Archive for the ‘013980. Thomas Gilbert’ Category

Ancient Iron Works in Taunton

10 June 2009 Leave a comment

Source: J.W.D. Hall, “Ancient Iron Works in Taunton,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register 38[1884].

[page 265]

A history of the early iron enterprises in Massachusetts is not our purpose, as the subject has been exhausted in elaborate data and dissenting opinions, but rather to present a few interesting facts and incidents relative to the origin, progress and successful managemnt of the ancient Iron Works of Taunton, derived from antiquarian researches and reliable records.  Traditions, which do not bear the test of investigation, have crept into histories and census reports relative to the origin and management of these works; but let them pass.

It has been generally admitted that the first iron works enterprise in this state for the manufacture of bar iron from native ore was commenced on the banks of the Saugus River in Lynn, in 1643, by a company under the auspices and influence of John WINTHROP, Jr., son of Gov. WINTHROP, with an English capital form London of £1000, and skiled workmen imported for the purpose; that another iron enterprise was soon after started in “Brantry” by the same company, and that Boston donated 3000 acres of common land as an encouragement “to set up iron works on the Monanticut River” in that town, where ore had been discovered.  It is also alleged that an unexpected scarcity of ore and incompetent management in their infancy was followed by disaster to these enterprises, and that after spending a large amount, about £10,000, the company partially suspended operations in Lynn and Braintree, in the latter place in 1653 and in the former a few years later.

Iron ore had been discovered quite abundant in the flats bordering on Two Mile River and other localities in Taunton, and the enterprising Pilgrim settlers considered the field open for the establishment of a “bloomerie” on that river.  It was also learned that Henry and James LEONARD, skilled iron workers from Wales, who had been employed for several years at the works in Lynn and at Braintree by the Winthrop company, might be induced to come to Taunton and aid in the practical working of iron.  Accordingly in October, 1652, preliminary steps were taken to establish the first iron works in the Old Colony, in Taunton, and the following was the record, Oct. 21, 1652:

“It was at a town meeting conferred and agreed upon between the inhabitants of Taunton and Henry LEONARD of Braintree:

Imprimis  It was agreed and granted by the town to Henry and James LEONARD, his brother, and Ralph RUSSELL, free consent to come hither and join with certain of our inhabitants to set up a Bloomery Work on the Two Mile River.

“It was also agreed and granted by a free vote of the town, that such particular inhabitants as shall concur together with the said persons in this design, shall have free liberty from the town so to do, to build and set up this work, and that they shall have the woods on either side of the Two Mile River, wheresoever it is common on that side of the river, to cut for their cord wood to make coals, and also to dig and take moine or ore at Two Mile Meadow, or in any of the commons appertaining to the town, where it is not now in propriety.”*

In accordance with the above preliminary action, the leading citizens of Taunton interested in the enterprise, formed a stock company, inviting

* Baylie’s Historical Memoir of the Colony of New Plymouth, Part ii. p. 268.

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capitalists in other places to join them in carrying the project into effect without the aid of English capital – and they succeeded.  To obtain the shareholders required some length of time; but the precise date when they were obtained has not been fully ascertained, nor is it known when the brothers LEONARD and Mr. RUSSELL came from Braintree.  Probably it was soon after the suspension of the iron works there in 1653.  Nor is there any record that Henry LEONARD or Ralph RUSSELL were employed in these works.  They had land “set off to them” by the proprietors “as encouragement,” but they did not remain to occupy it.  RUSSELL went to Dartmouth and soon after was engaged in starting iron works at “RUSSELL’s Mills.”  Henry LEONARD was at Lynn in 1655, says Newhall the historian, and some years later was engaged with his sons by a wealthy company of Salem in an iron works at Rowley Village.  He afterwards went to New Jersey, and, it is said, successfully engaged with a company in the manufacture of bar iron.  He has left in that state numerous descendants, among whom are men of ability and of prominent standing in business and the professions.

A documentary relic of the early date above referred to, recently found among the ancient papers in the handwriting of Oliver PURCHIS, who was town clerk at the time, makes the following record preparatory to the organization of the Iron Works Company in 1653-4:

“The names of those who hath put in themselves to be proprietors in the Bloomerie, viz: – Hezekiah HOARE, Thomas GILBERT, Richard WILLIAMS, Walter DEAN, George HALL, Oliver PURCHIS, James WALKER, John TISDALL, Wm. PARKER, Mr. GILBERT senr: Peter PITTS, Richard STACEY, John COBB, William HODGES, Nath’l WOODWARD, Timothy HOLLOWAY, James BURT, Edward BOBETT, Jonah AUSTIN, sen’r, John PARKER, Samuel WILBORE, Miss E. POLE, Jane POLE.”

Additional records show the names of William POLE, Timothy LINDALL of Salem, his son-in-law, Nicholas WHITE, senr., Richard STEPHENS, John TURNER, Thomas LINCOLN, senr., Anthony SLOCUM, James LEONARD, Thos. ARMSBERY, Joseph WILBORE, Henry ANDREWS, John HALL, James PHILLIPS, Francis SMITH, Geo. WATSON, Gov. LEVERETT and Major Edward TYNG of Boston, Nath’l PAINE, senr., and Stephen PAINE, Jr., of Bristol, Benedict ARNOLD of Newport, Richard THAYER of Braintree – contributing from £20 to £5 each, for whole, half and quarter shares.

The building of a suitable dam across “Two Mile River,” where was previously a bridge; preparing the timber for the necessary buildings; obtaining from abroad the hammers and heavy iron machinery and tools required for operating the “bloomerie” for the manufacture of bar iron, occupied a long time before the practical working of the same.

The following confirmatory record in a ledger* of Capt. Thomas2 LEONARD, son of James,1 who was with his father a “bloomer,” and became the “clearke” and manager in 1683, indicates the time the works commenced, as follows:

* [Footnote] This ledger was found in the old mansion built in 1750 by Dea. Elijah3 LEONARD, grandson [sic] of Capt. Thomas,2 who had carefully stored the books transmitted to him by his father and grandfather, when he built the house.  It was the birthplace of Capt. Edward LEONARD, who resided there seventy years, and of Rev. Elijah LEONARD, of Marshfield, who died in February, 1834, after a forty-five years’ pastorate, and the father of Rev. Geo. LEONARD, who died in July, 1881, after a pastorate of thirty years in the same Marshfield church, and who inherited the old place in Raynham from his uncle Capt. Edward.  It was sold a few years ago to Mr. John SPINNEY, who in preparing to remodel the old mansion discovered the books deposited there one hundred and thirty years before.  It was destroyed by fire shortly afterwards.

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“An accompt of who hath been clarke of Taunton Iron Works ever sence George HALL was first Clearke, and some others joyned with him for a time, which begun Anno 1656.  Also, what product the works hath made from year to year.”

By this record, which has descended through two hundred years, and whose authority is undoubted, it is shown that the manufacture of iron was commenced “Anno 1656.”  On a page of this ledger are two columns of figures, indicating the years and the product of the works fifty-eight years, from that date, to the death of Capt. Thomas in 1713.  The first line reads thus: “1656 – George HALL clearke, John TURNER working ye forge.”  Three years no iron was shared.  “1659, 400 shared.”  “1660, a ton of iron sould to buy goods, whi: were devided.”

At this time an arrangement was made by the shareholders by which the works were leased to George HALL and his associates, Hezekiah HOAR and Francis SMITH.  The lease of this transaction, recently discovered among the papers of Capt. Thomas LEONARD, thus sets forth in substance the agreement:

“This present writing, dated April the first, anno domini, one thousand six hundred and sixtie, witnesseth:  that whereas the Companie in partnership in the Iron works or bloomerie, erected and maintained in working use within the plantation of Taunton, in the Colony of New Plymouth, did by themselves and their attornies, generally consent and agree, that ye said works should be let for a term of five years; to begin after ye stock of coles is now being wrought out – yielding and paying to ye whole companie aforesaid, (not one partner at all excluded) yearly during said term the full summe of four tunne of iron:” – “that said George HALL, Hezekiah HOAR and Francis SMITH having embraced, accepted, and received said tender, and rent of ye works, according to ye said propositions named,* themselves being partners” – and “to whom full libertie was then and there given, that they might take into this contract with themselves whom they liked of.”  They accordingly took into partnership:  William POLE, Walter DEANE, Joseph WILBORE, John DEANE, Anthony SLOCUM, Thos. LINKON, senr, Wm. PARKER, James LEONARD, Jonah AUSTIN sen’r, John PARKER, Peter PITTS, James PHILLIPS, Henry WITHINGTON, of Dorchester.  “The rest of said company in partnership, do by these presents ratify, confirm, establish, promise and make good and effectual to the s’d George HALL, Hezekiah HOAR, and Francis SMITH, the said contract, and do hereby give them full power and right to act, or cause to be acted or done in and about said iron works in every particular case during ye said term without interruption, molestation or hindrance of ye partners, provided that they truly and faithfully perform their engagements in the premises…. And the said partners, Wm. POLE, Walter DEANE and others, doe likewise covenant, promise and engage themselves, unto said George HALL, Hezekiah HOARE and Francis SMITH, to carrie out said contract as one man, with faithfulness, according to their wisdom and abilities; that they will endeavor to prevent all damages and support each other in all cases, whether in charges of payments or troubles of lawsuits and walk together in love and peace in the light of God, without superioritie one over another.”

“In witness whereof they herewith to one seal set their several hands the day and year above written:

GEORGE HALL,         HEZEKIAH HOARE,            FRANCIS SMITH,                    [Seal.]

Wm. POLE, Henry WITHINGTON, Jno. DEANE, Wm. PARKER, Walter DEANE, Peter PITTS, Joseph WILBORE, James PHILLIPS, John PARKER, Anthony SLOCUM, Thos. LINKON sen., Jonah AUSTIN.”

“In presence of


Resuming the old ledger records.  George HALL held the position of manager and clarke thirteen years (excepting James WALKER held the office a year) until his death in October, 1669, and “John HALL to ye end of ye year.”

*Drawn by James WALKER, Richard WILLIAMS and John TISDALL, of said company.

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“1670, Henry ANDREWS clearke.”  “1671, John HALL, thence to 1675 when (says the record) the Indian [King Philip’s] War began and many coals burned in the woods.”  “1676 – the works garrisoned – great rates – many coals burned.”  (No iron shared three years.)  “1677, Israel DEAN clearke, ye beginning, John HALL ye end of ye year.”  HALL continued until 1683, and was succeeded by Capt. Thomas LEONARD, during whose thirty years’ management occured most of the transactions and “orders” recorded below in connection with this brief history of the most important enterprise in the early days of the Old Colony.  He was an able, self-educated man; he held military commissions from Ensign to Major in the Bristol County regiment; was the leading magistrate; presiding justice of the County Court, 1685 to 1693; clerk of the Taunton North Purchase proprietors, over twenty years; filled various town offices; also performed the duties of physician.  He died in 1713, at the age of 70, leaving, besides a large estate, the Middleboro’ and Chartley Iron Works, a large quantity of official papers and miscellaneous relics, preserved with remarkable care during his eventful life.*

Dea. Samuel3 LEONARD, in Oct. 1713, succeeded his father Capt. Thomas after many years of successful management.  Another ancient ledger contains an instructive record of the transactions in the business during his charge; many pages are filled with items of the bar iron “circulating medium” and barter trades, similar to those appended.  On the division of Taunton in 1731, the iron works locality fell to the new town of Raynham, and that town owned half a share.  Dea. LEONARD died in 1745, after thirty-two years’ service, owning several shares.

