Friday, December 28, 2012

Thomas Felbrigge/Philbrick of Hampton, N.H.

philbrick founders stone hampton map Hampton Seal Hampton
Many years ago, I lived in Suffolk, England.  I don’t know if I could have spelled the word genealogy at the time, never mind have taken the slightest bit of interest in it.  Oh, the research I could have done, pictures I could have taken, argh! Oh well, that’s life isn't it. I can remember going to Felbrigge Hall in Norfolk, it was a beautiful house and grounds. The original family was long gone but the name lived on, despite new owners.  Thomas, my ancestor,  may or may not have shared a common ancestor with the Felbrigges of the hall, but he did share their name, at least until he came to Massachusetts when the spelling changed. There is a lot of good stuff written about the Philbricks, and as always a few errors, mostly on  I can't claim any new information but maybe I can correct a few minor mistakes.  So this is what I know about Thomas Felbrigge of Bures, England and Hampton, NH.

english origins
Thomas was born in the small village of Bures St. Mary’s in Suffolk, England. Bures St. Mary’s is on the Stour River, which is the border between the counties of Essex and Suffolk.  The Stour Valley was home to many of the original Puritan founders and immigrants to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, including Governor John Winthrop. In fact it is only 7 miles from Bures to Groton Farm, Winthrope’s home.  The Felbrigge family had lived in the Bures area since the 1400’s and as Thomas was the only one of his siblings to leave, they may be there still. 

The Stour Valley was, at that time, well known for it's cloth making and it has been suggested that Thomas' father, Thomas Sr. was a fuller. Fulling is a step in making woolen cloth which involves the cleaning of the wool. On 5 October 1620, Thomas Felbrigge Sr. was appointed "searcher of cloths". A "seacher" was an inspector who was responsible for ensuring the quality and other attributes of the product.  Unfortunately by the 1630's, war, drought, and a poor economy had wreaked havoc on the cloth industry and many of the workers were out of work. 
porch St. Mary's Bures, photo from
British Express
Thomas is believed to be the second son and fourth child of Thomas and Elizabeth Felbrigg. The family eventually included ten children, one of which died as an infant.  Thomas Sr. was born about 1545 and died sometime after 1621.  His wife Elizabeth was buried in 1619. Thomas Jr. was by the a grown man of 37, married with children of his own. It is not known what his occupation was in England. 
Thomas married in Bures on 4 June 1615 Elizabeth Knop daughter of William Knop of Bures. All of Thomas' children were born in England. Thomas is last mentioned in the Manor  Rolls for Bures St. Mary's in 1631 when he and several other men were charged with converting buildings on their properties to cottages, presumably to rent out. This was apparently frowned upon. There is no further court date until 1 Oct 1635 at which time he and his family were in America. 

coming to america, the great debate
For years genealogist have stated that the Felbrigge family came to Massachusetts in 1630 aboard the flagship the Arabella.  The source for this information was given as old family papers.  Some also claim that Thomas was actually a mariner aboard the Arabella. Neither of these two bits of information seem plausible and there is no proof of either. We know Thomas was in England in 1631 because his daughter Martha was baptized in September of 1631, which means she would have been, now don't blush, conceived in late January, or early February of 1631. Thomas was also present at the Court Baron on 12 October. 
There are no records of Thomas Philbrick in Massachusetts in the very first years. I think it is more likely that he and his family left England in 1635.  There were, however families from Bures, and other nearby villages, who Thomas most likely knew and who did sail in 1630.  The Knapp family as well as the French family would have been known to the Felbrigges and they both were part of the Winthrop Fleet. In fact Thomas' son would marry one of the Knapp daughters, maybe that is who the family papers referenced. Any hoo, when Robert Charles Anderson of the Great Migration series says Thomas came on the Arabella I'll change my story, but until then I'm sticking with 1635.

