John was a co-founder with his father of the Chartley Iron Works. About 1671 he settled on lot 18 in Freetown, Massachusetts, one mile south of Assonet on what is now Fall River Road, and which extended to North River. He co-owned a shipyard on the west side of the river in 1693, and he lived adjacent to it. He was sole owner of the yard by 1703. He was given what is thought to be the earliest license to keep a tavern in the town on 5 June 1684. He was the Constable of Freetown in 1680, and a selectman for many years between 1687 and 1719. He or his son John was an agent appointed to find a new minister on 22 September 1712. Town records on the following 13 January also report that the minister he found, probably James Hale, was not acceptable. Hale married John's daughter Sarah several years later.
In the records of Samuel Gardiner, militia recruitment officer for Freetown, John Hathaway is mentioned as giving gun powder, a powder horn, a musket, a "snapsack," and a "wescoat," (waistcoat?) to local soldiers, for which he was compensated.(1) He purchased goods from Nathaniel Byfield of Bristol, Massachusetts, later annexed to Rhode Island. On 13 October 1720 he is recorded as having paid for a 5' 2" millstone.
Hannah and John are mentioned in the will of her father James Burt. John and his second wife Christian deeded property to John's son Jacob on 24 June 1726, and she is named in John's will. She was very likely Christian Maxfield, widow of Samuel Maxfield. She was Maxfield's widow as late as 1713. John's son Thomas Hathaway married Christian's widowed daughter Margaret (Maxfield) Ingraham in 1719. Margaret was living in Bristol with her first husband Timothy Ingraham when their son Timothy was born in 1712. There is no certain death record for Timothy, Sr. Her marriage record to Thomas says she was from Freetown. This strongly suggests that John Hathaway's second wife was Christian (Potter) Maxfield, and that when they married some time between 1713 and 1719, Margaret, with her baby, and Margaret's youngest brother and only full sibling, Richard Maxfield, moved to Freetown to live in the Hathaway household. Thomas and Margaret named two of their children Christian and Richard. This would have made Thomas and Margaret step-siblings when they married. John and Christian, one of Freetown and one of Bristol, which were not neighboring towns, both had business accounts with Nathaniel Byfield of Bristol, so John was at least an occasional visitor to the latter town and may explain how he met Christian. John's other business dealings, perhaps with Samuel Maxfield, or social connections may also have provided opportunities for them to meet. An alternative is that Thomas married Margaret first, leaving the same question about how they met. Margaret's brother Ichabod married in Freetown in 1713 and brother Joseph was in Dighton by 1712. The family moved from Freetown to Dighton after John wrote his will in May 1724. His son Thomas appears to have been living in Dighton when he married Margaret (where the marriage took place). John and Christian may have moved into Thomas' household.
children of John and Hannah (Burt) Hathaway (order by gender from will, general order based on marriage dates):
vitals sources: his birth is in the Taunton, MA, vital records. His estate was probated in Spring 1730.
1. History of Freetown, Massachusetts? (not A History of the Town of Freetown)
all text and photographs © 1998-2008 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted