Monday, May 21, 2012

Robert Haseltine of Rowley and Bradford, Massachusetts

The story of Robert and John Hazeltine should probably start with the Reverend Ezekiel Rogers, who was to play a large role in their future as well as many others who came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Ezekiel was a radical puritan minister in England.  The Church seems to have been a family calling. His father Richard, brother Daniel and cousin Nathaniel Rogers were all ministers. After graduating from Christ College Cambridge University in 1608 Ezekiel became Chaplain to Sir Francis Barrington of Hatfield Broad Oak in Suffolk. Sir Francis was very wealthy and was able to procure for Ezekiel the living of St. Peter's in Rowley, Yorkshire in February of 1620. 

St. Peter's Church in Rowley
In 1638, the village was very small, but parishioners would travel from nearby villages to the church for services. Ezekiel's career ended, as did many other puritan ministers, because he refused to read from "The Book of Sports". This book, first written by James I of England in 1617, was reissued by his son Charles I. The purpose of the book was to spell out what "sports" were allowable on the Sabbath. Puritans, of course, did not allow anything on the Sabbath, except going to church. Ezekiel convinced his congregation to leave England and sail with him to Massachusetts, where they would be free to worship in the manner of their choosing.

The village of Rowley does not exist today. Twenty local families left England, and emptied the parish of it's residents. Ezekiel and his group sailed from nearby Hull on the ship "The John of London".  They landed first in Boston, and then sailed to Salem, where they sought permission from the General Court to start a new plantation.  In 1639, the plantation of Rowley was underway. Eziekiel, with most of his original settlers, was joined by about 40 more families in their undertaking.  

english origins
So how do Robert and John Hazeltine fit into this scenario?  Did they sail on the John or did they join up with Ezekiel after they arrived in Massachusetts? For starters, there is no ship manifest of passengers for "The John of London", so there is no way to prove they were on board. Their lives were rather ordinary, so nothing much is recorded about them. If they ever discussed where they were from, it was not written down.  There was, however, a family named Haseltine which lived in a village rather close to Rowley, Yorkshire, called Knedlington.  A Robert Haseltine of Knedlington had at least four sons baptized in the nearby village of Howden, they were: Edward (6 Feb. 1608), Robert (2 Jan 1610,[1] John (23 Aug. 1612) and George (23 March 1613). These baptisms can be found in the Howden parish register. 

Robert Sr. is said to be the son of Edward Hesseltine, b. 2-22-1582.  He married Joanna Swanne of Gilberdyke at the parish church of Eastrington in 1609. I have not seen the documentation for these names and dates, but am hoping to find some kind of confirmation. WARNING:This is in no way proof of any kind, it is only a possibility!

rowley, ma
Anyway, Robert and John Hazeltine, whether on the John or not, arrived in Massachusetts by 1639 and are among the first settlers of the new plantation of Rowley, Massachusetts. Robert and John were farmers and everyone knows that a farmer needs a wife.  The first recorded marriage in the new town of Rowley was that of Robert Hazeltine and Ann Unknown. They were married on 23 October 1639. 

Robert and John began the arduous task of clearing land for planting. The brothers were the first settlers, along with William Wild, to clear land along the Merrimack River by 1650. this became known as Rowley Village on the Merrimac and finally as an independent village called Bradford. John would eventually cross the river and finally settle in Haverhill, MA. 

In 1652 the town of Rowley gave Robert, John and William Wild 40 acres of upland each and each was to have commons for 20 head of cattle to fence in if they wanted and 20 acres of meadow land. They were allowed to fell trees for pipe staves, firewood, timber to build houses and fences. They were given the right to keep swine. They would also be freed from paying taxes to the town for the space of seven years.  In return Robert, John and William would be in charge of the towns cattle herd. 

