Jacob Decoster of Maine and Massachusetts

[Editor’s Note: I have been working on the genealogy and history of the DeCoster family for over twenty years. The following piece is part of a larger manuscript that I hope to publish in the near future. The book will cover Jacob DeCoster and his descendants for three or four generations. Please check back regularly for my progress.]

Jacob3 DeCoster (Jacob2, Isaac1), born about 1746, Plymouth County, Massachusetts; died 4 August 1830, Hebron, Oxford County, Maine. He married (intention) at Plymouth, 28 July 1770, Priscilla Rogers, daughter of Samuel and Hannah (Bartlett) Rogers.[1] She was born 7 July 1751, Plymouth;[2] died 3 May 1830, Hebron, Oxford County, Maine.[3]

Jacob appeared on the Massachusetts Tax Valuation List of 1771 as a resident of Plymouth.[4] At that time, he had no taxable land, livestock, or goods.

An oft recorded tale states that Jacob “was a sailor on a vessel engaged in the coasting trade and was at Charleston, South Carolina, when the news of the battles of Concord and Lexington and the closing of the port of Boston was received there. The agent in Charleston would not let the vessel depart for fear of its being captured. Jacob DeCoster made the journey home to Bridgewater on foot. Tradition says he was nearly two months on the way.”[5] One of the Coercive Acts of 1774, the Boston Port Act, was passed by the British Parliament on 25 March 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party (16 December 1773). The battles at Lexington and Concord occurred over a year later on 19 April 1775.

Jacob enlisted for several terms of service during the Revolutionary War.

  • Private in Capt. James Allen’s Company, Col. Simeon Cary’s Regiment, pay abstract for rations and travel allowance (251 miles travel allowed) at a camp near New York, dated 9 August 1776.[6]
  • Nathan Snow’s Company, Col. Hawes Regiment, enlisted 24 September 1777, one month nine days on a secret expedition to Rhode Island, roll sworn at Plymouth.[7]
  • Packard’s Company, Col. Mitchell’s Regiment, 10 June 1778, 9 month term of service from arrival at Fishkill, New York. Jacob’s physical description was 5 ft. 6 in. with a dark complexion. Residence at Bridgewater.[8]
  • Private, Capt. Adams Bailey’s (late Capt. Jacob Allen) Company, Col. John Bailey’s 2nd Regiment, enlistment 10 June 1778, discharged 1 February 1779.[9]
  • David Packard’s Company, Col. Cary’s Regiment, 22 July 1780, eleven days, marched to Rhode Island on an alarm.[10]

During the Revolutionary War, in January 1777, Jacob, his wife Priscilla, their child Jacob, along with Sarah Rogers (Priscilla’s sister), were “warned out”[11] of Bridgewater. Presumably Jacob provided sufficient security to the Constable as the DeCosters remained in Bridgewater for many years thereafter:

Plymouth SS. To the Constable or Constables of the Town of Bridgewater in the County of Plymouth, or either of them Greeting. —

You are hereby required in the Name of State of the Massachusetts Bay in New England forthwith to warn Jacob Decoaster and Priscilla his wife said to be inhabitants of Plymouth, Also Jacob their child and also Sarah Rogers as inhabitant of the fore said Plymouth — immediately to depart out of said Town of Bridgewater, and cease the same, or to give sufficient security to be allowed by us not to be chargeable to said Town of Bridgewater — Hereof fail not and make due Return of this warrant, with your doings there or, unto us or either of us as soon as you can. — Dated at Bridgewater January the 14th 1777. — Ephraim Cary, Josiah Richards, Nathl Reynolds, Selectmen.

Plymouth SS. January the 24th 1777. By virtue of this warrant I have warned and the within named persons immediately to depart out of this Town of Bridgewater and to leave the same. — Abia Packard Constable

Recorded April 8 1777 & Recorded by John Cotton Cler.

Jacob resided in Bridgewater as late as 1790 where he was enumerated. His household consisted of one male over the age of 16, six males under the age of 16, and two females: presumably Jacob; his wife Priscilla; sons Jacob, Samuel, Chandler, John, Rogers, and George; and daughter Hannah. The youngest son, Thomas, may have been overlooked due to his young age.

No land deeds have been found for Jacob in Plymouth County, either in Plymouth or Bridgewater.