Watertown, one of the first towns of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and many of it's first citizens were immigrants from East Anglia and the Stour Valley. By November of 1635 Watertown declared that it was "full" and would accept no more proprietors. Thomas was obviously there by then as he was given land in the 1636 great Dividend.  Thomas did not have a prominent role in the foundation of the new town, his name is first mentioned in the Watertown records in late 1640 when he was "ordered to set up a house at the waterside, provided it be for a house to received stray goods according to ye order of the court". Hum, not sure what that means. 
Thomas was given land in six divisions including a home stall, meadow, upland and a large farm of 127 acres in the third division. By 1642 almost all the land had been given out and unlike other new towns, no land was set aside for later distribution to the next generation, nor were there any "children's lots".  Thomas' sons had to look elsewhere to find their lands. In 1639 his second son, James, left Watertown for the new plantation of Hampton.

In June of 1640 John Philbrick was granted his first lands in Hampton. According to the Chapman article on the Philbrick family, Thomas sold his Watertown property to one Isaac Stearns in Jan of 1645/6 and joined his sons in Hampton.  He was by then 62 years old.  
He bought land from Captain Christopher Hussey. In his will he left multiple parcels of land to his children including a house lot, orchard, marsh land, and a share in the small ox common.
His name does not come up much in the records of either Hampton or Essex County.  In 1648 he was in court to record a receipt and in 1650 he filed against William Aspinhall of Hampton for "granting an attachment against him contrary to law". He had been covenanted to provide the town of Hampton with powder, bullets and match.  The lawsuit had to do with this.  In 1655 Thomas was appointed the job Culler of Staves.  A large part of the Hampton economy centered on the production of wooden staves used to make barrels.

Elizabeth, of whom very little is known, died in Hampton in Feb of 1663/4. Thomas wrote his will about one month later on 12 March 1663/4.  It was proved on 8 Oct. 1667, Thomas was 83 years old, a great age in those days. His estate was valued at 124 pounds. see below for his will.


John was baptized at St. Mary's in Bures on 1 Oct. 1616. He was 19 when the family left England for Massachusetts.  He left Watertown and settled in Hampton in 1640.  He married Ann in Hampton and had seven children.  He, his wife and daughter Sarah drowned on their way to Boston, when they were "cast into the sea" on 20 Oct. 1657. His son Thomas lived with his grandfather after John and his wife died. 

my ancestor, see next blog 

She was baptized in St. Mary's on 31 Oct of 1621.  She married three times. Her first husband was Thomas Chase of Hampton they married in 1642 and he died in 1652. Second she married John Garland of Hampton, they were married on Oct. 26, 1654.  They were married for only seven years when he died in 1661. Thirdly she married Henry Robie, also of Hampton.  She died in 1677.

Thomas was baptized on 7 March 1623/4.  He died 24 Nov. 1700.  He married Ann Knapp, daughter of William Knapp of Watertown and previously of Bures St. Mary's.  William was probably a kinsman of some type of Thomas' mother Elizabeth Knop. In 1651 he settled on land in Seabrook.  His wife Ann died in 1669 and he married Hannah French White, widow of John White of Haverhill, daughter of Edward French of Hampton.

Hannah's baptism is not recorded.  She married Phillip Lewis of Dover, Hampton and Portsmouth.

Mary was married twice, first to Edward Tuck of Hampton in 1648.  He died in 1652, she remarried to James Wall.

Martha was baptized 4 Sept. 1631, last of Thomas' children.  She was only a small child when the family came to America.  She married twice, first to John Cass of Hampton in 1657. He died suddenly in bed in 1675, she married second to William Lyon.

