Mystery Monday: Origins of Mary (Miller) Munroe of Pembroke, Mass.

Nathan Munroe Family Bible, Courtesy of Jane Kent
Henry Munroe [variously spelled Munro, Monroe, etc.] Jr. married “Mary Millar” at Pembroke, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 12 September 1771. Vital Records of Pembrokenotes that no intention was recorded for this couple at Pembroke churches or the Pembroke town clerk. Their marriage was a double wedding, with Henry’s older sister Mary Munroe marrying Jacob Bearce on the same day.
Henry and his sister Mary were the children of Henry Munroe Sr. and Hannah Josselyn, who lived at present-day Main Street in Hanson. Both the families of Henry Munroe Sr. and Jr. were members of the Congregational Church of Hanson (then part of Pembroke) under the leadership of Rev. Gad Hitchcock.
The family bible of Nathan Munroe, the son of Henry Munroe Jr. and Mary Miller provides the following details about Mary Miller:
·         Henry Munro Jr married Mary Millar Sept 12 1771
·         Mrs. Mary Munroe- wife of Henry Munroe died Aug 26 1813 64th year
    Read more about this bible at:
Pembroke VRs records the death of Mary as: Mary Munro, w. Henry, Aug. 26, 1813, in 64th y.

However, this does not provide her exact birth date [only indicating she was born about 1750] or her parentage.

Joan S. Guilford’s The Monroe Book (Franklin, NC: Genealogy Publishing Services, 1993) p. 320-321 mentions that Henry Munroe’s children “are variously attributed to “Sally”, “Mary”, and “Margaret”, but they are all by Mary. Pembroke VRs list the first five children born to “Henry and Sally Munro” and the next two to “Henry and Mary”, the next to “Henry and Margaret”, then the remaining two to “Henry and Mary”. Gad Hitchcock’s baptism records of the Munroe children all list them as simply the children of Henry Munroe, with no wife’s name listed. However, it does appear to be a matter of the town clerk reporting back variations of Mary’s name, rather than Henry Munroe having four separate wives – there are no subsequent marriages of Henry Munroe, or deaths of additional wives, and in subsequent death records for the children of Henry Munroe, they typically list Mary as their mother [for example, Mary (Munroe) Sturtevant’s death record in Halifax, 6 Oct 1858, listed her as the daughter of Henry and Mary Monroe, despite her birth record stating she was a daughter of Henry and Sally Munro]

