The Piscataqua River was discovered in 1603, by Martin Pring, 23 years old from Devon, England.  The first permanent settlement was in 1623 established mainly for commercial ventures in fishing, furs and harvesting timber, not for religious ideals as was Plymouth (Separatists, later called Pilgrims) and the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Puritans).

Peter Staple, [Yeoman and Husbandman], born c1638/42, d. 1719, by 1671 had settled on the banks of the Piscataqua River at Long Reach in Kittery, what is now Eliot, Maine and with the widow Elizabeth (Beadle) Edwards b. c1641- d. c1736.  His purchases of land tells us he was a man with money when he arrived at the Piscataqua and the use of his land tells us that Peter was an experienced farmer in raising crops and farm animals.  Peter and Elizabeth raised three sons –

  1. Peter Staple (jr), [Carpenter] b. bet. say 1671 & 1675, Kittery, d. Dec 17, 1721, Kittery; m. 8 Jan 1694/95, Kittery, Mary Lang, b 1678, Eight Children.
  2. John Staple, [Carpenter] b. c 1677, (+/- 60 in 1737, “GDM&NH” p656) Kittery; Will, 21 Nov. 1744–16 July 1745. m. 1695/96, Kittery, Mary Dixon, Eleven Children.
  3. James Staple, [Tailor] b. c 1678, Kittery; 1721, Deacon of the Second Parish, Kittery; d.1725, aged 47 in Kittery; m. 15 Apr 1701, Kittery, Mary Tetherly, Eight Children.

LAND RECORDS from YORK DEEDS: A Kittery town grant – measured and laid out unto Peter Staple five acres of land by town grant to his wife in her widowhood bearing date in December 13, 1669 and ten acres by a town grant to himself bearing date December 5, 1671: at the head of his house lot in the long reach beginning at a little brook —-.  For the sum of 50 pounds he purchased land from Thomas and Mary, some say (Baily); Wid. of Robert (Beadle); Divorced from Rev. Stephen (Bachelder) Turner.  June 19, 1694 Peter purchased 30 acres of timber land for an undisclosed amount from Abraham Remick.

August 20, 1694 Peter & Elizabeth transfers’ 80 +/- acres including house and land, minus 2 acres on the Piscataqua River to their son Peter Staple Jr.;  June 7, 1701 Peter & Elizabeth transfer 30 acres to their son John Staple;  11 July 1704 Peter transfers 2 acres to his son James.  There also is 65 acres of land owned by Peter (made out 24 July 1709) inland at Commons, Spruce Creek & Sturgeon Creek and sold by inheritance by his son, Peter Jr., and wife Mary Staple to Joseph Hammond.

The records state that Peter died 1719, in his Will he calls himself a yeoman was signed June 06, 1718 with his mark “P”, witnesses were John Newmarch, Paul Wentworth and Nicholas Weeks.  His Inventory, lists him as a husbandman, the inventory would have been made within a few days of his death, is dated April 03, 1719; his Administration is dated April 07, 1719.  Peter most probably died between the end of Mar and the first of April 1719.

According to colonial probate records, the great-grandson of Peter Staple 1> (Peter Staple Jr.2 > Capt Peter Staple3 > Peter Staple4) was denied his inheritance when his father Capt Peter died due to the Colonial Court decreed the estate of Capt. Peter insolvent due to debts.  Peter4, through an attorney appealed his case to the highest court in southern England the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PPC) involved with cases involving English citizens living overseas.  The result is that Peter4 won his inheritance case.  This information tells us that the ancestral families of Peter Staple (c1642-1719) were English subjects.  Boyd’s Marriage Index (BMI) from 1538 to 1650 lists a total of 146 marriages in England with the surname Staple taking place only in counties south of the Humber River.

Family historians have searched for the ancestral home of Peter Staple and his parents for over 150 years with no proven results.  Currently the members of the PETER STAPLE HERITAGE GROUP (PSHG) are using their Y-SNP and Y-STR genetic data to discover family tree and family branch mutations that identify the three family branches of the sons of Peter and Elizabeth – Peter Jr., John & James covering about 300 years of genealogical pedigrees’.  At the same time their Y-SNP genetic data is being used to identify their ancient common ancestral group origins and migrations moving forward to the present.  The result is an uninterrupted personal family history from the present to the birth of modern man.  The Staples Surname & DNA Project, 2002-2012 (SSDP) had 36 members in 14 families that were proven to be not genetically related during the surname era making the PSHG truly a unique Staples’ family group.

By Art B. Staples, Jr.

Founder, PSHG

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