The Jersey Messervys who became Meserve in the USA

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Clement Messervy was born in 1645 in Gorey. He was a farmer and raised cattle with his father, but in 1670 he became one of the earliest Jerseymen to emigrate to the New World, arriving at Strawberry Banke, which was the early name for Portsmouth, New Hampshire.


A few years later he married Elizabeth from Welch Cove, and started a family. They had six children, John, Elizabeth, Clement, Daniel, Tamsen and Aaron and lived near Portsmouth Harbor for some time.

In 1693, he and his family had a pew in the North Church at Portsmouth. Later they moved to Newington, a town located between Portsmouth and Dover. Several years later he signed an agreement, giving his home, land and orchard to his son Clement, who in return would care for his parents as long as they lived. Clement had died by 1721. His descendents settled in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, making up the different branches of the family tree.

Present generations now stretch across America and Canada and spell the family name in various ways: Mesharvy, Meservie, Meservey, Maserve, Messervey, Meservee, and Meserve, the latter spelling the most common.

Daughter Tamsen

Clement and Elizabeth’s daughter Tamsen was born in Portsmouth in 1680. On 28 April 1703 at the age of 23 she was scalped by Indians , but recovered. In August 1704 she married Joseph Ham, in Dover, NH. She was to have the dubious distinction of being the only woman counterfieter in New Hampshire.

Grandson Clement

His grandson, Clement, was born in Portsmouth, or Newington, NH, about 1703, to Clement Meserve and Elizabeth Jones. He followed his father to Scarboro, but is known to have been one of the dwellers on Fort Hill in Gorham during the seven-year Indian War beginning in 1745. It is likely that he and several of his sons were among the earliest inhabitants of Pearsontown, perhaps as early as 1753.

On 28 December 1768, Moses Pearson of Falmouth sold to Clement Meserve of Pearsontown "for five shillings and in consideration of said Clement's having performed settlement according to Act of General Court one whole right in Pearsontown", a 30-acre lot near the meeting house. It was near where the Congregational Church now stands that he settled.

Grandson Nathaniel

Clement's brother Nathaniel Meserve is the most noted member of the family. He lived in Portsmouth and was a wealthy shipbuilder. In 1745 he was made Lieut-Colonel of Colonel Moore's New Hampshire Regiment in the forces of Sir William Pepperell and played a prominent role in the seige of Louisburg, Cape Breton, a French stronghold which has been called "The Gibraltar of America".

California pioneer

Alvin Rand Meserve (1833-1912) was a pioneer of California in the early 1850s and one of the first settlers in Pomona Valley. In 1852, at the age of nineteen, he made the long journey to California, and in Sacramento he found employment as a clerk in the wholesale house of Crocker Brothers. Later he was with his brother, William, who was in business in the little mining town of Prairie City. At Sacramento he married Elizabeth Holser, the daughter of a '49er, the ceremony taking place in 1860, and the young couple left for Santa Cruz in 1865. He was a merchant and served as treasurer of Santa Cruz County for four years.

In September 1874, with the Rev C F Loop, he bought 2,200 acres of land from the descendants of Ygnacio Palomares, the property being thereafter subdivided into the Meserve and Loop Tract. In February 1877 Mr. Meserve moved with his family to this land near Pomana, and lived in the old Palamares adobe ranch house. In 1896 he left for Los Angeles and became horticultural commissioner, continuing in that office until his death on 7 February 1912, at the age of 78.

Meservey Town

The town of Meservey was originally named Kausville in 1886, by Hamilton Brown and others. Brothers Karl and George Kaus came up from northwest of Hampton and bought a section of raw prairie land in this locality and the original town was created. The price paid for the section was a little less than $4 an acre, about what taxes, etc, were worth. Farm land changed hands in those days at from $3.50 to $7 an acre.

About 1887 S T Meservey, a prominent citizen of Fort Dodge, was one of the promoters of a railway in the area and in 1887 the town was renamed Meservey. The Mason City and Fort Dodge railroad was completed the following year.

Meservey, in its early days, boasted of a fine half-mile race track, where many interesting "hoss-races" were run.

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