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Settler of Locke’s Neck, Rye, New Hampshire

 Locke's Neck, Rye, New Hampshire as it is today.


Captain John Locke (1627-1696) and Elizabeth Berry (1635-aft. 1708)


John Locke and Elizabeth Berry are my 9th great grandparents by the following path: RWA → Fred Pemberton Abbott → Mary Emma Knowles Abbott → William W. Knowles → Daniel Knowles → Daniel Knowles → John Knowles → James Knowles → Tryphena Locke Knowles → Nathaniel Locke → John Locke and Elizabeth Berry


John Locke was born in London 16 September 1627 the child of Thomas Locke and Christina French. It is not known for sure when he migrated, but he was in New Hampshire by 1652 and settled in an area that is now Rye, New Hampshire. The area that he settled is known as Locke’s Neck. He married Elizabeth Berry who was born in New Hampshire in 1635, the daughter of William and Jane Berry who were early settlers of Rye. John and Elizabeth had 11 children.


John was a carpenter and a farmer. He was involved in a land dispute in the area, but this dispute seemed to really be between the settlements of Portsmouth and Hampton. John, who was of Portsmouth, cleared land at what is now Locke’s Neck, and the officials in Hampton were upset by this and accused him of trespassing. The matter was resolved when John agreed that he would be a resident of Hampton.


John appears to have gotten his “Captain” title from serving in the militia and was active in attempts to defend settlers in the area from attacks by Indians. Alas, John was not able to defend himself and was killed by Indians 26 August 1696 while he was working in his fields. It is reported that this particular raid was specifically to kill Locke who led earlier efforts against the Indians. It is reported that he was scalped, although another report is that he was shot with his own gun but not scalped. And then there is a story that achieved the status of legend: when he was attacked in his field Locke used his scythe the cut off the nose of one of the Indians. The story continues that years later either one of his sons or a grandson or another relative encountered a noseless Indian either in the woods or outside a bar or on the street, and that after the Indian confirmed that “old John Locke” had cut off his nose, the relative killed the Indian.


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Locke, Arthur H. (1916). A history and genealogy of Captain John Locke (1627-1696). Concord, NH: Mumford Press.


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