the Bents in both England and America.  John’s mother’s name was Agnes, as was one of his aunts.  The Bents favored the name Agnes sometimes written as  Annis or Ann and named a bewildering array of offspring by that name. The next person I’ll talk about is an Agnes with a daughter Agnes and a grand daughter Agnes. Naturally, the Bents also recycled the names Robert and John and Richard and Joseph.

John Bent’s Family

In 1624, John Bent married Martha, whose last name I have not proven.  According to one index she was Martha Blanchard and according to another, possibly Baker. Other relatives of John Bent are married to both Bakers and Blanchards. However both indices agree they were married in England in 1624. John would have been 28 years old.

In the following eleven years, the couple had five children. (For more details about the family, see the story about John Bent Jr., born in 1636. )

In 1631, John’s father, Robert, died leaving John and his older brother 40 shillings each. That is less than left to other children, but may indicate that they had received land from their father. According to Puritan Village, John had inherited 45 acres of land. Two of John’s sons and his daughter received two ewes each, the bequest for most of Robert’s grandchildren,  and John’s oldest son received a young cow.

Robert Bent named two neighbors as “overseers” of the will–Henry Tuncks and Peter Noyes, once again emphasizing the closeness of the Bent and Noyes families.

John was a successful farmer, as was his father, Robert.  The book “Puritan Village” discusses tax rolls of the Parish of Weyhill. “(Peter) Noyes and (John) Bent were 4th and 5th in land holdings of 44 landholders (there were also 40 landless men).”

The Great Puritan Migration

About the time that John Bent turned 40 years old, the people of the village were becoming increasingly unhappy with the reign of Charles I that started in 1625.  There must have been many long, soul-searching conversations, as they looked across the Atlantic at the possibilities of a better life in the new country where the first band of dissidents had landed in 1620. Unhappiness with both civic and religious constraints stimulated the Great Puritan Migration of the 17th century.

Peter Noyes, John’s friend, must have been one of the most adamant and outspoken about the necessity to leave England. John Bent, no longer a young man, had to decide whether to make the risky journey with young children, to leave familiar surroundings and a successful farm, to leave his widowed mother and his siblings, all for an unknown future.

Then King Charles decided to raise money. Ironically, these Englishmen whose grandsons would fight to separate America from England over tax issues, found tax issues pushing them to emigrate to America. As The Bent Family in America explains:

“A glance at affairs in England will show ample cause for a change of home at that time. The rule of Charles I had become almost unbearable, and it is not at all surprising that so many looked upon ‘the American wilderness as the only asylum in which they could enjoy civil and spiritual freedom.’ The King, advised in affairs of state by Lord Wentworth (Earl of Stafford) and in religious affairs by William Land, Archibishop of Canterbury, wished to do for England what Richelieu was doing at that very moment for France. ‘put the estates and personal liberties of the whole people at the disposal of the crown and deprive the courts of law of all independent authority,’ as well as to break up all gatherings of religious dissenters. He had already ruled nine years without a Parliament and his despotism seemed nearly complete. But one thing was lacing, and that was a standing army.”

In order to fund the army, the King proposed heavy taxes on the counties along the coast that profited from shipping. Hampshire, the home of the Bents, was one of those counties.

“England, to the outward eye, verdant, calm, and peaceful, but in reality on the verge of a political and religious volcano (The explosion came with the Civil War in 1642).”

A Decision to Risk the Trip

In the end, John decided to take the risk. His elderly mother, Agnes Bent, promised that she would consider sailing to America if Peter Noyes and John decided the conditions were good.  She entrusted £ 80  to Peter to help him finance the voyage and to look for land for her.

“[Peter] Noyes sailed from Southhampton on April 12, 1638 in the ship Confidence, taking 3 servants, his eldest son and daughter, and his neighbor, John Bent.”[/plain]

John and Martha brought with them five children ranging from two years old to thirteen years old.  At that time period, they would have been traveling on a sailing ship and would have been responsible for bringing along their own food which they prepared on board. It was no pleasure cruise.

The Confidence held 110 people–a large percentage of whom were servants. Perhaps most of the servants had indentured themselves in order to pay for travel. They would pay off the debt in a few years and become regular citizens. These were not impoverished immigrants dependent upon plantation investors from the old country. They had been leaders in their English communities and were well suited for building new towns in New England. The families on board were headed for various Massachusetts Bay Colony towns, but the Bents and Noyes and a couple of other families were going to Sudbury.

