John Scribner
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Sir Thomas Scriven
Margaret Corbett
(Bef 1579-1659)
John Scriven
John Scribner
(1657-Bef 1738)


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Elizabeth Cloyes

John Scribner 3

  • Born: 1657, Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, USA 4
  • Wifr: Elizabeth Cloyes about 1688 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, USA 1 2
  • Died: Bef 31 May 1738, Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA 1 5

bullet  General Notes:

John and his siblings grew up during the time of one of the most costly struggles the early Colonies ever faced, King Philip's War (1675-1676). Native American Indian tribes had formed a confederation under the leadership of King Philip (also known as Pometacon), chief of the Wapanoags. During this war, one-half of the towns in New England were attacked, and 12 of those towns were completely destroyed. The Colonists banded together and organized a common army (the very earliest predecessor of the U.S. Army) to defend against the Indian attacks. In that force were 527 men from Massachusetts, 315 from Connecticut, and 158 from Plymouth Colony. One of every 16 men was killed, making this the most costly war, percentage-wise, ever fought on American soil.

John Scribner was a blacksmith. He and his family moved from Dover to Exeter in the early months of 1698, after selling the Dover holdings inherited from his father.

Information about the Scribners who lived in Exeter is sketchy and incomplete,owing to the fact that the Exeter Town Hall burned in 1870, destroying most of the Vital Records of the town. What few records remain are bound in a single volume, which is kept at the Exeter Town Office.

In 1698 John received 60 acres of land from the Town of Exeter. Also that year of 1698, he united with the newly-formed Congregational Church at Exeter. He is listed among those who, according to Hampton Church Records, on 11 September 1698, were dismissed from that church "in order to their being incorporated into a church state, in Exeter." Another record lists John as an original member of the Exeter Church. According to that record, Exeter's newly-called Pastor, Rev. John Clark, was to be ordained 21 September 1698. "On the Sunday preceding the ordination a confession of faith and covenant, which had been previously agreed upon, were signed by the following named persons, who were the first members of the first church in Exeter, the organization of which has ever since been maintained" (MEN AND THINGS OF EXETER, SKETCHES FROM THE HISTORY OF AN OLD NEW HAMPSHIRE TOWN [Exeter: The News-Letter Press, 1871], 57).

In 1709, John purchased land in Exeter from the estate of John Glidden, and land in Kingston from William Long. In 1723, he and seven others (including his son, John, Jr.) purchased land in Exeter from Clement Moody, Jr., which land the seven buyers divided between themselves in 1725 (SCRIBNER NOTES [op. cit.], 5). Then, in 1725, he received another 50 acres of land from the Town (Bell, HISTORY OF EXETER [op. cit.], 141-143). At the same time (12 April 1725), his sons John, Jr., Joseph, Edward and Samuel received grants of land from the Town. As a result of these land purchases, John owned about 200 acres in Kingston, and another large holding of land (which, in his will, he called "My Swamp or Meadow Ground Laying upon the South Side of Exeter River").

We learn the names of John and Elizabeth's children (at least, those who were living on 2 March 1735/36) from John's will. In the will he speaks of sons John, Edward, Samuel and Joseph (whom he named as Executor, leading us to suspect that Joseph was the oldest), and daughters Elizabeth Moody, Mary Gadon [Gordon], Abigail Young, Susanna Mudget and Sarah Moody.

John and his son John Jr. are mentioned as part-purchasers of King's Falls Saw Mill in Exeter on 7 August 1723, along with Nathaniel Glidden, Henry Wadleigh, Daniel Ladd and others (N. H. Provincial Deeds, 14:179, quoted by G. W. Chamberlain in his book, THE DESCENDANTS OF CHARLES GLIDDEN OF PORTSMOUTH AND EXETER, NEW HAMPSHIRE [op. cit.], 77).

Of much interest is the fact that John and his siblings chose to change their name from Scriven to Scribner. While we have no recorded explanation of this name-change, we might advance some possible reasons, as follows:

One possibility is that, by continuing to be known as Scrivens, they would forever be linked to the legacy of the disgraced King Charles I, to whom their grandfather, Thomas, had given his loyalty and for whom he had given his life. Add to this the hatred they must have felt toward King Charles' son, Charles II, who was ruler of England when their brother, Edward, was taken from them and impressed into the English Navy, never to be heard from again.

Another possibility is that they did not want to be mistaken for the family of the Rev. William Scriven (1629-1713). Rev. Scriven (of no relation to John, that we know about) was a well-known Baptist minister in New England, especially Boston and Kittery, Maine. The prominent (indeed, state-sponsored) form of religion was Congregationalism, of which John and family were adherents. Therefore, Rev. Scriven and his followers left New England and moved to South Carolina, where they exercised an incredible formative influence upon Southern Baptists (Noyes, 615).

Yet another possibility is that they strongly felt the need to establish a new identity in this new land of Colonial America.


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

He worked as a Blacksmith.

Moved: Moved From Dover To Exeter, 1689, Exeter, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom.


John married Elizabeth Cloyes, daughter of Cloyes and Unknown, about 1688 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, USA.1 2 (Elizabeth Cloyes was born about 1665 in Charlestown, Suffolk, MA 6 and died about 2 Mar 1736 in Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA 1.)

bullet  Marriage Notes:

Reference Number:2001



1 Winifred Lovering Holman, SCRIBNER NOTES (Boston, MA: Albert Boyden, 1927), 4.

2 Clarence A. Torrey, NEW ENGLAND MARRIAGES PRIOR TO 1700 (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co.,Inc., 1985), 658.

3 Other Researchers.

4 Charles N. Sinnett (comp.), THE HISTORY OF THE SCRIBNER FAMILIES IN AMERICA: WITH A CAREFUL HISTORY OF MAINE SCRIBNER FAMILIES & ALLIED FAMILIES (Fertile, MN: The author, undated), 18-19. The only original copy of this typewritten document is at the Maine State Library.

5 Henry Harrison Metcalf (ed.), PROBATE RECORDS OF THE PROVINCE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, 2, 1718-1740 (State Papers Series, Vol. 32) (Bristol, NH: R.W. Musgrove, 1914), 556.

6 James Savage, A GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST SETTLERS OF NEW ENGLAND, 4 (1860-1862. Reprint. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1965), 41.

Brian Yap (葉文意)
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