Reverend Zachariah Symmes1

M, b. 5 April 1599, d. 4 February 1670/71
FatherReverend William Symmes b. b 7 Apr 1559
MotherMary (?)
St. George's Church, Canterbury
     Zachariah was born in Canterbury, County Kent, England. He was christened there on 8 April 1599 in St. George's.2 He followed his father in attending the University of Cambridge where he received his BA degree in 1621. It was during this period that he probaby met his future wife.3 Zachariah married Sarah Baker on 13 August 1622 in Southwark, County Surrey, England, at St. Saviour's.4 He received his Masters degree in 1624. While he was studying for his degree, Zachariah worked as a minister and a lecturer at St. Antholin, London between the years of 1621 to 1625. In the later year, he was installed as curate at Dunstable, Bedfordshire. He remained there for the next seven years. However, due to the persecutions effecting the clergy, he resigned his position. On 1 August 1634, Zachariah & his wife, Sarah, left their home in England aboard the ship, "Griffin", bound for New England. Listed among the 200 passengers were Reverend Zachariah Symmes, his wife Sarah, William, Mary, Elizabeth, Huldah, Hannah, Rebecca, including William & Ann Hutchinson and John Lathrop. Many of of these immigrants became leaders in the colony. They arrived on the 18th of September at Boston..5,6 Almost immediately after his arrival, Zachariah was asked to be the head of a new church in a remote settlement. He declined the invitation as he wanted to be stay among a more settled area. He was soon asked to be the teacher of the Church of Christ in Charleston, a settlement across the river from Boston, and took that position on 22 December 1634. By March of 1636, many of the "brethern" of the church as well as Zachariah were at odds with the minister - this being noted in John Winthrop's journal. Because of the dissention, the pastor, Thomas James, resigned and Zachariah was then hired as pastor of the Charleston church. He was to remain in that position for the remainder of his life. He made his will 20 January 1664/65.

The twentieth day of January 1664, I Zechariah Symmes of Charlestown, New England, being at present through God's mercy in some competent measure of health, yet daily wayting for my change, have revised the last former draught of my will, but revoking it, do establish this following as my last will and testament, and do hereby appoint my dear and faithful wife Mrs. Sarah Symmes sole executrix thereof.
First, I commit and commend what I am and have into the hands of my most loving Father and Gracious God in Christ Jesus : my soul immediately upon my death to be received into those heavenly mansions which my blessed Saviour hath prepared for me ; my body to be for a time, in a comely, but not over costly manner, interred, in assured faith and hope that my Saviour will in his time raise up my vile body and make it like his glorious body, and, uniting it to my soul, will continue them forever with himself in perfect blessedness and glore.
For my temporal estate wherewith the Lord hath blessed me, it is already in good parte disposed of by reason of the mariage of my eldest sonne William, and of six of my daughters, viz., Sarah, Marye, Elizabeth, Huldah, Rebeckah, Deborah. To each of these seven I have already given such a portion, as our own necessities would permit, and that without any partialitie farther than a legacy given to my daughter Brock, and daughter Savage did equity require; therefore my earnest desire and will is that none of them grudge at any of the other, or trouble their mother in the least wise any further demand, or motion about what is already disposed of.
For Ruth, my wife hath already set by for her a portion as with a very small enlargement (which I leave to my widow's discretion) may equal her portion with her sisters.

For my two sonnes Zechariah and Timothy, to the former upon his going to Rehoboth I gave some books, with some household stuff, and to make up his first dividend, I assign unto him all my library, except what is after mentioned, and provided that soone after my death he oblige himself in a bonde of eighty pounds, together with his heirs and assigns, to pay unto his brother Timothie fourty pounds sterling in money, or merchantable goods at money price, within one year after my decease, or in case his brother Timothy dye before the year expired, then to pay it to my other children surviving, in equal portions, reserving a double portion to my eldest sonne William.
Other legacies doe some of my dear friends deserve, and therefore may probably expect, but considering my dear widos probable necesseties, and that farr most of our estate came by her, I trust they will take it well though I do dispose of the remainder of my estate in the manner following.

