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KEITH Rev. James

Male 1643 - 1719  (76 years)Deceased


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name  KEITH Rev. James  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Prefix  Rev. 
    Born  1643  Aberdeen, , Aberdeen, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 4, 10, 11
    Gender  Male 
    Education  Aberdeen, , Aberdeen, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 10, 11, 12
    • It is widely believed that he was educated at Marischal College and probably at the expense of a maiden aunt. His name appeared on the roll of that college in 1657.
    Alt. Birth  1644  Aberdeen, , Aberdeen, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Land Purchase 
    • After arriving in Boston, Suffolk, MA, (ca. 1662) the Reverend James Keith received a share of land bought from Massasoit by a body of original settlers of Plymouth Colony, led by Miles Standish and John Alden.
    Immigration  Abt 1662  Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 7, 10, 13, 14, 15
    Scotland 
    Moved  18 Feb 1663/64  Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  [13
    Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts 
    Occupation  Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 4, 10, 13, 14, 15
    reverend 
    • From New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial:

      [Rev. James Keith] was the first settled minister in the town of Bridgewater. He received his education in Aberdeen, Scotland, and came to America in 1662, when he was about eighteen years of age. He was ordained in February, 1664, probably just about the time he came of age. His first sermon was preached in the pasture near the river. Rev. Dr. Keith was introduced to the people of Bridgewater by Dr. Increase Mather, to whom he brought letters of introductions from home. He was referred to in the recommendation to the church "as a student of divinity, having some competent time improved his gifts among them in the work of the ministry and having also due approbation by the Reverend Elders of other Churches of Christ to whom he was known." [page 2213]

      James considered Dr. Mather to be his patron and best friend.
    Religion 
    • It is recorded that the Rev. James Keith made his first sermon from the top of a rock in Bridgewater, MA sometime during the year of 1663. Because of this, the rock was named the "Pulpit Rock". Today, the occasion is commemorated with a plaque at the location.
    The Pulpit Rock in Bridgewater, MA
    The Pulpit Rock in Bridgewater, MA
    The Pulpit Rock in Bridgewater, MA
    The Pulpit Rock in Bridgewater, MA
    The plaque affixed to the Pulpit Rock in Bridgewater, MA
    The plaque affixed to the Pulpit Rock in Bridgewater, MA
    Residence 
    • The Rev. James Keith lived and died in a house in West Bridgewater, that as of 1882 was owned and occupied by George M. Pratt. It stood upon the north side of the road to the Great Meadows, near Snow's Bridge, within about six rods of the Town river in front of it, about half-way between the house of Nathaniel Willis, west (as of 1882, the house belonged to Amasa Howard) - and the house of George Turner, east (gone as of 1882), which stood in the corner of two roads, where the office of the late Hon. William Baylies stood when burned in 1843.

      The house occupied by Rev. James Keith was built in 1662. It fronted south, was two stories high in front, one story high in back, posts, sixteen feet high, fifteen feet wide in front, thirty-four feet deep, with front entry, five feet wide; chamber stairs and chimney back of front door, in the southeast corner of the house, one front room, about ten by twelve, with a bed-room back of that, and a kitchen, with pantry, back of bed-room and chimney. In the second story was an entry, a front room, and a bed-room corresponding to the rooms below. No cellar under this part of the house.

      Sixteen years after the house was built, in 1678, the house was enlarged by an addition of eighteen by thirty-four feet, to the east side of the house; two stories high in front, one story high back side, making one large front room, eighteen by eighteen feet, with a bed-room, back stairs, and an enlargement of the kitchen in the back part. The rooms in the second story corresponding to the front room and bed-room below. The back part of the second story of the old and new part of the house remaining unfinished. A cellar under a portion of this new part, with a stone drain across the road to the Town river.

      The house remained in this condition, without material alteration for 159 years, from 1678 to 1837, when Thomas Pratt, father of said George M. Pratt, cut off about fourteen feet of the north side of the house, so as to leave the north side of the same height as the front side of the house, thereby making the south roof thirteen and one-half feet long, and the north roof only twelve feet long; building a new chimney in place of the old one, then taken down, but much smaller; and leaving the rooms in the front and middle parts of the house as they were before this amputation. This brick in this old chimney were much larger than modern brick, and were laid in clay. The shingles upon the walls were taken off, and clapboards put on in place thereof. The house as of 1882, being a two story house, thirty-two feet front, and twenty feet back, with a porch annexed to the back side. The windows upon the three sides of the house being the same ever since the memory of man, except such as were cut off as aforesaid, and except square glass in place of the old diamond glass and bull's eyes.

      The annex or addition of eighteen by thirty-four feet, made in 1678, was quite fully developed and apparent on a personal examination of the inside of the house a few years prior to 1882 by the writer, and the frame-work, timber, doors, materials, and inside construction of the house exhibit strong marks of antiquity.

