Benjamin Balch - First Balch Born in America

Benjamin Balch (winter of 1628-9 - Unknown) was born in Naumkeag (Salem) to John and Margary Balch. Benjamin is believed to be the first male born in the Naumkeag colony. In September of 1628 the colony became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and in July of that year Naumkeag was renamed Salem.


Upon the death of Benjamin's father he received half of the land John acquired through a land grant (the location of this land is shown in the image with a red square and "104" marking the location). Later Benjamin purchased his brother John's share of the farm and still later, upon his presumed death, Benjamin gained ownership to his brother Freeborn's portion of the farm. Modern studies seem to indicate that Benjamin built the house that now remains on that property as a museum (the Balch House).

Benjamin would remain on the property of his father for the remainder of his life. During this time he would be married three times and have thirteen children. His first wife was Sarah Gardner and he married her in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1650. Benjamin would be married to Sarah for approximately thirty eight years and it was this marriage that would produce eleven out of thirteen children. In 1686 Sarah died and on February 5, 1688 (or 1689) Benjamin would marry his second wife Abigail. Abigail died in January of 1690 and Benjamin would remarry on March 15, 1691 (or 1692) to Grace Mallet. In his last marriage Benjamin would have two more daughters.

Religious Beliefs

Benjamin is believed to have been free of the more puritanical notions of some of his neighbors. The first colony, that had landed at Plymouth Rock (1620), had been set up by puritans who had a very strict notion of how to observe their religion. The colony set up three years later, with Benjamin's father, was a colony set up for reasons that were more economic then religious.

Benjamin seems to have differed from his puritan neighbors on various issues. Puritans were big believers in infant baptism, Benjamin opted to leave his children unbaptized until they chose it for themselves. Another difference seems to have involved Benjamin's hospitality to strangers. A very real fear of outsiders seems to have effected the puritan inhabitants of Massachusetts. This fear may have been motivated by the idea that outsiders may corrupt the religious purity that the puritans believed they had. There must have been a rule against allowing outsiders to reside, even temporarily, in your home. Benjamin apparently ran afoul of the community when he allowed an outsider to spend the night. For allowing the outsider to stay, Benjamin was arrested and fined.

Final Years

Before Benjamin's last marriage he gave part of his farm to three of his sons. After the death of his last wife he deeded the land surrounding the Balch House to his grandson Benjamin (for maintenance in his old age). Various other portions of his land were deeded over to his sons in his remaining years with the last known deed being given on January 31, 1714 (or 1715). Benjamin lived to at least eighty six years of age and the year of his death is unknown. No will exists for Benjamin because he disposed of his property while still alive.

Genealogy of Benjamin:

Father: John Balch
Mother: Margary

Wife 1: Sarah Gardner
Married: About 1650 (Salem, Mass.)


1. Samuel
2. Benjamin
3. John
4. Joseph
5. Freeborn
6. Sarah
7. Abigail
8. Ruth
9. Mary
10. Jonathan
11. David

Wife 2: Abigail Clarke (Widow of Matthew Clarke)
Married: February 5, 1689


1. No Children

Wife 3: Grace Mallet
Married: March 15, 1691 (or 1692)


1. Deborah
2. Lydia

Primary Sources/Links

Genealogy of the Balch Families in America - By: Galusha B. Balch

Ancestors of Benjamin Balch

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