1050 Richard Foxwell Susannah Bonython
b. About 1604; Probate: 1677 bp. 14 Feb 1614 - ?
970 John Ashton
b. About 1638
d. After 1714
Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA

Susannah Foxwell

b. About 1646
York County, Maine
d. Before 1691
York County, Maine, USA
Relationship Events:
  Marriage John Ashton and 1. FNY Alger in York County, Maine; 2. Susanna Foxwell in York County, Maine (the mother of all his children; and 3. Mary Edgecomb Page, widow of George Page, 30 July 1691 in Marblehead, Essex, USA
Mary Ashton About 1665 in Scarborough, York, Maine

23 Feb 1687 Daniel Libby in Scarborough, York, Maine, USA;

Six Children: Daniel, Sarah, Joseph, Hephzibah, Beulah, and Mary Libby
  Susannah Ashton About 1667 in Scarborough, York, Maine

14 Oct 1684 Robert Codner in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA

870 Elizabeth Ashton About 1670 in Scarborough, York, Maine
11 Dec 1687; m. Nicholas Merritt in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts Ten Children: Elizabeth, Nicholas, Mary, Samuel, Elizabeth, Mary, Nicholas III, David, Rebecca, and Jean/Jane Merritt
  Philip Ashton About 1675 in Scarborough, York, Maine
20 Nov 1701 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Sarah Hanniford Henley, the widow of Joseph Henley; One Child with Henley: Joseph Henley; Two Children with Ashton: Philip, Jr. and William
  Samuel Ashton About 1676 in Newcastle, New Hampshire
15 Jul 1686 Mary Sandin in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Seven Children: Ephraim, Miriam, Elizabeth,Samuel, Mary, Sarah, and Joseph Ashton
  Joseph Ashton About 1678 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts
1) 1 Aug 1700 Mary Page in Marblehead 2( Widow Mary Dutch Page Joseph and Mary 1 - Five Children: Susannah, Benjamin, Mary, Joseph, and John Ashton. Joseph and Mary 2 - : Four Children: Abigail, Charity, Jacob, and Abigail Ashton
What We Know


The bare particulars of what we know about John Ashton are summarized in this excerpt shown below:

Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire: John Ashton, Scarborough born circa 1638; refugee at Newcastle 1678; at Marblehead in 1690; living 1714. Three wives; first was daughter of Andrew Alger; 2nd Susannah Foxwell daughter of Mr. Richard and Susannah (Bonythorn) Foxwell, mother of all the children and died at Newcastle; 3rd 30 July 1691 Mary (Edgecomb) widow of Geo. Page, daughter of Nicholas and Wilmot (Randall) Edgecomb, who joined the Marblehead Church is 1728 and deposed age +-83 in 1730.

Ch.Susannah  married  at Marblehead 10/14/1684 Robert Codner. 

Mary married at Scarborough 2/23/1687 Daniel Libby Samuel, fisherman, married 7/14/1686 Mary Sandin, 6 ch.

Elizabeth baptized 12/11/1687 married Nicholas Merritt who died at Marblehead 1736 10 ch.

Philip, shoreman, married 11/20/1701 Sarah Hendly 2 ch. Philip Jr. in 1725 printed Ashton's memorial, Strange Adventures of Philip Ashton, Taken by Pirates. This narrative mentions his cousins Joseph Libbee, who saved him from drowning, and  Benj. Ashton. 

Joseph born 1678 died 8/22/1725. (Gravestone at Marblehead.) Married first 8/4/1700 Mary Page, 2nd 1/25/1713-4 Mary (Dutch) Page widow probably of Christopher, daughter of Hezekiah Dutch who survived him.

The excerpts of the article below are included to indicate the violence that caused the removal of the families to other locations, Many families returned to Maine when peace with the Indians was achieved. The Ashtons, however, remained in Marblehead, where many subsequent generations were born.

Scarborough: They Called it Owascoag

Text by Mary B. Pickard
Images from Scarborough Historical Society, Rodney Laughton, the Scarborough Marsh Nature Center and Broadturn Farm

Unlike many neighboring towns, Scarborough did not develop around a town center. Scarborough's extensive salt marsh and rivers served as boundaries separating settlements that sprang up around their perimeters. Settlements didn't begin to move inland from the rivers and seacoast until after roads were developed in the early 1800s. Even though incorporated as a town in 1658, residents still identified themselves as being from Dunstan, Oak Hill, Pine Point or other neighborhood until the 1990s. Rapid development started in the 1970s, as people from other areas were attracted to Scarborough's abundant land and unique location.

Beginnings (pre-1631)

Long before European settlement, the Sokokis Indians lived in what we know as Scarborough. They called it Owascoag, "land of much grass," because of the extensive salt marsh. Fish, shellfish and wildlife of the marsh provided food, a medium of exchange and fertilizer for crops. Evidence of these earlier people can be found in a river of the marsh at low tide where there are exposed outlines of a fish weir used for trapping fish and in the shell heaps of Winnocks Neck.