      [written by Williams Latham and published in Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1882, with a few modernizations by the website author]
    The home of Rev James Keith in Bridgewater, MA as it appears today
    The home of Rev James Keith in Bridgewater, MA as it appears today
    The home of Rev James Keith in Bridgewater, MA as it appears today
    The home of Rev James Keith in Bridgewater, MA as it appears today
    The home of Rev. James Keith as it appeared in 1889
    The home of Rev. James Keith as it appeared in 1889
    Home of Rev. James Keith in Bridgewater, MA
    Home of Rev. James Keith in Bridgewater, MA
    The first engraving shows the house as it was built in 1662, and remained for the following 16 years. The second engraving shows the house after it was enlarged in 1678. It remained this way for 159 years until 1837. The bottom-most engraving shows the house as it appeared from 1837 to 1882.
    James Keith's Parsonage
    James Keith's Parsonage (45)
    Located in Bridgewater, MA, this parsonage is the oldest standing parsonage in the United States.
    Died  23 Jul 1719  West Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 4, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17
    Age  76 years 
    Buried  Old Graveyard, West Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  [17
    • James and his wife, Susanna, are buried together. On the gravestone it was written:

      Mr. James Keith
      First minister in Bridgewater,
      and educated in Aberdeen,
      Scotland and labored
      in the ministry of this town
      56 years.

      This inscription is on two pieces of slate 22 x 16 and 22 x 13, placed at the front and head end of the monument next to the road. This monument is said to have been made by William Hudson, a mason. It is a slab of granite, rough hammered, 3 feet 8 inches by 6 feet 3 inches, and 5 inhes thick, laid horizontal on top of three granite slabs set up edgewise, and bolted together, 5 inches thick, and 2 1/2 feet above the ground, without any lettering on it, except "Er. A.D. 1827".
    Keith Family Gravestone at Scotland Cemetery in Bridgewater, MA
    Memorial to Rev James Keith located at Scotland Cemetery in Bridgewater, MA
    Keith Memorial Stone at Scotland Cemetery in Bridgewater, MA
    Memorial to Rev James Keith located at Scotland Cemetery in Bridgewater, MA
    This is only a monument to James Keith. He is actually buried in the "Old Graveyard" of West Bridgewater, MA.
    Grave of Rev. James Keith at Old Graveyard in West Bridgewater, MA
    Tomb of Rev. James Keith and his wife, Susanna
    Grave of Rev. James Keith at Old Graveyard in West Bridgewater, MA
    Grave of Rev. James Keith at Old Graveyard in West Bridgewater, MA
    Grave of Rev. James Keith at Old Graveyard in West Bridgewater, MA
    Grave of Rev. James Keith at Old Graveyard in West Bridgewater, MA
    Crypt is located in West Bridgewater Cemetery of Old Bridgewater, Plymouth, MA. Photo was published in "Epitaphs of Old Bridgewater, Massachusetts" by Williams Latham.
    Grave of Rev. James Keith at Old Graveyard in West Bridgewater, MA
    Grave of Rev. James Keith at Old Graveyard in West Bridgewater, MA
    Person ID  I1295  One Big Family Tree
    Last Modified  9 Apr 2013 

    Father  KEITH Robert,   b. 1612, Aberdeen, , Aberdeen, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID  F470  Group Sheet

    Family 1  EDSON Susanna,   b. Abt 1640, , , , England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Oct 1705  Age: ~ 65 years 
    Married  3 May 1668  [2, 3, 4, 10, 14, 18, 19
    Children 
     1. KEITH James, Jr.,   b. 5 Dec 1669, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Oct 1739  Age: 69 years
     2. KEITH Samuel,   b. Abt 20 Dec 1674,   d. 3 Feb 1757  Age: ~ 82 years
     3. KEITH Joseph,   b. 4 Feb 1674/75, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Sep 1730, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  Age: 55 years
     4. KEITH Josiah,   b. 25 Dec 1678,   d. 4 Feb 1754  Age: 75 years
     5. KEITH Margaret,   b. 2 Nov 1682,   d. 1750  Age: 67 years
     6. KEITH Timothy,   b. Abt 3 Apr 1683, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Nov 1767, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  Age: ~ 84 years
     7. KEITH Mary Edson,   b. 3 Apr 1684, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Feb 1760  Age: 75 years
     8. KEITH Susannah,   d. Abt 1689
     9. KEITH John,   b. Abt 4 Oct 1687, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jun 1761, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  Age: ~ 73 years
    Last Modified  3 Jul 2011 
    Family ID  F468  Group Sheet

    Family 2  MACY Mary,   d. 23 Jul 1719 
    Married  1707  [2, 10, 13, 20
    Last Modified  3 Jul 2011 
    Family ID  F469  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1643 - Aberdeen, , Aberdeen, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsEducation - - Aberdeen, , Aberdeen, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsAlt. Birth - 1644 - Aberdeen, , Aberdeen, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsImmigration - Scotland - Abt 1662 - Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMoved - Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts - 18 Feb 1663/64 - Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - reverend - - Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 23 Jul 1719 - West Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Old Graveyard, West Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Notes 
    • From "A Genealogy of the Descendents of Benjamin Keith" by Ziba Cary Keith, pages 10-11:

      Rev. James Keith was born in 1644, educated at Aberdeen, Scotland (as tradition says at the expense of a maiden aunt). At the age of 18 he emigrated to the Americas. Arriving in Boston in 1662, he was introduced to the church in Bridgewater by Dr. Increase Mather.

