James1 Mackerwithey was born pr. ca. 1630-1640 (est. date). Descendants often claim to be of Scotch descent, so he may well have been born Scotland. He first appears in American records on the tax lists of Dedham, Massachusetts in 1661.
Dedham Massachusetts was an interesting town. It was established in 1636 and all residents were expected to adhere to the ideals set out in the Covenant, a document signed by the origial proprieters which set forthe the ideals and intention of the Proprieters. The Covenant established first an intention to fear and revere our Allmighty God, to paractice one truth according to the most perfect rule. Second it affirmed that "we shall by all meanes Laboure to keepe of from vs all such as ar contrarye minded. And receaue onely such vntu vs as be such as may be pblably of one haret..". Newcomers were accepted only upon acceptance of the community. The habits and practices of inhabitants were watched, and those who strayed were fined or punished; if dissenting practices were regular and unchecked, the family was compelled to leave. Growth was steady, but slow, and controlled. The original tract encompassed a larger area than the present town of Dedham, and what is now several Massachusetts towns as well as the current Dedham was included in the original grant.
Among the first signers of the Covenant was Richard Everett.. His name also appeared on the petition from residents of Watertown to settle the town of Dedham, and again consistently in early Dedham documents. The name was often spelled Euered, especially during the early years, but eventually became established as Everett, sometimes written Everit. Richard Everett came from England, possibly from County Essex in England, and may have first settled in Watertown or Cambridge. He received grants of land in Dedham as a Proprieter, but until the early 1640's was probably living in Springfield. He married there, 29 June 1643, Mary Winch, .who had come to American in 1638, age 15, with the family of Rowland Stebbins.. Mary Winch was evidently his second wife for six children were born to him before that marriage. Mary, his oldest daughter, was born 28 September, 1838. Richard and Mary then settled in Dedham, where their children were born. In 1646 they were admitted to the church in Dedham and their children, ,as well as the surviving children from Richard's first marriage were baptised.
In December, 1660 Jeams Macarory appeared on the tax lists for Dedham. In 1662 he married, at Dedham, Mary Everett, oldest daughter of Richard Everett. 11 March 1663 Dedham town records indicate that "James Makerwitha moves for a parcell of land beyond John Mackintoches to the vale of 2 acres and 1/2 due to Richard Everett for purchase and intending to build upon it". In 1665, at a meeting of the selectman of Dedham, the " request of James Mackrorey that a grant of five acres of upland, the gift of his father-in-law, Richard Euered, to be laid out to him, somewhere near his house" was granted. He drew lot 70, which appears to be in the present town of Norfolk. He appears on the tax records for the next three decades. In 1670 he is included on a list of "persons defective in highway worke', he "2 dayes wanting". For awhile the spelling alternates, sometimes a variaition of Macarory, sometimes of Makerwithe, but eventually settles on some form of Mackerwithey. Over time his descendants used a wide variety of names: McWithey, McWethy, McQuithey, McWorthy, McQuivey, Withey, Weethee, Withee are some.
Information left by several descendants consistently claim that they are of Scotch descent. One researcher contacted an expert on Scotch surnames, who explained that most likely James Macarory/Mackerwithey was using both his patronymic surname and his clan surname, a common practice among Highlanders. His patronymic name in Gaelic was MacRuaraidhri which would sound like Macarory in English. His clan surname was MacCuithien or MacCuidhean, which would sound like McQuithey or McWithey in English.
According to Black in his book Scottish Surnmanes, their origin and meaning, Clan MacCuithein is a minor MacDonald sept near Storr on the Island of Skye, an island of the Inner Hebrides. They have not borne a good reputation if any value is attached to a line of a rhyme concerning them "Clan 'ic Cuthein chuir a t-sodail", which translates"Clan MacQuithean, expert in base flattery." Ruaraidh Duadh Maccuithean was a story teller to Lord MacDonald about 1500, for which he had free lands for his services. (I'm not at all convinced that this speculation gives us the correct origins.)