Will of Thomas Philbrick
The Last will and testament of Thomas Philbrick SunR I Thomas Philbrick being very Aged and weak in body Butt sound in understanding senc & memory Doe settle my Estate according to this my last will here under writtenImpri I Give and Bequeth unto my son James Philbrick and to my Grand Child John Philbrick my fresh medow lying near to the Beach being by Estimation six acres more or less as itt is the which to bee Equally Devided betwen them att such time as shal be . after mentioned: Ittem I Give unto my son James Phil-brick . . Dwelling House and my House lott with the orch-yard and all . . . priveledges and appertinances thear unto belonging to him . . His Heiers for Ever: Ittem I Give & bquith unto my son . . and to my Grand Child John Philbrick my . . . . of Thomas Sleeper lying towards the Clam-bancks in that . . of marsh Comonly Called the Little ox Comon to bee Devided . . them att such time as is hereafter mentioned
Ittem I Give unto my sonn Thomas Philbrick the some of . . pounds to bee payd by My Exequetor after my disease ittem I Give unto my. sonn Thomas Philbrick the land which was sometimes Daniell Hendrakes Called the Hop Ground to bee wholly att His Disposall at this prsent time: Ittem I Give unto my sonn James one bed with all the furnituer thearunto belongeing and a payer, of Cob Irons and a payer of tongues: Ittem I Give unto my Grand Child John Philbrick thatt Bed which hee useth to ly upon with the Bedding Belonging to It. and my Beetle and [fower] wedges and one of my Hakes: and a weanable Cow Calfe within a yeer after my Diseace to bee payd by my Exequetor and like wise I Give to my Grand Daughter Hanna Philbrick one weanable Cow Calfe the next yeer to bee payd by my Exequetor
Ittem I Give unto my son James Philbrick my mare and hee is to pay or deliver unto my sonn Thomas Philbrick the first Colt which she shall bring when itt is weanable Ittem I Give my fower Cowes to my fower Daughters to my Daughter Elizabeth one to my Daughter Hanna one to my Daughter mary [one] and to my Daughter martha one to bee Delivered by my Executor after my Deseace and the moveables in the House which [are] not Expressed above are to bee Equally Devided between [my four] Daughters after my Desease. and I Doe appoint my sonn [James] Philbrick to bee my lawfull Exequetor to this my Last [will] and Testament and I Doe Declare itt to bee my Intent thatt [when] my Grand Child John Philbrick shall Come to the age of twenty one yeeres thatt then hee shall Enter upon & posses whatt I have Given him by this last will: and thatt att the Deseace of my Daughter Elizabeth Garland her son James Chase shall have one Cow in lew of the Cow which I have Given my daughter Elizabeth & thatt the Cow Given to my Daughter Cass shalbee for the use and Pfitt of her daughter martha: & for the Confermation Hereof I have sett to my hand & Seale the twelft of march 166 :64:
Thomas [Seal] Philbrick
his mark
Signed & Sealed in ye prsents of
Samuell Dalton
Mehetabel Dalton

G. Andrew Moriority, The English Connections of Thomas Felbrigge or Philbrick of Hampton N.H., The Register, Vol. 108 p. 25
Rev. Jacob Chapman, Thomas Philbrick and His Family, The Register, Vol. 38, p. 279
Richard Burn, The Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer, vol 4
Joseph Dow, History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire vol 1 and 2
Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire, 1623-1660
Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1633
Watertown Vital Records
Watertown Town Records
Records of the Quarterly Court of Essex County

extra infoIf you read the manor court rolls from Bures St. Mary's you might like to know a bit more about the terminology.  This is a very informative explanation about the Manor system, still used in the time of Thomas Philbrick.
from Medieval English Towns
A system of policing and law enforcement found at the lowest level of society; later part of the manorial system of administration of justice and, by extension, that of towns. It hearks back to the earliest application of the "jury" in Anglo-Saxon England which relied on the knowledge of an accused man's peers and neighbours to vouch for guilt or innocence. Late Anglo-Saxon law required, in most parts of England, every commoner, (unless part of the household of a lord), to be a member of a "tithing" – "ten people" (although in practice groupings were not necessarily of the exact number) – later known as a frankpledge. Tithings were grouped into larger units known as hundreds. The tithing was communally responsible for ensuring that any of its members accused of a crime appeared in court to answer for it, or for the pursuit and capture of a member who fled. (failing that, the group could be answerable for compensating an injured party); they were essentially pledges for the behaviour of their members. The group was also responsible for bringing to the court's attention, through presentments made by their leader (the tithingman – later known as the capital pledgem that is, chief pledge), any crimes committed by its members. These presentments were made by the capital pledges together, acting as a jury representing the local community, and might also extend to identifying crimes committed by others outside the tithing system. What were called "views of frankpledge" were held periodically to ensure that all adult males were members of a tithing, to take an oath from them that they would not engage in illegal behaviour or endorse that of others, and to hear presentments. Membership of tithings was likely organized on a neighbourhood basis, and groups of tithings were associated together in wards, or leets. Only those of fixed abode, whether free or servile, could be in frankpledge; those who were itinerant (e.g. vagrants or fugitives) were naturally suspect, unlikely to find guarantors, and lacked property that could be distrained to oblige them to answer to justice. Important men were also outside the frankpledge system; their households formed a kind of tithing, its members being in the "mainpast" of the head of the household, who was answerable for their behaviour. Migration and freeholding (under which a man's property could become a pledge for him answering to justice) undermined the tithing system, although leet administration remained a useful component of judicial administration until the end of the Middle Ages.