When enough families had settled in Rowley Village, the settlers petitioned the General Court, asking to be incorporated into their own town. In 1668 the Court agreed to their petition provided they hire an orthodox minister and be able to pay his rate. The Bradford men seem to have already anticipated this and had hired their minister.  John Hazeltine had donated an acre of his land to be used for a meeting house.  At a town meeting in 1670 Robert Hazeltine and his son-in-law Benjamin Kimball were appointed to a committee charged with setting up and furnishing said meeting house. In 1671 Robert was given the authority to call and require men to work on the meeting house. A list of the first church members includes the names of Robert Hazeltine's family. 

 court orders
Robert is mentioned several times in the records of the Essex Quarterly Court.  If you have never read the records they are actually pretty entertaining.  Those naughty puritans! Anyway, Robert served on several juries, and was ordered to keep a ferry for crossing the river.  One case of interest, in which Robert was called as witness, involved a man named Robert Swan.  The case is very confusing and involves a cow, which is claimed by various men as their own.  Anyway, Robert Swan is asked why he did not go to "his cousins" the Hazeltines. This wording might mean anything or nothing, but it reinforces the idea of a connection with Yorkshire, as Robert's mother was supposedly Joanna Swanne.  Many ancestry trees have Richard Swan of Rowley as coming from Gilberdyke.  Again, I have not seen any of the actual records which support this claim.

John Hazeltine married a few years after his brother, his wife was Joan Auter (Anter). In the book "Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine", George Thomas Little, stated that Joan was from Biddeford, England.  She came as a servant to the Holman family.  Many family researchers have glommed onto the name Biddeford, which is in Devon. Many, many websites and ancestry tree say that the Hazelton's are from Biddeford, but if the evidence that they are from Howden is not enough to be called proof, then there is certainly nothing that I have seen that would lead me to believe that they were from Devon.

Parish Map showing Howden, Eastrington and Gilberdyke
This map shows the area where the Hazetines and the Swans are from.

children of robert and ann
1. Anna b. 1 Feb 1640 Ipswich, m. 7 Nov 1660 Caleb Kimball, d. 9 April 1688
2. Mercy b. 16 Aug. 1642 Rowley, m. 16 Apr. 1660 Benjamin Kimball, d. 5 Jan 1707
3. David b. 1644 Rowley, m. 26 Sept. 1668 Mary Jewett, d. 31 Aug 1717 Bradford
4. Samuel b. 20 Dec 1645, m. Deborah cooper, d. 19 Aug 1717 Bradford
5. Mary b. 14 Dec 1646 d. 1647
6. Abraham b. 23 Mar 1648, m. 7 Oct 1669 Elizabeth Longhome, d. 28 Apr 1711 Bradford
7. Deliverance b. 25 Jan 1651, d. 14 May 1654
8. Elizabeth b. 15 Jan 1652, d. 18 May 1654
9. Deliverance b. 15 Jan 1653, m. 12 Dec 1672 Nathaniel Dane, d. 15 June 1735 Andover
10. Robert b. 7 Sep 1657, m. 21 Jul 1680 Elizabeth Jewett, d. 8 Mar 1728 Bradford
11. Gershom b. 31 Jan 1661 m. 23 Jun 1690 Abiah Dalton d. 16 Oct 1711

Before they died, Robert and Ann buried three of their small children.  Robert died in Bradford on 27 Aug 1674 and Ann on 26 Aug 1684.  I have seen Ann's date of death attributed to Joanna Swanne Hazeltine.  I'm not sure why that is, but I do not believe that she left England.

My Family Tree with links:
Robert Hazeltine - Ann Unknown
Benjamin Kimball - Mercy Hazeltine
Abraham Kimball - Mary Green
Mary Kimball - Edmund Chadwick
James Chadwick - Mary Thurston
Hannah Chadwick - Jonathan Blanchard
James Blanchard - Phebe Carter
Chloe Blanchard - Samuel Thornton
John C. Thornton - Jennie Clover Rowell


[1] "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 11 February 2018, Robart Haseltine, 02 Jan 1610); citing , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 0844553-555.

[2]  Yorkshire Marriages," database with images, Findmypast ( : accessed 28 January 2019), marriage entry image for Robet Hessletine and Joanna Swanne, 6 July 1606, Eastringham; East Riding Archives & Local Studies Service.

J. L. Ewell, The First Minster of Rowley, The Bay State Monthly, p.2-   September 1899

England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 May 2012), Robert Haseltine, 1610.

Kingsbury, J. D., A Memorial History of Bradford, Haverhill, MA, 1883

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