Dea. Samuel LEONARD, Jr., was the successor of his father in the management of the iron works.  He had, during his four years’ management, purchased a large number of whole and fractional shares, securing nearly a majority of the stock.  He died in 1749, leaving a large incumbrance on the works and a declining stock.  He left 12 shares, valued in his inventory at £660 of the common currency.†

Dea. Elijah LEONARD, who had been at the “Chatley Works” in Norton, succeeded his brother in 1749, as clerk and manager.  He soon afterwards built, a short distance east of the forge, the mansion referred to.  He remained in charge of the business until 1777.  During the last twenty years the shares had been depreciating in value, owing to the increasing price of coal, and the declining production of good ore, in competition with the New Jersey ore which contained a much larger percentage of pure iron, and was worked by competing establishments.  With a depreciating currency and other obstacles, the iron business waned, the works hardly met expenses, the shareholders received trifling or no dividends, and the shares were relinquished at great sacrifice.  the incumbrence on the works finally resulted in the sale of a large portion of the shares to Dea. George LEONARD, brother of Dea. Elijah, who in 1770 disposed of them (7½ sixteenths) to

* The salary of Capt. Thomas was £8 the first year, and from 1684 to 1713 it was £11.  His successor received the same amount.  From 1742 to 1745, and thereafter, “ten hundred of iron was voted for salary.”  They also received a percentage on the iron manufactured.  The works made from 20 to 30 tons annually, which brought from £400 to £675, averaging about $100 a ton of our currency.

† In 1749 £1 sterling, or “old tenor,” was worth £11 of Massachusetts currency.  An oz. of silver, 6 shillings par value, stood at 66 shillings of that currency.  Thus rapidly approaching “flat money,” which was consummated by the United States national currency in paying off the soldiers of the revolution thirty years later, which became reduced to £1000 for £1 sterling, or about $1 per bushel.

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Josiah DEAN for £90 – which shows a great reduction from the inventory value in 1749.  At subsequent sales in 1777, at low figures, of other shares, with a portion of the real estate, Mr. DEAN became the purchaser.  From the original shareholders the changes were numerous from year to year, and to attempt a record would require much time and space.  Many of the sons, and descendants of the third generation from the original owners, held shares during the hundred years and more of the progress of the old iron works, until they passed into the hands of the new owner.  The price of them varied from £22 to £20 the par value; thence to £10, and finally, before the close, to £5 per share, or any price takers would give.  Thus terminated the LEONARD management, which had been conducted from 1683 by Capt. Thomas and by his son and grandsons nearly one hundred years, a large portion of the time upon the agency system, inaugurated in 1656, as above described.

Having purchased a controlling interest in the “old iron works,” Hon. Josiah DEAN took possession in 1777; he converted the bar iron forge, or “bloomerie,” into a rolling mill and nail works, where also copper bolts were rolled and made for ship-building, &c.  It was the first copper bolt manufactory in this region.  After conducting the business about forty years he died in 1818.*  He was succeeded by his son Major Eliab B. DEAN, who in 1825 changed the nail works into an anchor forge, which was continued in that heavy line of iron manufacture by him and his son and successor, Theodore DEAN, about forty years, when the works were suspended.  About a year ago the old buildings were demolished, and the privilege, dam and foundation walls alone remain of the ancient Taunton Iron Works of two hundred and twenty-four years–the oldest successful iron manufactory in New England.

The pioneer settlers during a long period of the last and preceding century after the iron works were started, were seriously embarrassed in their increasing business transactions by the scarcity of money.  They had but a small amount of specie, chiefly brought by emigrants who came across the ocean here to make their homes.†  No banks had been established – no “Land bank” capital had evoked even “new tenor bills;”‡ no Bank of England or “old tenor” notes were in circulation, although the pioneers owed allegiance to “His Majesty James” the despot, and the edicts of his tyrannical subservient Sir Edmund ANDROS were borne until patience ceased to be a virtue.  Therefore a dernier resort to bar iron, manufactured at the Taunton Works, as a “circulating medium of exchange,” to supply the great deficiency.  Iron made from the native bog ore of the creeks and swails of Two Mile River, and “Scaddings moire” became more valuable than gold – an important factor in daily traffic.  It entered largely into the transactions of business, as is shown by the subjoined brief letters, orders and replies, couched in expressions of genuine old-time courtesy, from managers, shareholders and patrons of the ancient iron works.  These amusing and interesting scraps were found between the leaves of Capt. Thomas LEONARD’s ledger of two hundred years ago, the pages of which are filled with the records of which these scraps were vouchers:

* Hon. Josiah DEAN was a member of Congress in 1807-9, and town officer and magistrate for many years.

† During the year 1652 a mint for coining silver money was established in Boston by the colony, and the first pine-tree shillings made from silver imported from the West Indies.  This made but a small supply of specie.

‡ Paper money was first issued in Massachusetts in 1690, but in very small quantity for the demand.  The bank of England was established 1694.

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The veterans Deacons Richard WILLIAMS and Walter DEAN, Hezekiah HOAR, Shadrach WILBORE the second town clerk, Increase ROBINSON, Joseph WILBORE, James WALKER, John RICHMOND, Peter PITTS, James PHILLIPS, Richard STEPHENS, John HALL, Peter WALKER, and the sons of many successors of ownership of shares in the iron works, appear in the collection, also Rev. George SHOVE and Rev. Samuel DANFORTH, third and fourth ministers of Taunton; John POLE, merchant of Boston, son of Capt. William and nephew of Elizabeth; Benedict ARNOLD, son of Gov. ARNOLD of Newport, R.I. (who married a Taunton woman, daughter of John TURNER); Nathaniel PAINE and John SAFFIN of Bristol, Judges of Probate; and John CARY, Register; Dea. Samuel TOPLIFF, Philip WITHINGTON and John BIRD, selectmen of Dorchester nearly two hundred years ago; the polite John BAKER, son of Richard; Richard THAYER, son of the first settler and Mistress Dorothy of “Brantry;” Peter NOYES of Sudbury, Capt. Thomas LEONARD and his son Major George of Chartley Works, not to be outdone in “loving phrase” by his father; and others.  Schools were scarce in those primitive days, and many wealthy business men made their “mark;” therefore errors in orthography, unique expressions and ancient idioms may be excused.  The first order is from one of the founders of Taunton and promoters of the iron works, who draws an order to pay a grocer’s bill:

Ensigne Tho. LEONARD, please to pay to Bar: TIPPING nine shillings & three pence in iron, as money:

from yr friend,


Taunton 16: 1st 1685-86.”

Deacon Walter DEAN’s order.

“Ensign Thomas LEONARD, Please to pay ye bearer hearof one hundred of Iron yt is due on Mr SHOVEs act. to my wife your friend.

Taunton ye 16 of ye 1st mo. 1685-6.         Your friend,


Thomas LEONARD, clarke of the Iron Works of Taunton:

Sr pray pay to Joseph CROSSMAN, on hundred of iron as money, & this shall be your discharg: this ye 13th Janurae, 1683.


Tanton– 84.”

A letter from some friendly parishioner in 1683, addressed to the third minister of Taunton, and accompanying order, reads thus:

“For the Rev. Mr. George SHOVE, pastor of the church of Christ in Taunton: These:”

Ensign LEONARD, pray deliver to John HODGES or his order one hundred and half of iron on account of yr friend


March 14, 83-4.”

John CARY of Bristol, Register of Probate, responds to a polite request to credit a hundred of iron:

Loving ffriend, John CARY, these may inform you that if You please to Credit Richard BURT as much as comes to a hundred of Iron, I will be responsible to you, & Rest your Log ffriend,


Taunton Dec. 30, 1683-4.”

Insign LEONARD, be pleased to pay to this bearer, James TISDALL, the asseats of the above written bill, by which you will oblige Your friend,


January 2, 1684.”

An order from an early settler to pay the schoolmaster’s rate:

Ensine LEONARD, I pray you let Mr GREENE have four shillings more in iron, as money, and place it to my account.        June 20, 1684.


“Capt. LEONARD, pray pay to John WETHEREL iron 9s. and 6d. and set it to my account.


Ensigne LEONARD, pray deliver to Nathl CODDINGTON as much iron as comes to 4s 5d at ye rate of 18s. per O.


Taunton Sept. 4, 1685.”

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He was son of John DEANE, senior, and the first birth among the pioneer settlers of Taunton.

Increase ROBINSON, one of the early settlers on Dean Street, gives a credit order for iron to pay his minister, Rev. Mr. DANFORTH:

Captain LEONARD: SIR, I would intreate you to pay James TISDALE ye sum of 2-7-6 in iron at 22s. per hund. and make me Deptr for it on ye acount of ye Credit Mr DANFORD gave mie on your book.

Your ffr’d


Tanton ye 23d March 1688-9.”

Thomas2 WILLIAMS (son of Richard1) sold an ox to one Nathaniel SMITH, and the following orders ensued for payment:

Nathaniel SMITH, this is to desier you to pay to my Mother WILLIAMS three hundred & half a qur. of iron which is part of ye price of ye ox which you bought of mee.


Taunton yn ye 16th of Oct. 1693.”

On the opposite side of the above Mr. SMITH ordered the iron:

Capt. LEONARD, I pray be pleased to pay to old mother WILLIAMS 3 hundreth & half a quarter of Iron.


Dorchester, May 15, 1696.

“Worh’ysfull Sir:

After my service to your Honour, these are only to desire you to Send the income of my interest in the works by Lt ROBINSON and these shall be the recept for the same.  And if I could know when you come to Boston, I should be willing to discourse wth you in point of sale (it being at such a distance from me) if your self is inclined to buy.  I remain yr humble servant,


Deacon TOPLIFF orders iron for the half share due Dorchester:

Captin LINARD – pray please to deliver to this bearer, Philip WITHINGTON, 200 and half of Iron, the which, by your information, is due to Dorchester:  In so doing you will much oblige us your asured friends:  Dated in Dorchester 2 Aug. 1699.


Capt. LEONARD delivers 200 and half on the order for 1797-’98 [sic].

Taunton April 1, 1700.

Capt. LEONARD I desire you to give John KING credit upon works book for 20 shillings of iron as money.  Your friend to serve


An order from Rev. Samuel DANFORTH, the fourth minister of Taunton, to pay his “servant mayd.”:

To Captain Thomas LEONARD,

Sr I would pray you to pay Elizabeth GILBERT (my late servant mayd) the sum of thirty shillings in iron at 18 sh. pr Cent: to her or her order – & place it to my account *** pr yr friend and servant


Dated Tanton, March 11, 1703-4.

Here is one of his business orders: Rev. Mr. DANFORTH wants iron to buy nails.

To Capt. Thomas LEONARD in Tanton:

Sr I have got Thomas WILLIS to go to Bridgewater to fetch me some nails from Mr. MITCHELL’s this night: & pray to let him have 200 of iron to carry with him to pay for them: of which, 100 on acct of Edward RICHMOND; 5s. worth on acct. of Thomas LINKON, son of John LINKON, by virtue of his note herewith sent you: for the remainder I may by yr leave be yr debtor for a while till I have another note from some other to ballance against it: & remain yr obliged


26 8mo. 1702.

Capt. Thomas LEONARD:

Sr – Give credit to William BRIGGS (son of Wm BRIGGS grand-senior) & to Thomas BRIGGS his brother, for the sum of two shillings and four pence in iron at 18 pr Cent. & make me Debtor for the same in Yr book: This 2shis 4d is to pay theyr iron part of theyr Rate to the Ware bridge.


Dated July 15, 1703.

“to be pd to Increse ROBBINSON, Constable for the use aforesd.”

Order for iron “for the ministry of Dorchester.”

Capt. Thomas LEONARD of Taunton :–

Sir: These lines may inform you yt the Selectmen of Dorchester, would desier

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you to deliver unto Sargt. Philip WITHINGTON all that iron, wh is due from the Iron Works to the ministry of Dorchester, and in so doeing this shall be discharg.  Dorchester the 26 of March 1705.


for the name and with the consent of the rest of the Selectmen.”

Mr. WITHINGTON receipts for the product of the half share, 700 of iron for 1699, 1700, ’1, 2, and 3.