European settlement along the Maine coast was an accidental by-product of the pursuit of fish. Early 1600s ships' logs had accounts of fishing and fur trading along the coast. Fish, particularly cod, was abundant and a very profitable commodity in Europe. Dried on fish stages and salted, cod kept for many months and was easy to transport. Space for fish stages and wood to build them were needed and were plentiful along the Maine coast. Territory for fish stages was allotted on a first-come first-served basis, and ships' captains soon realized the advantages of having "caretakers" remain at the end of a fishing season to maintain ownership of desirable space.

The first known European settler in Scarborough was John Stratton, who prior to 1631 established a year-round fish stage and trading post on islands about three miles off shore. Stratton and his companions traded with Indians and the fishing fleets that visited the Maine coast. In the Cammock Patent of 1631, the islands were referred to as Stratton's, or Stratton's Plantation, and one of the islands still bears his name. Originally, the islands and the mainland were known as Stratton's Plantation.

Settlement (1631-1674)

Captain Thomas Cammock was the first legal proprietor of land within the town. In 1631 the Council for New England granted Cammock the Patent of Black Point, 1500 acres from the Spurwink to the Black Point River, back one mile from the sea and including Stratton's Islands. Cammock arrived in 1633 from Piscataqua, where he'd been the agent of Mason and Gorges. He claimed all rights to fishing and "fowling" and apportioned land to tenants from whom he collected fees and rents. The original Cammock house was built on the headland now known as Prouts Neck. Friend Henry Jocelyn joined Cammock and his wife, Margaret, in 1635 and another house was built above Ferry Rock at the mouth of the Black Point or Scarborough River.

A second settlement was established across the river at Blue Point in 1636. A year before Cammock's patent had been granted, the Council for New England granted Thomas Lewis and Captain Richard Bonython a four-mile-wide tract of land extending eastward from the mouth of the Saco River and eight miles inland. In return Lewis and Bonython agreed to transport fifty persons within seven years to settle on their land. Colonists Richard Foxwell and Henry Watts settled at Blue Point, assuming they were within the bounds of the Lewis and Bonython patent. When the bounds of the patent were surveyed, it was discovered that Foxwell and Watts had instead settled within what was then called Black Point.

In 1651 another settlement was established about three miles up river on a 1,000-acre tract of land owned by the Alger brothers. Andrew and Arthur Alger, part of Stratton's group, had moved ashore and purchased the tract from the heirs of Wackwarreska, Sagamore of Owascoag. Tradition says the purchase price was a bushel of beans down and a bushel of corn yearly. One condition of the sale was that Wackwarreska's daughter, Uphannum (known as Indian Jane or Jane Hannup), and her mother Nagasqua, be allowed to live on the land. The settlement was named Dunstan, a corruption of the name Dunster, the Algers' home in England.

Conflict/Abandonment/Resettlement (1675-1702)

The first Indian attack occurred September 1675 in the upper part of Blue Point at the home of Robert Nichols and his wife. The Nichols were murdered and their house burned. The following month Indians attacked the Algers' garrison house in Dunstan and, failing to capture it, burned empty houses and killed both Alger brothers. Scarborough, a town of three settlements of over one hundred houses and 1,000 cattle, had been destroyed. (The Nichols were the parents of the husband of Susanna's aunt Winnifred Bonython).

In 1676 Mogg Heigon and about one hundred followers made an unsuccessful attack on the Black Point garrison. Mogg proposed to Jocelyn that if the garrison were surrendered, the settlers could leave safely. By the time Jocelyn returned to the garrison, all but his own family had left in boats. Jocelyn surrendered the garrison and was briefly held captive.

Most of the inhabitants returned in early 1677. The Black Point garrison, which had not been destroyed, was under the command of Lieutenant Tippen. In May Mogg Heigon and his men returned and began an assault on the garrison. Mogg was killed and his men withdrew, only to return the next month to avenge their leader's death. A group of nearly one hundred men led by Captain Benjamin Swett and Lieutenant Richardson were drawn into ambush and a bloody battle ensued in the vicinity of Moore's Brook, about two miles from the garrison. Swett and Richardson were killed (so was Nathaniel Foxwell, the son of Susannah Foxwell's brother, John) and less then a half dozen men returned to the garrison without injury. There was a peace treaty with the Indians the next year, but the settlers were aware that an outbreak of hostilities could occur at any moment.

In 1681 a second garrison was erected at Black Point about a half mile north of Great Pond (later known as Massacre Pond), because the "neck" was too far away to be accessible to the settlers in time of trouble. Troubled peace broke into open hostility again in 1690 when the French in eastern Maine joined forces with the Indians and destroyed the settlement of Falmouth. Anticipating enemy advance on Scarborough, the settlers fled to Portsmouth and beyond and town records were taken to Boston, where they remained until 1720. It would be twelve years before settlers returned to Scarborough.

The excerpt below speaks of the Alger family. A daughter of Andrew Alger (first name unknown) was briefly married to John Ashton before she died. The Ashtons were driven by the Indian wars from the York County area of Maine where John and his wives were first settled to Marblehead. Most of John and Susanna Ashton's children were married in Marblehead, and many subsequent Ashtons could be found in the area for generations to come.

