John Wakefield, the immigrant ancestor of the Boston Family, was born in England in 1614-15. He was according to the best information at hand, a native of Gravesend, county Kent, England, as Thomas Wakefield, probably his brother, came from that town which was an ancient seat of this family. 1W. R. Cutter, Middlesex County History Thomas embarked in the ship “America” William Barker, Master, June 23, 1635 for Virginia and it is evident that John went to the same locality about the same time, but prior to 1647, as he was at Martha’s Vineyard before that date. He had a grant of land there, but failed to fulfill the terms, he forfeited it, and it was regranted to Nicholas Butler. John was a boatman or shipwright and owned a half interest in one old boat and one new boat at the time of his death, and it is likely that he was engaged in coast trading. He kept up some relations with his brother in Maryland. 2Thomas Wakefield He took up his residence in Boston prior to 1651, and bought a tract of land on the south side of Middle street (now Hanover) extending from the corner of what is now Prince Street to within ninety feet of the street now named Richmond, and to the rear from Middle Street, one hundred eighty four and one-half feet, reaching nearly to North square and North Street. Through the center of this lot, nearly at right angles with Middle Street, he opened a narrow lane or alley, making the entire estate accessible from Middle street.
For more than a century it was known as Wakefield*s alley, and in colonial days Was the site of the homes of prominent and historic personages of the town.
Wakefield was thifty and fairly prosperous, but he had some serious set backs. His house was struck by lightening March 9, 1664 and badly damaged. He was fined March 30, 1659 for entertaining a Quaker or “stranger”. He was killed while helping the ropemaker, July 19, 1667 and was buried in the Granary burying ground, a short distance west of the Franklin tomb, and the inscription on the stone, the oldest in the yard, is still ledgible. He died inestate and his wife Ann was administratrix. She married secondly John Childs, a tailor of Boston, and on the back of Wakefield*s gravestone is inscribed an epitaph to Childs, who died April 3, 1703, aged about eighty years.
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|1.||↩||W. R. Cutter, Middlesex County History|
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