Wednesday Wedding – Who did Sarah Shackford Pearson (1728-1814) Marry – We Only Know his last Name was Pearson. (Blog 312)

In an effort to learn who Sarah (Shackford) Pearson, daughter of Paul and Rebecca (Hudson) Shackford married, we are listing the information that we do know about Sarah and a list of possible next steps in our search for information about Mr Pearson.

  1. Sarah Shackford was born in Newbury, Massachusetts February 1st, 1728.  Her parents were Paul Shackford and his wife Rebecca.

Birth Record Sarah Shackford

Anno 1728
Sarah Shackford ye daughter of Paul Shackford and
Rebecca his wife was born February 1st.

2. Sarah is listed as Sarah Pearson in her father’s Jan 29, 1787 probate records. This indicates that she married a Mr Pearson before 1787.  Mr Pearson may or may not have been her first husband.

3. Sarah would have most likely been married around the age of 20-30 i.e. 1748-1758. We’ve reviewed every record of a Sarah Shackford FamilySearch and Ancestry can not find any marriages of a Sarah Shackford in that timeframe that do not connect to another Shackford.

4. Sarah’s will and codicil tell us:

a) She was a widow living in Haverhill when she wrote her will on March 6, 1811 but died in Newburyport.  The probate record expenses show she was cared for through Aug 15, 1814 which is most likely her death date.

b.) She had a grandchild William Smith to whom she left $100 but because her estate was less than her legacies, he may have received $28.89.  She might not have been close to him – her codicil stated that if he had died before his legacy was received, she left this $100 to Mary Jane Brown.

c. She left $100 to Amelia (Moore) Shackford, wife of her deceased nephew John Shackford but but because her estate was less than her legacies, Amelia may have received $28.89 She also left Amelia her gold necklace.

d. She left Mary Richards of Boston her gold ring.

e. She left $50 to James Prince who was also appointed administrator.  He received $14 because the estate was less than her legacies.  She also appointed him as guardian of Mary Jane Brown the daughter of Else Smith of Boston to whom she left the remainder of her estate. Mary would have received nothing as there was no remainder to the estate.

5. Sarah is buried in the Old Hill Burying Ground, Newburyport, Massachusetts.


Review the other Pearson’s and Smith’s buried in the Old Hill Burying Ground to see if her husband and/or children are buried there. (thanks to Bonnie, a descendant of one of Paul’s other daughters for this idea!)

See if we can find find out more information about William Smith, Mary Richards, Else Smith, or Mary Jane Brown who are mentioned in Sarah’s will (not as easy as looking for information about Shackfords!)

Research Haverhill records to see if we find any land records for Sarah Pearson.

Continue to follow land records from Paul Shackford’s probate to learn what happened to the portion left to Sarah.

Search for newspaper articles that mention Sarah Pearson.

Continue to search for a marriage record for Sarah and for a Mr Hudson who married a Sarah – perhaps she had a middle name which was used as her primary name when she was married?

Look for the administration portion of Sarah’s probate record, the details of the disbursements of her estate may help us find her grandchild, his parents, and thus her husband.

Search for records of her siblings which may have additional information about Sarah’s family.

Review probate records of male Pearsons in Essex County born abt 1728 who died before 1814 (this presumes Sarah married someone who died in Essex County)

Does anyone else have any additional ideas?


“Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881,” digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 8 January 2016), Sarah Pearson, Case No 21033

“Find A Grave Index,” Index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 January 2016), Mrs Sarah Pearson, Find A Grave Memorial# 86522518

Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, , Sarah Shackford, birth, 1 February 1728; digital images, ( : accessed 25 August 2013); Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records.



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