leet court
A type of court with a similar jurisdiction to view of frankpledge; it seems to have been the Assize of Clarendon (1166) that led to the amalgamation of presentments of crimes with administration of frankpledge. The leet was essentially the territorial aspect of frankpledge: numbers of tithings were organized into leets, or wards, which were normally sub-units of the hundred; in some towns, constabularies were similar sub-units. A leet might have its own court (as in Norwich) although more usually it simply made its presentments in a special (full) session of the town's hundred court. In less developed towns, the leet court might be essentially the legislative arm of local government. Offences were presented by a jury of capital pledges, also known as headboroughs (from "borh" meaning pledge), after the articles of leet jurisdiction were read out to them. These articles were typically concerned with breaches of the assizes of bread and ale and offences against the community – such as matters affecting public health and safety, private usurpation of public property (e.g. encroachments of buildings, or blocking of rights-of-way), and performance of public officials. The only punishment within the power of a leet court was the setting of amercements, the amount of each being assessed by a second jury (affeerors). As a result of this limited punitive power, the repetitive offences by the same individuals brought before leet proceedings year after year sometimes have more the appearance of a licensing system. Crimes of a more serious nature could also be presented (i.e. made public) by the leet jury, but were referred to higher authorities. In some towns the leet system was partially superseded by the constabulary system.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New look, same blog

Changed my blog again.  never happy! I got tired of the dynamic view from blogger, I found it too limiting. So, I switched back to an older template.  I tried downloading a template from another site, but couldn't get it to work. For a brief period of time I was afraid you would have to read it one letter at a time. Thankfully my moment of panic that I had totally screwed it all up pass and I was able to get my blog back into a readable format.  I'm sure in a few months I'll get the urge to change it all again, but for now it's staying put.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Edward Sanderson of Watertown 1611-169?

Well, here he is, the first (possible) ancestor  who I  do not want to claim.  I think we all want our ancestors to be interesting men and women, leaders, upstanding citizens, prosperous, wealthy even, not to mention descended from royalty.  (Update: It has been proven that William Sanderson, my ancestor, was a nephew of Robert Sanderson of Boston and therefore the nephew of Edward Sanderson of Watertown.

english origins
The English birthplace of Edward Sanderson is unknown. Robert Sanderson, believed to be his brother, said in his apprenticeship agreement, to be from Higham.  Although there is a birth recorded in Higham Ferrers for a child named Edward Saundersonne on 5 May 1611  [1] there is nothing that would prove that this is the same Edward who immigrated to Massachusetts. However, a close study of nearby towns shows quite a few Saundesons who trained as Goldsmiths in London, just as his brother Robert. Note: He is not the son of Edward Saunderson of Sheffield. [2] If definitely think that a circumstantial case can be built for the Sanderson's to have come from the area around Higham Ferrers in Northamptonshire. 

How and when Edward arrived in Massachusetts is unknown.  He did not sail on the "Increase" in 1635. He is also not the Edward who arrived in Virginia in 1635.  He was probably not the Edward Sanders who worked for Capt. Francis Champernowne as a land agent in New Hampshire.  That Edward was taken to court 21 October 1645 by Mrs. Sarah Lynne, a widow, whom he claimed to have married.  Our Edward was married 15 Oct. 1645 so that doesn't make sense. Still, given his later bad behavior it could have been him.

