George CORLISS

Male Abt 1617 - 1686  (~ 69 years)


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  • Name George CORLISS 
    Born Abt 1617  England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 19 Oct 1686  Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • George [Corlis], Oct. 19, 1686. [1]
    Person ID I4060  FamilyWorld
    Last Modified 23 Sep 2012 

    Family Joanna DAVIS,   b. Abt 1622, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1700  (Age ~ 77 years) 
    Married 26 Oct 1645  Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    • George [Corlis], and Joanna Davis, Oct. 26, 1645.
    Children 
     1. Mary CORLISS,   b. 8 Sep 1646, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Oct 1722, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years)
     2. John CORLISS,   b. 4 Mar 1647/48, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Feb 1697/8, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 49 years)
     3. Joanna CORLISS,   b. 28 Apr 1650, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Oct 1734, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years)
     4. Martha CORLISS,   b. 2 Jan 1652/53, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1697  (Age > 45 years)
     5. Deborah CORLISS,   b. 6 Jun 1655, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 19 Jan 1702/3, Plainfield, Windham County, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 47 years)
     6. Ann CORLISS,   b. 8 Nov 1657, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jun 1691, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 33 years)
    +7. Huldah CORLISS,   b. 18 Nov 1661, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Sep 1698  (Age 36 years)
     8. Sarah CORLISS,   b. 23 Feb 1663/34, Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 May 1737, Norwich, New London County, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 3 years)
    Last Modified 29 Jan 2012 
    Family ID F457  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Abt 1617 - England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 26 Oct 1645 - Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 19 Oct 1686 - Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Legend has it that George Corliss was born in Exeter, Devonshire, England; however, no records have been found to indicate any Corliss lived in that area in the early 1600's. It is probable that George Corliss passed through there on his way to the colonies, and his birthplace remains a mystery. It is family legend that his father's name was Thomas, and remains unproved.

      From "A Genealogical Record of the Corliss Family of America" by Augustus W. Corliss, Yarmouth, ME, 1875:

      The family records show that George Corliss, the founder of our family in America, was born in the county of Devonshire, England, about the year 1617, and that he came to this country in 1639, and settled, in that year, at Newbury, MA, but soon after he moved to Haverhill, MA, where he resided until his death in 1686. The original tract of land on which he settled in 1640, and on which he had built a log house in 1647, was in what is known as the "West Parish" of the town, and the farm is now known as "Poplar Lawn," and has never been out of the possession of his direct descendants. He was the first settler in that part of the town.

      The "New England Historical and Genealogical Register," Vol. 14, 1860, page 337, states that about the year 1635, the custom of registering the names of emigrants from England to America, which had been in vogue, was changed, so that only the number of persons carried in each vessel was recorded. This, doubtless, accounts for the fact that no record can be obtained of the name of the vessel in which George Corliss came across the Atlantic.

      In several instances, in searching old family records, the name of Thomas Corliss of Devonshire, England, appears as the father of George Corliss; but no other source yet searched gives the same or any other information on this point.

      It is said, and is on record, that George Corliss left England on account of religious persecution; but it is much more probable that he came over, as thousands of young men did, to build a home in the new colony.

      On the 25th of October, 1645, George Corliss was married, at Haverhill, Massachusetts, to Joanna Davis, who some of the old records show came from Wales; but, from the fact that in his will he speaks of his "brother Davies by law," referring to a piece of land which is owned which had once belonged to Davis; and that, in the inventory of his effects, mention is made of the same land as once owned by Thomas Davis, it is fair to presume that his wife was the sister of Thomas, above, who was from Marlborough, England, a sawyer, who came over in the "James and William," in April 1635.

      [from a following footnote: Since the above was written, information has been received that tends to throw a doubt on this matter, and makes it possible that Joanna Davis was a daughter of Thomas Davis instead of his sister. To preserve it, and enable others to solve the matter, the substance of the information, which came from Mr. Henry J. Cross of Salem, MA, a descendant of Ann Corliss and John Robie, is given as follows: In George Corliss' will, he speaks of the land "I recovered of my brother Davis by law." This land, Mr. Cross concludes, was that recovered by George Corliss from Joseph Davis (a son of Thomas), whom he sued in the Norfolk Courts for a debt, a part of which was for a year's wages of George Corliss's son, John. The verdict, rendered after the death of Joseph Davis, was in favor of George Corliss, and an execution was granted May 1st 1673. In 1723, John Corliss, grandson of George Corliss, and a "great-grandson of Thomas Davis" was appointed administrator of Thomas Davis' estate, "de bonis non."]

      This was the second marriage in the town. There is a tradition in the family, to the effect that, at the time of his marriage, George Corliss was possessed of a pair of silk breeches of such generous proportions that his wife afterwards converted them into a dress for herself. There is no further record of Joanna Corliss after the estate was settled in the death of her husband in 1686, unless it was she who married, October 4th 1687, as "Johannah Corley," James Ordway, at Newbury, MA, as shown in county records of births, deaths, and marriages.

