Cause of Death: Smallpox
Place of Burial: Forefathers Burial Ground, Chelmsford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, Plot FF/FIS-2-1
Father: Edward Bates
Mother: Lydia Fairbanks
Step Father: William Fletcher
Half Siblings: Joshua Fletcher, William Fletcher, Mary Fletcher, Esther Fletcher
Spouse: Mary Farwell
Children: Mary Bates, John Roger Bates II, Elizabeth Bates, Sarah Bates, Rebecca Bates
Relation to Author: 9th Great-grandfather
*The contained narrative is the combined works of many sources. Please review the sources and citations bellow.*
John Roger Bates (Batts, Bayets), I, also known as John of Chelmsford, was the son of Edward and Lydia Bates nee Fairbanks, born January 15, 1641, and christened January 23, 1641/2. Father Edward died around 1644 and Lydia married William Fletcher, who as John’s step father presented him the the church for baptism at age 15.
John was a cooper, like his father before him, and is mentioned several times in town records for doing diverse jobs such as “mending the stox” and repairing the town sundial. He’s also recorded as providing funds toward building the first schoolhouse in 1718 which stood where the later brick schoolhouse, built in 1802 still stands just east of John’s burial place, land provided by his step-father, William Fletcher.
Marrying Mary Farwell in Chelmsford on December 22, 1665 John began to raise a family. At one point, he applied for permission to build a pew in the church. Permission was granted, “providing it don’t damnifie the alley.” Like his father, he was also something of a free spirit, frequently in trouble with the pious congregation and with the minister of the church, the Reverend John Fiske. The minister kept a detailed notebook documenting all of the important events in the congregation. John’s name comes up several times, along with that of his half-brother Joshua. These young men got in much trouble together, refusing to go to church, creating disturbances, and not showing proper contrition. Mrs. Fletcher (mother) was mentioned for speaking too freely about her children, calling them “rogue, rascal and hell-bound.” She was admonished for this as was Joshua, but John was excommunicated.
However, when he was called upon to serve in the army as a Lieutenant in the Chelmsford Garrison in King Philip’s War, he apparently thought again about his “state of grace” and sought to make amends. The Rev. Fiske details this in the last entry of his notebook, dated May 7, 1675. “John bates he being pressed to go upon his country’s service against the Indians came in the morning to me touched with his sin and his condition in regard of the church censure…not knowing how God would dispose of him…” After a few tries the Rev. Fiske was finally satisfied with the confession and John was welcomed back into the congregation. John served under Capt. Wheeler and at Groton Garrison durring the King Philip’s War from 1675-1676.
The John Bates family was quartered in one of the garrison houses for protection during the war. Fortunately they did survive and prospered. They were given considerable land and built a house and a cider mill.
John died of smallpox on April 11, 1722, around the same time his son John, and his grandson fell to the same illness. John’s will was probated on June 26, 1722, naming his son John, daughters Mary Cleveland, Elizabeth Richardson, Sarah Butterfield, Lydia Cotton, grandsons John Cleveland and John Bates, and son-in-law and executor Jonathan Richardson.
“Chelmsford, octobr the 27″i, 1718.
“Laid out To W’illam Fletcher, one m’ Moses Fisk’s Right three Rod and half of Land at the most Easterly Cornar of the bnring Place in Chelmsford afore sd the same being more or Less to the use of the sub-scribers to the bulding of a’Shoole house up on sd Land being bated and bounded as foloweth Eastwardly uji on a stake and heape of stons south-erle by the buring Place Wall to a stake and heape of stons which is the most soutterle Cornar on the westerle Cornar to a stake and heape of
stons, the Northerle Cornar to a stake and heape of stons And to the bounds first mentioned.
” EPHEIAM HELDRETH, “j
” John Wright, > Comite.”
” Jonathan Bowaes, J
” November the 28″‘ : 1718.
” These Presents Declars that I, Willam Fletcher, a boue sd do give the three Rods and a half a boue Laid oute at the Northerie Cornar of the Buring Place on Which the Schoole-house stands to them that bult it to them there heirs and asignes for Euer and to that use for euer as
” Witness my hand and seale in Presence of
” Robert Richardson. Samuel HowapiD.
– A sketch of the history of Chelmsford, Massachusetts
JOHN BATES, son of Edward, ‘baptized in the First Church of Boston in the 11th month (January) 23, 1641-2. His history is identified with that of the family of William Fletcher. About 1668, the Fletchers moved to Chelmsford. John Bates accompanied them. In his will William Fletcher makes a provision for John Bates and calls him his son-in-law (stepson.) (Rev. John Fiske’s Notebook)
“The brethren of the First Church (Chelmsford) presented children’s names and ages as follows:
Born to William Fletcher at this time.
John Bates, about,15 years old.
Joshua Fletcher, 12 years old; Lydia. 9 years; Samuel 4 years; Paul 2 years.”
Also, Fletcher, John Bates, s. William bp 1, 12 m: 1656 age 16 y.” (N. E. Register Vol. 88, pp 40-42).
“John Bates, Chelmsford under Capt. Wheeler and at Groton Garrison â€“ King Philip’s War. October 19th John Bates 01-14-03.
Feb. 29, 1676-6 John Bates O1-12-10 pay for services.” (N. E. Register Vol. 43, page 373)
“Garrison in west regiment of Middlesex Chelmsford Mar. 16, 1691-2, Joseph Farwell and with him Sam’l Fle(t)chers, Wm. Fle(t)chers, John Bates and their families.” 9 men. (N .. E. Register Vol. 11, page 222)
“John Bat signs certificate of Mr. John Fiske 1695”. (This may have been either father or son. The reference in vol. 38 which gives John Bates as a freeman in Chelmsford in 1689-90 is presumably about the son, for John, Jr. was in 1689-90 about 22.)
John Bates married Mary Farwell December 22, 1665 (daughter of Henry and Olive.) Their children were:
i. Mary, May 8, 1667
ii. John, Dec. 22, 1668 (John Bats).
iii. Elizabeth, Dec. 22, 1671; m. Jonathan Richardson Nov. 8, 1692.
iv. Lidiah, Feb. 25, 1673; m. Samuel Cotten July 22, 1695.
v. Rebeckah d. July 6, 1682.
vi. Sarah; m. Benjamin Butterfield (Buterfild) Feb. 16, 1697.
John, Sr. died April 11, 1722 (age about 80) of smallpox.
Mary Farwell Bates died Mer. 7, 1713-4.
(Allen’s History of Chelmsford) “The first public meeting was holden at Wm. Fletcher’s house 22nd ninth month 1654.” (At his time parents presented their children’s names for study and examination.)
“The westerly comer of John Bates property adjoined the ministry land.”
“In 1722 . John Bates and family had smallpox; and most of them died.”
– Transcript of the April 1930 BATES BULLETIN pages 58-60
Name: John Bates
Birth Date: 1641
Page Number: 47
– American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI), Godfrey Memorial Library, comp. Ancestry.com, 1999
Name: John Bates
Spouse: Mary Farwell
Marriage Date: 22 Dec 1665
Marriage Place: Chelmsford, Massachusetts
– Ancestry.com. American Marriages Before 1699 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997.
Bates, John, Sr., 11 Apr [Age abt 80 yrs. G.R.1.]. [A. 364].
Chelmsford Vital Records By Year