top of page

John Frary, Immigrant

The history of John Frary, Immigrant to the United States can be found within the PDF below.

2021 Update on John Frary, the Immigrant



When the 1981 genealogy “The Frary Family In America” was published the researchers speculated that John Frary was born about 1600 in County Norfolk, England and came to the New World in 1636 or 1637. In the years since many of us have tried to find proof of John’s birth and travels, without any luck.


Early on a record was found that showed a Henry Frary from North Walsham had a son John baptized on October 28, 1604. Those of us on the Frary tour to Norwich in 2009 learned of the will of Christopher Frary in 1601 that mentioned a son John. Recently, Steve Barnhoorn found a baptism for a Johes [Johannes] Frary dated September 28, 1600 at Aylsham.  These items are promising but are not definitive.


Let us review the facts we know about John: He was admitted as a Freeman of Norwich on February 25, 1627 following his apprenticeship to the cordwainer, Richard Gryme. He was married to Prudence Townsend [spelled Tounesend in record] on June 17, 1628 at St. George Colegate church in Norwich. He was listed as the father in the May 15, 1629 baptism of son Theophilus; in the August 8, 1630 baptism of daughter Lydia; in the December 18, 1631 baptism of son John; in the November 18, 1632 baptism of daughter Lydia and in the February 12, 1635/6 baptism of son Isaac. All baptisms were performed at St. Clement’s Parish.  The next time we see John’s name is on November 28, 1637 in Dedham, MA when he was “…propounded with Robert Williams for John Dwight’s gratification lot…”


Speculations: Apprenticeships usually lasted at least seven years with the apprentice usually attaining age 24 or more. Since John became a Freeman of Norwich in 1627 that would lead to a birth in the early 1600s. His father was not a Freeman of Norwich since John got his status due to the apprenticeship, implying that John was probably from the surrounding area to Norwich. The average age for marrying in the early 17th century was 27 for males and 25 for females. We know that Prudence was baptized in 1601 so she is close to average and if John was average that would lead to a birth in 1600 or 1601. No baptism has been found for Samson Frary in Norwich. If Prudence kept to her average of about 16 months between children Samson would have a birth around June 1637. Typically ships in the 1630s left for the New World in early spring with a trip lasting two months. Samson could have been born aboard ship or early in their arrival to Massachusetts.


Conclusions: We still do not know the parents of our John Frary. We know that he came to the New World sometime between February 12, 1635/6 and November 28, 1637. Interesting fact: the Christopher Frary that died in 1601 had a son named Christopher that named two of his children Prudence and John and they were born after the marriage of our John and Prudence.

bottom of page