Ephraim Bemis was born 25 August 1656 in Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts to Joseph Bemis (1619-1684) and Sarah Finch (1620-1712) and died after 1738 of unspecified causes. He married Elizabeth Bond (1658-1712) 1679 in Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
Early Family Life
There were, according to the book, Bemis History and Genealogy, written by Draper, two Ephraims in this family. The first was a twin of Joseph who lived a very short time, and the second was born nearly 10 years later. Ephraim is touched on twice in the book - first to give his birthdate and to say that he was "living in 1738 in Windham Connecticut." Then, later on page 34 and 35, goes into greater detail about his life. He married "Elizabeth" and they had 4 children in Watertown before moving to "Windham and Hampton" in Connecticut. He was a soldier in King Phillip's war and received a grant of land in Massachusetts for his service.
Division of Father's Estate 1712
The following is found in Bond, 679 Volume II:
"The estate of Joseph Bemis was divided, Nov. 18, 1712, after the d. of his wid. Sarah, and it was distributed (except what had been given to "eldest son, Joseph," and dr. Martha), to the following children, viz.; Ephraim, Mary, Rebecca and John. As the eldest child, Sarah is not mentioned in this distribution, she ... probably [died without children.] It appears that Joseph the eldest son lived to have a share of his father's estate, but it is not known what became of him. Martha was adm. f.c. by Rev. Mr. Angier, Feb. 25, 1697-9, then aged about 49, unm. Ephraim settled in Watertown, where the births of four of his children are recorded, but the account of the family is brief. He probably had other children besides those four recorded, and it is probable that his family, or some part of it, moved to Windham and Hamton, in Windham Co., Conn."
Marriage & Family
He married "Elizabeth" and they had 4 children in Watertown before moving to "Windham and Hampton" in Connecticut.
After 1718 I did not find Ephraim in the grantee index or the grantor index for Middlesex County. He is, however, listed in a book entitled "History of Ancient Windham, Ct. Genealogy: Containing a genealogical record of all the early families of ancient Windham, embracing the present towns of Windham, Mansfield, Hampton, Chaplin and Scotland : Part I. A-Bil." by William L. Weaver. There is only a short paragraph about the Bemis family: "Daniel Bemis, of Watertown, sells land in Windham to R. Simons, Feb. 7, 1717-18. Daniel Bemis, by wife Ruth, had Abigail b. June 26, 1724. Ephraim Bemis, of Windham, gives son James B., of Westerly, and his son Ephraim "land that I now own near Appaquag (now Hampton), June 27, 1723. He [I think they should be referrring to the son Ephraim] m. Lydia Thomas, Oct. 1, 1736. Chil.: James, b. Aug. 6, 1737, Mary, b. May 15, 1739. Ruth Bemis m. William Averill, Oct. 13, 1721."
Draper's book above said he was living in 1738, so apparently he died after that time.
It looks like Elizabeth was married in Watertown and moved at some point to nearby Weston, where she remained until her death in 1734, a few years before Ephraim died. Unfortunately I don't know what became of Sarah or Rebecca. It looks like Abigail and her husband Stephen ended up moving to Windham in about 1732. James may have moved to Rhode Island, although it looks like his father deeded him some land in Windham, Connecticut. Ruth married in Connecticut and looks like she remained there until she died. Ruth married in Connecticut in 1721 so it looks like the family was already living there by that time. Daniel was living in Windham very early (maybe first in the family?) Ephraim Junior also definitely went to Connecticut. I think Anna or Susanna married and stayed in Massachusetts.
Ephraim's birth is recorded in Watertown vital records: Bemis, Eaphrim, s. Joseph and Sary, Aug. 25, 1656.
There is apparently no marriage record for Ephraim and Elizabeth, whose last name we don't know.
They have 7 children listed in Watertown vital records:
- Bemis, Elizabeth, ch. Elizabeth and Ephraim, bp. Oct. 23, 1687.
- Bemis, Sarah, ch. Elizabeth and Ephraim, bp. Oct. 23, 1687.
- Bemis, Rebecca, d. Ephraim and Elizabeth, Jan. 16, 1684, Bap. Oct. 23, 1687.
- Bemis, Abigail, d. Eaphrim and Elizabeth, Jan. 10, 1686, Bap. Oct. 23, 1687.
- Bemis, James, ch. Ephraim, bp. July 14, 1689.
- Bemis, Ruth, d. Ephraim and Elizabeth, Aug. 9, 1695.
- Bemis, Anna, d. Ephraim and Elisabeth, Feb. 18, 1701-2.
Nine children for Ephraim and Elizabeth are listed below, including Daniel and Ephraim, whose names are not found in Watertown vital records, but who do appear in land documents in Connecticut (see below).