Saturday, August 13, 2011


Alice Pickering, my 5x great-grandmother, was born in 1703 in Salem, MA, the daughter of Benjamin Pickering and Jane Hobby.  She married Jonathan Gaskill in 1726 and they moved to first to Mendon, MA and then to Cumberland, RI.  I found several online trees that indicated she died after Sept. 17, 1778 in Cumberland, but I found no other sources for a date of death. 

Alice’s father, Benjamin, was born in 1666 in Salem, MA.  He was a mariner and then a yeoman, the latter occurring perhaps because he inherited land from his father.  In addition, Benjamin served at the garrison at Quaboge during the Indian war.  I searched to find out how Benjamin might have been involved in the Witch Trials, and found nothing (although Alice married the son of someone who was definitely involved).  Then, in 1701 he and his brother William agreed to divide the property they inherited—literally.  According to the 1897 The Pickering Genealogy by Harrison Ellery (the source of much of the information for this post):
By this agreement he was to have the west part of the house with one of the ovens and half of the cellar, the eastern part of the great barn, one-third part of the north leanto and all the land to the westward.
Benjamin died in 1718 and apparently some property had to be sold to cover debts.  His widow, Jane, outlived him by over 30 years, dying in 1750.  Jane is purported to have come from Plymouth, England but I found no documentation of that or of anything else about her other than the marriage.

John Pickering and Alice Flint Bullock were Benjamin’s parents.  John was born in 1637, likely in Salem, to John Pickering and Elizabeth (Unknown, possibly Alderman).  He inherited and purchased, from other family members, the family home and estate.  He was very active in public affairs and held many official positions for the town of Salem.  He served as a lieutenant in the militia and fought the Indians in the battle at Bloody Brook.  He died in 1694.

The elder John was the first immigrant of my Pickering line.  He was born in England around 1615, owned a house near Newgate, Coventry, and was living in Salem, MA by 1637.  He was granted land by the town and later purchased additional lots.  The town contracted with John to build their meeting-house and later to maintain the bridge (apparently there were some problems with the quality of the bridge and he had to pay a penalty of one bull and one cow to the town). .  It is thought he was not a member of the Salem Church because no record is found that he took the freeman’s oath or that he had any public positions, along with the fact that record was found of his wife’s membership. In 1651, John built his home that today is called the Pickering House, the oldest American home still standing and, to this day, has been home to the Pickering family.


  1. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading entries from your blog for a few weeks now. Alice Pickering is my 7x great-grandmother. The information you provide has become an invaluable resource to me in my research into the Pickering and Gaskill families. I can tell that you take great pleasure in your writing. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  2. Thanks for your kind comments. If you need any details on source, let me know.