The American Scene

Since the Pilgrims had arrived in Plymouth in 1620, small towns had sprung up progressively reaching westward from the seacoast, so in that eighteen-year-span other people had started to build villages. Nevertheless, Sudbury lay on the edge of civilization, connected to other towns only by Indian trails and rivers traversed by canoe. Far from their mother land where the parish church was already a century or more old, the Bent family  now lived in wilderness, surrounded by natives who while generally friendly did not always accept their presence.

John’s Family and Responsibilities Grow

The year after John and Martha Bent arrived in Sudbury, his mother and sister set sail to join him.  My next story will deal with the story of the two Agnes Bents, but suffice it to say here that in addition to the five children that the Bents brought from England, they cared for one of John Bent’s nephew, Richard Barnes, for several years. Martha also gave birth to two more children–Joseph in 1641 and her namesake, my 7x great grandmother Martha, in 1643.

Two years after John arrived, he received status of Freeman in his new community, giving him rights to vote and help rule the town.  He settled in a part of Sudbury that is now the town of Wayland, building a house on a six-acre lot 1/4 mile from the Sudbury River. The following year, he served on a committee to assign timber to citizens. In 1648, the town fathers appointed John Bent as one of three men to “end small business under twenty shillings”, a kind of small claims court. The same year, leaders chose him to lay out the highway from Watertown to Danforth Farms (later Framingham), following the old Connecticut Path. Not everything that happened in 1648 was as happy. John and Martha’s oldest son Robert, died at the age of twenty-three.

Sudbury Massachusetts

Colonial Sudbury–early 18th century–and the Wayside Inn after John Bent’s day.

As his sons grew to adulthood, John helped them settle in other places, joining the petition to form the town of Marlboro (Marlborough) for the benefit of his son Peter in 1656.

John Bent’s Will

In September 1672, at 76 years of age, John Bent Senior, wrote his will. He must have been proud of his life’s work, having accumulated wealth, mostly in the form of land, to pass on to his children and grandchildren.

John Bent Will

1672 will of John Bent, Sr., of Sudbury.

John Bent was buried in the Old Cemetery in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

John was spared the heartbreak of losing two of his sons later that decade. In 1675, as we learned in an earlier post, tragedy struck when Peter accidentally shot his brother Joseph, the youngest of the family. Three years later, Peter died while on a trip to England. And Martha Bent, John Bent Sr.’s wife, died in 1679.

John Bent’s Legacy

John Bent, by coming to America in 1638 had founded a family that would spread across the country and even to Nova Scotia. In 1760 David Bent of Sudbury moved to Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, taking advantage of land that became available when the British expelled French Acadians  out of Canada. Four years later two other Bent families followed.

John Bent’s descendants included several soldiers of the Revolutionary War.

One of those was Lt. Col. Matthias Bent of Framingham, later a Deacon.  His daughter Abigail Bent wrote The Happy Merchant and Other Tales for Sunday School teaching. (Not timeless literature, it seems to have disappeared.)

One of those soldiers of the Revolution, Lt. Col. Silas Bent of Rutland, went to Ohio as one of the first settlers–thus probably a friend and neighbor of my other ancestors who traveled with Rufus Putnam–the Israel Stone family. Silas kept on moving west, moving on to Missouri. A 3x great-grandson of John Bent, Silas Bent was a judge of the Missouri Supreme Court in the early 19th century.

The judge’s son, Charles Bent, served briefly as the first American Governor of the Territory of New Mexico.The National Park Service maintains a fur trading fort Charles Bent and his brother established on the Santa Fe Trail: Old Bent’s Fort.

Bent's Fort

Bents Old Fort, near La Junta, Colorado, founded by Charles Bent in 1833.

During the Mexican War, the fort served as a base for the troops of American General Kearney. General Kearney  appointed Charles Bent as Governor of New Mexico after the Mexican War. He served from September 1846 until soldiers of the Pueblo uprising killed him in January 1847. (For those keeping track, Charles is the 4x great grandchild of John Bent through Peter Bent. That makes Charles my 5th Cousin, 4x removed.)

Little did John Bent know when he left England, what a mark his family would make on America.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout (Anderson),the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of
  • Martha Bent How, the daughter of
  • John Bent, Sr.

