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Marriage: 24 March 1816
Place: Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts

Birth Date: 27 September 1795
Birth Place: Marblehead, Essex, Massachsetts
Death Date: 16 October 1834
Burial: Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts

Richard Diamond Preston
Mary Ann Preston
Sarah Hindley Preston
James Whitmore Preston
Ebenezer Preston
William Preston
Harriet M.C. Preston (possibly w-2)


Father: (1) JOSEPH NANCE

Margaret B. Nance (w-1)
Joseph Nance(w-1)
Mary Nance

Research Ideas
Marblehead List of Inhabitants
1802-1809, 1812-1817 (864,842)



       Mary NANCE 1 was born the 23rd of September 1795 to Joseph Nance and Mary Henley and was baptised in the First Congregational Church when just four days old. (This was a common practice). A Although she came into a family with two older siblings, named Joseph and Margaret, Mary spent most of her life in Marblehead without a family.   By January 1st of 1798, when Mary was just two years old, papers were filed in the Essex County Probate Court for both of her parents, who had recently died.   Because Mary's brother and sister were from her father's first marriage to Grace Bessom, their guardianship was granted to their maternal grandmother, Sarah Bessom, widow of Captain Phillip Bessom. (See Joseph Nance Documents)  Mrs. Bessom was the administrator of the Estate of Joseph Nance as well.  Guardianship for Mary was given to Nathaniel Lindsay D, who was also the administrator of the estate of her mother, Mary (Henley) Nance. Captain Lindsey had also been the guardian for Mary 's mother, Mary Henley when she was orphaned at age 19, possibly because he was her uncle (her mother, Sarah Lindsey's, brother) but more likely because he was a well-to-do sea captain and could afford to accept such a duty.
         Unfortunately for two-year-old Mary, Captain Lindsey died in July of that same year.   Because of the death of Captain Lindsey, the guardianship of Mary was then passed to one of the men who provided the preformance bond for Captain Lindsey at the time he filed guardianship papers for Mary. The purpose of the performance bond is to guarantee the proper performance of the duties of a guardian. Two men put up the bond to back up the person acting as guardian. At the death of Captain Lindsey, guardianship legally passed to the first of these two men, Nathan Bowen
E. (This does not mean that she lived with him.)
         Mr. Bowen was required by the court to handle the money, both income and expenses of Mary until she reached the age of 21. He was also accountable to the Probate Court for this. On April 20th 1814, when Mary was 18, Mr. Bowen filed papers in the probate court
F with an account of his guardianship and the use of Mary's money.   Mary had inherited the only two things listed in her mother's estate; One was a chamber in a dwelling house 2, the other was a four acre parcel of "mowing" land near the ropewalk at Newton 3. (Her mother had inherited both of these from her father, Benjamin Hendley, at his death.) From the estate of Joseph Nance, Mary received $21.56 and a silk cloak. 4
         Mr. Bowen sold the cloak for $18 and the land for $140 to help defray the cost of Mary's care. Mary received rent for the chamber, and had many expenses associated with its upkeep, including floor oil, paint, masonry repairs and roofing.
        Another expense listed for Mary's care is to Mrs. Mary Vinning
5 for "boarding said minor for 270 weeks (Just over 5 years) at $1 per week. Since Mary owned the chamber, it is possible that Mrs. Vinning was a widow hired as a companion to live with Mary and provide for her care.  There were also expenses for schooling and sundries during that same time period.
        In March of the following year, in a ceremony at Marblehead, nineteen-year-old Mary Nance became the bride of Richard Preston of Salem.
B They made their home first in Salem where they had five of their six children, from 1816 to 1824.  After moving to the town of Beverly, just north of Salem, Mary had another son, William, who died shortly after his birth in 1830. Mary also died in Beverly in October of 1834 Cat the age of 39.  At the time of her death her children were, Richard, age 18,  Mary Ann, age 16, Sarah, age 14,  James, age 12, and Ebenezer, age 10.


