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Surname:  Freeman
Branch:  Freeman
Origins:  British
More Info:  England

Background:  The Freeman surname refers to status under English law in which a person had attained full righs of citizenship, including the rights to own land, vote and participate in civil affairs.

Motto:  Libertas et natale solum, Liberty and my native soil.
Arms:  Az. three fusils ar.

View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.

The Anglo-Saxon society was divided into various classes, of which "The Freeman" could be described as "Middle Class" in 20th Century terms, although direct comparisons are not possible. Certainly to be a "Free born person" denoted considerable and jealously guarded status. Since most people were effectively slaves. The surname derivation is from the pre 7th Century "freo" meaning "free born" and "man" a servant or worker. The 1188 Pipe Rolls for Essex record one Freman Sceil, and this shows the use of the compound as a rare personal name. Other recordings include Reginald Le Freman, of Worcester in 1221, and Osbert Friman of Bedford in 1240. Edward Freeman (1823 - 1892), wrote "The History of the Norman Conquest" in 1867, whilst James Freeman of Nottingham, who died on June 20th 1968, was the last known survivor of the famous charge of the 21st Lancers at Omdurman, Sudan, in 1898. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Freeman, which was dated 1196, in the "County Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199.

The first Freeman in America was Edmund who arrived in Plymouth in 1635 aboard the "Abigail." He was the son of Edmond and Alice Coles Freeman who lived at Reigate in County Surrey, England.

He was admitted freeman at Plymouth, January 2, 1637. Edmund was prominent, active and influential in affairs of the colony. Edmund of one of the original nine men who founded the town of Sandwich on Cape Cod.

Edmund's first wife was Bennett Hodsoll, but she apparently died in England. Edmund married Elizabeth Gurney who came to America with him. Four children also came American with the family.

Edmund and Bennett's son John was active in civic affairs and is frequently mentioned in public records. He served as a soldier, first as Lieutenant, then as Captain, and later as Major and took an active part in the Indian Wars. He was a major in the expedition against Indians at Saconet in 1677. He served as a member Council of War from 1667-76. He served as captain in the fight against Indians at Taunton in 1675. He was a major of Barnstable Troop in 1685 and Deputy at Eastham for eight years. He served as a selectman for ten years starting in 1663. John was assistant in the Government in 1666. On 7th Dec. 1692, he was appointed to the Bench of the Court of Common Pleas. For many years he was a Deacon of the Eastham Curuch.

John married Mercy Mary Prence, daughter of Governor Thomas Prence and Patience Brewster. Patience was the daughter of Elder William Brewster, the spiritual leader of the Mayflower.

John and Mercy's son Thomas Freeman married Rebecca Sparrow, daughter of Capt. Jonathan Sparrow and Rebecca Bangs Sparrow. Thomas served as a Deacon in the Church.

Thomas and Rebecca's son Thomas, Jr. married Mary Smith and resided at Harwich in Barnstable County.

Name Variations:  Freeman, Friman, Fryman, Freman, Freomann, Frigmann, Fees.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
English Surnames; C.M. Matthews - 1966.
A Dictionary of English Surnames; P.H. Reaney - 1958.
Surname Database: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Freeman Murrah Freeman Page: http://www.murrah.com/gen/freeman.htm

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