Martha Grace Beal was born 28 October 1623 in Hingham, Norfolk, England and died 23 June 1666 Marshfield, Plymouth County, Massachusetts of lightning strike. She married William Halloway (1586-1653) 1645 in Marshfield, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. She married John Phillips (1602-1682) 8 July 1654 in Marshfield, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.


1666 Lightning Strike

William Shurtleff (1624-1666) was in attendance "sojourning" of the home of neighboring John Phillips (1602-1682) (came to the colonies on the Winthrop fleet) when struck by lightning. Several manscripts and descriptions were written, the gist being: William was partaking of the hospitality of John Phillips, "one of those dreadful droughts occurred," "threatening to destroy their fruits of their spring labor". They were "observing a day of fasting and prayer as they were wont to do in those days when suffering under afflictive dispensation." "There happened a terrible thunderstorm as fourteen people were in the common room of the Phillips house, mostly seated around the room. Mr. Shurtleff was sitting beside his wife, holding her hand and having her hand in his and having one of their children in his arms, the other being between him and a table, under which was a dog. The storm of rain came on with great violence and Mrs. Phillips requested to have the door closed. Where upon a stroke of lightning passed down the chimney, which rent it to pieces, smote down most of the people if not all, instantly killing Mr Shurtleff, Mrs. Phillips, and Jeremiah Phillips (her stepson?), and then passed out through the door, splitting it into fragments. This occurred on Saturday and they were buried the following day."

John Phillips' house still stands.

Marriage and Family

2nd Marriage: John Phillips

Martha Grace, Widow of William Holloway. Married John Phillips 8 Jul 1654. She, Wiiliam Shurtleff, and her stepson, Jeremiah Phillips, were all killed by lightning when it struck their house.


Offspring of Martha Grace Beal and William Halloway (1586-1653)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Jeremiah Phillips (1622-1666)
Mary Phillips (1626-)
Michael Phillips (1628-1676)
Samuel Phillips (1635-1691)

Offspring of Martha Grace Beal and John Phillips (1602-1682)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Phillips (1637-1658)
Mary Phillips (1639-)
Hannah Phillips (1641-1641)
Malachai Phillips (1641-1641)
Joseph Phillips (1655-1676)
Grace Phillips (1657-1680)
Benjamin Phillips (1658-1745)
Mary Phillips (1660-1707)


Vital Records

Green Harbor Monument


This person is listed in memorium on the Green Harbor Monument, located in Marshfield, Massachusetts and dedicated in honor of the early colonists from Plymouth Colony who settled this area in the early 1600s. Here she is honored as the wife of John Phillips (1602-1682).


Footnotes (including sources)