Research Notes

  • The Bent family in America : being mainly a genealogy of the descendants of John Bent : who settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1638 : with notes upon the family in England and elsewhere. in North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 at Ancestry.com, Allen H. Bent, 1900. Also available at Archives.org.
  • U. S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for John Bent Sr. arrival 1638.This edition was privately printed in 75 quarto copies for W. Elliot Woodward. Same as the octavo edition of 1860 with an additional section, “The First Settlers of Plymouth,” pp. 115-122. Research originally done, 1858-1860, for The New England Historical Society.Source Bibliography:
    DRAKE, SAMUEL G. Result of Some Researches Among the British Archives for Information Relative to the Founders of New England …. 3rd ed. Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1865.
  • U.S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for John Bent Sr.., arrival 1638
  • A History of Framingham, Massachusetts, including the plantation, from 1640 to the present time with an appendix containing a notice of Sudbury and its first proprietors. By William Barry, 1847, J. Munroe & Co., Boson. At the Library of Congress. Accessed through archive.org.
  • A History of Sudbury 1638-1889, Alfred S. Hudson 1889, R. H. Blodgett, Sudbury.  Available on archives.org
  • England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, Ancestry.com 2014 (John and Martha Bent parent of James and parent of Ann(Agnes).
  • Massachusetts Applications of Freemen, 1630-91, Ancestry.com 2010, John Bent 1640
  • Massachusetts, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1790-1890, Ancestry.com 1999, John Bent 1639
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, Roxbury, 1630-1867, Jay Mack Holbrook, 1985, John Bent Death 1672
  • Middlesex County, Massachusetts Probate Index, 1648-1870,Flint, James, compiler, Anestry.com 2000 John Bent, Sudbury, 1672.
  • In addition to this index, the book The Bent Family in America reprints the entire will (ref above).,
  • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900, Source number: 76.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: CGF, John Bent and Martha Blanchard, 1624, Hampshire, Ancestry.com 2004
  • FindaGrave.com, John Bent 1596-1672
  • Puritan Village: The Formation of a New England Town, Sumner Chilton Powell, Wesleyan University Press, University Press of New England, Hanover NH 1970, read in Kindle Edition.

John Bent Jr. , Tithingman of Framingham

John Bent Jr. 1636-1717

Tithingman

Tithingman illustration from Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret B. Pumphrey

John Bent Jr. was the fifth child of John Bent, Sr. and his wife Martha. The family arrived in American in 1638, on the ship Confidence, sailing from Southampton.  Since John was only two years old, he surely didn’t remember anything about his native land, but we know that he was baptized in Penton Grafton, Hampshire County, England on January 24, 1636.

John would have been 7 years old when my 7x great-grandmother, Martha Bent was born in their new home in Sudbury, Massachusetts. In Sudbury he saw  his 23-yr-old brother Robert die in 1648.

From Sudbury to Framingham with 1st Wife Hannah Stone

He grew up in that small Puritan village and met and married Hannah Stone* of Cambridge on  July 1, 1658.  They had a daughter, named Hannah** for her mother, in 1661 and then like so many young men, John apparently decided he need to move away from Sudbury to take advantage of more land available nearby.

The Old Connecticut Path

In 1662 John Bent Jr. bought land in what is now Framingham “near the Fordway over the Cochituate Brook on the west side of the  old Connecticut Path. ” (The link here takes you to an excellent Wikipedia article on the history of the path). There he built one of the first houses in Framingham.  The Bent Family History describes the “old Connecticut Path” in a footnote:

“This old Indian trail was the only way eastern settlers [meaning those migrating east from the first settlements around Plymouth] had to reach the towns on the Connecticut River.  It ran west along the north bank of the Charles River, then to the northern end of Cochituate Pond and Southwest through South Framingham.”

Roadways were few and far between, and John Bent’s location on the side of the old Connecticut Path would be a very important location. Cochituate Pond is now Cochituate Lake. The old Connecticut Path still exists in portions of Rt. 9 and of Rt. 126 through Wayland where it splits with the Bay Path, later called The Boston Post Road. The Boston Post Road runs past what was Howe’s Tavern–now Longfellow’s Wayside Inn.  Just think, a road trip through Massachusetts may take you along a path followed by American Indians more than 500 years ago. If you are traveling in the area, you can find many articles on the internet specifying routes to take, wild areas and parks along the way, etc.

John Bent Jr.’s father John and his brothers Peter and Joseph had moved to the new town of Marlborough, where tragedy befell as I told before in the stories of Joseph (died in 1675) and Peter (died in 1678).

The map below shows a current day view of the portion of the old Connecticut path that went through John Bent’s farm, the location of Sudbury and Marlborough.  The distances are short–about five miles from the center of Sudbury to John’s property. Click on markers for more descriptions and a surprise.