The family moved north to Buckfield, Maine, prior to 1797; Jacob was recorded as a taxpayer on the 1797 Buckfield Tax list.[12]

On May 6, 1799, Jacob purchased 119 acres of land in Hebron:

Know all men by these presents, That I William Clark Whitney of Hebron in the county of Cumberland and Commonwealth of Massachusetts Yeoman in my capacity as Attorney to Bossenger Foster of Cambridge in the county of Middlesex and Commonwealth aforesaid Gentleman in consideration of the sum of two hundred and thirty eight dollars paid to me by Jacob Decoster of Hebron aforesaid Yeoman the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge – do hereby give, grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said Jacob Decoster in my capacity aforesaid and to his heirs & assigns forever, one lot of Land lying in Hebron aforesaid being lot number eight in the seventh range first division of lots in said Hebron containing by estimation one hundred and nineteen acres be the same more or less reserving the privilege of a road or roads through the same if hereafter necessary.

To have and to hold the said granted and bargained premises, with the privileges and appertinances thereof, to the said Jacob Decoster his heirs and assigns forever, to his and their use and behoof forever. And I the said William C. Whitney in my capacity aforesaid for myself, my heirs, executors, and administrators, do covenant with the said Jacob Decoster his heirs and assigns. That I lawfully seized in fee of the premises, that they are free of all incumbrances; that I have good right to sell and convey the same to the said Jacob Decoster to hold as aforesaid, and that I will warrant and defend the same to the said Jacob Decoster his heirs and assigns forever; against the lawful claims and demands of all persons claiming by or under me.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the sixth day of May in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and inety nine.

Signed, sealed and delivered,
in presence of
Samuel Parris }                                    William C. Whitney Attorney [seal]
Albion Parris  }

Cumberland ss. May 6 1799 Then the above named William Clark Whitney acknowledged the above instrument to be his free act and deed. Before me, Samuel Parris – Just. Peace.

Oxford ss. Received June 4th, 1810. And recorded from the original,        Joseph Russ, Register.[13]

The 1810 census for parts of Oxford County, Maine, was lost with the towns of Buckfield and Hebron included among those missing.[14] A land deed, signed by Jacob and Priscilla DeCoster in 1810, recorded them as residents of Hebron:

Know all men by these presents, That I Jacob Decoster of Hebron in the County of Oxford and Commonwealth of Massachustts Yeoman in consideration of the sum of one thousand dollars paid by Jacob Willis Bridgwater in the County of Plymouth and Commonwealth aforesaid Yeoman the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge, do hereby give, grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said Jacob Willis his heirs and assigns forever one lot of Land lying in Hebron aforesaid being lot number eight in the seventh range first division of lots in said Hebron containing by estimation on hundred and nineteen acres be the same more of less; reserving thirty two acres the westerly corner and the westerly side of the road leading from Thaddeuos Pratts to Buckfield line also the privilege of a road or roads through the same if hereafter necessary.

To have and to hold the afore granted and bargained premises, with all the privileges and appurtenances thereof, to the said Jacob Willis his heirs and assigns, to his & their use and behoof forever. And I do covenant with the said Jacob Willis his heirs and assigns, that I am lawfully seized in fee of the premises that they are free of all incumbrances, that I have good right to sell and convey the same to the said Jacob Willis to hold as aforesaid. And the I will warrant and defend the same to the said Jacob Willis his heirs and assigns forever, against the lawful claims and demands of all persons claiming by or under my & I Pricela Decoster do relinguish my right of dower to the above granted premices.

In witness whereof, We the said Jacob Decoster and Pricela wife of the said Jacob have hereunto set our hand and seals this first day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ten

The word containing interlined or creased before signed

Signed, sealed and deliver
in presence of                                       Jacob Decoster [seal]
Rogers Decoster
Saml Parris                                            Priscilla Decoster [seal]

Oxford ss. June 1st 1810 Personally appeared the above named Jacob Decoster and acknowledged the above instrument to be his free act and deed Before me,

Saml Parris Justice of the Peace.
Oxford ss. Received June 4th 1810 And recorded from the original
Joseph Rust, Register.

Jacob resided in Hebron in 1820. His household consisted of three individuals—one male over 45 years, one female between the ages of 26 and 45, and one female over 45 years.[15]

Priscilla died on May 3, 1830 and Jacob survived her by four months, dying on August 4th. By 1830, in his early 80s and a widower, Jacob no longer maintained his own household. The household of his son Rogers, a fellow Hebron resident, contained one male between the ages of 80 and 90.[16]

The exact location of Jacob and Priscilla’s graves are unknown. According to tradition, “they were buried in the old burying ground in the vicinity on the road mentioned [Buckfield-West Minot Road].”[17]

Children of Jacob3 and Priscilla Rogers, births of all but the first were recorded in the town of Hebron. However, it is most likely that Jacob, Jr. and possibly Samuel were born in Plymouth and the rest were born in Bridgewater.