The genuine autographs of many of the early settlers are among these unique scraps of iron history, and are now in the possession of the writer.

To illustrate the annual divisions of iron to shareholders, the following cases are cited from the old ledger records, from 1683 to 1713, and later in Dea. Samuel’s records.

The oldest original shareholder was Richard WILLIAMS, who received in 1683 for his one share £3 6s.; for 1684-5, £4 8s. each year; for 1686 and 87, £3 6s. each; for 1688, £4 8s.; for 1689-90-91, £2 4s. each year, mostly in bar iron, or barter thereof at the stores of Bartholomew TIPPING of Taunton, John POLE of Boston, Benedict ARNOLD of Newport, and other sources, butchers, shoemakers, weavers, &c., discounted at the iron works.  Mr. WILLIAMS died in 1693, and his widow continued to receive the product share, through her son, who succeeded to his father’s business, tanning, from 1691 to 1700 each year 2 C. to 4 cwt.; in 1701 2 C.; 1702, £3 2s.; in 1703, £1 10s.; in 1704, £0 8s.; 1705, 13s 2d., about the same for five years; in all 500 wt. of bar iron at 20s. per hundred; discounting meeting house, town, school master and county rates, and store pay, by the clerk of the iron works, and occasionally a few shillings in money.  Dea. WILLIAMS was annually credited “£2 10s. for a hide for the bellows.”

The town of Taunton held half a share, and to illustrate the amount others received, owning half shares, – in 1683 £1 13s. was shared, or, “1 C. 2 qrs. in iron, on Deacon Walter DEAN’s order for the school master, Mr. GREEN;” for 1684, “£2 4s. in iron, delivered on Dea. DEAN’s order for same rate;” for 1685, £2 4s.; 1686, “£1 13s. paid by Dea. DEAN for ammunition;” for 1687, £1 13s.; 1688, £2 4s. in iron; 1689, £1 7s. 6d.; and 1690, £1 2s. to Dea. DEAN’s order to pay the meeting house rate of £2 15s.  From that during the ten years to 1700, the average was £1 2s.; partially in money ordered by Dea. DEAN for school and other rates, or in iron bartered.  The amount of iron and money shared differed from the above in some cases, but iron was as much in demand as money, and as available in Boston and Dorchester as in Taunton.

The following illustrations from the ledger pages show the manner of conveyance of iron to shareholders in Boston, Dorchester and elsewhere.  “June, 1685, delivered to Nicholas WHITE, sen’r, to carry (through the wilderness) to Major E. TYNG, 7 C. of iron, also to Madam LEVERETT* of Boston 7 C. of iron; for Peter NOYES of Sudbury 5 C. 2 qrs. in bars, for John BAKER of Dorchester 3 C. 2 qrs. and for Samuel CAPEN 3 C. 2 qrs. for Dorchester church, as their due for 1683-84.”  “In November 1686, delivered to same to carry to Mrs. TYNG and Madam LEVERETT of Boston 4 C. and 12 lbs. each, for Mr NOYES of Sudbury 3 C. 2 qrs.; for Mr BAKER 205 lbs. and for Mr CAPEN’s order 205 lbs. as their share for 1685.”

Thus, without long repetition of other cases, for twenty years or more, the annual transportation of iron (occasionally a little money) to shareholders, varied from year to year as the product of the iron works varied.  The record, however, shows a gradual decline during the succeeding years.

* Widow of John LEVERETT, governor of Massachusetts 1673-79.

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In 1700, delivered to Wm. THOMAS of Plymouth 5 C. of iron for Madam LEVERETT; same amount for Mrs. TYNG of Boston, as their shares for two years, “marked L, for John POOL of Boston.”  “To Philip WITHINGTON per order of Selectmen of Dorchester, just 7 C. of iron for the four years, 1699 to 1703.”  Also, “per order Dea. Sam’l TOPLIFF, for the Dorchester Church, 1 C. and half of iron for the years 1704, 5, 6 and 7, being £1 13s. each year.”  “in 1720 & ’21, £1 2s.; in 1722 & ’23, nothing; from 1724 to 1732, 11 shillings each year, for Dorchester.”  Other half shareholders same amount, or £1 2s. per share.  Here ends the old ledger accounts, transferred to later books, of which whole columns are filled with the details.


James LEONARD, senior, purchased of William HAYLSTON in 1666 about ten acres of land on Mill River, with a water privilege, where he afterwards erected a forge or “bloomerie,” “with one hearth,” for the manufacture of charcoal iron, called the “Whittington Forge,”* which was in operation in 1678.  His three sons, Joseph, Uriah and Benjamin, having served in the Taunton Iron Works at the “refining and bloomerie” trade, worked the forge.  They also had a grist-mill at the same place.  This was the location of James LEONARD’s iron works.

James died in 1691, and the Probate record (Book I.) describes the division of his property by agreement of all the heirs.  Joseph2 “to have one fourth of his father’s iron works,” with some adjacent land, and “to pay 20 shillings in money, and 400 of iron annually to his mother-in-law;” Uriah “to have the rest of the Whittington Iron Works, dwelling house and land,” and “pay 600 of iron per annum to his mother-in-law Margaret as long as she continued his father’s widow;” James2 to have some tracts of land, “the old home lot,” and “his father’s half share in the Taunton Iron Works,” also £4 9s. more from the estate; Benjamin2 to have certain parcels of land named, the shop tools, old iron, his father’s clothing and as much more from the estate as to make £26 9s.  Abigail2 and John KINGSBURY, Rebecca2 and Isaac CHAPMAN, and Hannah2 and [photocopy illegible] DEAN (daughters and husbands) to have certain tracts of land and proceeds of sales from the estate, to make for each £26 9s.  Thomas to have the dwelling house near the iron works on Two Mile River, after the death of his mother-in-law, and to administer the estate, to pay all bequests to the heirs, and have the remainder.  One third of all the movables were assigned to Widow Margaret, she “to reside in the house where she lives as long as she remains a widow.”  To all of which she agreed.  She died in 1701.

Joseph2 died in 1692, leaving widow Mary, executrix, and four children – his “brother Thomas and Deacon Henry HODGES to be overseers,” to assist in settling the estate.  A few years later James,3 son of Capt. James, succeeded as a partner and to the management of the Whittington Iron Works; and they were “to pay the widow Mary 600 of iron annually during her life, while the works stand.”  […]

* “Whittington,” the original name, changed to Whittenton and legalized.  A record in 1669 says, “Whereas, James LEONARD, forgeman, hath an intent to set up a small Iron Works to go by water on Mill River, above the Saw Mill, and whereas the land on the opposite side belongeth to Lieut. George MACY, and may be overflowed by a dam;” said MACY “hereby grants to James LEONARD the right to build a dam and make use of the water to overflow any part of his land by paying so much annually as any indifferent rational man shall judge.”


Notes and Queries: Rossiter

8 June 2009 Leave a comment

Source: C.B. Eustis, “Notes and Queries: Rossiter,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register 33[1879]:242.

[page 242]

ROSSITER. – Can any one inform me what relationship there was between Edward and Hugh ROSSITER, early settlers of Dorchester?  Both had daughters Jane, and this name seems to have been continued to later generations in this family.  Edward’s daughter, then “widow Jane HART,” petitioned the government for aid in 1685, setting forth that she was the youngest surviving child of Edward ROSSITER, and her age was 70 years.  Hugh’s daughter Jane married, before 1643 (“one of the earliest marriages of Taunton”), Thomas GILBERT of Taunton.  This “Jane GILBERT, mother of Thomas GILBERT, Jr., died June 1, 1691, æ. 77 years.”

“Jane (ROSSITER) HART, youngest surviving child of Edward ROSSITER of Dorchester, died æ. 70.”  “It is ordered that John PHILLIPS shall have for Edward HART, Three quarters of an acre of medowe at Squantum necke” (Dorchester Town Records).  See REGISTER, vol. xxi, p. 335.  Was she wife or mother of this Edward HART?  Edward ROSSITER, a grandson of the assistant, in a letter dated March 28, 1682 (REGISTER, vol. xxii, p. 457), speaks of his grandfather as “a pious gentleman of good estate, who left England for the sake of religion.”  He (the grandfather) died Oct. 23, 1630, much lamented, leaving a son who afterwards lived in Combe, in Devonshire, and Dr. Brian ROSSITER who accompanied his father from England, and Mrs. Jane HART above named.  Dr. Bryan ROSSITER had a daughter Joanna (Jane), born 1642, who married at Weathersfield, Conn., Nov. 7, 1660, the Rev. John COTTON, of Plymouth, Mass.

In the history of Guilford, Conn., by Smith, p. 18, we read, “Dr. Brian ROSSITER of Guilford, Conn., is said to have come over originally with five or six brothers to Boston, on the 1st settlement of the country, he was early settler of Windsor – of Guilford and Killingworth – d. at Guilford Sep. 30, 1672–had wife Elizabeth.”

In the Dorchester town records, Feb. 1634 (see REGISTER, vol. xxi, p. 330), “it is graunted, vnto Hugh ROSCITER and Richard ROCKET, to have each of them, 8 acres of land on the west side of the brooke adjoyning to mr. ROSCITERS ground,” &c.

In Baylie’s History of New Plymouth, vol. i., pt. 1, p. 286, mention is made of Hugh ROSSITER as one “of the first and ancient purchasers.”

“Hugh ROSSITER of Taunton 1637 sold out at Taunton before 1675, to Joseph WILLIS, and went to Connecticut.”  In what part of Connecticut did he settle, and had he a daughter Avis?


Cambridge, Mass.

Search for the Passengers of the Mary and John 1630

1 May 2009 Leave a comment

Source: Burton W. Spear, Search for the Passengers of the Mary and John 1630, Volume 13 (Toledo, Ohio: Burton W. Spear, 1990).

[page 30]

Unanswered Questions on the English Ancestries and Birthplaces of the “Mary and John” Families of 1630.


According to NER Jan. 1984, p. 4-16, he was the son of Nicholas ROSSITER (d. 1 Apr. 1608) & Eliza _____ (bu. 28 Apr. 1608), of Comb St. Nicholas, Somerset, but no wills have been found.  His grandfather was Philip ROSSITER & (1) _____, of Combe St. Nicholas and his great-grandfather was Richard ROSSITER (1463-1529) & Elizabeth PERYE, dau. of William PERYE & _____, dau. of John FRYE.  No wills found.

Parish records of Combe St. Nicholas before 1678 are lost & Edward Rossiter left no will.

There is a Dr. CAMPBELL, a genealogist in Combe St. Nicholas who is claimed to have a great deal of information on the ROSSITERs, FRYEs & TORREY family, all of that village.  Ref: NER Jan. 1937, p. 145-151.  (See Vol. 3, p. 43)

[page 94]


William BLAKE – Bpt. 10 July 1594, Pitminster, Somerset.  He died, 25 Oct. 1663, Dorchester, Mass.  He married, Agnes BAND, 27 Sept. 1617, Pitminster, prob. widow of Richard BAND & dau. of Hugh THORN.  He was granted land in Dorchester on 14 May 1636 and he became a freeman and a member of the church on 14 Mar. 1639.  It is not known when he came to New England.  (Vol. 12, p. 79)

Children of William BLAKE & Agnes (THORN) BAND (Vol. 12, p. 79)

1. John BLAKE – Bpt. 30 Aug. 1618, Pitminster.  He died, 25 Jan. 1688/9, Boston.  He married, Mary (SOUTHER) SHAW, 16 Aug. 1654.  He was one of the executors of the will of Governor John WINTHROP in 1676.  No issue.

2. Anne BLAKE- Bpt. 30 Aug. 1618 (twin?), Pitminster.  She died, 12 July 1681, Boston.  She married, (1) Jacob LEAGER of Boston, who died, 24 Feb. 1662/3 & (2) _____ HALLOWELL.  Her tombstone is in the Boston Society.