Edward's marriage to Mary Egelleston in October 1645 [3] seems to have been the high point of his life. His wife is said by many to have been the daughter of Bigod Eggleston of Windsor, Connecticut.  Robert Charles Anderson, in his Great Migration bio of Bigod, stated that he does not believe that she was.  He gave several reasons including the fact that neither she nor her children were named in Bigod's will, all his other living children were in the will. Bigod did not have any connections with Watertown in 1645, he left the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635 for Connecticut.   
Awesome book on Watertown

The reusing of a deceased child's name was very common at that time. Bigod and his first wife had three children, the oldest child James died very young. Bigod named his next son James. They also had a child named Mary, born in 1613/14.  His first wife died, and he remarried by 1634. In  1636 his new wife gave birth to a girl whom they named Mary. Does Bigot then have two daughters named Mary or is it much more likely that the elder Mary had died and like his son James, he reused the name. This is what I believe happened. Mary Egellston who married Edward Sanderson was not the daughter of Bigod.

hard times
Edward and Mary's first child, Jonathan, was born about one year after their marriage in 1646. By 1660 his rapidly growing family, they had six children by then,  was becoming a burden not only for him but for the town itself.  His family was one of four identified by the selectmen of Watertown as providing an inadequate education for their children. In a town meeting of 28 January 1664 the town gave Edward money to support his family. Later that year in May 1664 the town voted to give Edward three bushels of Indian corn.  In 1671 the town was becoming increasingly worried about the prospect of supporting  Edward's family, they decide that some of the children must enter apprenticeships to relieve the burden on the family and ensure that the child was educated. One unnamed daughter was placed with another family at the age of eight, to serve as an apprentice until age 18. The town paid for the care of Edward's children at least through 1676. Jonathan Sanderson, Edward and Mary's oldest child, worked as a servant for Justinian Holden of Cambridge for 4 or 5 years, beginning at age 17.  

It has been suggested by some researchers that Robert Sanderson gave Edward land as a wedding present.  I personally find this hard to believe.  This was a time when men held dearly to their land, not even deeding it to their grown sons, most men were only separated from their land by the grave. Robert Sanderson had more than a few sons to provide for and at the time he left Watertown he was yet to become the wealthy goldsmith he would be in time. 

the icky part
Okay, so the guy was a really bad provider for his family, but he was also something much much worse: a rapist and child abuser. On 8 June 1654 Edward raped an 8 year old girl, Ruth Parson. He admitted having sex with Ruth, but claimed she consented to it. He was convicted but he escaped hanging on a technicality in the law.  His punishment was to be whipped, 30 lashes in Boston and more again in Watertown.  He was to wear a rope around his neck which hung down at least two feet and he was not to be more than 40 rods from his house without the noose on he would be whipped again. His crime, punishment, the rope, a constant reminder that he could be hanged and the response of the town to him may explain why he was not able to provide for his family. 

etc. rip
Edward owned land in Watertown some of which he sold to William Shattuck, this was prior to 1664 when title to some of the land came into question and was settled by the Selectmen of the town. Because there was no deed of sale for the to Edward, I believe he was given the land in one of the land divisions.  He also given land in western Watertown that was would later make up part of Waltham. This land was part of the "Great Division", which was divided into four squadrons and divided between the original proprietors. In 1687 a Goody Sanders was ordered by the selectmen to spin yard in exchange for corn, this was most likely Mary Sanderson.

There is no record of death for either Mary or Edward. However, Edward was named in his brother Robert's will. He left him money to buy a cow. 