Of course for John Bent, it was not just a scenic drive–it was his livelihood. In 1680 his daughter married John Adams.  However, once again John Jr. lost a younger sibling, when sister Martha Bent Howe ( 7x great-grandmother) in 1680 at the age of thirty-seven.

Apparently John Jr. was prosperous, because in 1683 he bought another 60 acres adjoining his farm.

John’s wife, Hannah, died about 1689 and on November 29, 1689, John Bent married his second wife, Martha Rice.    Martha , born in 1657, was twenty-one years younger than her husband, now in his early fifties. The marriage created one of those complex relationships that came from choosing spouses in a small community. Martha Rice ‘s father, Matthew had a brother, Edward Rice married to Martha’s new husband’s sister.

Life With Second Wife Martha Rice

Although the Bent Family History assigns three children to John Bent and his first wife, Hannah Stone, the birth dates indicate that John’s two sons were born to his second wife, Martha Rice. In fact, John Jr., born in 1689, might explain why John married Martha, since they were married in November that year.  Two years later, another son, David, arrived.

In 1693, John Bent headed the first petition for incorporation of Framingham.  However, incorporation had to wait another seven years. By 1700, when incorporation finally happened, 76 families lived in Framingham.

Like most of my ancestors in Puritan villages, John Bent did his civic duty. In his case, the record shows that in March, 1701, he was assigned the job of Tithingman.He had reached the advanced age of 65. The Bent Family History describes tithingman as a position of authority both on Sundays and throughout the week. In fact, this New England Historical Society.com article, calls the men who were tithingmen, “The most powerful men in New England” and relates how one may have challenged George Washington. [NOTE: I have removed the link from this site because I have learned they are content scrapers–stealing content from other writers and websites. They are NOT affiliated with the REAL New England Historical Genealogical Society site, which is called www.americanancestors.org. I am sorry that I cannot credit the actual writer of the piece I cited. Please do not support scraper sites!]

Like Sudbury and Marlborough, Framingham fell prey to Indian attack. They suffered an attack in 1707.

John Bent Jr. Lives a Long Life

Although I have been unable to find a place to get a copy of his will, or a recorded date of death, the Bent Family History quotes his will saying it was made in the first year of King George, which started in August 1714 when John was 79 years old.  The will says that he was frail and weak of body. An Index from ancestry.com and A History of Framingham says that he died September 15, 1717, in which case he would have been 82 years old.

At any rate, he lived much longer than most of his family. Only his older sister Agnes, who died at the age of 79 in 1715 proved as hearty as John Bent, Jr. His will left property divided equally between his two sons and says that he had previously given his daughter Hannah her share.  One record I have seen shows an Adams with property adjoining John Bent’s land, so perhaps he gave Hannah and her husband John Adams part of his land.

The Bent Family History does not mention a bequest to his wife Martha Rice. I have only found one record that gives an approximate death year for her of 1717. On the other hand, a descendant states on his tree that she must have died before 1716, because her father’s will does not mention her. I also have been unable to locate her father’s will.  So mysteries remain.

*Hannah Stone, married to my 8th great-uncle, is my second tie to the Stone family of Massachusetts. My 3x great-grandmother is Elizabeth Stone (Bassett). Hannah’s grandfather was Gregory Stone.  Elizabeth’s 4x grandfather was the same Gregory Stone, making him my 9th great-grandfather.

**Hannah Bent, John Bent Jr.’s daughter, married John Adams. Not THE John Adams, and not even a remotely close relative of THE John Adams as far as I can see.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout (Anderson),the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of
  • Samuel and Martha Bent How, the sister of
  • John Bent, Jr.

Notes on Research

  • The Bent family in America : being mainly a genealogy of the descendants of John Bent : who settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1638 : with notes upon the family in England and elsewhere. in North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 at Ancestry.com, Allen H. Bent, 1900
  • U. S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for John Bent Jr. arrival 1638.This edition was privately printed in 75 quarto copies for W. Elliot Woodward. Same as the octavo edition of 1860 with an additional section, “The First Settlers of Plymouth,” pp. 115-122. Research originally done, 1858-1860, for The New England Historical Society.Source Bibliography:
    DRAKE, SAMUEL G. Result of Some Researches Among the British Archives for Information Relative to the Founders of New England …. 3rd ed. Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1865.
  • U.S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for John Bent Jr., arrival 1638
  • A History of Framingham, Massachusetts, including the plantation, from 1640 to the present time with an appendix containing a notice of Sudbury and its first proprietors. By William Barry, 1847, J. Munroe & Co., Boson. At the Library of Congress. Accessed through archive.org.
  • Massachusetts, Marriages, 1633-1850,Dodd, Jordan, Liahona Research, comp, Ancestry.com Listing for the marriage of John Bent, Jr. and Hannah Stone.
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, Roxbury, 1630-1867, Jay Mack Holbrook, compiled 1985, Ancestry.com. Listing for John Bent’s Death.
  • The New England Historical & Genealogical Register, 1647-2011, Ancestry.com Listing for John Bent, Jr. marriage to Hannah Stone.