Children of Anne BLAKE & Jacob LEAGER (Vol. 11, p. 79)

a. Bethia LEAGER- Bpt. 6 Oct. 1651, Dorchester, Mass.  She m. Fearnot SHAW, blacksmith, s. of Joseph SHAW of Weymouth, Mass.  She had two children: Jacob, b. 6 Nov. 1672.  (2) John, b. 30 Mar. 1678, who m. Mercy SMITH.

b. Hannah LEAGER- B. 14 Nov. 1655, Boston.  She d. 13 Oct. 1690.  She m. (1) John WALKER, brick burner, a. 1676, s. of Thomas & Ann WALKER of Boston.  The had one dau., Hannah WALKER, 25 Apr. 1677, who prob. never married.  Hannah LEAGER m. (2) Thomas PHILIPS of Boston, perhaps s. of Nicholas PHILIPS, by whom she had one child, Hannah PHILIPS, 7 Sept. 1690.

3. William BLAKE Jr.- Bpt. 6 Sept. 1620, Pitminster.  He died, 3 Sept. 1703, Milton, Mass.  He married, (10 [sic] Anna _____, whose name does not appear until 1665 & (2) Hannah TOLMAN, 22 Nov. 1693, Milton, who d. 4 Aug. 1729, dau. of Thomas TOLMAN (M&J passenger) & widow Sarah LYON.

Children of William BLAKE Jr. & (1) Anna (Vol. 12 p. 8)

a. Samuel BLAKE- B. 14 May 1650, Dorchester.  He d. 1719, Taunton.  He m. Sarah MACEY, dau. of George and Susanna MACEY of Taunton.  He had seven children: (1) Priscilla, who m. John SMITH, 1700, s. of Nathaniel SMITH.  (2) Samual Jr., b.a. 1680, who may have m. Sarah PITTS.  (3) Edward, b.a. 1689, m. Anna HANOVER.  (4) Susanna.  (5) Sarah, m. Joseph TOPLIFF.  (6) Hannah.  (7) Jerusha.

b. Anne BLAKE- Bpt. 7 Mar. 1651, Dorchester.  d.y.

c. Anne BLAKE- B. 6 Mar. 1652/3, Dorchester.  Died, 9 May 1722, Taunton.  She m. Thomas GILBERT, 18 Dec. 1676, Boston, s. of John & Jane GILBERT of Taunton.  Eight children: (1) Hannah, b. 28 Sept. 1677, m. William PHILLIPS.  (2) Sarah, b. 11 Aug. 1679, m. John WILLIS.  (3) Mary (twin), b. 11 Aug. 1679, m. Joseph WILLIAMS.  (4) Thomas, b. 11 July 1681. d.y.  (5) Nathaniel, b. 19 July 1683, m. Hannah BRADFORD.  (6) Mehitable, b. 5 May 1686.   (7) Susanna, b. 1687, m. William HODGES.  (8) Experience, b. 1689, m. John TOWNSEND.  (Ref: Gilberts of New England, pt. 1, p. 81)

d. Mary BLAKE- B. 20 Mar. 1654/5, Dorchester.  She m. (1) Joseph LEONARD, 1679 & (2) _____ WILLIS.  Seven children by first husband: (1) Mary, b. 2 Oct. 1680.  (2) Experience, b. 18 Mar. 1682.  (3) Joseph, b. 28 Jan. 1684.  (4) Mehitable, b. 22 Aug. 1685.  (5) Edward, b. 2 Nov. 1688.  (6) William, b. 26 Mar. 1690.  (7) Silence.  (Ref: Savage 3:80)

e. William BLAKE- B. 22 Feb. 1656/7, Dorchester.  Soldier in 1675 & 1690.  Died before 1699.

f. Nathaniel BLAKE- B. 4 July 1659, Dorchester.  Died, 5 Oct. 1720, Milton.  He m. Martha MORY, dau. of Walter MORY.  Seven children: (1) William, b. 21 July 1696, m. Hannah _____.  (2) Nathaniel Jr., b. 26 Feb. 1697/7, m. Elizabeth EVANS.  (3) Simon, b. 1 June 1700, m. Hannah BADCOCK.  (4) James, b. 18 Sept. 1702, m. Abigail TUCKER.  (5) Joseph, b. 27 July 1705.  (6) David, b. 12 July 1707.  (7) Jonathan, b. 12 July 1707.

[page 80]

g. Edward BLAKE- b. 13 Apr. 1662, Dorchester.  He died, 1737.  He m. Elizabeth MORY, 26 June 1696, sister of his brother’s (Nathaniel) wife.  Six children: (1) Anna, b. 7 Apr. 1697, m. _____ STEARNS.  (2) Edward Jr., b. 22 July 1697, m. Elizabeth FRENCH.  (3) Aaron, b. 23 Feb. 1699/1700.  (4) Mary, b. 13 Jan. 1701/2.  (5) Elizabeth, b. 5 Apr. 1704, m. _____ BELCHER.  (6) Moses, b. 6 Aug. 1706, m. Hannah HORTON.

h. Experience BLAKE- B. 17 June 1665, Dorchester.  He <sic> m. Eleazer CARVER, s. of John & Millicent CARVER.  Res: S. Bridgewater.

i. Agnes BLAKE- B. 29 Sept. 1667, Milton.

j. Susan BLAKE- B. 20 July 1670, Milton.  D. 4 May 1676.

k. Mehitable BLAKE- B. 2 Apr. 1673, Milton.  She m. William BRIGGS Jr., 16 June 1696, of Taunton.

4. James BLAKE- Bpt. 27 Apr. 1623, Pitminster.  Died, 28 June 1700, Dorchester.  He married (1) Elizabeth CLAPP, a. 1651, dau. of Dea. Edward CLAPP & Prudence CLAPP, who died, 16 Jan. 1693/4, age 61.  He m. (2) Elizabeth SMITH, 17 Sept. 1695, dau. of Henry 7 <sic> Judith SMITH & widow of Peter HUNT.
He built a house in 1650 in Dorchester that still stands today […]

5. Edward BLAKE- His will: 31 Aug. 1692, inventory, 3 Nov. 1692.  He m. Patience POPE, dau. of John & Jane POPE of Dorchester […]

[page 81]


BLAKE Family, A Genealogical History, William BLAKE of Dorchester, by Samuel BLAKE, 1857.

A Record Of The BLAKES Of Somerset, by Horatio G. SOMERBY.

Increase BLAKE Of Boston, His Ancestors & Descendants, With A Full Account of William BLAKE Of Dorchester, by Francis E. BLAKE, 1898.

[page 121]


The village and parish of Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset provided a number of families who came to New England between 1630 and 1640.  Edward ROSSITER came first, with his family on the “Mary & John” in 1630.  He was one of the Assistants of the Massachusetts Bay Company and one of the most prominent passengers on that ship.  He was followed in 1640 by the TORREYs and FRYs.  A great deal of credit for this article, and particularly the photos and map, is due Miss Patricia PEARCE, of Shepton Beauchamp, Somerset, who visited Combe St. Nicholas and searched the records in the Somerset Record Office, Taunton.


Edward ROSSITER may have come with his wife _____ COMBE, daughter of John COMBE and brother of Joesph [sic] COMBE, but she may have died in England because there is no record of her in New England.

Evidently, Rev. John WHITE of Dorchester, Dorset, loaned Edward ROSSITER considerable money to prepare for his journey to New England.  The total debt was 106 pounds, 9 shillings & 9 pence and it was partly paid by Edward’s son, Nicholas, before their departure.  But when Edward died on 23 Oct. 1630, there was still 15 pounds, 25 shillings due Rev. WHITE.  Among the charges was 47 pounds, 13 shillings & 4 pence, for the passage of 13 passengers (3 pounds, 13 shillings & 4 pence each).

Following is an attempt to identify these people.  The five unknown passengers may have included, Edward’s wife (if she was still living), grandchildren and servants.

1. Edward ROSSITER

2. Son, Nicholas ROSSITER, who later returned.

3. Wife of Nicholas ROSSITER, who later returned.

4. Edward ROSSITER, son of Nicholas, who later returned.

5. Son, Bray ROSSITER.

6. Wife of Bray ROSSITER.

7. Daughter, Jane ROSSITER.

8. Son, Hugh ROSSITER, who later returned.

Plus five unidentified passengers.

[page 124]


George FRY, came with his brother-in-law, William TORREY.  He was possibly the son of the George FRY who witnessed the will of Joseph COMBE of Combe St. Nicholas, 21 Mar. 1619/20.  The FRYs were also related to the ROSSITER & COMBE families.


Although no member of the COMBE family of Combe St. Nicholas has been found that came to New England, they married into the above families.


Edward ROSSITER’s great-grandfather, Richard ROSSITER, was the first proved land owner in Combe St. Nicholas.  When he died in 1529 he owned 4 messuages & 543 acres here.  At that time his son Philip (Edward’s grandfather) inherited 4 messuages, 31 acres of meadow, 312 acres of pasture & 200 acres of woodland.  In the 1583 Survey of the parish (SAS/SE86), “Philipus ROSSITER, gent. (farmer or husbandman) owned a dwelling and a new tucking mill.  He paid 17 pounds a year to the Lord of the Manor (Wells Deanery).  The other freemen of Combe were William BONNER, gent.- 15 pounds, William JEANES- 12 pounds, John BUETT- 2 pounds, John WALROD- 4 pounds, John DEWNELL- 20 pounds and _____ MALLETT- 12 pounds.


Wadeford House (16th) of Philip ROSSITER

[page 125]

Philip ROSSITER’s house was called Wadeford and the fulling mill (woolen mill), which has been carefully restored, still stand today in a hamlet about 3/4 miles SE of Combe St. Nicholas.  This is one of seven mills within a few miles of each other on the River Isle, the others all being grist mills for corn.


Fulling Mill At Wadeford, Once Owned By Philip ROSSITER

Court Roll – 27 July 1608 – To the court came Thomasin CLARKE, William ROSSITER (brother or cousin of Edward?) and John CLARKE and surrendered a tenement called a “ten acre tenement” in the tithing of XII sect. granted again to John and Jane MARDEN.  (The three named above were witnesses.  Ref: ADD/277.)

1641, Nicholas ROSSITER, gent., of Combe (son of Edward, after Nicholas returned to England), holds for 3 lives, his property on lease – Anne, Jane & Mary ROSSITER, all daughters of Nicholas.  Ref: ADD/302.


The FRY family held a lease in 1574 (and possibly earlier) on the Lower Clayhanger Farm, less than a mile NE of Wadeford, where Philip ROSSITER lived.


Entrance To Farmyard Of Lower Clayhanger House Of FRY Family

[page 126]

The Lower Clayhanger house, which is still standing today, is in the “Listed Buildings”, p. 1-2, ADD/281, dated, 1608.  In the 1583 Survey of Combe St. Nicholas, rents were paid in Clayhanger tithing by: Robertus WARRYE- 13 pounds, John COGAN- 14 pounds, Symond KNIGHT- 2 pounds, Matthew GILLETT– 13 pounds, Thomas KNIGHT- 12 pounds and John GILLETT- 3 pounds.

NOTE:     Savage says there was a Matthew GILLET who came on the Mary & John in 1634, first settled in Dorchester and then in Windsor in 1636.  Banks says he came on the Mary & John in 1634 but settled in Salem.  Stiles’ History of Windsor does not list him.

Today the house is a private residence, with Hamstone mullioned windows, a kitchen with a bread oven and a mullioned window in the rear wall.  The roof was renewed in the early 19th century.  The walls are two feet thick.  The original date of the house cannot be placed because of work in 1940 destroyed much of the dating evidence.