Children of Edward and Mary
Jonathan b. 1646 m. Abia Bartlett in 1669, became a Deacon in the church and an upstanding member of society.
Abigail b. about 1660 m. Oct 27, 1687 Shubael Child in Watertown she died 8 Oct 1693, her husband shortly thereafter became mentally ill, was locked in an unheated jail in the middle of winter and froze to death. 
Hannah b. about 1670 m. Aug 6, 1695 Richard Norcross in Watertown 
Hester baptized in Watertown in 1686, described as a "young person"

related posts:
Surname Sanders, Sanderson, Saunders, Saunderson in the record
What's in a Name? two case studies on names, one being Sanders/Sanderson
Andrew White of Watertown
William Sanderson of Watertown
Robert Sanderson of Watertown

[1] Northamptonshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1532-1812 (this is very difficult to read but it has been confirmed that the name is Edward Saundersonne. 

[2]Hunter, J. (1875). Hallamshire: The history and topography of the parish of Sheffield in the county of York. With historical and descriptive notices of the parishes of Ecclesfield, Hansworth, Treeton, and Whiston, and of the chapelry of Bradfield. A new ed., London: Virtue and Co.; [etc., etc.].

[3] Watertown records: comprising the first and second books of town proceedings with the lands grants and possessions, also the proprietors' book and the first book and supplement of births and deaths and marriages Historical Society of Watertown (Mass.). Watertown, MA, USA: Fred G. Baker, 1894. (The marriage is recorded as happening during the 8th month, this is not August, it is October as the Puritan calendar began in March.)

Jennifer Monaghan, Learning to Read and Write in Colonial America
Watertown Records
Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins 1620-1633 p. 624
Richard Archer, Fissures in the Rock: New England in the 17th Century
Roger Thompson, Divided We Stand, Watertown 1630-1680 

comments, challenges, quibbles welcome
please site all sources

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Andrew White of Watertown, MA

international man of mystery
Andrew White is another one of those frustrating ancestors who seem to appear out of thin air.  There are no clues as to where he was born and because of this most of the old genealogies suggest that he was an immigrant.  There was another White family that lived in Watertown, that of John White, and it is possible that Andrew was a kinsman, but it is just as possible that their common surname  was only a coincidence. An Andrew White was deposed in 1689 in Middlesex County Court and gave his age at 23, this would put his birth year close to 1666.

ancestry errors
If you are an subscriber you will have seen, like me, the many trees which claim that the parents of Andrew are John and Hannah French White. John White died Jan 1 1668/69 and left only one son, also named John. And while we are on this blooper, John White, who married Hannah French was the son of William and Mary White of Haverhill. He was not the son of Resolved White, a Pilgrim on the Mayflower. Sorry if I just ruined your day.

Not much is known about Andrew White.  He married Sarah Sanderson, daughter of William and Sarah Sanderson in Watertown on Feb 4 1695/6. If he was born in 1669 or 1670 he was 26 and Sarah was 28 years old. Nine months later, their first child, a daughter was born. 

Their children were:

1. Sarah, born November 17, 1696 married Thomas Hastings, she was baptized on December 12, 1697
2. Andrew, baptized December 29, 1700 married Jane Dix
3. William, baptized December 20, 1701 married Sarah Cutting
4. Hannah, born Jan 15, 1708/9 married Jonathan Learned

The White family, at least Andrew and Sarah, remained in Watertown for the rest of their lives.  Andrew seems to have been fairly successful as he and another man, Nathaniel Sterns, paid 400 pounds for a house and farm.  Andrew also bought land in Cambridge. 
Andrew and his family were also full members of the church.  In a seating chart from 1741, Mr. Andrew White is seated in the second row, his son Andrew Jr. was seated in the front gallery.  Seating in the Puritan meetinghouse was very important   Members were seated according to their age, importance, wealth and social standing. The closer you were to the  front the more "important" your standing in the community.  In 1748, Andrew Jr. took his fathers place in the second row.

Andrew died May 13 1742.  William Richard Cutter is a bit confusing in that he states that Sarah died on December 31 1749 and then turns around and says that Andrew had a second wife named Mary with whom he had more children. 

