ORIGIN: Dedham, Essex
FIRST RESIDENCE: Watertown
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: On 23 May 1665 the Watertown selectmen ordered several persons, including "old Goodman Page & his wife," to attend the next selectmen's meeting "to answer for not attending their seats in the meetinghouse appointed them by the town" [WaTR 1:85].
FREEMAN: Requested 19 October 1630 and admitted 18 May 1631 [MBCR 1:79, 366].
EDUCATION: His inventory included a "Bible and two other small books" valued at 12s.
OFFICES: Chosen constable for Watertown, 19 October 1630 [MBCR 1:79]. Trial jury in case of Walter Palmer, 9 November 1630 [MBCR 1:81].
ESTATE: On 21 April 1631 "The house of John Page of Watertown was burnt by carrying a few coals from one house to another: a coal fell by the way and kindled in the leaves" [WJ 1:65].
Granted fifty acres in the Great Dividend in Watertown, 25 July 1636 [WaBOP 5]; granted thirteen acres in the Beaverbrook Plowlands, 28 February 1636/7 [WaBOP 7]; granted thirteen acres in the Remote Meadows, 26 June 1637 [WaBOP 10].
In the Watertown Inventory of Grants John Page was credited with five parcels of land: three acre homestall; thirteen acres plowland in the Further Plain [Beaverbrook Plowlands]; thirteen acres in the Remote Meadows; fifty acres in the Great Dividend; and three acres meadow [WaBOP 112]. In the Inventory of Possessions he held six parcels, and in the Composite Inventory the same six parcels: forty acre homestall (originally a Great Dividend lot, purchased of Edward Howe); twenty acres upland (part of a Great Dividend lot, purchased of John Coolidge); eighteen acres of meadow in Plain Meadow (eight acres purchased of Edward Howe, six of Robert Feake and four of Simon Stone); four acres meadow at Beaver Brook (purchased of William Jennison); seventy acres of upland, being a Great Dividend Lot (purchased of Simon Stone); and thirty-five acres of upland, being a Great Dividend lot (purchased of John Smith) [WaBOP 64, 144].
On 4 November 1646, with others, he pled poverty to be excused from paying a 14s. 5d. fine, but the court, understanding that some of those pleading were "of good ability," considered the matter closely [MBCR 2:164].
On 6 April 1658 John Page of Watertown and Phebe his wife sold to Isaac Mixture of Watertown seventy acres of land, being a dividend, lying in Watertown, also seven acres of remote meadow in the third lot [MLR 6:436-37]. On 26 February 1652[/3] John Page of Watertown and Phebe his wife sold to Joseph Child of Watertown "one small tenement" in Watertown containing one dwelling house and four acres of land [MLR 1:58-59].
The inventory of the estate of John Page of Watertown "who died about the 19th December 1676" was taken 16 February 1676[/7] and was untotalled but included real estate valued at £50: "half a dwelling house with about twelve acres of plain and four acres of meadow £50" [MPR 5:348].
The settlement of the estate witnessed a bitter dispute pitting John, the eldest son, against Samuel Page and James Cutler. Cutler (husband of daughter Phebe Page) and Samuel Page claimed that John kept the estate entirely to himself and refused to make a division. The court ruled in favor of John, finding the estate to be his [MCF 1687 III 251, 252, 228, 240, 167].
BIRTH: Perhaps the John Page baptized Boxted, Essex, 25 September 1586, son of Robert and Susanna (Syckerling) Page [NEHGR 105:26].
DEATH: Watertown 18 December 1676 "aged about 90 years" [WaVR 41].
MARRIAGE: Lavenham, Suffolk, 5 June 1621 Phebe Paine; she was baptized Lavenham 1 April 1594, daughter of William and Agnes (Neves) Paine [NEHGR 69:251]; she died Watertown 25 September 1677 "aged 87" [WaVR 42].
ASSOCIATIONS: Phebe (Paine) Page, wife of John Page, was sister of Elizabeth (Paine) Hammond, wife of WILLIAM HAMMOND of Watertown; of Dorothy (Paine) Eyre, wife of Simon Eyre of Watertown; and of William Paine of Ipswich [NEHGR 69:248-252, 79:82-4, 101:242-45, 105:25-27].