      In Savage's Genealogical Dictionary, Boston, MA, 1860, page 457, appears the following:

      George Corless or Corliss, Haverhill, 1645--had wife Joane. His daughter Mary married January 23rd, 1665, William Neff, who died in 1689, and eight years after she was taken prisoner by Indians and partook in the heroic act of Mrs. Dustin, and died October 22nd, 1722. Another daughter married Thomas Eastman; another married Samuel Ladd; and Huldah (another daughter) probably married November 5th, 1679, Samuel Kingsbury. Descendants of the sixth generation still live on his farm. John, of Haverhill (probably a son of the preceeding), the the oath of allegience November 28, 1667, and perpetuated the farm I suppose."

      "Chase's History of Haverhill, MA" 1861, besides many other mentions of his name, has the following:

      George Corliss came from England to Newbury about the year 1639, being at the time about twenty-two years of age. He is believed to be the first one of the name who came to this country, and the ancestor of most, if not all of that name in New England. He married Joanna Davis October 19, 1645, by whom he had one son and seven daughters. George Corliss was an enterprising and industrious man, and well qualified to take a prominent part in the settlement of a new town. He settled in the West Parish, on the farm of the late Ephraim Corliss, now owned by his son Charles, who is of the seventh generation from the original grantee, and at his death was possessed of a large landed property. He owned most of the land on both sides of the old "Spicket Path" as it was then called, for a distance of more than three miles"

      In a pamphlet called "Report of Centennial Proceedings at Orford, NH, September 7th, 1865, is given the same information contained in Chase's History of Haverhill, and it also refers to the division of George Corliss's property among his children, and gives other matters of interest to the family, all of which are embodied in various parts of this book.

      For land grants made George Corliss, see the article on "Poplar Lawn" in another part of this work.

      From "Chases's History of Haverhill," the town records, and documents in the family, the following items have been collected.

      George Corliss' name appears in the list of "freemen" of Haverhill, in 1645.

      January 22nd, 1648, he was chosen one of the selectmen. March 26th, 1650, he was chosen constable by the freemen. January 2nd, 1653, he was again chosen on of the selectmen. October 12th, 1657, March 1st, 1669-1670, and February 24th, 1679, he, with others, was called upon to act in the latter capacity for those years. Under date of 1683, his name, as well as those of his sons-in-law Robie, Kingsbury, Hutchins, and Neff, appears in a vote on church affairs.

      It is a fact worthy of record that George Corliss, his son John, and his grandson John, all died on the same farm, and each one when sitting in the same chair.

      The will of George Corliss, reproduced below, as far as possible word for word, was made October 18th, 1686, and his death took place the next day, which probably accounts for the fact that he made "his mark, " instead of signing his name. On page 80 of Chase's History of Haverhill," among the names appended to a petition to the General Court for the revocation of the sentence of one Robert Pike, is that of George Corliss: and from this petition, now on file in the office of the Secretary of State, Boston, MA, a tracing of his signature has been obtained, and a perfect facsimile is given on the opposite page.

      The copy of the will given below was made, in 1874, by Mrs. M. H. Webster, from the original on file in the clerk's office at Salem, MA. The will is on one page of paper, closely written, and shows great age.

      "The will of George Corlie, October 18, 1686.

      "Being weak in body but well in mind and not knowing how it may pleas god to Deal with me do make my will as followth. Do commit my Soal go god that gave it me & to Jesus chist that hath Delivered it! o lod my god most true: and my body to the earth. "I give to my Son John the farme that he lives on with two comonages and my lower Spcket medow and my medow at polocy: (Policy Pond) and my land at west medows: only my wife is to have a quarter part of that that I was to have of my son John: and that in kind as I was to have: that is to say half of that in every thing as I was to have in kind and as long as she lives: and that she shall have liberty to enjoy that hous that I lived in long as she lives if she pleas: also I give to my Son John have the 4th devishon and a 2 comonages belonging to the west medow land. "To my Daughter mary nef I give the land that my Son nef lives on and to her children born to her body: forever: and the pond medow: and one comonage: and my Daughter Johana Huckins I give to her 2 hundred acres of land and 4 acres of midow of policy and 2 cows: my Son Joseph huckins did engaged to me that If I wood give him a claame of that land he wood make over to my daughter his wife and her children his hous and land upon the hill: and it is my will that this shall be confirmed to him I wood be be done at once that this house and land: or that which may be secured. "and to my Daughter Debora Esman I give to my Son and Daughter esman half the uper Spicket medow and a one comonage for my Son and daughter robe I give a parcel of land that I recovered of my brother davis by law and 2 comonages. "and my Son and daughter martha lad I give them 30 acres of land at west medow that I have possess him of and one comon already and my Son and daughter hulda kinsbery I give y'n [sic] 30 acres and a comon at the west medow that I have posest them of and for my daughter Sarah Corley I give her one cow and 2 sheep and half the uper Spiket medow: and one comon and half the 4 devishon: and one swine: I give: I give "to my son John half that ox that he hath poss of--further I order my Son John to pay all my debts. "and for my housold stuff and 2 calfs and my sheep and one cow and cloths I leave to my wife to dispose of as she shal pleas. "to my Son John I pray you be dutyful to your mother and to fulfil this oblygathis to her that you and I agreed or you fail your oblygation y't [sic] is between you & I other my Son John se that my will bee fulfilled."