Peter Bent, Of Indian Attacks and Fatal Accidents

Peter Bent, Sr. 1629-1678

My last post was about the short life of the  brother of my 7x great-grandmother, Martha Bent, of Sudbury, Massachusetts.  The cause of death was an accidental shooting by his oldest brother, Peter Bent. I can’t stop thinking about how it must have affected Peter, who at 46 was a real go-getter and successful businessman in that part of Massachusetts.

Peter Bent had been born in England and arrived in America in 1638 at the age of eleven.  He married at the age of 24 to a woman named Elizabeth (last name unknown). By the time he was 27, he was one of the young men of the village who felt hemmed in by the town of Sudbury.  His father and he joined other settlers of Sudbury in signing the petition to establish Marlborough. John Bent and his family, Peter Bent and his wife and son, Peter, Jr., moved into the wilderness west of Sudbury from which they would carve the town of Marlborough. The older men had this to say:

 “God hath beene pleased to increase our children, which are now diverse of them grown to man’s estate; and wee, many of us, grown into years, so that wee should bee glad to see them settled before the Lord take us away from hence, as also God having given us some considerable quantity of cattle, so that wee are so straightened that we cannot so comfortably subsist as could be desired and some of us having taken some pains to view the country; wee have found a place which lyeth westward about eight miles from Sudbury which wee conceive might be comfortable for our subsistence . . .”
(From the book, History of Marlborough Massachusetts.)

Peter Bent -Marloborough 1667

This 1667 map of Marlborough shows the Sudbury River where Peter Bent built a toll bridge.

Peter Bent and his wife Elizabeth had a total of eight children, and all but one lived to adulthood, as I will explain below.

In 1660, as a valuable member of the new community of Marlboro, Peter built a grist mill on Stony Brook and the following year he built a bridge over the Sudbury River. These privately built bridges were a source of income for the builder, as he charged a toll.  Also in 1661, Peter and Elizabeth built a home “just south of Williams Pond, a mile from  the now center of Marlboro” according to the Bent Family History, published in 1900.

Peter Bent in Marlborough

Marlborough map 100 years after Peter’s death shows location of Williams Pond where his house was located.

Creating a new town was not easy, as verified in a document presented on the Marlborough History page.  In 1664, after several years of squabbling over rules that sound amazingly similar to present day homeowner’s associations, Half the town petitioned the court to form a committee to solve the problems.  Peter Bent, Sr. was among those on the opposite side. His half of the town did not think problems were serious enough to involve the court. Although he seemed to come down on the laissez-faire side of that argument, he joined, in 1664, a group that petitioned to form a new church. That at was seen as hostile by another group, who promptly fought against it

Forget all about our picture of a peaceful, cooperative group of people taming the wilderness!

In December of 1674, Peter Bent, Sr. wrote his will. Unlike most of the old wills I have found, illness did not suggest the necessity for a will. Instead, Peter was setting off on what was always a dangerous trip–sailing across the Atlantic to England. I have not found any record of why he went to Europe, but I know that several of the settlers had left lands behind in Penton-Grafton, Hampshire. Perhaps Peter’s father, John Bent, owned land and Peter was looking after it. Perhaps he was a trader, buying goods in England. Whatever it was was worth leaving his young family and going on this dangerous journey. At any rate, he survived that 1674 trip to old England, only to come back to chaos in New England.

The Bents and other families who had settled in Marlboro had just fourteen years to build their town before King Philip’s War broke out.  The Indian uprising terrorized Puritan villages in New England for most of  two years–1675 and 1676. The colonists knew trouble was brewing, and they fortified some of the homes in each village so they would have a place to take refuge. A document explains the allocation of garrisons and soldiers. Peter Bent’s house would be home to three soldiers of the thirty-seven allotted to the town, and his family would support those three soldiers. Men made sure to have weapons ready to defend their families.