First, my debts being discharged (which are none that I know of but what my wife is privye unto) and one legacy of five pounds to my dear brother Mr. William Symmes, to which I know my wife will be as willing as myself, it being but a small remembrance of his very great love and costs to us and ours, I then give and bequeath to my faithful and dearly beloved wife, the whole use and benefit of all my temporal estate, consisting in lands, houses, cattell, moneye, plate, with all other goods and moveables which the Lord hath given, to her own proper use, to have, hold and enjoy during the whole time of her widowhood. In case she shall see good to marry, which I suppose she will never do without good advice, then I take it for granted that it will be with one that may bring some comfortable outward estate with him, and therefore in case she shall marry I give a third part of my whole estate to be equally divided among my children then living, only a double part to my eldest sonne, and at her death the other two thirds to be alike divided, only I give her liberty and power at her decease to dispose of fifty pounds sterling to any of her children or any other of her relatives or friends as she shall see mete. Further, out of my books and papers, I give her that large English Bible wch was her mothers, also such books as I have of Doc Sibs or Doc Prestons, also a book of Baynes letters, and about comfortable walking with God. Also all my notes and sermons, one book in octavo upon 16th Matthew 24 and 17 cap of John, 2 small books of my latter sermons, one in decimo sexto, the other hath yet but a few sermons. Also I give to my eldest sonne Fulke on Rhem. Test. with 4 books in quarto of Mr. Bolton's works, as also a fourth part of such manuscripts either mine owne or my father's sermons, as are in papers or stitch, but not bound up. All my written books besides I give to Zech: with the rest of the manuscripts, yet so as upon their requests not to deny the lending of them for a small time to any of their brethren or sisters to peruse for their owne private use only, for I never intended or prepared anything of mine to be put in print.
Item. At my wives death I give my farm neere Woburne and land at Nottimos to my eldest sonne, provided that he bynde it over to pay onto the rest of my children a hundred pounds in equall portions in two years time: 50 pounds per annum.

Item. I give to all my sonnes in law, at the death of my wife, to each of them thirty shillings for a ring, or any other meanes of remembering my love to them ; and to each of my grandchildren, by nature or by law, thirteen shillings four pence for a spoone.

["]Witnesses. Francis Norton, Joshua Teed [Tidd].7

He wrote a codicil to his will on 19 December 1667. Zachariah departed this life on Wednesday, 4 February 1670/71 in Charlestown at age 71 years, 9 months and 30 days.8 The inventory of Zachariah's estate was taken on Sunday, 15 February 1670/71. His inventory was valued as follows:
Real Property - £460
Household Goods - £87.28.15
Miscellaneous - £132.10. 9
Totalling - £681

Appraised by Thomas Linde, William Stitson, Lawrence Hammond & Joshua Tidd.9 His will was probated on 31 March 1671.

Additional Notes: On 25 September 1629, Margaret Fulalove, widow of London, made her cousin Zachariah Symmes her executor. She made bequests to him, his wife Sarah, and his three children, William, Sarah and Mary. She also made bequests to William Simes and his wife Mary. She did not describe this William as a cousin. William was probably a brother of Zachariah, as this William did marry a Mary. Although, it is possible that William and Mary were Zachariah's parents, as his mother's name is unknown. It is also possible that this later William is another Symmes relative. Help is needed in finding the exact relationship between Margaret and Zachariah. - KLM.10