No immigration record has been found to tell us from where James came, or in what ship, but the most likely explanation for his arrival in America at such an early date is that he was one of several hundred Scottish prisoners of war captured by Cromwell at the battles of Dunbar and Worcester and sent to America in servitude. Both battles pitted Scottish Highlanders, clansmen of great spirit, but little military discipline, against the well trained and superior forces of Cromwell, and both battles resulted in total defeat for the Scottish Presbyterians. Many were slaughtered on the battlefields; many more died after being taken prisoner. Those remaining posed a problem to Cromwell. Housing them was expensive, not to mention unpleasant, for not only were they were ill from poor conditions, but also described by their prisoner as being "unruly, sluttish and nasty" and that they fought among themselves. Freeing them was not acceptable but deportation to the colonies presented itself as a likley a solution. The prisoners were deported in two known ships. The first group, 150 prisoners from the Battle of Dunbar, were sent in 1650 on the ship Unity. The second, some 300 prisoners from the Battle of Worcester, on the "John & Sarah".
All of the first group and some of the second were sent to New England, many to Massachusetts. No known passenger list exists for those sent on the Unity. There is a list of those sent on the John & Sarah, but the Scots themselves were almost all illiterate and the Englishment recording their names unfamiliar with Scot pronunciation or surnames. Many names are so mangled as to be unrecognizable. Two on this list present themselves as possibiliies for our James--one a James Mackreith another a Machy, Rory. More research needs to be done to determine whether this is in fact the means by which James Mackerwithey migrated to America. Also not known is how he met and married Mary Everett. It is known that once these prisoners reached America they were sold for six to eight years servitude. Once this period was over the men were freed and many then went on to become respected members of the community in which they had served. Some married the daughters of their masters; perhaps Richard Everett, who was a man of some means, had purchased in 1650 or 1651 the years of service of James Mackerwithey, after which James joined his family by marrying his eldest daughter.
Dedham records show the birth of four children to James and Mary Mackrory.
Mary2 , born 17 Sept. 1663
James2, born probably, abt 1665; bpt. 1 April 1666
Daniel2, born 19 March 1667/8
Margaret2, born 3 June 1670
Daniel died young and Margaret died in her first month, shortly after the death of Mary, who died 13 June 1670.
Vital records of Dedham indicate that James1 married second 8 months later at Dedham, Mass 20 Feb. 1670/1 to Patience Cubby. It is possible that her name was Experience, not Patience. Another possibility is that Patience died and he married 3rd Experience.
Children born after his marriage to Patience Cubby, all born Dedham, Mass. were:
John2 was born ca. 1672.
Sarah2, born 23 Feb 1675, Dedham
David 2, born 17 Apr, 1678
Records last two children were born to James1 and Experience Mackerwithey. Either Patience died and James1 married a third time before 1675 to an Experience, or there is an error in the record and his second wife's name was Experience, not Patience. It also seems unlikley that the surname of Patience was Cubby as that is not a name that was evident in that area at that time. Possibly it was Cobbet or Cobb(e).
July 3, 1682 Richard Everett died. He had been a relatively wealthy man--usually in the top 10% to 20% of the assesments. His will had been written in 1680 and was proved July 25, 1682.
"...I Richard Evered of Dedham in the Countie of Suffolke in the Massachusetts Collony in New England: Being Aged and theirby put in mid of my Great change:..I give and bequeath to James Mackerwithy Seaven acreis of vpland adjoyning to his house of which he is now possessed Dureing the term of his natorall Life and then my will is that my three grandchildren: James Daniell and Mary Mackerwithy being the Children of the sd Mackerwithey had with my daughter Mary should have the Seaven Acres of land equaly devided betwixt them. I give fourtie shillings to James Mackerwithy my grand child...I give fourty shillings to Daniell Mackerwithy ...I give to Mary Mackerwithy fourtie shillings: these three Children to Receive thiese Leagicies After y wifes decease...".
James1 must have died ca. 1700 as his name disappears from the Dedham tax lists around then. The names of James Jr and James Sr. appear for some time on the tax records; then after 11 Nov. 1700 only that of James Jr, with one exception--in 1705 the name James Sr. appears and James Jr. does not. That is probably an error, but it is possible that it indicates James Sr. was alive at that time.
Of the second generation, nothing is known of the oldest daughter Mary2. She was mentioned in 1680 in the will of her grandfather, Richard Everett. At that time she would have been 17 years old, so it is likely that she survived to adulthood and married.
James2 married Bethia Lewis and had several children. He remained in Massachusetts.
Daniel2 evidently died young, perhaps in infancy.
John2 married twice, and had 2 daughters and two sons. Both sons of John2 were named John, the first dying young. The surviving John3 did not marry and the family name through the line of John2 is not carried beyond the third generation.
Nothing is known of Sarah2.
David2, youngest son of James1, went to Long Island, then Connecticut. He used the name Mackwethy, and it is from his family that I descend.