Alger Brothers


John and Susanna Foxwell Ashton were the grandparents of three young mariners who were taken at sea by pirates led by the notorious Edward "Ned" Lowe. Nicholas Merritt (son of their daughter Elizabeth) escaped after a year; Philip Ashton, Jr. (son of their son Philip) escaped to the Roatan Island in the Bay of Honduras where he remained a castaway for 16 months until rescued by a schooner from Salem that returned him home to Marblehead to become known as "The Robinson Crusoe of Marblehead. Joseph Libby did not escape, and sadly participated with the pirates in their adventures until caught. He was hanged along with 25 of his shipmates in Rhode Island on 23 Jul 1723.

Ashton grandchildren taken by pirates

Click the drawing below to read the article published in the Boston Globe in 1927.

John Barnard with Philip and Nicholas Ashton wrote about their journeys in Ashton's Memorial: A History of the Strange Adventure, and Signal Deliverances of Mr. Philip Ashton, Sun of Marblehead published in 1727.


More about the Ashton/Foxwell Children:

Mary Ashton married Daniel Libby, the son of another York County, Maine family driven to Marblehead by the Indian wars.


From the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire:

Daniel(5) Libby, ±62 in 1728. Gr. j. 1687. List 34. In 1690 he fled with his wife's relations to Marblehead, where he was a carter. He depos. that about 1693 he moved into Col. Nordon's ho. and liv. there about 18 yrs. In 1731 he and his w. (Mary Ashton, m. 23 Feb. 1687) and gr. child were warned from Beverly, and she (or her dau.) at times visited her Norton cousins in Manchester; but 13 Sept. 1735 both were back in Marblehead, she still liv. there in 1737.

Ch: Daniel, m. in Marblehead 22 Jan. 1713-4 Abigail Martin. 3 or m. ch.

Sarah, m. 28 Dec. 1721 Charles Dennis.

Joseph, ag. 21, 19 July 1723, with 25 others, was hanged as a pirate in Newport. A Marblehead fishing vessel had been taken by pirates and some of her crew were among those hanged. Joseph protested that he was forced but some of the witnesses testified they saw him ‘fire’. The narrative of his more fortunate cousin, Philip Ashton, printed many years later, tells how Joseph helped him from drowning.

Hephzibah, bp. 23 Jan. 1703, m. 20 Sept. 1725 Henry Wittingham.

Beulah, bp. same day, m. 22 May 1727 John Williams.



Samuel Ashton, a fisherman, married Mary Sandin, who was related to us through both her parents. Her father, Ephraim Sandin, was the grandon of Arthur and Margaret Sandin, parents of another Mary Sandin, who married the first Nicholas Merritt of Marblehead. Her mother, Miriam Bassett, was the daughter of William Bassett and his wife Sarah. They had six verified children: Ephraim Ashton who married Sarah Waldron; Miriam Ashton who married Samuel Striker; Elizabeth (no further information), Samuell (no further information); Sarah Ashton who married William Cofren; and Joseph Ashton (no further information). A daughter Mary may also have been a seventh child.

Samuel left a document which proves his relationship to his parents:

Samuel Ashton Deed

Elizabeth Ashton, our direct ancestor, was baptized 11 Dec 1687 and married Nicholas Merritt, who died at Marblehead in 1736. They had ten children.

Philip Ashton, a shoreman, married 20 Nov 1701 Sarah Hanniford Henley, widow of Joseph Henley. At the time of their marriage, Sarah had one child, Joseph Jr., from her first marriage. She and her second husband, Philip Ashton, had two children, Philip, III and William Ashton. Philip Jr. was a religious man captured along with his cousins Nicholas Merritt and Joseph Libby by pirates, who captured them instead of killing them because they were skilled mariners who might be recruited to piracy. (His kinsman. Benjamin Ashton, is also managed as being one captured -- Benjamin would most likely be the son of his father's brother, Joseph). He escaped their clutches and lived by himself on a desert island for sixteen months until he was rescued by a passing schooner from Salem. His return to Marblehead was met with a great deal of celebration. The minister at his church gave a sermon honoring him, and in 1727, John Barnard published an account of his tributions Ashton's Memorial: The Strange Adventures of Philip Ashton .

Upon his return, he married first Jean (or Jane) Gallison, with whom he had one daughter, Sarah. After Jane's death, he married Sarah Bartlett, and togethr they had six childen.

Joseph Ashton, born in 1678 married first Mary Page on 4 Aug 1700. Together they had five children before her death: Susanna, who married Charles Reddain; Benjamin (mentioned above), who married Margaret Hooper; Mary (NFI); Joseph Jr., who married Susanna Snydercomb; and John (NFI).

After his first wife's death, Joseph Sr. married Mary (probably Dutch) Page, the widow of Christopher Page and daughter of Hezekiah Dutch. Together they had four additional children: Abigail, who died young; Charity who married John Pitman; Jacob (NFI); and a second Abigail (NFI).