The Great Migration Begins: Edward Rossiter

Source: Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volume 3, P-W (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995).

[page 1600]

EDWARD ROSSITER

ORIGIN:  Combe St. Nicholas, Somersetshire

MIGRATION: 1630

FIRST RESIDENCE: Dorchester

CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: As one of the leaders of the migration to Dorchester in New England, ROSSITER was presumably a member of Dorchester church, but there is no record to confirm this.

OFFICES: Assistant, 20 October 1629, 7 September 1630 (fined for absence from court)[MBCR 1:60, 75].

ESTATE: Sometime in 1631 Reverend John WHITE of Dorchester, Dorsetshire, prepared an account of monies owed to him by various persons in New England, among which was “The account of Mr. Edward ROSSETER’s Executor’s,” which showed that ROSSITER owed WHITE £106 9s. 9d., of which he or his son Nicholas had paid £91 7s. 9d. by 1 April 1631; most of the debt was for “the passage of 13 persons at £3 13s. 4d. each person,” along with their baggage and other goods [John White 463-64, citing MHSP 47:346-47].

BIRTH: Combe St. Nicholas, Somersetshire, say 1575, son of Nicholas and Elizabeth (_____) ROSSITER [NEHGR 138:10-11].

DEATH: 23 October 1630 (“Mr. ROSSITER one of the Assistants died” [WP 2:268]).  “The Lord hath stripped us of some principal persons: Mr. JOHNSON and his Lady, Mr. ROSSITER, Mrs. PHILIPS and other unknown to thee, we conceive that this disease grew from ill diet at sea and proved infectious” [WP 2:320].

MARRIAGE: By about 1599 _____ COMBE (perhaps), daughter of John COMBE of Combe St. Nicholas.  Edward is referred to as “my brother” by Joseph COMBE [TAG 13:146].

CHILDREN:

[page 1601]

i     NICHOLAS, b. say 1599; m. Anne _____ [NEHGR 138:14, citing PCC 98 Pembroke].

ii    DOROTHY, b. say 1608; m. Combe St. Nicholas 12 February 1629/30 Martin GROUT [NEHGR 138:12].

iii   BRYAN, b. say 1610; m. Elizabeth ALSOP [Waters 426-27, citing PCC 139 Mico].

iv    JANE, b. say 1614; m. Taunton 23 March 1639/40 Thomas GILBERT [NEHGR 138:13].

v     HUGH, b. say 1615; m. by 1641 Dorothy (COMBE) NORRIS [NEHGR 138:13].

vi    JOANE, b. about 1616 (d. Plymouth 9 June 1691 “being 75 years of age” [PChR 1:271]); m. Nicholas HART.

COMMENTS: WINTHROP records that on Thursday, 17 June 1630, “We lay at Mr. MAVEROCKE’s, and returned home on Saturday, as we came home we came by Nataskett, and sent for Capt. SQUIB ashore (he had brought the west country people, viz. Mr. LUDLOWE, Mr. ROSSITER, Mr. MAVEROCK, etc. to the Bay who were sent down at Mattapan)” [WP 2:264].

Despite the prominence and wealth of Edward ROSSITER, the identities of his chilren and their spouses remain remarkably uncertain.  In 1937 Meredith B. Colket discussed in great detail several of these problems [TAG 13:146-48].  Geoffrey Gilbert has also carefully examined some of these problems [Gilberts of New England 32-49].

BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: Both at the beginning and end of his career Meredith B. Colket, Jr., wrote definitive treatments of the ROSSITER family, first in 1937 and then in 1984 [TAG 13:145-151; NEHGR 138:4-16].

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