      "John Tennie Elizabeth Worcester

      J'n Tennie and Elisabeth Worcester did upon oath affrm'd that George Corlee did sign and declare this to be his last will. Taken before the worship Jno. Woolbridge Esq. & Capt. Richard Dunn Esq. "this 23rd nov 1686 as shown. D. Davidson--Clk.

      "Abigail Caly was present & Sarah Walingfor." On the outside of this paper was "Last will and testement of George Corles late of Haverhill deceased" 1686. November 23 Recorded.

      Copy of the inventory of effects of George Corliss made from the original in the records of the county at Salem, M, by Margaret H. Webster, 1874.

      "This may certify to whom it may Concern t't I do allow and appoynt my beloved Son John Corles with submission to he Hono Court to Administr to ye Estate of my beloved Husband george Corles of haverhill Deceased and he a true Inventory of my Husband Estate was taken acte October 26, 1686, as witness ye hand of s'd apprizors. "Haverhill 27 of October 1686. Johanah Corles [her mark]

      "Robert Ford Robert Swan, Sr.

      "An Inventory of ye Estate of George Corles of Haverhill Deceased taken and apprized By Robt. Swan Sr. and Robert Ford October 26, 1686. L s d Impr to forth acres of land at whome with 80 00 00 ye improvement upon it to 23 acres of Second Division land 40 00 00 to one hundred and 10 acres of third and Addition and also one Common Ryhts 60 00 00 to one hundred and sixty acres of land in ye west meadow 60 acres of it is disposed by deed 160 00 00 to one hundred acres of land near ye Sawmill meadow formerly Thomas Davis his land 50 00 00 to a Right 33 acres of 4th Division land 33 00 00 to nine acres of meadow and a half of spicket 28 00 00 to Five acres of meadow and a meadow called polici 20 00 00 to acres of pond meadow 09 00 00 to 3 cows and half an ox 13 00 00 to 2 calves 01 10 00 to 3 old swine and 3 small pigs 02 02 00 to 7 sheep 02 00 00 to plow iron and other Iron wear 01 00 02 to wearing apparall 04 06 00 to cotton an 1 linen yarn 02 10 00 to 14 pounds of woolen yarn 02 02 00 to 9 pounds of wool 00 13 00 to bedding and furniture belonging 20 00 00 to table linen 00 12 00 to bookes 00 12 00 to 3 pots a frying pan a tramell and tongs 02 10 00 to wooden wear earthen wear viz barrels trays pails smoothing iron and glass bottles 02 10 00 to arms 01 00 00 to butter and Cheese 01 12 00 to Sadle and pillion and Cow bolt 01 00 00 to 4 bushell of wheat and 25 bushel of Indian Corne 04 15 00 to 10 pounds of hops 00 05 00

      Robert Swan, Sr. Robert Ford

      From "Corliss-Sheldon Families" by Mary Corliss, privately published by Miss Mary Corliss, 1934, and reprinted by States Historical Society, Inc., Hartford, CT:

      "He at first built a log cabin and later a large hom which he named Poplar Lawn because of the Lombardy poplars set out on each side of the long lane leading to the house. Poplar Lawn became the permanent home of the Corliss family for several generations and quoting from "Historic Sites and Scenes of Haverhill Presented During the Tercentenary Year" the house as well as its interior was "the wonder of the period." The large room is described as follows: "The wall paper cost $2 a roll; wall paper was then a novelty; this paper had a border of flowers; there was a deep wainscoting all around the room; every 18 or 20 inches fluted columns were introduced into this wainscoting; between these columns the wall was painted blue. The floor was painted to represent tiles, buff and blue, alternating. A border of flowers all around the floor was the finishing feature."

      The Mormon church records show a child named George who was born in 1659 in Haverhill. The dates work, but not listed in Augustus's genealogy.

  • Sources 
    1. [S7] HaverhillMAVR, website: ma-vitalrecords.org/MA/Essex/Haverhill, pg. 379.

    2. [S7] HaverhillMAVR, website: ma-vitalrecords.org/MA/Essex/Haverhill.