- Born: 20 Nov 1596, Weyhill, Andover, Hants, England
- Marriage: Martha Blanchard on 3 Oct 1624 in Penton Grafton, Wayhill, Hampshire, England
- Died: 27 Sep 1672, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts at age 75
from Eng on the "CONFIDENCE" 1638, at Sudbury MA freeman 1640, received land grants 1639-1640-1655, selectman 1641, justice 1648, one of 3 to lay out highway from Watertown to Framingham MA, in expd. against Ninigret 1654, a petitioner for Marlborough 1656
John' Bent, first of the name in America, was born in Penton-
Grafton, England, in November, 1596 (while Elizabeth was still
Queen), came to America in his forty-second year, and settled in
Sudbury, Massachusetts, where he remained until his death, Sept.
27, 1672, X. nearly 76. (His will and inventory will be found
elsewhere.) He married in England about 1624, Martha ,
who died in Sudbury, May 15, 1679, well along in years.
The ftmiily '97 John, his wife and five small children '97 sailed from
Southampton in the latter part of April, 1638, in the ship "Confidence"
of London, John Jobson, master, the whole number of passengers,
" greate and little," being 110 souls.
The latter part of spring is still
a popular time for crossing the Atlantic, but the voyage is a very
different thing from what it was then, when they were tossed about
in a small wooden vessel from six to eight weeks.
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 Strafford) and in religious affairs by
William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, wished to do for Eng-
land what Richelieu was at that very time doing for France, "put
the estates and the personal liberty of the whole people at the dispo-
sal of the crown and deprive the courts of law of all independent autho-
rity," as well as to break up all gatherings of religious dissenters.
He had already ruled nine years without a Parliament and his despo-
tism seemed nearly complete. But one thing was lacking, and that
•was a standing army. How to raise taxes for the support of
troops became the great question. Though a time of peace and no
navy was needed, it was decided to revive an old method of taxa-
tion, tiiat of levying ship money upon the maritime counties, for the
ostensible purpose of protecting the coast. It will be borne in
mind that Hampshire was one of these seacoast shires. It was in
the year of this pernicious tax that John Bent left the land of his
John Bent was made a freeman in 1640 ; that is, because he
had become a member of tlie church of the Puritans, he was al-
lowed to take part in town affairs. The church was first in those
days, and none but members were allowed to vote. His house lot,
about six acres, was about a quarter of a mile north of the present
R. R. station in Wayland, and the same distance from the river.
At the first division of meadow lands, in 1639, he received one acre ;
at the second, in 1640, fourteen acres ; and at the third, the same
year, lOJ acres more, besides a gratulation '97 for some service done
'97 of four acres of meadow and six of upland. In 1655 he re-
ceived an additional <)jrant. In 1641 he was one of the selectmen
and on the connnittee to assign timber. In 1648, with two others,
he was appointed to end small businesses under 20 shillings '97 a sort
of trial justice. In 1648, with two others, he was appointed to
lay out a highway from Watertown (the part now Weston) to the
Dunster Farm, in the edo-e of what is now Framino-ham. This
road followed the old Connecticut Path, an ancient Indian trail
leadino^ from the seacoast to the Connecticut River. He has been
set down as one of Major Simon Willard's troopers that went to
Dedham in 1654, but this may have been his son John. In 1656
he was one of the petitioners for the town of Marlboro', but it is
not probable that he ever lived there. It was to find a home for
his son that prompted him to join the petitioners, for the old docu-
ment says that they have children grown to man's estate, and they
should like to see them settled where they can subsist.
Noted events in his life were:
• Alt. Birth, 25 Nov 1596, Wayhill, Southamptonshire, England.
John married Martha Blanchard, daughter of Pierre Jean Blanchard and Martha, on 3 Oct 1624 in Penton Grafton, Wayhill, Hampshire, England. (Martha Blanchard was born on 24 Sep 1598 in Wayhill, Southamptonshire, England and died on 15 May 1679 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts.)