Mary’s parentage is very much a question, in part because of the rarity of the surname in Pembroke at that time. During the 18thcentury, there were only three Millers recorded at Pembroke:
  • Andrew Miller and Jane Macklucas married at Pembroke, 19 December 1727
  •  Josiah Miller, husband of Mary, died at Yarmouth, 15 April 1729, a. 50, and his information was recorded on the gravestone of his wife Mary Miller, who was buried at Pembroke Centre Cemetery. [G.R.1. in Pembroke VRS]
  •  Mary Miller, the wife of Josiah, died at Pembroke, 15 February 1772, a. 94, and was buried at Pembroke Centre Cemetery. [G.R.1. in Pembroke VRs]
Josiah Miller (b. 27 October 1679, Yarmouth, Mass.) married Mary (Barker) Crosby 13 August 1708 (b. 14 April 1674, daughter of Isaac Barker and Judith Prince). Mary (Barker) Miller was the granddaughter of Gov. Thomas Prince of Massachusetts. The family of Josiah Miller resided in Yarmouth, Mass. However, his widow Mary (Barker) Miller died in the home of her son-in-law, Reverend Thomas Smith of Pembroke.[1] On 28 August 1734, Rev. Thomas Smith had married Judith Miller (23 Aug 1716, Yarmouth – 31 July 1785, Pembroke), the daughter of Josiah Miller and Mary Barker.
Since Mary Miller was born about 1750, she obviously could not have been a daughter of Josiah Miller and Mary (Barker) Crosby, since Josiah died in 1729. Considering the possibility that she could have been a granddaughter of the couple that perhaps came to Pembroke with her widowed grandmother Mary (Barker) Crosby Miller in the early 1770s to the household of Rev. Thomas Smith, here’s a look at the children of Josiah Miller and Mary (Barker) Crosby, from Yarmouth Vital Records:
1.      Josiah and Mary Miller had a daughter dead born in March 1710
2.      and also another daughter dead born in April 1712 (of Josiah and Mary Miller)
3.      Josiah Miller son of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller he was born on the 29th day of July in the year 1713; Josiah, son of Josiah and Mary, died 13 December, 1717, aged 4 years, 4 months, 15 days.
4.      Judith Miller daughter of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller she was born on the 23rd day of August in the year 1716; Mr. Thomas Smith and Mis Judeth Miller was married August the 28th 1734
5.      John Miller son of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller he was born on the 8th day of August in the year of our Lord 1719; Mr. John Miler of Yarmouth and Mrs. Hannah Parker of Barnstabel… published November 5th 1738; John, died 31 January, 1747/8, in his 29th year; John Miller died on January 31st 1747/8 son of Josiah Miller. John Miller and Hannah Parker had a daughter:
o   Mary Miller she was born August the 22nd 1744 (of John and Hannah Miller), Yarmouth; Josiah Hedg and Mary Miller both of Yarmouth… entered [intentions] February the 4th 1769; she married second at Yarmouth, 1 January 1789, Deacon Josiah Thacher. Mary (Miller) Hedge Thacher died at Yarmouth, 15 January 1811, in her 67th year.
6.      Mary Miller daughter of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller she was born on the 13th day of December in the year… 1721; Mary Miller the daughter of Mr. Josiah Miller she departed this life September 22nd 1724; Mary, daughter of Josiah and Mary, died 22 September, 1724, aged 2 years, 9 months, 17 days.
7.      the abovenamed Mr. Josiah Mary Miller had a son dead born on the 9th day of November in the year of our Lord 1724
So of the seven children born to Josiah and Mary (Barker) Miller, only two survived to adulthood: Judith, who married Rev. Thomas Smith in 1734, and therefore could not have had a illegitimate daughter named Mary Miller born circa 1750, and John Miller, who died 1747/8, and therefore also could not have had a daughter named Mary Miller born circa 1750. Although he did have a daughter named Mary Miller, born 22 August 1744, she remained in Yarmouth and married twice there before dying in 1811.
Therefore it seems unlikely that the family of Josiah Miller and Mary (Barker) Crosby had any connection to Mary Miller, the wife of Henry Munroe Jr.
The only other Miller record in Pembroke prior to Mary Miller’s marriage to Henry Munroe in 1771 was the marriage of Andrew Miller and Jane Macklucas, who married at Pembroke, 19 December 1727. Could they have had a daughter Mary born almost 22 years into their marriage? [Which is not unreasonable – in fact, my line of descent from Henry Munroe Jr. and Mary Miller is through their youngest child, Mercy Miller Munroe, who was born 20 May 1794 – almost 23 years after their 1771 marriage] Or a granddaughter?
The trouble is that Andrew Miller was probably not originally from Pembroke (since there are no earlier Millers in town records) and Jane McLucas was definitely not from Pembroke – she was a resident of Marshfield and married Andrew Miller after a scandal. Jane Macklucas/McLucas/Lucas “of Marshfield” had an illegitimate daughter, Mary, baptized at Scituate 23 October 1726 [Second Church of Scituate, now the First Unitarian Church of Norwell, CR2 in Scituate VRs]. At the time, fornication prior to marriage was still considered a crime.
When Jane’s illegitimate pregnancy was discovered, she was called to the Plymouth County Court of General Sessions to account for her crime. At the Court held March 1724/5: of recognizance of Jane MacLucas was recorded [meaning that she officially recognized that she owed a debt to the court]. At the Plymouth Court of General Sessions held September 1725, Jane Maclucas, singlewoman of Marshfield, “confessed fornication and w[as] fined 4 pounds”, which was paid. [PCR 2:43, 47].
So a year after Jane McLucas of Marshfield had her illegitimate daughter Mary baptized at Scituate, she married Andrew Miller at Pembroke. Did the illegitimate Mary McLucas take the surname Miller and later herself have an illegitimate daughter named in her honor?
There is no birth or baptism record for Andrew Miller in any town in Plymouth County. Only two Plymouth County towns had several Miller families who left records prior to 1727: Middleborough and Halifax, and a smaller number from Plymouth and Rochester.
And there are no birth or death records for any children born to Andrew Miller and Jane McLucas in any Plymouth County towns subsequent to their marriage. There also are no Mary Millers born or baptized in any Plymouth County town vital records collections circa 1750. Neither Andrew nor Jane Miller had a Plymouth County probate. I haven’t had a chance to search if Andrew or Jane Miller had deeds in Plymouth County.
So without any evidence suggesting that Andrew and Jane Miller stayed in Pembroke and had children, there is nothing directly tying them to the Mary Miller who married Henry Munroe. Until more is known about Andrew and Jane Miller’s lives subsequent to their marriage, it is impossible to recommend or discount the possibility that they are the parents of Mary Miller. Did she come from a town outside of Pembroke? Outside of Plymouth County?
If you have any thoughts, speculations, or answers to this week’s Mystery Monday, let me know in the comments below!

[1]Mrs. William Sumner Crosby, One Line of Descendants from Dolar Davis and Richard Everett (Boston, MA: Press of George H. Ellis Company, 1911) p. 56.

3 thoughts on “Mystery Monday: Origins of Mary (Miller) Munroe of Pembroke, Mass.

  1. I’m descended through Henry Munroe and Mary Miller’s son Joseph. I’m also stumped on who Mary Miller’s parents may have been.

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