2.    i.   UNNAMED CHILD4 DECOSTER, b. Abt. 1771; d. 30 November 1771, Plymouth.[18]
3.   ii.   JACOB DECOSTER, b. 27 May 1774; m. Susanna Rowe; d. 29 July 1842, Hebron, Maine.
4.  iii.   SAMUEL DECOSTER, b. 15 August 1776; m. Sarah Bacon; d. 14 September 1830, Buckfield, Maine.
5.   iv.   CHANDLER DECOSTER, b. 12 December 1778; m. Polly Anna Jordan; d. after 1860.
6.    v.  JOHN DECOSTER, b. 19 March 1780; m. Elizabeth Harris; d. 2 May 1861, Buckfield, Maine.
7.   vi.  ROGERS DECOSTER, b. 24 February 1782; m. Elizabeth Rowe; d. 1867, Hebron, Maine.
8.  vii.  HANNAH DECOSTER, b. 7 October 1784; m. Benjamin Rowe; d. 17 December 1848, Sumner, Maine.
9. viii.   GEORGE DECOSTER, b. 6 February 1786; d. 14 February 1804, Maine.
10. ix.   THOMAS DECOSTER, b. 10 August 1788; m. Chloe Turner; d. 4 March 1869, Sumner, Maine.
11.   x.   SARAH DECOSTER, b. 27 May 1789 or 1790; d. 14 December 1875, Buckfield, Maine; unmarried.
12.  xi.   MARY DECOSTER, b. 27 or 29 May 1792; m. Elkanah Irish; d. 24 June 1865, Buckfield, Maine.

©2016 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/11/02/jacob-decoster-of-maine-and-massachusetts/


[1] “Vital Records, indexes (1699-1893) – Plymouth, Massachusetts,” database and images, FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 11 September 2016), v. 2 (1755-1842): 135, image 73/275, Jacob DeCoster and Priscilla Rogers.

[2] “Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988,” database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 September 2016), image 45/3129, Priscilla Rogers, daughter of Samuell Rogers & Hannah his wife, 7 July 1751.

[3] “Maine Death Records, 1617-1922,” database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 September 2016), Priscilla Decoster.

[4] Bettye Hobbs Pruitt, ed., The Massachusetts Tax Valuation List of 1771 (Camden, Maine; Picton Press, 1998); database, Harvard University (http://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~hsb41/masstax/masstax.cgi : accessed 30 October 2016), Jacob DeCoster.

[5] Alfred Cole, A History of Buckfield, Oxford County, Maine: from the earliest explorations to the close of the year 1900 (Buckfield, Maine: 1915), 573. The British closed the port of Boston.

[6] Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War (Boston: Wright & Potter Printing, 1896-1908), 4: 633.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] “Warning out” was an early court action made by New England towns under the poor laws. This public notice allowed the town to disavow care of a new family or person moving into the town. Generally, the newcomers were not forced to leave but they could not expect the town to provide welfare should they need it.

[12] Cole, A History of Buckfield, Oxford County, Maine, 737.

[13] “Official Land Deeds Website,” images, Maine Registers of Deeds Association

(http://www.maineregistryofdeeds.com/  : accessed 2 November 2016), Oxford County, Deed Book 5: 302-303.

[14] “Maine Census Guide 1790-1850,” Maine Genealogy (www.mainegenealogy.net/census_guide : accessed 2 November 2016), 1810 Oxford County.

[15] 1820 U.S. census, Oxford County, Maine, population schedule, Hebron, p. 218, line 12, Jacob Decoster; NARA microfilm publication M33, roll 37.

[16] 1830 U.S. census, Oxford County, Maine, population schedule, Hebron, p. 35 (penned), line 24, Rogers Decoster: NARA microfilm publication M19, roll 50.

[17] Charles F. Whitman, A History of Norway, Maine: from the earliest settlement to the close of 1922 (Lewiston Journal Printshop and Bindery: Lewiston, Maine, 1924), 396.

[18] Plymouth Church Records, 1620-1859 (Cambridge: The University Press, 1920), 2: 400, Jacob Decost’s Child, November 30, 1771.

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