COMMENTS: In a November 1630 letter to John Winthrop Jr., John Rogers, vicar of Dedham, Essex, reports that "this day I have received so lamentable a letter from one John Page late of Dedham that hath his wife and 2 children there and he certifies me that unless God stirring some friends to send him some provision he is like to starve"; as a result, Rogers donated 20s. to buy meal for the family [WP 2:316]. Dedham, Essex, is a parish adjacent to Boxted where records of this Page family are found. The two children who came to New England with John Page are apparently Phebe and John.
Some sources claim that John Page had daughters Elizabeth and Mary living in 1660, but the evidence for this is not seen [NEHGR 101:242, 245, 105:26].
4 December 1638: "Isack Sternes & John Page were fined 5s. for turning the way about, & day was given till the next Court" [MBCR 1:247].
John Page took an unusual approach to the Watertown land granting process. As shown by the Inventory of Grants, he received the usual sequence of land grants down to 1637, when he had his share of the Remote Meadows, but he did not share in any later grants. About 1637 or 1638 he apparently sold off all these parcels which came directly to him from the town, for in the various inventories of Watertown land three of the five parcels appear in the hands of John Biscoe and one in the hands of Michael Barstow. The fate of the homestall is unknown, but this was certainly sold as well, and as this parcel carried with it the proprietary rights in future divisions, John Page did not receive a Farm in 1642.
In the Composite Inventory, which showed landholding as of about 1644, Page held only parcels of land that he had bought from others, and these were almost all in the Great Dividend, close to one another but some way from the center of town. Since Page received thirteen acres in the Beaverbrook Plowlands and in the Remote Meadows, and since his family had at most five members at this time, he must have had considerable wealth in cattle. Combine this with his virtual absence from town affairs, and the occasional rebuke for antisocial behavior, and one has the picture of a man of some substance who was attempting to withdraw from society, build his own little empire, and interact as little as possible with authority.
Many secondary sources claim that the immigrant John Page removed to Groton in 1662 and returned to Watertown in 1675 after the burning of Groton, but this was the son John, as shown by the births of his children in Groton in the late 1660s and early 1670s, as well as records in Watertown that show that the elder John Page was still in Watertown during these years [WaTR 1:85, 94, 98].
James Knapp deposed in 1678 about working with John Page Jr. at Piscataqua, as many Watertown men of the second generation did, and how young John redeemed a mortgaged piece of John Sr.'s land [MCF 1678 III]. John Hammond deposed that "being at my Uncle Page's house my Aunt Page was very importunate with my Uncle to give Samuel Page a piece of land and my Uncle Page's answer was `Thou knowest it was mortgaged and my son John Page hath redeemed it and it is his'" [MCF 1678 III]. John Page Jr. submitted his account of things he had done for his father when the younger John was a single man, having managed his estate for ten years except about five months when he was in Long Island, and about a fortnight "to help James Cutler when his house was burnt" [MCF 1678 III].
At the court of 2 April 1650 daughter Phebe Page sued John Flemming and his wife for slanderously saying that she was with child. This case illustrated a family at odds with itself; with the depositions of over twenty neighbors, it seemed that the entire town was talking about them [Pulsifer 1:6-8]. Flemming defended himself and said that his words were based on "the common practice of Phebe Page, & the report of her own friends." "John Spring being on the watch on Saturday night after midnight testified that he met John Poole & Phebe Page together, and he asking them why they were so late, she answered because she could dispatch her business no sooner & he said he went with her because he lived with her father." Anthony White also witnessed that "Phebe Page said she must either marry within a month or run the country or lose her wits," and also that "Phebe Page said my mother I can love and respect, but my father I cannot love." William Parker deposed that, having "much discourse with Phebe's mother, she wished her daughter had never seen Poole for she was afraid she was with child." White advised her to return to her father's house again and "she answered no, before I will do so I will go into wilderness as far as I can & lie down and die." Perce witnessed that "Goodman Page coming to his house said thus that what with his wife and daughter, he was afraid they would kill him, and constantly affirmed the same." Goody Mixture testified that "old Page said if she knew as much as he, Phebe deserved to be hanged." Parker again testified "he living at Long Island & Phebe Page there also, she would not keep the house one night, but kept a young man company, and they were both whipped for it by the magistrates' order there, also that she confessed" and both were censured. Joseph Tainter said "he was informed by one that lived at Long Island that Phebe Page confessed herself she had carnal copulation with a young man at the Island." Phebe withdrew her action, and the Court granted the defendant costs £2 4s. 6d. John Page Senior confessed a judgment of the costs of Court against his daughter.