Sarah Baker d. 1676


  1. [S127] John Adams Vinton, The Symmes Memorial: Biographical Sketch of Rev. Zechariah Symmes, Minister of Charlestown, 1634-1671, With the Genealogy & Brief Memoirs of Some of His Descendants: also embracing notices of many of the name, both in Europe & America, not connected with the family: and an autobiography.
  2. [S1348] Clarence Almon Torrey, The Symmes in England, page 68 - Christenings - 1599 Apr 8 Zacharie s. of Mr. William Sym'es preacher of the Word.
  3. [S1348] Clarence Almon Torrey, The Symmes in England, page 69 - Symmes, Zechariah. Adm. Pens. At Emmanuel, Apr. 25, 1617. Doubtless s. of William (1577) . b. AT Canterbury, Apr. 5, 1599. Matric. 1617; B.A. 1620-1; M.A. 1624. Lecturer at St Antholin's, London, 1621-5, resigned owing to persecution in the Bishops' Courts. R. of Dunstable, 1625-32. Went to New England with his wife and family, 1634. Settled at Charlestown, Mass. Ordained there as teacher of the Church and Colleague of Rev. Thomas James, 1634. Disputes arose and an ecclesiastical council was called to settle the difficulty - and Mr James departed. Became pastor of the Charlestown Church, 1638-71. Brother of William (1619). (J.G. Bartlett).
  4. [S1348] Clarence Almon Torrey, The Symmes in England, page 69.
  5. [S1344] Francis M. Symmes, Capt. John Cleves Symmes, page 1.
  6. [S1759] "Griffin", Left 1 August 1634; arrived 18 September 1634; passenger list: Reverend Zachariah Symmes from Canterbury, coounty Kent bound for Charleston, his wife Sarah, William Symmes, Mary Symmes, Elizabeth Symmes, Huldah Symmes, Hannah Symmes, Rebecca Symmes, William Huchinson, his wife Anne ,. . .
  7. [S127] John Adams Vinton, The Symmes Memorial: Biographical Sketch of Rev. Zechariah Symmes, Minister of Charlestown, 1634-1671, With the Genealogy & Brief Memoirs of Some of His Descendants: also embracing notices of many of the name, both in Europe & America, not connected with the family: and an autobiography., pages 13-14.
  8. [S1342] C. Edward Egan Jr., The Hobart Journal, page 125 - febuary 4 Mr. Zechery Symes paster of the church at Charlestowne dyed.
  9. [S127] John Adams Vinton, The Symmes Memorial: Biographical Sketch of Rev. Zechariah Symmes, Minister of Charlestown, 1634-1671, With the Genealogy & Brief Memoirs of Some of His Descendants: also embracing notices of many of the name, both in Europe & America, not connected with the family: and an autobiography., pages 15.
  10. [S1355] Henry F Waters, Genealogical Gleanings in England, page 121 - Margaret Fulalove, of London, widow, 25 September 1629, proved 14 October 1629. Imprimis I do give and bequeath unto my cosen Zacherie
    Simes, whom I do make and ordain sole executor of this my last will and
    testament, the sum of forty shillings and to my cosen his wife my Phillip
    and Cheany gown and best stuff petticoat, my stuff kertle and waistcoat,
    all my wearing linen and twenty shillings to make her a ring. To my said
    cosen Simes' three children I do give and bequeath as followed! ; unto
    William Simes three shillings of lawful money of England, unto Sarah
    Simes also forty shillings of like money and to Mary Simes twenty shillings
    of like money. I do also give and bequeath unto the said Sara Simes (a
    lot of bedding and household stuff, among others) two sallet dishes, one
    maudlin cup, a brass scummer and a brass warming pan. If any surplusage
    be remaining I give to my brethren Thomas and John Hickman, to each
    twenty shillings and twenty shillings to each of my own sisters and forty
    shillings to be distributed amongst my said own sisters children. To Mar-
    garet Hayes ten shillings. To my cousin Grantham twenty shillings and
    to bis wife twenty shillings. To Hulda Crooke twenty shillings. To Sara
    Grantham twenty shillings. To Caleb Grantham twenty shillings. To my
    cousin Attaloone an angel and to his wife forty shillings and a Kersey
    cubbord cloth. Forty shillings to her daughter. To my cousin Godkin's
    wife twenty shillings and twenty shillings to Mr. William Simes. A silver
    spoon for Mary Simmes and tipt pot for my cousin Zachary.

    Wit: William Symmes, Mary Symmes, her mark, Elner Godkin.

    Against this is entered, on margin, Parish of St. Michael Bassingshawe.
    Married at St. Saviours Southwark, 13 August 1622, Zachery Simmes
    and Sara Baker.

    [Zacharie Simes, named by the testator as a cousin or nephew, and as execu- tor of her will, was evidently the Rev. Zechariah Syms or Symmes, who was the minister of Charlestown, Mass., from Dec. 22, 1634 till his death Feb. 4, 1670-1. He was the son of Rev. William Symmes, whose father, William Symmes, was a firm protestant in the reign of Queen Mary. Rev. Zechariah Symmes was born in Canterbury, Kent, April 5, 1599, was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, and received his A.B. in 1620. In 1621 he was chosen lecturer at St. Antholiu's in London. About 1625 he removed to Dunstable, Beds., where he was rector for eight years. He came to New England in the Griffin, which arrived Sept. 18, 1634. He had a brother William who was living, probably in England, in 1664, as he names him in his will of that date. The William Syms who had sons Zacharye and William, according to the preceding will of Timothy St. Nicholas, 1606; as well as the Mr. William Simes named by the above Margaret Fulalove, was, I presume, the father of our New England minister. See The Symmes Memorial, by Rev. John A. Vinton, Bos- ton, 1873. - Editor.]