It was a cold and rainy Tuesday when Lot Conant was born…. Okay. Maybe it wasn’t. I don’t really know. He was born about 1624 near Cape Ann, Massachusetts to Roger and Sarah (Horton) Conant. He was the fourth of ten children. Lot’s parents and older siblings had recently arrived in the New World from England. He was the first of their children to be born in Massachusetts.
In 1626, when little Lot was just two years old, his father founded the town of Salem and was named the first governor of Massachusetts. He only held onto the title for two short years, but that is a story for another day. Just suffice it to say that Lot grew up in a family of forward thinkers and a father who was very involved in his community and his church.
When Lot was 25 years old, he married Elizabeth Walton on the 9th of January, 1649 in Salem, Massachusetts. Elizabeth was 19 and the daughter of Reverend William Walton and Elizabeth (Cooke) Walton. Elizabeth was born on October 9th, 1629 (it definitely could have been a cold and rainy day!) in Seaton, Devonshire, England. When she was five years old, the family set sail on the Hopewell as part of what is known as the “Great Migration.” The Walton family first lived in Hingham, Massachusetts before relocating to Marblehead.
With Lot and Elizabeth’s marriage, the couple settled in Marblehead where Lot eventually owned several pieces of property. Lot was listed as a “Yeoman” in land records, or a farmer in today’s terms. On the 28th of July, 1650, the couple welcomed their first child, a son named Nathaniel. He was the first of ten children. Soon following were – Jonathon, Lot, Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Sarah, William, Roger, and Rebecca. Sarah and William were twins. Interesting enough, not only did all ten children live to adulthood, they all lived to be quite elderly by the standards at the time. The youngest to die was in their seventies and most of the kids lived to be in their late eighties.
In 1662, Lot was elected as a Selectman in Marblehead, following in his father’s political footsteps. He was still a farmer and some have guessed that Lot was also a shoemaker. That supposition comes from the fact that in his will he left his shop and tools to his son Nathanial, whom we know WAS a shoemaker. It stands to reason, because we also know that many of his descendants were tailors by trade.
In 1666, we believe that Lot and Elizabeth moved their family to Beverly, Massachusetts. It is known that Lot’s father, Roger, gave him his homestead at Beverly containing over 100 acres. Some of that was town property and some out of town. On the same day, Lot signed a lease back to his father for the house and three acres. He charged his dad an annual rent of one ear of Indian corn. That’s a pretty good deal!
The following year, in July of 1667, Lot transferred his membership from the First Church in Salem to the new church in Bass River, (as Beverly was known at the time.) It is noted that both Lot and his father were founding members of the new church.
Between March 1670 and March 1671, Lot sold some of his Marblehead properties. On a list of Marblehead householders dated May of 1674, Lot is still listed, so he must have retained at least one of his properties there, though by all accounts, the families primary residence had moved to Beverly.
In March of 1672, he was fined 4 shillings for attacking a man named Matthew Fairfield. I would love to know what that was about!
When Lot was fifty years old, he fell ill. On September 24, 1674, he wrote his last will and testament stating, “I, Lot Conant, aged about fiftie yeers being sicke and weak…” He passed away just five short days later on September 29, 1674 in Beverly. His burial place is unknown. (His last will and testament is listed below.)
Elizabeth was 44 when Lot died, leaving her a widow. In 1678, the Conants second son, Jonathon, married Bethiah Mansfield. Elizabeth soon made that family connection even stronger by marrying Bethiah’s widowed father, Andrew Mansfield, on January 10, 1681 in Salem. Elizabeth was 51 years old.
I haven’t found much about Elizabeth and Andrew’s life together, but unfortunately it didn’t last long. Andrew passed away on November 27, 1683, leaving Elizabeth a widow for the second time when she was 54 years of age.
The paper trail that I was able to find online ends here. I haven’t yet located a death date or a burial place for Elizabeth. In Lot’s will, he left the house to her to live out her days. Starting with Roger and his wife, there are several generations of the Conant family that their burial place is unknown. I suspect that Elizabeth and Andrew stayed on the Beverly homestead and that somewhere on the land where the Conant family lived for so many years is a family cemetery.
Lot Conant’s Last Will and Testament
I, Lot Conant aged about fiftie yeers being sicke and weak, yet of p’fit understanding doe hereby declare my last will and testament wherein in the first place I doe bequeath my soule unto god that gave it, and my body to the grave in hope of a blessed reserrection: and for my outward estate and goods I doe bequeath and give unto my five sonns to each of them fiftie pounds and unto my son nathaniel the shop and tools over & above the rest, and unto my five daughters twenty pounds to each of them and this estate I leave to be whole and unbroken till they come to full age or to marriage estate and in the meane time the whole to rest in the hands of my wife, and for the bringing up of the children and further more my will is that my wife be executrix and that the land be not at all disposed off
from the children and that my wife have the dwelling house and orchard for her life time. and also that my kins woman mari Leach have a cow or heifer at her beig married or going from my wife. And for help unto my wife in this matter I doe instruct and designe mr. John Hale, Captaine Lathrop and my brother Exercise Conant to be assisting. Hereunto I have subscribed my hand this 24 of the 7 month 1674. Witness Roger Conant Signed Lot Conant Exercise Conant Sworn 26:9 mo:1674 Inventory totalled 782.04.00 including “a shop where Nathan Conant works 5.00.0”
(Lot and Elizabeth are my husband Riff’s 8x great-grandparents.)