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A Genealogical History

of the

Descendants of Isaac Cummings,

An Early Settler of


Compiled by


New York:

Published by B. F. Cummings,



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The prevailing tradition among families descended from Isaac Cummings of Ipswich (Topsfield), Mass., is that he came from Scotland, or, at least, was of Scottish descent. We have failed to find a verified notice of the ship that brought him to America, the port from which he sailed, or the date of his arrival.

The name, spelled variously, is of common occurrence in Great Britain. It appears early in France, often written Comyns. A Robert Cumine was made Earl of Northumberland in the third year of William, the Conqueror. A William Cumin was Lord Chancellor of Scotland in the time of King David, 1124. John Comyn refused to recognize the claim of Robert Bruce, and was stabbed by him in the Friar's Church. Roger Comyns was killed by the same hand. Many influential houses in the old country were of this name. It must be left to others to trace the connexions beyond the sea. On this side of the Atlantic there have been settled several lines of families bearing the name, among whom it has not been as yet possible to establish a clear line of kinship.

Among the earliest immigrants, however, was the Isaac above mentioned, and this volume is limited to the task of tracing the lineage of his descendants. The compiler became specially interested in this investigation in 1858-9, while searching records for the preparation of the Historical Manual of the South Church, Andover, Mass.; nor did his removal to California two years afterwards stop his enquiries. But he kept finding other kinsfolk who had made similar efforts. In 1883 Mrs. Aaron Cummings, of Andover, enlarged the collection pertaining to the Asa Cummings family. President Joseph Cummings, of the Northwestern University, who had caused a search to be made at Tops

field, turned over to me his MSS. Subsequently, Hon. John Cummings, of Woburn, Mass., at whose direction a similar search had been made, placed his tables at my disposal. Later it was found that Mr. Royal Cummings had gathered and printed an account of the family of Jonathan Cummings. At Hudson, N. H., there had been family reunions among people of this descent living in that vicinity, and one promoter of these reunions, Hon. Kimball Webster, proved himself as generous a dispenser of his data as he had been a careful collector. Mention is due of similar reunions held annually in Western New York, gathering fuller information concerning the branch descended from Edward Cummings.

For the Ware, Mass., line we are indebted to Dr. John Yale and the Hon. Charles Adams. Miss Mary A. Cummings, of Tyngsboro, Mass., has been a willing and rewarding correspondent. It is a pleasure to recall the interest taken by Alice J. Cummings, of Painesville, O., and her cousin, Henry H., of Tideoute, Penn.; and by Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Ballou, of Providence, R. I. Some of those families which have retained the spelling, Comings, have been well. served by W. A. Comings, Mr. H. H. Dewey and Mrs. Cornelius B. Bradley. Mr. Orrington L. Comings, of Chicago, after having made an extensive collection, placed it at the present compiler's disposal. Living on one of the old home sites in Topsfield, Mr. Samuel Todd was able to supplement or correct the work of others by his personal memories. The Historical Society, of that town, in volume 5 of its "Collections," 1899, printed some pages entitled, "Isaac Cummings and some of his descendants." It is due to say that Mr. A. O. Cummins, of Montpelier, Vt., has in manuscript his attempt to cover the same ground.

But where to stop in recognizing the service of so many? Let me not forget to include the Rev. Henry Cummings, Stafford, Vt.; Mrs. Anna C. Boyden, Marlboro, N. H.; Mr. Charles Cumings, Medford; Herbert R., Worcester, Mass.; Charles H., formerly at Mauch Chunk, Penn.: Emma J., of Dorchester, Mass., and Mr. George A. Gordon, of Boston. The publisher of this volume, who has now made this publication possible, giving time and money to

that end, had long before been a diligent collector and contributor of information.

From other obliging correspondents who have given response to his enquiries, the compiler craves considerate judgment in cases where he may have misunderstood or inadequately reproduced what they gave him. He has availed himself liberally of the histories of those towns in which these families have had their homes or migrations. Such are especially the towns of Topsfield, Boxford, Billerica, Dunstable, Sutton, Oxford, Ware and North Brookfield, in Massachusetts. The Rev. E. R. Hodgman, author of the History of Westford, took very kindly pains to increase the knowledge obtained from that book. Other local histories much consulted are those of Hollis and Hancock, in New Hampshire, and Union, Woodstock, Paris and Norway in Maine.

A collection which has been accumulating now forty years off and on, and has been ministered to by so many and very different hands, must show both deficiencies and inequalities. Some portions of the wide and scattered field. traversed have been more, and others less, fully harvested. The lines of descent have been brought down further in one branch than in others. This not from choice, but because access to the source of information has been readier here and more difficult there. In particular, it will be noticed that the ninth and tenth generations do not appear in proportionate fertility.

The number of descendants, having the name Cummings and their births given in this volume is 4785. The number of persons of other names who have married Cummingses, tabulated here, is 2325. The descendants of other names, mention of whom is made in these pages, usually exceed those having the ancestral name. This book, then, registers at least 10,000 descendants of Isaac Cummings. GEORGE MOOAR.

Oakland, Cal., June 17, 1903.

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