Court Roll, 9 Oct. 1593 – To this court came John FRY and Agnes, his wife, and Isabella, wife of Richard SCREVEN.  John FRY holds by right of his wife, Agnes, one tenement called a “ten acre tenement”, with the apprutenances in the tithing of Betham, to remain now of the said Isabella, by the names of Agnes COMBE and Isabella COMBE (daughters of John COMBE, deceased), John FRY and Agnes and Richard and Isabella SCREVEN, surrendered each and all into the hands of the Lord and all estates and interest in the said premises, with the intent that John FRY might be able to receive them again.  Whereupon at this same court, the said John FRY, came and took from the Lord at the Steward’s hands, the said apputtenances, to have and to hold, for the lives of John FRY, Joseph COMBE and William COMBE, sons of the late John COMBE.  Ref: ADD/257.

27 Sept. 1597George FRY came to Court of Combe and leased land called “Wagges”, for the lives of George and his brother, John FRY of Ewell and John FRY, son of Lawrence of Stolfird.  Ref: ADD/265.

15 Oct. 1608– To this Court came Dorothea (RICHARDS) FRY, wife of John FRY, the younger, gent., of Chehanger (Clayhanger), and took the reversion of one cottage, with curtilage, one acre of same, under Old Auster (A Celtic site for the farm, developed by the Saxons and always treated with great respect because of its great age as a site.), all held by John FRY, the younger, for the term of his life.  To have and to hold for the lives of Dorothea, William FRY, son of William of Plymouth, Devon, yeoman, John RICHARDS, son of John of Churchstation, Devon.  Ref: ADD/281.

[page 127]


In 1599 Thomas COMBE at Ham Farm held 20 acres.  This about one and one half miles N of Combe St. Nicholas.  This was by “old Austet”, and ancient Celtic site.  This farm is now occupied by Mr. HUTCHINGS.


Mr. HUTCHINGS at Ham Farm with Shep & Sam

The Great Migration Begins: Edward Rossiter

28 January 2009 Leave a comment

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]


ORIGIN:  Combe St. Nicholas, Somersetshire



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].


[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].

Edward Rossiter, His Family, and Notes on His English Connections

17 May 2008 Leave a comment

Source: Meredith B. Colket, Jr., “Edward Rossiter, His Family, and Notes on His English Connections,” American Genealogist 13[1937].

[page 145]

Edward ROSSITER, of Combe St. Nicholas, Somersetshire, gentleman, was one of the most distinguished members of the Massachusetts Bay Company. His name is first mentioned in connection with America in 1629 when he was elected one of eighteen magistrates (they were styled “Assistants”) to aid the newly elected Governor, WINTHROP, in ruling his large domain. ROSSITER is one of the few known stockholders of the Massachusetts Bay Company to have settled in America; he is one of two assistants to have come from the west-country. Yet despite the prominence of Edward ROSSITER and despite the fact that a large number of Americans are descended from him, very little has been written about this man and his family. This is owing partly to the fact that certain early records in the town which he settled have been burned, partly because the parish records of Combe St. Nicholas before 1678 are lost, and partly because he died the year he came over, and no record of a will or distribution of the large estate he reputedly died possessed of has turned up. The writer has assembled a few notes relative to his interesting career, to his family, and to his English connections, and it is hoped that this article may serve as a stimulus toward a more thorough search of the English records and toward a genealogy of his American descendants.

Herewith are a few abstracts of the English records relative to the ROSSITERS:

Will of Joseph COMBE of Combe St. Nicholas, co. Somerset. Dated 21 March 1619-20. Proved 28 April 1620. (Abstracted: Abstract of

[page 146]

Wills in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Register Soame, 1620, p. 115; and Brown, Abstracts of Somerset Wills, Second Series. p. 22)

Bur. in Ch. of Combe; dau. Agnis (und. 21) £100; dau. Joan £80 at 21; my child unborn; Extrx: wife Winefred; John BOWDAGE of Totworthe in psh of Chard; George FRYE of Combe; bro. Wm. COMBE of Combe; my bro. Edw. ROSSITER and my bro. Edm. COMBE. Wits: Joseph GREENEFIELD, clk., John FRYE, Edward ROSSITER, Edmunde COMBE.

Will of John FRYE the elder of Combe St. Nicholas, co. Somerset. Dated 13 Jan. 1618-19. Proved 31 Dec. 1620 by John FRYE,a brother of deceased, Joseph COMBE being dead. (Abstract of Wills in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Register Soame, 1620, pp. 429-30)

Bur. in Ch. or chyd. of the sd. psh. Sister Maute MEERES, her daus. Margt. and Agnes MERES (both und. 21); Hughe, son of Edw. ROSCITER; cos. Eliz. BOURMAN.

Will of John FRY (Junior, brother of above) of Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset, gentleman. Dated 2 Jan. 1635. Proved 20 Nov. 1638. (Waters, Genealogical Gleanings, p. 765)

To be buried in the parish church of Combe St. Nicholas. My wife, Dorothy, Lands in Combe St. Nicholas lately purchased of Edward ROSSITER, gent., deceased.

Power of attorney of George BETTY of Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset. Given 2 Feb. 1664. (New England Register, Vol. 81 p. 122)

Power of attorney given Feb. 2, 1664 by George BETTY of Combe St. Nicholas in the county of Somerset, to Humphrey PINNY of Windsor in the Colony of Conn., over the estate of BETTY’s children John and Elinor. Signed, sealed, and delivered unto Hugh ROSSITER, for the use of Humphrey PINNEY… (Note: Humphrey PINNEY came to New England in the “Mary and John” with Edward ROSSITER. Bryan ROSSITER resided for a time at Windsor).

During the five years after Mr. ROSSITER’s decease, 1630-35, the names of three ROSSITERs appear in the Dorchester (Mass.) records. One Bryan ROSSITER became a freeman 18 May 1631, and he has been identified as a son. Secondly, there is constant reference to one “Mr. ROSSITER” who seems to have possessed a huge tract on the outskirts of Dorchester. It has been ingeniously supposed that he was an eldest son who inherited his father’s property but returned to England, and in the light of facts now available this is quite possible. Finally, one Hugh ROSSITER appears in the records, first in Dorchester, later in Taunton, but his name disappears from American records sometime before 1643. Savage, in his “Genealogical Dictionary,” cautiously asserted he was probably not son of Edward, and this statement has somehow prevented anyone from attempting to make any analysis of their relationship whatever. In fact, the identity of Hugh ROSSITER has been a puzzle to genealogists for over a century.


(a) A study of the FRYE family may lead to further clues in determining the ROSSITER ancestry. According to the Visitations of Devon, a John FRYE married a ROSSITER. The above John FRYEs were brothers being styled John FRYE, the elder, and John FRYE, Junior, respectively.

[page 147]

Only once, in colonial New England, did ROSSITERs come to settle; indeed, all known ROSSITER comeovers appeared abouth the same time in the same town of Dorchester. Certainly it would be a most curious coincidence if these ROSSITERs were not closely related; interestingly enough, the first mention of Hugh in New England records shows him acquiring land adjoining a ROSSITER:

10 Feb. 1634-35. “It is granted unto Hugh ROSSITER and Richard ROCKETb to have each of them 8 acres of land on the west side of the brooke adjoining to Mr. ROSCITERs ground, as farr forth as the Plantation hath any right to dispose of it.”

New England Register, Vol. XXI, p. 330.

On the face of it there is strong presumptive evidence that Hugh was related to Bryan and Edward. It is more than of passing interest then when we find John FRYE, the elder, of Combe St. Nicholas, referring in his will dated 13 Jan. 1618-19 to “Hughe, son of Edw. ROSCITER.” There seems little doubt that Hugh, son of Edward, is identical with the Hugh who appeared in Dorchester records some sixteen years later.

Before discussing the apparent objections of Savage, I would like to consider a statement that has been made and repeated in publication after publication for generations until now it has been accepted by genealogists as undisputed fact, yet it is not based on the slightest thread of evidence, so far as this writer has been able to ascertain. I am referring to the assertion constantly repeated that Hugh was the father of Jane (ROSSITER) GILBERT. The earliest published statement to this effect appears in a footnote in Baylie’s History of New Plymouth,c 1830. Farmer’s Genealogical Dictionary — excellent for its times — came out the preceding year, and though Edward and Bryan were both discussed, no mention was made of Hugh. Baylie seems to have based his assertion upon the single fact that both Hugh and Jane appeared in the Taunton records. Joane ROSSITER (daughter of Edward) who married Nicholas HART undoubtedly also lived at Taunton, as her husband made his residence there before he removed to Rhode Island. If Baylie had known this fact why wouldn’t he have made this Joane a daughter of Hugh? At this early period in genealogical research, many guesses were made about the early ROSSITERs that were not based on actual fact and have long since been disproved, e.g., that Edward was of Devonshire, that he had six or seven sons, that Hugh was the ancestor of the Connecticut ROSSITERs, and so forth. Genealogists have discarded most of these guesses, but the assertion that Jane was a daughter of Hugh has still been accepted. While there is


(b) The ROCKETs and ROSSITERs of the west-country were closely identified. One John ROCKETT, of Thornecombe, Devon, refers in his will dated 1615 (P.C.C.) to one John ROSSITER of Somerset and mentions Combe St. Nicholas.

(c) Vol. II, Part II, p. 281.

[page 148]

still a possibility that it may be true, it has never been proved in a recognized genealogical journal, and the known facts certainly make the statement questionable.

It is known that Hugh received land in Dorchester in 1635, that he is mentioned in the Taunton records in 1637-38 when he became one of the original purchasers of the town, that he certainly was not in the town in 1643 when the military list was prepared and the name never appears in American records subsequent to about 1638. To have been the father of a girl born ca. 1614 (see below), Hugh must have been aged about 45-50 in 1638, while there is every indication both in English and American records that he would be a young man at this time. Savage apparently objected to a relationship with Edward (1) because Hugh seems to have been too old, as the father of Jane, to be the son of Edward, (2) because Hugh seems never to have been dignified with the title of “Mr.” as Edward had always been, and (3) because his comparatively minute land holding appear to place him in a much lower social status. Hugh may be the father of Jane, but in the light of known facts, it seems very doubtful. It is almost indisputable that Hugh and Edward are related, regardless of the relationship of Jane, and there is nothing to suggest they were brothers. In considering the second possible objection, we must remember that the title “Mr.” was given sparingly enough in the early colonial period, and as a younger son of Edward, he probably would not be thus referred to. Certainly Bryan’s name appears often in the earlier records simply as “Bray ROSSITER.” Thirdly, although Mrs. Joane HART received as much as 500 acres of land from the Mass. Government in the right of her father, Mr. Edward ROSSITER, we must not lose sight of the fact that one “Mr.” ROSSITER had a grant from the town of Dorchesterd of only 6 acres in 1631. This was probably Bryan who became a freeman of the town in the early part of that year.

If it is a matter of guessing the identity of Jane (ROSSITER) GILBERT it might be just as well assumed that Jane who married Thomas GILBERT in 1639 was the young widow of Hugh. Jane was born ca. 1614 and on 23 March 1639/40, was aged about 26, a rather late age for a girl of that period to enter her first matrimonial adventure, when marriages for women at this period seem to have been almost regularly at about 18 to 20. Yet even this proposed solution does not exhaust all possibilities. The point to be emphasized is that the parentage of Jane (ROSSITER) GILBERT has not been positively ascertained.

Bearing the above discussion in mind, let us try to reconstruct the early history of the ROSSITER family.


(d) The few earliest pages of the Dorchester town records are now destroyed, but Blake in 1745 abstracted some of their contents. See New England Register, Vol. XXXII, p. 58, note.

