Joseph Clark of Braintree, Massachusetts

Joseph Clark, probably born before 1654 (marriage date - 21) to ???? Clark (speculation & records on the father of Joseph Clark,  married Damaris Francis 19 Aug. 1675, died 08 Nov 1708 in Braintree, Norfolk Co., MA (VR Braintree p722).   


We don't yet know Joseph's parentage, or even from whence he came, except for the Boston birth record quoted, which requires him to marry one month before his sixteenth birthday, which is possible.  If he were an original immigrant, there should be a record of his indenture (to whomever paid his passage), and another of his becoming a "freeman," and I have found neither  yet.  If his family did not own real estate, they may not show up in extant records.

King Philips War began on 24 June 1675 when King Philip attacked Chelsea, MA.   On 19 Aug 1675 Joseph Clark married Damaris Francis in Braintree, so he would not appear to have been a refugee from one of the towns attacked.  For example, it is documented that one William Clark of Middleborough (this house appears to have been on Eel River, close to Plymouth, but is claimed in the History of Middleboro) had his house burned in this war on 12 March 1676., but Joseph married well before this date.  This very same William Clarke is my current best guess for the father of Joseph Clarke.  King Philips War ended shortly after 12 August 1676 when King Philip was killed (HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF MIDDLEBORO MASSACHUSETTS, BY THOMAS WESTON, A. M. OF THE SUFFOLK BAR, BOSTON AND NEW YORK, HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY, The Riverside Press Cambridge, 1906).  The moping up took a little longer, but was a fait accompli by this time.  I have not yet found any record to attest that our Joseph Clark of Braintree served in King Phillips War.


Joseph Clark married Damaris Francis (Ffrancis in Braintree record) 19 Aug (6th month) 1675 in Braintree, Norfolk, MA (VR Braintree  p718)(if 21 when he married, he was born <1654), supposed (not documented) daughter of John Francis and Rose Francis.  

Notes for Joseph Clark: Joseph Clark took the oath of allegiance in Braintree about 1678-9. [Sprague #1012]   Note by FOC, everyone took the oath of allegiance in 1678 (see Vital Records of Dedham, Picton Press), but the details of precisely which oath could state if Joseph Clark was a "freeman" or not.  This in turn, might reveal if he was an original immigrant.

Notes for Damaris Francis: Damaris, wife of Joseph Clark was admitted to full communion at church May 5, 1689. [Sprague #1012]  A Joseph Clark was in King Phillip's War (I - FOC - do not believe there is any extant record showing that the Braintree Joseph Clark served in King Philips War).  Joseph Clark and Damaris had eight sons, and Nathan was the oldest.  This could mean that Joseph's father was named Nathan or Nathaniel. Damaris' father was supposedly John Francis, although this is not so stated in the Braintree Vital Records (that I could find). Joseph Clark may have been born in what is now Weymouth?

Frances Clark Cutting found the following:

(Copied word for word but it is difficult to read. It is handwritten and copied to microfilm.) From "Genealogies of the Families of Braintree, Massachusetts, 1640 - 1850" compiled by Waldo Chamberlain Sprague, Published on microfilm by the Quincy Historical Society and the NEHGS.  (A small note at top of page says no probate)

Joseph Clark, parentage unknown, first appears (in town records - FOC) at his marriage Aug 19, 1675 to Damaris Francis, probably daughter of John and Rose Francis. He is presumed to be the Joseph Clark who served in King Philip's War (again, see FOC comments above, I do NOT believe there is any record substantiating this Joseph Clark serving in King Philips War) and he took the oath of allegiance here about 1678-79. He died Nov 8, 1708 (or Dec 8 - Marshall's Diary) and Damaris died Aug. 14, 1728.

Damaris wife of Joseph Clark was admitted to full communion at church May 6, 1689.

8 Nov. 1708 Joseph Clark died.  There is no Joseph Clark indexed in Suffolk Co. probate records for 1708.  There is a Joseph Clark will in 1684 #1351, and a Joseph Clark administration in 1703 #2794.  These do not appear to be our Joseph, but he could have had a lingering issue and they will be checked.

John Hull sold the 400 acre Webb and Scott grants to John Thomas in 1709. It was called now or late in the occupation of Thomas Copeland, John Hayford and Joseph Clark. A place on Liberty St. was referred to in later Thomas Fa?? deeds as Clark's Slough. It is a swampy place at the foot of the hill just south of Plain St. and Joseph Clark probably lived near here.  That was all that I got that was new to me. Somewhere I read in another book while at the library that a certain Joseph was called Josiah in the previous generation.

Damaris Francis Clark died 20 years after Joseph Clark Aug. 14, 1728.  There is no Suffolk Co. probate record for a Damaris Clark.

The following from previous research.

  • from vol 59, NEHGS, the Records of the First Church at Braintree:   A record of the births of Joseph and Damaris's children
  • from the Braintree VR, Joseph Clark died on 8 November 1708: Damaris Clark, widow of Joseph, died on 14 August 1728
  • from American Marriage Records before 1699 by Clemens:  Clark, Joseph and Demaris Francis, 19 August 1675, Braintree, MA

I have spent a lot of time tracing children for as many generations as feasible.  The rationale is that this might somehow provide clues to the origin of our Joseph Clark! (note that some of the first person comments are from Frank O. Clark, and some from Frances Clark Cutting.)   The only clue so far is to Middleborough, and unless pointing back to Plymouth, seems a dead end at this point.

