Home > 027960. John Gilbert, 055920. Giles Gilbert, 055921. Joan Pearce > John Gilbert and the Maternal Ancestry of Rev. Nicholas Street

John Gilbert and the Maternal Ancestry of Rev. Nicholas Street

Source: Donald Lines Jacobus, “John Gilbert of Taunton, Mass., and the Maternal Ancestry of Rev. Nicholas
Street of Taunton, Mass., and New Haven, Conn.,” American Genealogist 27[1951]:9-11.

The purpose of the present note is to call attention to a valuable manuscript on certain Gilbert families at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford, Conn. Between 1912 and 1916 the late Mr. Frank Newton Gilbert of Portland, Oregon, carried on an extensive English search, with the aid of Mr. J. Henry Hutchinson, English genealogist, to ascertain the origin of the colonial Gilbert settlers. Plans were made for the publication of a volume to contain English records; the American genealogy of the family of Thomas Gilbert of Hartford for seven generations; and the families of other early New England Gilbert families for six generations. By 1932 the publication plans were abandoned, and one copy of the manuscript was given to the Connecticut Historical Society, to assure its preservation, the other copy being retained by the Gilbert family.

The manuscript is based on the joint interest and labor of Mr. Harold Simeon Gilbert, the late Mr. Homer Worthington Brainard, and Mr. Clarence Almon Torrey. At the present time, through the interest of the Gilbert family, and with the cooperation of the Connecticut Historical Society, tentative plans have been made to publish a Gilbert genealogy, but because of the very large size of the manuscript and the high printing costs, this volume, which the present writer has been engaged to edit, will be limited to the family of Thomas Gilbert of Hartford.

The only one of the early Gilbert settlers whose origin in England was definitely learned was John Gilbert of Taunton, Mass. The “Foreword” written for the manuscript in 1932 states that the chapter on the Taunton family was contributed by Mr. Torrey.

The account starts with Giles Gilbert of Bridgwater, co. Somerset, who married there 10 Aug. 1571 Joan Pearre. Giles was buried 17 June 1595, and his widow, 18 Apr. 1597; his will, and the administration on her estate, are included. The baptisms of their seven children are also given. These include John on 17 Sept. 1577 and Susannah on 9 Dec. 1584. John Gilbert came to New England in 1633 and settled in Taunton; his will, dated 10 May 1654 was proved 3 June 1657. The first of his three wives, and apparently the ancestress of the later Taunton Gilberts, was Mary Street, whom he married in Bridgwater 17 Jan. 1602.

The Street Genealogy (1895), by Mrs. Mary A. Street (see pp. 1, 2, 467-9, 482, 483), shows that the grandfather of the Rev. Nicholas Street was Nicholas Street “the elder” of Bridgwater, co. Somerset, gent, whose will dated 5 Nov. 1606 was proved 3 May 1610. His wife was named Mary, and the will names two sons, Nicholas and Thomas. The Mary who married John Gilbert was undoubtedly his daughter, and The Street Genealogy supposes, rightly we think, that she was the Marie Street baptized 22 Mar. 1578 at St. Mary Magdalen, Taunton. She and her brother, the second Nicholas Street, almost had a double wedding, as Nicholas married Susannah Gilbert at Bridgwater, 16 Jan. 1602, while Mary Street married John Gilbert there the next day. It was obviously an instance of a brother and sister of one family marrying a sister and brother of the other family.

Susannah (Gilbert) Street was buried at Bridgwater 22 Feb. 1603, her only child, the third Nicholas, having been baptized 29 Jan. 1603. Her husband, the second Nicholas, was born not far from 1577, for he was without question the “Stre(e)te, Nicholas, of Somerset, gent., Lincoln Coll., matric. 10 Oct. 1594, aged 17; student of Middle Temple 1596, as son and heir of Nicholas of Taunton, Somerset, gent.” [Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714, p. 1435]. After the death of Susannah, he had a second wife, Mary, by whom he had several more children. He calls himself “of Bridgwater … gentleman” in his will, dated 5 Nov. 1616, proved 13 Feb. 1617.

The third Nicholas, baptized 29 Jan. 1603, received his B.A. from Pembroke College, Oxford, 21 Feb. 1624/5, having matriculated 2 Nov. 1621, aged 18; and his M.A. from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 1636 [ibid., p. 1435; Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part I, vol. IV, p. 174]. He was the first minister of Taunton, Mass., and became colleague of John Davenport at New Haven in 1659, succeeding the latter as sole pastor in 1667. He died at New Haven, 22 April 1674.

The maternal grandparents of Rev. Nicholas Street are revealed in the manuscript Gilbert Genealogy, also the theory is there confirmed that he was a nephew of John Gilbert of Taunton. One of the present writer’s earliest genealogical recollections is being told that his grandfather’s grandfather was named Street Hall Morse. Later he discovered that the gentleman who bore this singular combination of names (he was actually a Moss, not a Morse in ancestry) was named after his maternal grandfather, Lt.-Col. Street Hall. The latter’s mother was Mary Street, of the ministerial family.

The first wife of Rev. Nicholas Street, the mother of his children, has always been destitute of a name, even a given name, thanks to the destruction of the Taunton records. No suggestion as to her identity has yet been seen which possesses any merit.

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