[page 149]

The name ROSSITER, usually spelled ROSSETER, is most uncommon in west-country records. In the Visitation of Somerset,e however, there is a short record of one John ROSSITER of Crewkerne who married Agnes, daughter of John FOSTER, and had a son John who was of “Old Cleve” in 1631. The arms of the family are given as: ARGENT ON A CHEVRON GULES THREE PHEONS OR. In Lincolnshire on the opposite coast of England the family seems to have sprung into one of considerable size. In Maddison’s “Lincolnshire Pedigrees” (p. 831) there is a detailed account of the family of ROSSETER of Aslackby and it is interesting to note that the pedigree is headed by one Richard ROSSETER of Coome, co. Somerset, who married dau. of HARTGILL, sister of HARTGILL murdered by Charles, 8th Lord STOURTON, 1555-56. The arms therein given are but slightly varied from the above, being ARGENT, ON A CHEVRON GULES THREE PHEONS OF THE FIELD.

The predecessors of our Edward of Combe St. Nicholas are still undeterminable, though it is not improbable that there is some connection of Edward and the Richard mentioned in Maddison as being of “Coombe, co. Somerset.”f Edward’sg birth can be tentatively set at ca. 1585 (this approximation fits in well with the known facts and is five years earlier than the baptism of his close associate Roger LUDLOW). The name of his wife is still unknown, though perhaps suggested by the above abstracts. His name first appears in English records in 1610-11 when he signs, along with others of Combe St. Nicholas, a petition in behalf of a poor and aged couple Richard and Ursula STOCKMAN.h John FRYE, Junior, a close associate and friend, also signs the petition. From the various references to his name, it is apparent that he was a man of wealth and influence in his parish. He was deeply religious and took an enthusiastic part in the project of colonizing America. He sold his property at Combe (at least in part) to John FRYE, Junior, and became one of the original stockholders of the Massachusetts Bay Company. On 20 Oct. 1629 he was chosen an assistant for the Company. That year he seems to have been an influential leader among the small group of west-country folk who were gathered at Plymouth, preparatory for the long trip across the ocean. To defray the expenses both for food while at Plymouth and for the cost of transporting people, freight, and goods from Plymouth to America, ROSSITER borrowed heavily from the Rev. John WHITE, of Dorchester, Dorset, the leading spirit back of the migration. The total account was £106.09.09


(e) The Visitation edited by Weaver. Exeter, 1885, p. 128.

(f) The name ROSSETER does not appear in the early records of the west-country and is almost absent in Collinson’s Somersetshire. There is every indication that the ROSSETER family of Combe St. Nicholas originated in Lincolnshire; and Maddison gives at least one pedigree of the family which dates to the 15th century.

(g) Edward, a grandson of the above Richard, was baptized at Aslackby, 24 Feb. 1560/1. was assessed for a subsidy in 1598, but subsequently disappears from the records.

(h) Somerset Record Society, Vol. 23, p. 73.

[page 150]

(a large sum for those days), which was repaid in part before his departure from Plymouth and in part after his departure through his son “Mr. Nich: ROSSITER by his order” on 4 Feb. 1630 and 1 April 1630.i A sum of £15.02.00 was “due by Mr. ROSSETER’s Executors” to the Rev. John WHITE after ROSSITER’s death. Among the charges against ROSSITER, we find an item of £47.13.04 for the “passage of 13 persons att 3l 13s 4d each person.”

The group of Pilgrims left Plymouth in the Mary and John 20 March 1630 and arrived on the New England coast a fortnight before the WINTHROP fleet. Most of the passengers, ROSSITER and his family among them, settled at a place on the coast which a few months later received the name of Dorchester. ROSSITER has the distinction of being one of the nine present at the first meeting of the court in New England, 23 Aug. 1630. He attended two subsequent meetings of the court, but on 23 Oct. 1630 there appears the terse note in Governor WINTHROP’s “Journal”: “Mr. ROSSITER, one of the assistants died.”j But Thomas DUDLEY, then Deputy-Governor, wrote rather feelingly to the Countess of Lincoln:k “Within a month after,l died Mr. ROSSITER, another of the assistants, a godly man and of good estate, which still weakened us more.”m An English grandson of Edward ROSSITER refers to him years later as “a pious gentleman of good estate who left England for the sake of religion.”n Here is an example of a wealthy Englishman, of undoubted gentry extraction, who came to America for religious freedom but died before he could carry out his ideals.

The children of Mr. Edward ROSSITER, as far as known, with proof of parentage, are as follows:

I. NICHOLAS, b. prob. ca. 1608. Probably eldest son; as far as known did not come to America; mentioned as “Mr.” Nich: ROSSITER son of Edward in the accounts of the Rev. John WHITE of Dorchester, Dorset, in 1630. Edward (grandson of the first Edward) who was deacon of the dissenting church at Taunton, Somerset, in 1682o may have been his son.

II. BRYAN (alias BRAY), b. prob. ca. 1610. He was admitted freeman at Dorchester, 18 May 1631. Parentage indicated when his son-in-law John COTTON in 1685 petitions the Mass. Court in behalf of Joane, dau. of Edward ROSSITER. Bryan, a noted Connecticut physician, d. at Guilford, Conn., 30 Sept. 1672. He m. Elizabeth dau. of the Rev. John ALSOP of Crewkerne, Somerset.p She d. at Guilford, 29 Aug. 1669. Issue.


(i) Rose-Troup. The Rev. John WHITE Founder of New England, has an interesting verbatim copy of the account.

(j) 1908 edit., Vol. 1, p. 53.

(k) She was a daughter of Lord SAY AND SELE, colonizer, in whose honor Saybrook, Conn., was named. See Cockayne, Complete Peerage, Vol. VII, p. 697.

(l) After 30 Sept. 1630.

(m) Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1802, Vol. VIII, p. 40.

(n) Hutchinson, History of Massachusetts Bay.

(o) Ibid.

(p) The finding of Waters, viz., that Elizabeth was the sister of the Rev. Josiah ALSOP of London, has been generally accepted. His birthplace, parentage, biography, and the biography of a brother, are given in Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part I, Vol. 1, p. 24.

[page 151]

III. HUGH, mentioned 1619 in the will of John FRYE of Combe St. Nicholas as son of Edward. Probably identical with the Hugh who obtained land at Dorchester, 1635, and who became an original purchaser of Taunton shortly thereafter. One of this name about to leave Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset, for Windsor, Conn., 1664.

IV. JOANE, b. ca. 1616. She m. Nicholas HART who was early of Taunton but who removed to Warwick, R.I. He is stated by Austin to have d. about 1654. Upon petition to the Mass. Court in 1675 she received 500 acres of land from the Government in 1685 and at that time was stated to be “youngest surviving child of the late Mr. Edward ROSSITER, one of the adventurers.”q Mrs. Joane HART, widow, d. at Plymouth 9 June 1691, being 75 years of age. (Plymouth Church Records, Vol. 1, p. 271.) Issue.

(?) “JANE,” relationship with above not proved, b. ca. 1614, d. 1 June 1691 at Taunton, aged 77; m. at Taunton, 23 March 1639/40, Thomas GILBERT. Issue.

New England Marriages Prior to 1700

10 May 2008 Leave a comment

Source: Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing
Company, 1987). [WorldCat]

[pages xiv-xv]

For each of the 37,000 couples herein covered, the husband’s full name (roughly alphabetical, with variant spellings grouped under the most common) is followed sometimes by a superscript to indicate generation (usually first or second), then by birth and death years, if known, in parenthese. “(1654-)” indicates a birth in 1654 and an unknown death year; “(-1700)” indicates an unknown birth year and a death in 1700. “Ca” for “circa” means “about” and “ae 35 in 1674” indicates aged 35 in 1674, a fact recorded probably in a court deposition. After an ampersand, “&”, the wife’s full name is given, with any known birth or death years likewise in parenthesis. “1/wf” or “2/wf” indicates first or second wife, any surname in parenthesis is a maiden name (in general, if there are two surnames, one or both in parenthesis, the first is a maiden surname, the second that of a first husband; if there are three surnames, however the parentheses are placed, the last two are those of previous husbands in chronological order), a blank line (within or outside parenthesis) indicates that the wife’s maiden name is unknown, a surname in brackets is one not derived from a marriage record, “w Daniel” indicates “widow of Daniel,” whose last name is given earlier, and “m/2” or “m/3”, followed by a man’s full name and often a year, indicates a second or third marriage. After the data on husband and wife is a semi-colon, then a date. If the date is exact — 25 Nov. 1674 — it is a marriage (or marriage intention) date; if it is a year only, preceded “b”, it is the birth date of a first child, not the birthdate of either partner, and the marriage can be assumed to have taken place a year or more earlier. Often these “first child” birthdates are approximate. Following this date is a list of residences, from marriage through usually the death of the husband, in chronological order. Question marks alongside any data indicate doubt, of course; “+” after a date means “following”, “-” means “Before”, and stray kinships that might provide clues to origins are sometimes noted as well. Since marriages of men with the same name are also roughly chronological, and each marriage is listed separately, data on a man’s second marriage (including residence only after it) often does not immediately follow the listing for his first.

[page 14]

ALLERTON, Isaac2 [(1630-1702 Virginia)] & 2/wf Elizabeth [WILLOUGHBY]/COLCLOUGH; 1663

[page 15]

AMBROSS, William & Elizabeth MATTOCK; 6 Jan 1697; Boston

[page 39]

BANKS, John & Mehitable MATTOX m/2 Thomas WEBBER; 29 Aug 1694; Boston

[pages 72-73]

BISHOP, Nathaniel (-1687) & Alice ? (not Alice MATTOCKS)(-1674+) b 1634; Boston

BISHOP, Nathaniel & Alice [MATTOCKS?], m/2 John LEWIS 1659, m/3 Abraham HOWE by 1680, m/4 John HARRIS aft 1683; b 1634 (no)

[page 76]

BLAKE, William (1594-1663) & Agnes (?THORNE) BAND/BOND? (-1678), wid; Pitminster, Eng, 27 Sep, 23 Sep 1617; Dorchester

[page 108]

BROWN, Samuel & Mary MATTOCKE, m/2 Thomas BISHOP?; 9 Jul 1661; Boston

[pages 132-33]

CANFIELD, Samuel (1645-1690) & Sarah [WILLOUGHBY] (living 1677), left widow Elizabeth; ca 1668; Norwalk, CT

CANFIELD, Samuel & Elizabeth [MERWIN?/WILLOUGHBY?] (see above); ? ; Norwalk, CT

[page 257]

FAIRBANKS, Richard & Elizabeth (DAULTON); Boston, Eng, b 1636, b 1633, 17 Sep 1618; Boston, ?dau Lydia m/1 Edward BATES, m/2 William FLETCHER

[page 302]

GILBERT, John (-1657) & 3/wf 2/wf Winifred (ROSSITER) COMBE (-1663+); in Eng b 1619; Dorchester/Taunton

GILBERT, Thomas (-1676, 1677) & Jane (COMBE) ROSSITER (-1691), Taunton, ?w Hugh?; 23 Mar 1639, 1639/40 (no); Taunton

GILBERT, Thomas2 (?1620-1662) & Catherine (CHAPIN) BLISS (1626-1712), w Nathaniel, m/3 Samuel MARSHFIELD 1664; 31 Jun 1655, 30 Jun 1655, ?31 Jul; Springfield

GILBERT, Thomas (1643-1725, ae 82y), ?Boston & Anna BLAKEY/BLACKE of Milton (1653-1722); 18 Dec 1676; Taunton

[page 339]

HAMMOND, Lawrence (-1699) & 3/wf Margaret WILLOUGHBY (-1683), w Francis; 8 Feb 1674/5; Charlestown

[page 348]

HART, Nicholas (-1645±) & Jane/Joan [ROSSITER] (1616, ?1615-1685±, 1691); b 1635?; Taunton/Warwick, RI/Portsmouth, RI/ Plymouth

[page 461]

LEONARD, Isaac (ca 1650-ca 1717) & Deliverance ? ; b 1680; Bridgewater

[page 462]

LEONARD, Solomon (?1610-1686) & Mary (CHANDLER) (-bef 1 May 1671); b 1640, b 1643?; Duxbury/Bridgewater

LEONARD, Solomon2 & Mary ? ; b 1680; Bridgewater

[page 463]