Known Children of Joseph Clark and Damaris Francis are:

  1. Nathan Clark, b. 10 Oct 1678, Braintree, Norfolk, MA (VR Braintree p653); d. Unknown; married Jemima Jewett Staples, 31 Jul 1701, Braintree, Norfolk Co., MA. "Clark Family of Braintree, Mass., by G.P. Bonsall, 1947, states she was Jemima "Staples," widow of John Staples.) c1701-3.  New England Historical and Genealogical Register 1962 page 19 states the same.   She joined the 2nd Church at Braintree 29 May 1715.     They removed to Middleboro about 1715-6.  Nathan Clark was admitted to Middleboro Church 25 Nov. 1716.  There are Jewetts in Rowley, but she cannot be placed there.  She is listed as residing in Dorchester when they married.  Jemima Jewett Staples, who married Nathan, was not from Rowley. Possibly she was from Dorchester. (Follow link to Nathan Clark page for children's details)
    1. Abigail Clark born 21 May 1702 (VR Braintree p 682); married Seth Beal. She died in 1769.
    2. Nathan Clark born 17 April 1704 Braintree (VR Braintree p 699), married Jemima Etheridge in 1730.
    3. Susannah Clark born 9 May 1706 Braintree (VR Braintree p 699)
    4. Bethah Clark daughter born August 1708 Braintree (VR Braintree p 699)
    5. Jerusha Clark daughter born 13 March 1711 Braintree (VR Braintree p 699)
    6. Sarah Clark daughter born 11 Oct. 1713 Braintree (VR Braintree p 699)
    7. Ichabod Clark born 23 April 1716 in Middleborough, Plymouth Co.
  2. Joseph Clark born 10 Oct. 1680 (VR Braintree p655) "leaves no trace in Braintree."
  3. John Clark born 31 August 1682 (VR Braintree p670) "disappears from Braintree records."   (but shows up in Stoughton records - the part that became Sharon)
  4. Edward Clark born 21 May 1684 (VR Braintree p670), died in September 1695 leaving his eight brothren in teares." (VR Braintree p692)
  5. David Clark born Sept. 1686 (VR Braintree p670, again p672).  David Clark married Ruth Copeland, born 5 Apr. 1689 to John and Ruth Newcomb Copeland, 24 Sept. 1713 by Rev. Mr. Samuel Niel (VR Braintree p742).  remained in Braintree at least from 1713 to 1723.  A David Clark married Mary Smith 13 June 1728 in Boston (VR Boston, Marriage, V1, p305).
    1. Mary Clarke "borne" 27 May 1716 (VR Braintree p702)
    2. Ruth Clark born 21 Jan. 1721/2 Braintree (VR Braintree p709); married 15 April 1741 Daniel Thayer, Junior(VR Braintree p762)
    3. Seth Clark born 6 Aug. 1723 Braintree (VR Braintree p713)
    4. William Clerk born 21 Dec. 1725, died 24 July 1726 (Clark Family of Braintree, Mass., by G.P. Bonsall, 1947)
  6. Jonathan Clark, b. 14 Mar 1689/90, Braintree (VR Braintree p670); m. Jemimah Staples 5 Oct. 1711 (VR Braintree p742) d. 1746, Braintree.  Children:
    1. John Clark born 19 Feb. 1712/13 (VR Braintree p692)  m. Feb. 4, 1733, Susannah Briant
    2. Lydia Clark born 28 Feb. 1715/16 Braintree (VR Braintree p700) m. 15 April 1735 Thomas Hollis of Weymouth
    3. Samuel Clark born 5 August 1718 Braintree (VR Braintree p706) married Sarah. Children:
    4. Jemimah Clark born 7 Jan. 1721 Braintree (VR Braintree p708) married 8 Oct. 1741 William Linfield
    5. Susannah Clark born 17 Nov. 1724 (VR Braintree) married 3 Jan. 1743 Elisha Shaw of Weymouth 11 Dec. 1743
    6. Jonathan Clark born 6 Feb. 1728/9 (Clark Family of Braintree, Mass., by G.P. Bonsall, 1947)
    7. Betty Clark born 9 June 1736; died 9 July 1746.  (Clark Family of Braintree, Mass., by G.P. Bonsall, 1947)
  1. Benjamin Clark born 25 August 1692 (VR Braintree p670) died in Braintree 11 Feb. 1754. m. Aug. 17, 1719, Mary Niles (Records of the Town of Braintree p745) (d. 1751).
    1. Benjamin Clark born to Benjamin and Mary 16 Jan. 1721 Braintree (VR Braintree p708)
    2. Ebenezer Clark born to Benjamin and Mary 4 Dec. 1722 Braintree (VR Braintree p712)
    3. Joseph Clark born 4 June 1725;
    4. Mary Clark born 16 March 1728
    5. James Clark born 28 Jan. 1729
    6. Mary Clark born 24 Oct. 1731
    7. Sarah Clark baptized <10 March 1733/4
  2. Ebenezer Clarke born 10 July 1694 (VR Braintree p670) "dyed" 25 Dec. 1706 Braintree (VR Braintree p722)
  3. "Mary Clark" baptized 11 (2) 1697 married 2 Jan. 1718 to Samuel Lipscomb (Clark Family of Braintree, Mass., by G.P. Bonsall, 1947)by Reverend Samuel Niles 42 Jan. 1717/8 (Records of the Town of Braintreen (p744)

Copyright ©2017, Frank O. Clark, Ph.D., all rights reserved. These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy.  However, this document is copyrighted and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same. Please send any errors, corrections, conjectures, updates, etc. to Frank O. Clark, Ph.D..