      His settlement took place February 18, 1664, upon the following terms: "A double house lot of twelve acres, with a house built thereon; a purchase right, so-called being a fifty-sixth part of the original grant; and 40 pounds annual salary, 20 pounds in Boston money and the other half at home."

      Many and persistent efforts have been made to trace the direct ancestry of Rev. James Keith, but thus far without avail. George, the fifth earl, was the founder of the Marischal College in Aberdeen, in 1593, and it would not seem improbable that the Rev. James Keith obtained his education at this college, endowed by a kinsman; certain as it is that he received his education at Aberdeen. Following up the suggestion that the records of the college must furnish the desired information, the writer, through a friend, caused investigation to be made. No records, however, could be found, and it seems probably that his parentage will forever remain in obscurity. [21]

  • Sources 
    1. [S205] A Genealogy of Benjamin Keith's Descendents, Ziba C. Keith, (Brockton: G.A. Goodall, 1889.), p. 10. (Reliability: 3), 13 May 2010.

    2. [S22] Historic Homes & Institutions of Worcester Co, MA, Ellery Bicknell Crane, (New York, NY: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1907.), Vol. 3: p. 207. (Reliability: 3), 26 Jun 2010.

    3. [S55] Portrait and Biographical Album of Hillsdale County, MI, [Unknown], (Chicago, IL: Chapman Brothers, 1888.), p. 638. (Reliability: 3), 21 Jan 2011.

    4. [S56] American Ancestry, Thomas Patrick Hughes and Frank Munsell, (Albany, NY: Joel Munsell's Sons, 1891.), Vol. 6: p. 33. (Reliability: 3), 23 Jan 2011.

    5. [S52] Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts, [Unknown Author], (Chicago, IL: J.H. Beers & Company, 1912.), Vol. 3: p. 1761. (Reliability: 3), 20 Apr 2011.

    6. [S51] History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, Nahum Mitchell, (Boston, MA: Kidder & Wright, 1840.), p. 154, 214, 310. (Reliability: 3), 21 Apr 2011.

    7. [S49] Vital Records of Bridgewater, MA to 1850, New England Historic Genealogical Society, (Boston, MA: n.p., 1916.), Vol. 1: p. 186. (Reliability: 3), 10 May 2011.

    8. [S49] Vital Records of Bridgewater, MA to 1850, New England Historic Genealogical Society, (Boston, MA: n.p., 1916.), Vol. 2: p. 503. (Reliability: 3), 10 May 2011.

    9. [S114] The Howard Genealogy, Heman Howard, (Brockton, MA: The Standard Printing Co., 1903.), p. 8. (Reliability: 3), 23 Jul 2011.

    10. [S21] New England families, Genealogical and Memorial, William Richard Cutter, (New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1914.), Vol. 4: p. 2213. (Reliability: 3).

    11. [S205] A Genealogy of Benjamin Keith's Descendents, Ziba C. Keith, (Brockton: G.A. Goodall, 1889.), p. 10. (Reliability: 3), 8 Mar 2009.

    12. [S52] Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts, [Unknown Author], (Chicago, IL: J.H. Beers & Company, 1912.), Vol. 3: p. 1145. (Reliability: 3), 13 May 2010.

    13. [S52] Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts, [Unknown Author], (Chicago, IL: J.H. Beers & Company, 1912.), Vol. 3: p. 1146. (Reliability: 3), 13 May 2010.

    14. [S53] History of North Bridgewater, Plymouth, Mass, Bradford Kingman, (Boston, MA: Innes and Niles, 1866.), p. 551. (Reliability: 3), 13 May 2010.

    15. [S51] History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, Nahum Mitchell, (Boston, MA: Kidder & Wright, 1840.), p. 214. (Reliability: 3), 21 Apr 2011.

    16. [S115] Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater, MA, Williams Latham, (Bridgewater, MA: Henry T. Pratt, 1882.), p. 238-239. (Reliability: 4), 7 Mar 2009.

    17. [S115] Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater, MA, Williams Latham, (Bridgewater, MA: Henry T. Pratt, 1882.), p. 18. (Reliability: 3), 4 Mar 2009.

    18. [S52] Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts, [Unknown Author], (Chicago, IL: J.H. Beers & Company, 1912.), Vol. 3: p. 1146, 1352, 1761. (Reliability: 3), 13 May 2010.

    19. [S51] History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, Nahum Mitchell, (Boston, MA: Kidder & Wright, 1840.), p. 154, 214. (Reliability: 3), 21 Apr 2011.

    20. [S51] History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, Nahum Mitchell, (Boston, MA: Kidder & Wright, 1840.), p. 214, 362, 310. (Reliability: 3), 21 Apr 2011.

    21. [S205] A Genealogy of Benjamin Keith's Descendents, Ziba C. Keith, (Brockton: G.A. Goodall, 1889.), p. 10-11. (Reliability: 3), 8 Mar 2009.