LEWIS, John & Alice [MATTOCKS? no?] BISHOP, m/2 Abraham HOWE bef 1680, m/3 John HARRIS (1683+); 22 Nov 1659; Boston

[page 480]

LYNDE, Nathaniel (1659-1729) & 1/wf Susanna WILLOUGHBY (1664-1710); b 1683; Charlestown/ Saybrook, CT

[page 488]

MARCH, George & Mary FOULSOM/FOLSOM, m/2 Joseph HERRICK; 12 Jun 1672; Newbury

MARCH, Hugh1 (-1693) & 1/wf Judith ? (-1675); b 1646; Newbury

MARCH, Hugh1 (-1693) & 2/wf Dorcas (BOWMAN) BLACKLEACH (-1683), w Benjamin; 29 May 1676; Newbury/Watertown

MARCH, Hugh (1656-) & Sarah MOODY (1663-); 29 Mar 1683; Newbury

MARCH, Hugh1 (-1693) & 3/wf Sarah (CUTTING)(BROWN) HEALY (-1699), w James, w William; 3 Dec 1685; Newbury

MARCH, Hugh (1673-1695) & Sarah [COKER], m/2 Archaleus ADAMS 1698; b 1694; Newbury

MARCH, James (-1721) & Mary [WALKER] (1699-), dau Shubael, m/2 John EMERY; b 1690; Newbury

MARCH, John1 (-1666) & 1/wf Rebecca ? ; b 1638; Charlestown

MARCH, John (-1666) & Anna [?BICKNER]; b 1666; Charlestown

MARCH, John & Jemima TRUE; 1 Oct 1679; Newbury

MARCH, John & Mary ANGIER; 11 Dec 1700; Newbury/Reading

MARCH, Nicholas & Martha ? , m/2 William DADEY? 1670; b 1657; Charlestown

MARCH, Stephen & Anna WILBORN; 26 Jan 1691/2; Taunton

MARCH/MARSH, Theophilus (-1694) & Elizabeth HUNT; 10 Jan 1664/5, 3 Feb 1664/5, 3 Feb 1664; Cambridge/Charlestown

MARCH, ? & ? FIELD; b 1701?; Flushing, LI

[page 497]

MATTOCK, David (-1654) & Sarah ? , m/2 Thomas RAWLINS 1656; Braintree/Roxbury

MADOCKS, Edmund & Rebecca MUNINGS/MUNNINGS; 14 Jan 1651/2; Boston

MADDOCK, Henry & Mary WELLINGTON (1640-), m/2 John COOLIDGE 1679; 21 May 1662; Watertown

MATTOCK/MADDOCK, Henry & Rachel ? ; b. 1673; Saco, ME/Boston

MATTOX, Henry & Diana SOUTHER; 3 Mar 1698; Boston

MATTOCKS, James (-1667) & Mary [SPOORE?]; b 1637; Boston

MADDOCKS, John (-1703) & Ruth CHURCH, m/2 Joseph CHILD, m/3 Thomas INGERSOLL 1720; 23 Jun 1689; Watertown

MATTOCK, John (1669-) & Elizabeth ? ; b. 1701?; Boston

MATTOCKE, Richard & Grace TOD (1650-); 2 Mar 1668/9; New Haven

MATTOCKE, Samuel & Constance FAIRBANKS; 30 Mar 1653; Boston

MATTOCKS, Samuel (1659-) & Anna/Ann?/Anne MARCH; 12 Apr 1688; Charlestown/Boston

[page 503]

MERIAM, George1 (ca 1603-1675) & Susan/Susanna RAVEN (-1675+); Tunbridge, Eng, 16 Oct 1627; Concord

[page 579]

PHILLIPS, William (-1705, ae 35?) & Hannah (GILBERT) (1677-1705); b 1699, b 1697?; Taunton

[pages 599-600]

PRATT, Ebenezer & Martha ? ; ca 1700; Weymouth

PRATT, Ephriam (1675±1748) & Phebe ? (-1736); b 1698, (ca 1695?); Weymouth

PRATT, Joseph (1639-1720) & Sarah JUDKINS (1645-1726); 7 May 1662; Weymouth

PRATT, Joseph (1665-1765) & Sarah (BENSON) (-bef 1721); b 1693, ca 1690?; Weymouth

PRATT, John (-1647?) & Mary? (WHITMAN?) dau John, m/2 William TURNER bef 1671; b 1630; Dorchester

PRATT, John (ca 1622-1716) & Elizabeth WHITMAN (-1716, ae 82); 22 Nov 1656, 9? Oct, 27 Nov, no ch; Weymouth

PRATT, John (1668-) & Mercy (NEWCOMB) (1665-1721); b 1690; Weymouth

PRATT, John (1663-1744) & 1/wf Mary (NEWCOMB?); b 1686; Weymouth

PRATT, Matthew (1628-) & Sarah HUNT (1640-1729); 1 Aug 1661; Weymouth

PRATT, Matthew & Susanna PORTER/Mary ? (1665-1761); b 1691; Weymouth/Abington

PRATT, Matthew (-1673?) & Elizabeth [BATES?] in Eng b 1628, b 1622, 1619?; Weymouth/Rehoboth

PRATT, Phineas/Phinehas? (1590/93-1680, ae 90?, ae 81 in 1674) & Mary (PRIEST) GOBERTSON/CUTHBERTSON (-1682+, 1689?); ca 1627/33; Plymouth/Charlestown

PRATT, Samuel (1670-1728) & Patience (CHARLES) (1675-1735); b 1695; Weymouth/Taunton

PRATT, Samuel (-1679) & Hannah RODGERS/ROGERS (-1721, ae 77), m/2 Thomas BAILEY b 1687; 19 Sep 1660, 19 Jul; Weymouth

PRATT, Samuel (1670-1745±) & (Hannah?)(MILLER); b 1697; Middleborough

PRATT, Thomas (ca 1626-1676) & 1/wf Mary ? ; b 1653, b 1659; Weymouth

PRATT, Thomas & Deborah LOVELL (1664/5-1727); ca 1690; Weymouth

PRATT, Thomas & Lydia (?BROWN), m/2 Josiah CHAPIN 1676; ca 1665, b 1676; Weymouth

PRATT, Thomas (-1676) & Lydia (BROWN?) (1658?-) of Ipswich, m/2 Josiah CHAPIN 1676; ca 1665; Weymouth

PRATT, Thomas (1646-) & ? (had Mary 19 Apr 1680, Thomas 9 Dec 1682, Hannah 19 Jul 1685); b 1680; Concord (see Thomas & Alice)

PRATT, Thomas (1646-1720) & Alice ? ; b 1669; Charlestown/Chelsea

PRATT, William & Hannah ? ; ca 1700; Weymouth

PRATT, William (1674-) & Hannah HOUGH; 8? Oct 1700; Saybrook, CT

PRATT, William (1659-1713) & Elizabeth (BAKER)/(SWIFT?) (1656-); 26 Oct 1680; Dorchester

PRATT, William (ca 1620-) & Experience (KING); b 1692; Weymouth/Dorchester

[page 612]

RAWLINS, Thomas1 (-1660) & 3/wf Sarah MADOCKS/MATTOCKS (-1660+) w David; 2 May 1656; Boston

[page 638]

ROSSITER, Hugh & (?Jane) ? (1614-1691), m/2 Thomas GILBERT 1639; Dorchester

ROSSITER, Edward (?1585-1630) & ? ; b 1615; Dorchester

[page 824]

WILLOUGHBY, Francis (?1613-1671) & 1/wf Mary ? (-1640); in Eng, b 1639, b 1635; Charlestown

WILLOUGHBY, Francis (?1613-1671) & 2/wf Sarah [TAYLOR] (-1654); 1640?, in Eng; Charlestown

WILLOUGHBY, Francis (?1613-1671) & 3/wf Margaret (LOCKE) TAYLOR, w Daniel, m Lawrence HAMMOND 1675; ca 1658-9, in Eng; Charlestown

WILLOUGHBY, Jonathan (ca 1635-) & Griszel GOLDESBOROUGH; in Eng, – Dec 1661, lic 3 Dec 1661; Charlestown/Wethersfield, CT

WILLOUGHBY, Nehemiah (1644-1702) & Abigail BARTHOLOMEW (1650-1702); 2 Jan 1671/2, 2 Jan 1671; Charlestown/Salem

WILLOUGHBY, William (1588-1651, in Eng) & Elizabeth ? (-1662, Charlestown); in Eng, b 1613; Charlestown

WILLOUGHBY, William & Abigail ? ; Greenland, NH

The Pioneers of Massachusetts

10 May 2008 Leave a comment

Source: Charles Henry Pope, The Pioneers of Massachusetts: A Descriptive List, Drawn from Records of the Colonies, Towns and Churches, and Other Contemporaneous Documents (Boston: Charles H. Pope, 1900).

[page 51]



Nathaniel, currier, Ipswich, propr. 1636-1639; rem. to Boston. Sold Ips. land 25 May, 1643; adm. chh. 24 (12) 1643; frm. May, 1645. He deposed to the will of Mary Drury 28 Nov. 1682, ae. 75 years. Wife Alice: Ch. Sarah b. (rec. at Boston) 20 (1) 1634, (m. 18 (7) 1654 Samuel Bucknell,) Ruth b. 14 (2) 1639, (m. 15 (2) 1656, John Peirce,) Joseph b. 14 (5) 1642, Benjamin b. 31 (3) 1644, (bapt. at Bo.,) John b. 31 (11) 1646, Samuel d. 7 (1) 1646, Hannah b. 11 (12) 1648, John bapt. 26 (11) 1650, Rebecca b. 8 (2) 1652. The widow Alice m. 22 Nov. 1659, John Lewis.

He made will 10 June, 1681, prob. 4 June, 1687, before Andros. Dau. Ruth, (wife of William Fuller, of Boston, victualler,) and her children, Ruth, wife of Philip Catland, Hannah, wife of William Smith, and Rebecca Pierce; dau. Rebecca, wife of Adam Holland.

[page 73]



John, mariner, Salem, propr. and member. chh. 1637; frm. May 2, 1638. Chosen ruling elder 1660. Wrecked on return from Virginia; lost vessel and goods, but arrived at Sal. in 1661. Had new ship built by William Stephens. Ales (Alice) presumed to be his wife, memb. chh. in 1637. Ch. Jonathan, (d. 1667; est. adm. by his father;) John bapt. 16 (7) 1638, Jacob and Samuel bapt. 13 (1) 1641, John bapt. 1 (3) 1642, James bapt. 17 (5) 1642, Joanna bapt. 9 (2) 1643, Eliza bapt. 23 (10) 1643, Eliza bapt. 14 (2) 1644, Nathaniel bapt. 28 (5) 1644.

His will dated 2 Jan. 1683, prob. 24 Nov. 1684, beq. to gr. ch. John and Abiel B.; to 4 ch. of his dec. son
James B.; to son-in-law Samuel Gardner, Jr. and his wife.

[page 110]


Rice, or Ryse, Charlestown, memb. Boston chh. 1630; frm.. April 1, 1633, propr. Char. 1634. Wife Arrold; ch. Robert, (d. about 1660,) John, James, Mary, (m. Richard LOWDEN,) Elizabeth (m. Thomas PIERCE).

He d. 15 (3) 1646.  Will dated (3) 1646, prob. April 1, 1662.  To wife, sons Robert, John and James, and 2 daus.  Richard LOWDEN and Thomas PIERCE of Woburn, who m. the daus. asked for a division of the estate, the eldest and youngest sons having d. without heirs, leaving only one son.  The widow, Arrold, wrote from Charlestown Aug. 28, 1655, to her son and dau. JENKS and dau. Ruth COLES, giving love of “your bro. John COLE and bros. and sisters PEIRCE and LOWDEN.”  She wrote 16 (10) 1661 to dau. Ruth MOOD, referring to Ruth̓s former husband.  Henry MUDD of Stepney, Eng., mariner, and Ruth his wife, gave power of attorney to John SMITH of Charlestown 16 (–) 1661.  [Mdx. Files.]  Her will dated 20 (10) prob. 26 (10) 1662, beq. to son John C., sons LOWDEN and PERCE and their ch.; bro. Solomon PHIPPS.

