The editor of William's findagrave bio claims he is from some place called Maynall Longley, Derbyshire. There is no such place. There is a Meynell Langley in Derybshire. Most of the info in the bio is questionable and there is no documented evidence to back it up. And really, if you can't even spell the name of the place correctly how am I supposed to have any faith in your information.
|St. Mary & St. Michael, Mistley by Tony Peacock|
so were they brothers?
william and margaret in massachusetts
In July of 1639 William bought a house and house lot from the Parker Brothers of Boston. He is known to have lived on what is now Dudley St. near it's intersection with Warren St. but I am not sure if this was the lot he bought in 1639. In a audit of landowners in Rocksbury, done between 1634-1640 there were about 69 men who held acreage from 3 acres up to 356 acres, William's estate was a modest 24 1/2 acres. At his death, William had land scattered around Roxbury and in Boston.
what's the matter with margaret
In his will, written in 1666/7 not too long before he died, William makes provisions for his "dear afflicted wife". What was she afflicted with? The only clue comes in a church record when it was recorded in 1673 that "Margaret Cheaney widow having long been bound by Satan under a melancholick distemper (above 10 or 11 yeares) which made her wholly neglect her calling and live mopishly, this day gave thanks to God for loosing her chain and confessing and bewailing her sinful yielding to temptation".
So, Margaret at about age 60 seems to have had some sort of mental breakdown, possibly entering a chronic depression of some sort. This apparently began several years prior to her husband's death and lasted until about 6 years afterwards. The only thing surprising about this is that more women weren't likewise afflicted. Just think how hard and awful their lives were. I get depressed just thinking about what it was like to live in that age. At any rate, she seems to have recovered her senses and got on with what was left of her life.
Margaret also revived enough to remarry sometime between 1673 and 1679 when she was identifed in a deed as a widow. Her second husband's surname was Burdge, nothing else is known about him.
the reluctant puritan
a good citizen
Despite his lack of church membership and the fact that he was not a Freeman of the Colony, William seems to have been a good citizen of Roxbury. In 1645 the town established their first school. At that time the costs were covered voluntarily by the town's people. William was not only a contributor to the school but served in the office of Feoffee. Feoffee is an old word that doesn't get much use these days. A Feoffee is a trustee, so William was a trustee or administrator of the new school.
William was elected and served as the town constable. We associate the job of constable with law enforcement and police work. In 1630 the job was a bit different. The constable collected taxes, served writs and warrants as well as enforced local laws. He did this in addition to working his farm or other form of employment. Often times men would refuse to serve as constable after they were elected and were fined for turning down the job. William also served as a selectman for the town for one term.
Ellen b. in England by 1626, m. 1642 Humphrey Johnson d. Sept. 1678
Margaret b. unknown m. 1650 Thomas Hastings of Watertown
Thomas b. unknown 1633 d. 1698
William b. unknown 1635 d. 1681
John b. 29 Sept. 1639 Roxbury d. 12 Oct 1671 (drowned apparently catching eels)
Mehitable b. 1 June 1643 Roxbury d/. 1693/4
Joseph b. 6 June 1647 Roxbury d. 1704 Medfield
|photo by Jeff Lloyd findagrave.com|
Margaret Cheney Burdges moved to Boston by 1682 when she was released by the church at Roxbury and joined the South Church of Boston. Her son Thomas had to post surety to the town of Boston that his mother would not become a burden to it's citizens. Margaret signed her will, or rather made her mark, and died in July of 1686 in Boston. She was buried in Roxbury next to her husband William Cheney.
Thomas Hastings of Watertown and Margaret Cheney
Charles Henry Pope, The Cheney Genealogy, Boston, 1897
Robert Charles Anderson, Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634-1635, Vol II
Leslie Mahler, The English Origins of John Cheney of Roxbury and Newbury, Massachusetts, The American Genealogist, Vol. 76, 2001, pp. 246-247
Leslie Mahler, Various English Wills Relating to New England Colonists: Gillette, Swaine, Cheney, and Tutty-Knight-Whitman, The New England Genealogical and Historical Register, Vol. 162, 2008, pp. 116
Archealogia Americana Volume 7
Francis S. Drake, The Town of Roxbury: It's Memorable Persons and Places, Roxbury, 1878