William Richard Cutter,Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Families Relating to the State of Massachusetts, Vol 4
Watertown Records, East Congregational and Precinct Affairs, 1697-1737
Thompson, Roger, Divided We Stand, Watertown, Massachusetts 

comments, corrections, and confrontations welcome
cite your sources 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

William Sanderson of Watertown and Groton, MA

During my research for this article on William Sanderson I had to wade through a lot of sources including general genealogy books and town records as well as  other blogs trying to decide if Robert Sanderson was in fact  William's father, as is claimed by many, many people.  I have wavered on this idea, back and forth. When I first wrote and posted this article, I said I did not believe it to be true, now I'm not so sure.  If he was not the son of Robert, he was almost definitely related to him.

Page two of Robert's will courtesy of
Alexandra Stocker
There is no birth record for William and no document which would specifically point to his parents.  Robert Sanderson did not name him as a son in his will, but he did name his son Joseph Sanderson of Groton. His Wife Elizabeth left some money to two of William's daughters, Mary and Lydia.  Of note is the fact that Mary and Lydia were the names of Robert's first two wives. Update as of May 5th 2015: Robert Sanderson left a bequest in his will to William Sanderson, son of my nephew William Sanderson. So, there it is, hiding in plain sight for all to see.  William Sanderson was the nephew of Robert Sanderson and not his son. 

In the genealogical books written at the turn of the century, one writer suggested that maybe William was Robert's son(Henry Bond: Genealogies of the Families of Watertown), and another that there was no proof.  One other bit of telling evidence is that he, unlike all of Robert's sons, did not train as a silversmith.  It seems unlikely to me that this would be so, but I wasn't there so what do I know.  Robert left Watertown for Boston in 1652. Did William stay after Robert left Watertown, young unmarried men were not allowed to live alone, so who did he live with?  I think that people badly want him to be Robert's son, and rearrange the facts to make their story fit.

William's year of birth is generally given as 1641.  This date seems to be based on information given during a deposition in 1681 when he gave his age as 40. If he were born that year, and if he was the son of Robert and Lydia, he would have to have been born in Hampton, just prior to Lydia's death.  But there are two other clues about his age that would change this date.  William was also deposed in 1683 and this time he gave his age as 48.  This would give him a birth year of 1635. This makes much more sense when you consider that he took the Oath of Fidelity in 1652.Update: William Sanderson did not take the oath, it was Edward Sanderson, this is confirmed in the Court Records.  If he was born in 41 he would have been only eleven years old at that time, but if he was born in 35 he would have been 17 years of age.  Now, I am pretty sure that boys of eleven did not take the oath, but a young man of 17 would. (Men could take the Oath of Fidelity at age 16)

In his book about Watertown, Roger Thompson describes the "peopling" of the town. Many of the newcomers, those who came after the first two waves of migration, were extended family members of the original settlers.  Also a majority of the population were originally for the East Anglia area of England.  If Robert were from Norfolk, it makes sense that he would assist other members of his family to immigrate to Massachusetts. If William was not Robert's son, he might have been a cousin or nephew whom Robert assisted in immigrating. Update: So now we know that William was Robert's nephew. This brings us back to the William Sanders who was one of the original settlers of Hampton, first home of Robert Sanderson and his family.  This William was a carpenter by trade. Was he the one under contract to Bellingham and Gibbons in 1636? Did he settle in Hampton prior to Robert's arrival? Did he marry there and have a son, William Jr?  Did he die and William Jr. was raised by his Uncle Robert? 

After taking the oath in 1652, William disappears from the records until his marriage in Watertown to Sarah Unknown on Dec 18, 1666.  In the records Williams surname is spelled Sandors, Sanders and Sanderson. There are no clues about the surname of his wife Sarah to be found.  Many internet tree say it was Marr, but I do not know where they come by this name, there does not seem to be any Marr's in Watertown.

The births and baptisms of his children are recorded in the Watertown records. His name is also mentioned in a Middlesex County Court  record dated Oct 1668. He testified in the drowning death of the son of Thomas Hastings.

His children were:
John born 16 October 1667 name was spelled Sandors
Sarah born 17 March 1668
William born 6 September 1670 baptized 1688 in Watertown
Mary 30 November 1671 Batized 13 Jan 1688/89 Baptized 28 Nov 1686
Hannah born 8 March 1674 bp. 1688 in Watertown
Lydia born 21 April 1679 Baptized on 20 May 1688
Joseph born 28 August 1679 Baptized on  20 May 1688

Sarah was a member of the church, but it seems that William was not.  When the children's baptisms were recorded the records say that Sarah "owned the covenant" meaning she was a full church member, William was not identified as a church member.  