[page 128]


William, butcher, Charlestown, 1630, adm. Boston chh. 1631-2, frm. April 1, 1633. Was one of the attorneys of Mrs. Palsgrave before March 17, 1656. Wife Dorothy, adm. chh. 31 (6) 1633; she d. March 8 1670-1. Ch. William, Benjamin bapt. 24 (1) 1635, Nathaniel bapt. 22 (11) 1636, Zachariah b. 16 (3) 1644, Abigail.

He d. April 10, 1682, ae. 77. [Gr. St.] Will dated 3 Feb. 1681, prob. June 20, 1682, beq. to wife Martha and to her ch. by former husband; to son William and dau. Abigail.

[page 160]


Jonathan, Dedham, propr. 23 (1) 1636-7, adm. chh. 14 (6) 1646. Town officer. Wife Grace; ch. John, George, Jonas, Jonathan; Mary adm. chh. 11 (10) 1640, (m. 1, Michael Metcalf, 2, Christopher Smith,) Susan, (m. 12 (8) 1647, Ralph Day).

He d. 5 Dec. 1668; his will prob. Jan. 26, folg., mentions all the above-named and some of their children. The widow d. 28 (10) 1673. [Reg. XIX, 32.] See will of George Fairbanke of Sowerby in Halifax, Eng., dated May 28, 1650. [Reg. VII, 303.] Genealogy.

Richard, Boston, adm chh. (8) 1633, frm. May 14, 1634. He had leave to sell his shop to Saunders, a bookbinder, 7 (6) 1637. He was appointed by Gen. Court 5 (9) 1639, to have charge of all letters to and from Eng., voluntarily brought to his house. He made exchange of land 1 (2) 1652. Wife Elizabeth adm. chh. with him; ch. Constance bapt. 10 (11) 1635, (m. 30 (1) 1653, Samuel Mattocke,) Zaccheus bapt. 8 (10) 1639, d. 10 (9) 1653.

[page 186]


John, Dorchester, a grave, honest gentleman; his son was arrested for drunkenness in 1636. [W.] He rem. to Taunton; frm. Plym. Col. 4 Dec. 1638. Propr., town officer.

Will dated May 31, 1654, prob. June 3, 1657; to wife Winifred, ch: Gyles, Joseph, Thomas, John, Mary Norcrosse, and her dau. Mary; to wife’s gr. ch. Elizabeth Peslee. [Reg. V, 338.]

[page 215]

HART, HEART, compare with HARDY,


Nicholas, Taunton, atba. 1643. [see ROSSITER.]

[page 285]


John, of Tenterden, Eng., with wife Sarah, came in the Hercules in March, 1634. Settled at Scituate. Frm. Plym. Col. 7 Feb. 1636-7. Butcher, rem. to Boston, 1652; ch. Sarah bapt. at Bo. 5 (11) 1650. Wife Sarah d. 12 (5) 1657; he m. 22 Nov. 1659 Alice, widow of Nathaniel Bishop, who joined him in a deed of land 24 Aug. 1659. Ch. Samuel b. Jan. 18, 1661, Joseph b. Feb. 4, 1662, Benoni b. 25 (11) 1664.

[page 297]


John, sawyer, cert. from Stepney parish, Eng., came in the Planter March 22, 1634. Settled at Salem.

He d. April 22, 1643. Will prob. 6 (5) 1644, referred to in Court files.

[page ?]



John, Charlestown, adm. chh. 15 (3) 1642; frm. May 18, 1642. Town officer. [Wife?] Rebeckah adm. chh. 29 (3) 1642. His son Edward d. 4 (8) 1636; son John d. 2 (3) 1641. Will prob. 17 (11) 1665, beq. to wife Ann the est. she brought at marriage; dau. Frances Bucke and her ch.; son Theophilus M. and his son John; wife’s gr. ch. Sarah Bickner.

[pages 306-07]


David, Roxbury, frm. May 22, 1650.

He d. about (3) 1654. The magistrates gave the est. to his widow Sarah, a son and a decrepit dau. May 25, 1654 [Reg. VIII, 276.] The widow m. 2, Thomas Rawlin, Sen. His dau. Elizabeth b. and d. 1655.

James, cooper, Boston, had liberty to live with his bro. John Spoore or elsewhere 18 (4) 1638; adm. chh. 24 (12) 1638, frm. March 13, 1638-9. Dism. to chh. at Mt. Wollaston for ye winter season 24 (9) 1639. Bought a house lot of Anthony Stoddard 28 (10) 1644, and sold it to John Synderland Dec. 30, 1644. Bought house and land April 25, 1653, and gave it to his son Samuel who was about to marry Constance, dau. of Richard Fairbanks. Dau. Mary m. 9 July, 1661 Samuel Browne.

Will, dated Jan. 21, 1666, prob. Aug. 1, 1667. Wife Mary, son Samuel Mattock, daus. Alice, wife of John Lewes, and Mary, wife of Samuel Browne. [Reg. XV, 325.] The widow Mary, aged, made will 8 Jan. 1680, prob. 11 April, 1682; beq. to son Samuel, and his ch. James and Samuel; dau. Alice How; gr. ch. Samuel and Joseph Lewis; dau. Mary Bishop; gr. ch. James, Mary and Samuel Browne and Hannah Byshop.

John, Salem, worked with Robert Lewis on the ship Sara for Richard Hollingsworth, shipbuilder, who gave them an order for the money 19 Aug. 1641.

He d. April 22, 1643; inv. 6 (5) 1644.

Stephen, sent over by Mr. Peter and Mr. Weld in 1643, a servant, assigned to Elder How of Watertown, lived with Nathaniel Treadway of Wat. 5 (2) 1653. [Mdx. Files.]

[page 341]


Mr. Richard, physician, Charlestown, propr. 1630; with wife Anne adm. chh. 1631, frm. May 18, 1631. Ch. John, (who quit-claimed land in 1657,) Mary, (m. Roger Willington,) Sarah, (m. Dr. John Alcock; d. 29 (9) 1665, ae 44 years,) Rebecca b. 25 (5) 1631, John b. 6 (1) 1634, Lydia b. 15 (11) 1635, Bethiah b. and d. 1638, Elizabeth.

He d. about 1655. His widow, dwelling at Stepney, Eng., made a letter of attorney March 17, 1656. [Midx. De. II, 32.] She ret. to N. E. and d. at Roxbury 17 (11) 1669, ae. 75. Will prob. May 13, 1669. Beq. to eldest dau., Mary, wife of Roger Willington; to Anna and other children of her son and dau. Alcock; to John Heylet, eldest son of her dau. Lydia, he to be educated in physick; to Mary, wife of John Maddox; to grandchildren. A debt due to John Pattison in old England.

[page 361]

PIERCE, etc.,

Thomas, Charlestown; wife Elizabeth adm. chh. 10 (11) and he adm. chh. 21 (12) 1634.  Frm. May 6, 1635.  He rem. to Woburn; propr. 1643; town officer.  Signed a petition in 1663, ae. about 46 years old, [Mass. Arch. vol. 106.]  Wife Elizabeth was ae. 71 in 1667.  Ch. Abigail bapt. 17 (4) 1639, a son John b. at Wob. 7 (1) 1643, Thomas b. Jan. 21, 1644, Elizabeth b. Dec. 25, 1646, Joseph b. Aug. 14, 1649, Stephen b. July 16, 1651, Samuel b. 1654, d. 1655, Samuel b. April 7, 1656, William b. March 7, 1656-7, James b. May 7, 1659, Abigail b. Nov. 20, 1660.

He d. Oct. 7, 1666.  Will dated Nov. 7, 1665, ae. about 82 years; beq. to wife Elizabeth; gr. ch. Mary BRIDGE and Elizabeth JEFFS, now dwelling with me; to all gr. ch.; to Harvard College.  The widow deposed to the inv. March 22, 1666-7, ae. 71 years.

[page 392]


Bray, [Brian?] gent., physician. Dorchester, came in the Mary and John in 1629-30. Propr. Sold land to Wm. Hutchinson. [L.] Rem. to Windsor, Conn., where he witnessed a deed Sept. 12, 1647. [Suff. De. I, 98.] Rem. to Guilford, Conn. [Mass. Hist. Coll. 3-10.]

Mr. Edward, one of the Assistants, came to N. E. in 1630.

He d. before Nov. 29, 1630. [W.] His dau., widow Jane Hart, petitioned Gen. Court for aid in 1685, being 70 years old. [Reg. XXXIII, 242.]

Jane, Taunton, m. 23 March 1639-40, Thomas Gilbert.

[page 429]


John, husbandman, late of Clapton in Somersetshire, with his bro. John Mattocke, cooper, had grant of land in Boston, 1638. Frm. May 22, 1638-9. Wife Elizabeth adm. chh. with him 14 (2) 1639; ch. Mary b. 20 (1) 1637, Mary bapt. 21 (2) 1639, Ebenezer b. 3 (3) 1642, Elizabeth bapt. 30 (1) 1645, ae. about 6 days, Martha b. and d.1648, John b. 16 (4) 1650.

[page 486]


Roger, planter, Watertown, 1636. Suit in court in 1651. He deposed Dec. 1673, ae. about 64 years. [Mdx. Files.] He m. Mary, dau. of Dr. Richard Palsgrave; ch. John b. 25 (5) 1638, Mary b. 10 (12) 1640, Joseph b. 9 (8) 1643, Benjamin, Oliver b. Nov. 23, 1648, Palsgrave.

He d. March 11, 1697-8. Will dated 17 Dec. 1697, prob. April 11, 1698; “feeble by reason of age;” beq. to sons John, Joseph, Benjamin, Oliver and Palsgrave; gr. ch. John Mattocks, Roger W., and Mary Livermore.

[page 503]


Mr. Francis, merchant, Charlestown, adm. propr. 1638; adm. chh. with wife Mary 3(10)1639, frm. May 13, 1640. Gave bond in trade concerning tobacco in 1640. [L.] Deputy in 1642 and afterward. Town officer, 1646. Magistrate.

He rendered important service to the colonies as a member of Parliament from Portsmouth, Eng. in 1647, and again in 1657-8. He ret. to Charlestown from his second absence about 1662. The Court gave him 1000 acres of land in token of his services 15 Oct. 1669.

His wife Mary died, and he m. 2, in Eng. Mrs. Margaret Taylor, dau of William Locke and widow of Mr. Daniel Taylor; she was adm. chh. Char. 13(8)1667; ch. Sarah bapt. 13(4)1641, Hannah b. and d. 1643, Nehemiah b. 18(4)1644, Jeremiah b. 29(5)1647, Francis bapt. at St. Olaves in London 29 Feb. 1659-60, Susanna, dau. of the Worshipful Francis Willoughby bapt. at Char. 21(6)1664. The two last ch. had bequests from their mother’s sister Jane Locke, in 1669. [L., A., Reg. XXX, XXXV, and XL.]

His will dated 4 June, 1670, prob. April 10, 1671; refers to his mother’s payment of legacies from his father to his children; beq. to eldest son Jonathan and each of his children; to his wife the estate to which she shall testify to having brought at her marriage and a share of his other property; to sons Nehemiah, William and Francis, and dau. Susannah; to dau. Campfield, who had previously recd. her portion; to aunt Hammond if alive, and to cousin Laur. H.; to his pastor and teacher; to cousin March during her widowhood free use of the house where she dwells; to the school in Charleston 300 acres of land given him by the town but never laid out, lying beyond Woburn; to Laur. Dowse and Edward Wilson, and to his man, Richard Waldron.