Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Roger Shaw of Cambridge, MA and Hampton, New Hampshire

A perusal of the web and website ancestrydotcom for the genealogy of Roger Shaw of Cambridge and Hampton, New New Hampshire reveals a mishmash of bad research or a complete lack of research and a lot of what I call "copy and paste" genealogy. Extensive and exhaustive research was done by Edgar Joseph Shaw which he compiled in his article "The English Origins of Roger and Ann Shaw of Cambridge, Massachusetts and Hampton, New Hampshire".  This article was published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register in 2004. Many genealogies use the book "Shaw Records: A Memorial of Roger Shaw" by Harriette F. Farwell as the basis of their information.  This book is full of errors, some almost laughable. I especially love the claim that he received a grant of land from King Charles II on 15 November 1647. If you don't get it you'll have to look it up yourself. 
File:Gawsworth - Parish Church.jpg
Gawsworth Parish Church, Photo by Colin Park

english origins
According to most family trees available on the internet Roger was born in London to a Ralph Shaw, past researchers used the fact that he was never again mentioned in any record in England as proof of his departure for New England. If he was in fact born in London in 1594 and arrived in Massachusetts in 1638, he lived 44 years in London with no records of marriage or children.  This seems unlikely to me and I would not think it compelling evidence that this was Roger the immigrant.

According to the research done by Edgar J. Shaw, Roger Shaw was born in Cheshire, England around the village of Congleton in about the year 1600. The parish register at St. James Church in Gawsworth list the baptisms of Roger Shaw's first children. The mother was not mentioned. The entries for the baptism of Margaret, Mary, Ann and Joseph can be found in a search of the Family Search website.

I found this interesting bit about Congleton on Wikipedia:  During the Civil War, former Congleton mayor and lawyer, John Bradshaw, became president of the court which sent Charles I to be beheaded in 1649. His signature as Attorney General was the first on the king's death warrant. There is a plaque commemorating him on Bradshaw House in Lawton Street. Almost opposite the town hall, the White Lion public house bears a blue plaque, placed by the Congleton Civic Society, which reads: "The White Lion, built 16th-17th century. Said to have housed the attorney's office where John Bradshaw, regicide, served his articles.

In his article Shaw also discusses his research into the parents of Roger Shaw.  Based on a search of the probate records found in the Archdeconary Court of Chester, he was able to pinpoint the parents of Roger to Roger and Margery Shaw of Astbury and Hulme Walfield, and also identify a brother, Humphrey. In his will, Roger Sr. left his estate to his two sons, Roger and Humphrey, and in Humphrey's will of 1652 he left the land he bought of his brother Roger Shaw to one of his sons. However, when compared with parish records, it becomes clear that were two men named Roger Shaw who lived as close neighbors, one in Congleton and one in Gawsworth. Our Roger is the one from Gawsworth and his parents are unknown.

arrival in america
Roger and his family arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony sometime prior to the fourth month of 1638 when his daughter Ester's birth was recorded at Cambridge, Massachusetts. On 14 March 1638/9 he was made a Freeman of the Colony, which meant he had also become a member of the Church. Roger jumped right into the running of the town and the new Colony, then less than ten years old.  He was a selectman for Cambridge in 1641,42,44, and 45. Roger was chosen Cambridge Town Clerk in 1642. According to the book the History of Cambridge "he bought a house and land on the southerly side of Arrow Street".  Arrow Street still exists in Cambridge.

The Cooper Frost Austin house, oldest in Cambridge, MA
His daughter Mary, born in Gawsworth, died in Cambridge in 1639, but another daughter Mary was born in 1645. Roger's wife Ann died sometime after this birth and his remove to Hampton where Roger was assigned a seat in the meeting house and no wife was named, but a seat was saved for a future Mrs. Shaw.

 Roger's name crops up occasionally in the Records of both the General Court of the Colony and the Quarterly Courts of Essex County. the first mention of Roger Shaw in the General Court's records was in 1639 when he was a juror in the trial of Marmaduke Percy, who was accused of beating his apprentice to death. Marmaduke got off, apparently the poor boy deserved the beating.  hampton

On 15 Nov 1647 (the date from earlier in the article) Roger bought an estate in the town of Hampton from John Crosse, Sr. for 101.15 pounds. The estate included houses, grounds, marsh, meadow, swamp, upland and commonage. Roger was not one of the original petitioners for the formation of the plantation of Hampton. That petition was presented to the General Court on 6 September 1638 and headed by the Reverend Stephen Bachiler.

As he did in Cambridge, John was immediately active in service to the town of Hampton. He served as Deputy to the General Court, as Constable, he was appointed to end small causes, and served on both petit jury and the grand jury. It is also widely stated that Roger was given permission by the General Court to operate an "Ordinary" in Hampton.  An ordinary was where you sold alcohol. I have read through all the records of the General Court and the Quarterly Courts and cannot find any mention of this action.  The fact that he was supposed to be operating an ordinary was given as further proof that he was the Roger Shaw of London, son of Ralph, who was a vintner.

brief remarriage

In 1653 Roger remarried to Susanna, widow of William Tilton.  In a prenuptial agreement, he agreed to take care of her sons by her first husband.  Unfortunately, she died the following year. Roger did not marry again. He died in Hampton on 29 May 1661.

Roger and Ann Shaw had the following children:

Margaret bp. Gawsworth, Cheshire, 4 July 1626, d. Hampton 15 April 1704, m. Thomas Ward

Mary bp. Gawsworth 8 Nov. 1629, d. Cambridge 26 Jan 1639/40

Ann bp. Gawsworth 22 April 1632, d. Hampton 1663 m. Samuel Fogg

Joseph bp. Gawsworth 12 Nov 1635 d. Hampton 8 Nov. 1720 age 85

Ester b. Cambridge 1638 d. after Aug 1660, named in her father's will of that date

Benjamin b. Cambridge July 1641 d. Hampton Dec. 1717

Mary b. Cambridge 1645 d. 1668 m. Thomas Parker

Joseph married Elizabeth Partridge daughter of William and Ann Spicer Partridge.

If you think I have made any errors in this article, please comment and let me know, especially the bit about Roger running an ordinary. 

Harriette Favoretta Farwell, Shaw Records, 1903

Edgar Joseph Shaw, " The English Origins of Roger and Ann Shaw of Cambridge Massachusetts and Hampton, New Hampshire", The Register, October 2004, pp. 309-316

"England,Cheshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1598-1900," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N4RG-L9Z : accessed 12 May 2012), Joseph Shaw, 1635.

Lucius Robinson Page, History of Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1630-1877: With a Genealogical Register, Boston 1877

Alan Rodgers, Murder and the Death Penalty in Massachusetts, 2008, p. 8


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

It is serendipity that you would post a story about SHAW this week, with a photo of the stone at Founder's Park. I ran a blog post about the memorial stones' last week, too http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2012/05/founders-park-hampton-new-hampshire.html

Robert said...

Heather, I love your blog, I read all your posts! I have even commented on some.

pshaw2014 said...

I am a direct descendant of Roger Shaw. My father grew up in Nashua, NH, moved around the country until he finally settled in Hampton Falls in the 90s. We attend the Hampton Congregational Church, a church that Roger supposedly helped found. The found families' mass was last month I think. It's funny seeing the names of other families still living in the Hampton area, such as the Bachilers and Foggs. The Fogg family has been entrenched in Seabrook for a long time. That headstone for Benjamin Shaw is located at the Shaw cemetery on Route 1 on the border of Hampton Falls and Hampton.
Really interesting and relatable article.

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