In the summer of 1675 (probably in June), Peter walked or rode over to Sudbury to visit his brother Joseph and show him the pistols he had received from England. (I am speculating on the details here, but the sequence of events is accurate.)  Peter Bent was known to have traveled to England several times, and could well have purchased the pistols (which the inventory lists in his probate papers a few years later) on a trip he made in 1674.

Although we don’t know exactly how it happened, we know that Peter accidentally shot his brother that summer day in 1675.

I wonder if, when the Indians attacked his mill in November of that year,  Peter felt God was punishing him?  A small band of Indians crept up to his mill and carried off his apprentice, Christopher Muchin.  They also scalped Peter’s young son and left him for dead.  This “young son” could have been Zacheus, who would have been eight years old or John, twelve years old. The boy survived the attack.

Peter’s will refers to his son, Zacheus as “weak in body,” which might indicate lasting effects of the act and the Bent Family History author believes that is the case. However, John died five months later when he was only thirteen years old, which seems to me to point to John as the victim.

But that was just a hint of the horror to come in Marlboro and Sudbury.  On March 26, 1676, King Philip’s allies came into the village while everyone was at church on a Sunday morning and as the people of Marlborough sought protection in one of the fortified homes, the Indians burned most of the town to the ground.

Marlborough church burning

According to the Marlborough historical society this dramatic picture is not accurate. The church, with thatched roof, would have had plank siding rather than logs.

The following month, the Indians mounted an attack on neighboring Sudbury, where most of Peter’s relatives lived.

With no home, and with most of his livelihood destroyed, Peter took his family to Cambridge for refuge.  It was there that the young John died in 1676. The following year, 1677, the residents returned to Marlborough.

Peter lived only two years more, dying in 1678 at the age of 49.  He had taken another ship to England, perhaps trying to rebuild whatever business he had there to make up for the losses in Marlboro.  I wish I had more details about his business in England and the reason for his death.  Apparently he died in England rather than on the passage home.  At any rate, his will and the accompanying inventory provides a good deal of detail about the wealth he had been able to amass in his short life.

His will lists 26 acres of land around his home in Marlboro plus 25 acres of upland adjoining his former home in Sudbury and much other land, the total value: £436.  The inventory lists millstones and mill irons, and a pair of pistols, holsters and three swords.  His personal estate came to £40.

Despite all of this and the family around her, Peter’s wife Elizabeth asked for aid from the General Council, indicating she was destitute.  But in 1704, she still was holding the 1/3 of the estate that she got from the will and she deeded it over to her eldest son, Peter, Jr.

At least one grandson and one great-grandson of Peter Bent served in the Revolution. Thomas Bent, the son of Peter Bent’s son, Hopestill Bent,  was wounded on April 19, 1775 (Concord-Lexington) and died as a result of the wound. Thomas Bent’s son, Johnathan Bent also fought in the battle at Concord and in 1776 was in the battle of Ticonderoga.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout (Anderson),the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of
  • Samuel and Martha Bent How, the sister of
  • Peter Bent

Notes on Research

  • History of the Town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Charles Hudson and Joseph Allen, T. R. Mann and Sons, Marlborough, Massachusetts 1862. Accessed at Google Books.
    • The Bent family in America : being mainly a genealogy of the descendants of John Bent : who settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1638 : with notes upon the family in England and elsewhere. in North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 at Ancestry.com, Allen H. Bent, 1900
    • Massachusetts Wills and Probate Papers, Probate Papers (Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 1632-1703 Peter Bent, probate date 1678. Ancestry.com
    • U. S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for Peter Bent, arrival 1638.This edition was privately printed in 75 quarto copies for W. Elliot Woodward. Same as the octavo edition of 1860 with an additional section, “The First Settlers of Plymouth,” pp. 115-122. Research originally done, 1858-1860, for The New England Historical Society.Source Bibliography:
      DRAKE, SAMUEL G. Result of Some Researches Among the British Archives for Information Relative to the Founders of New England …. 3rd ed. Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1865.
    • U.S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for Peter Bent, arrival 1638

Part 1, pp. 1-43, is a study of emigration to New England in 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.
Bibliography:BANKS, CHARLES EDWARD. The Planters of the Commonwealth; a Study of the Emigrants and Emigration in Colonial Times: To Which Are Added Lists of Passengers to Boston and to the Bay Colony; the Ships which Brought Them; Their English Homes, and the Places of Their Settlement in Massachusetts, 1620-1640. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1961. Repr. 1984.

  • U. S., New England Marriages prior to 1700, Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, USA Peter Bent and Elizabeth Bent, marriage date 1653.