1  When James Whitmore Preston had LDS temple work performed for his mother in the Logan Temple, 31 May 1887, the information he gave for her was:  Mary Rand, b. 23 Sep 1797 d. 2 Oct 1834.  Although on the 1887 record he lists her maiden name as Rand, both on his patriarchal blessing record (10 April 1854) and his endowment record (26 Jan 1861) he does not state a maiden name for his mother. Since his mother died when he was twelve years old, and she herself an orphan at age 2, it is quite possible that he did not know her maiden name.
        From 28 October 1876 to 26 May 1877, James W. Preston served in the Northeastern States Mission, which included his native Massachusetts. I believe at this time he looked in the records from Salem and Beverly townships and recorded the names and dates of his family. There is further evidence of this, in that he did temple work for cousins who died before he was born. He could not have known them, nor would their information likely be written in a family bible, as they were not immediate family. I believe it is quite possible that in looking at his mother's death record, James mistook the handwritten name "Nance" for "Rand". There were many Rand families in the area, so it was a name he was familiar with. Although it is difficult to see how the two names could be mistaken in print, if handwritten one could be mistaken for the other. For instance, "N" could be mistaken for "R"and "ce" for "d," especially if the "e" has a large loop. The birth James lists for his mother (23 Sep 1797) in the Logan Temple record is very close to the christening date of Mary Nance (27 Sep 1795).
        Further, the family records of Isaac Preston (son of James W. Preston) state that his grandmother, Mary Rand, was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts. There is no record of a Mary Rand in Marblehead. There is, however, a marriage record in 1816 for Richard Preston and Mary Nance which is the same year the first child of Richard and Mary Preston was born.
       In addition, Richard and Mary Preston named one of their daughters "Sarah Hindley Preston".  The maternal grandmother of Mary Nance is named Sarah Hendley.

2 When this chamber was originally inherited by Mary's mother it was one half of a house. The entire house was described as a "Mansion" but was described in Benjamin Hendley's will (see Benjamin Hendley Documents) in two parts, the east and the west, suggesting it was rented out in parts. Mary Henley inherited only part of the house, called a chamber, which she in turn passed on to her daughter. (See Marblhead Images for an example of a possible divided house on Orne Street, Marblehead)

From Marblehead, pg. 301 "By 1724 the Commoners had divided the land of Marblehead into three divisions: Upper (near Salem), Middle and Lower (toward Little Harbor). As it grew more crowded in Barnegat and the older section, the people moved to Mid-town, calling it Newtown."  
A ropewalk is a long building, sometimes up to 300 feet long, where a ropemaker walks backwards with the rope as it is twisted.

There are no articles of clothing listed in Mary Nance's will. There are, however, 10 items of women's clothing listed among Joseph Nance's possessions, among them is this silk cloak. It is also the most expensive piece of clothing. It is possible that the cloak belonged to Mary's mother and Mrs. Bessom gave it to Mary when she settled Joseph Nance's estate.
Footnote 1-4 NHC, 9/2001


for full references

A Vital Records of Marblehead, Massachusetts Vol. I - Births
Essex Institute [Salem, Ma] 1916
US/Can 974.45/S1 V2e v.4

B Vital Records of Marblehead, Massachusetts
Vol. II- Marriages and Deaths
Essex Institute [Salem, Ma] 1916
US/Can 974.45/S1 V2e v.4

C Vital Records of Beverly, Mass. Vol. II- Marriages and Deaths
Essex Institute [Salem, Ma] 1916
US/Can 974.45/B2 V2b v.2

D Essex County Probate
Book   page 225/508
FHL film # 861,445

E Essex County Probate
Book   page 152/301
FHL film # 861,445

F Essex County Probate
Book   page 313/343
FHL film # 861,445

Marblehead by Priscilla S.Lord and Virginia C. Gamage
[Chilton Book Company: 1972]