Groton is a town north and west of Watertown. It was incorporated in 1655. A large number of early proprietors of Groton were from Watertown. On November 25, 1670 John Morse the town clerk of Groton recorded the sale of 20 acres of upland by Abraham Parker to William Sanderson. William "Sanders" is recorded in the early records of as one of the first 73 heads of families in Groton. On March 13 1676 the town of Groton was burned to the ground, save four garrison houses, and was abandoned until 1678. In 1681 he was charged a rate for payment of the ministers salary, so presumably he returned  after the end of King Phillip's War and the hostilities by the Indians. 

On July 27th 1694 a band of Abenaki warriors attacked the town of Groton at dawn.  20 of the townspeople were killed and 12 carried of into captivity.  One of those killed was William Sanderson.  He died without a will, but his son William Jr. probated his estate. 

His estate was not a large one, valued at 54 pounds.  He did not appear to own or sell land in Watertown prior to his relocation to Groton. If Robert Sanderson was his father he did not seem to profit from the relationship. 

Sarah born 1668 married in Watertown, 1694 to Andrew White. my ancestor
William born 1670 married first Abigail Traine and second in 1704 Anna Shattuck.  They married in Watertown but settled in Sudbury. 
Joseph married Sarah Page in Groton on 30 July 1714. On 30 August 1714 Bethia Kemp had a child out of wedlock and named Joseph Sanderson as the father. Joseph died in Groton 1736.

Related posts:
Robert Sanderson of Watertown
Edward Sanderson of Watertown
Andrew White of Watertown
Sanderson name in records
What's in a Name

Bond's Genealogy of Watertown 
Middlesex Co. MA: Abstract of Court Records, 1643-1674
Middlesex County Land Deeds Volume 6 page 94
Torreys Marriages Prior to 1700
Watertown Vital Records
Groton Vital Records
Watertown Records: East Congregational and Precinct Affairs (source for baptisms)
Samuel Abbott Green, Groton Historical Series 
James Monroe Crafts, History of the Town of Whatley, 1661-1899
Roger Thompson, Divided We Stand: Watertown 1630-1680 

Jeff Hause has an excellent website which includes an extensive write up of Robert Sanderson and his family, including William Sanderson. There is a lot of valuable information and food for thought, give it a look. Hause Genealogy 

Comments, questions, polite confrontations welcome
cite your sources please

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Puritan Crime and Punishment #2

The following people were presented to the court in Salem on 28-12-1642

John Holdgrave was admonished for perjury and affirming  untruths before the church of Salem

John Colver presented for carrying a burden on the Lord's day, he was out of the country and could not answer for his crime.

Robert Cotta and Phillip Crumwell admonished for reproachful speeches against Phillip Verrin

Josua Downing for carrying a burden upon his ass on the Lord's Day about two years ago (really two years ago)

William Flynt was presented for not living with his wife. His answer: his mother was not willing to lett his wyfe  come (sure blame it on your mother)

Michael Millner of Lynn presented upon a common fame  for idly and non profitably spending his time. He was not present he had "gone to Long Island" (I'd go to Long Island too, is I couldn't sit down for a few minutes without being dragged into court)

My favorite:
Roger Scott of Lynn presented for common sleeping at public exercise on the Lord's Day and for striking he who waked him.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Robert Sanderson of Hampton, NH, Watertown and Boston, MA

(Kevin I still haven't changed a thing, except this)

As seems to be the case lately, I started this article with the intent to write about my ancestor William Sanderson of Watertown and now I find myself writing about a man, Robert Sanderson, who may or may not be his father.   The genealogy search is like following the proverbial “white rabbit” and eventually it leads me down the rabbit hole.  I think I am headed in one direction and find myself after awhile somewhere I don’t recognize.  That’s what I think I love about doing this research, it’s like an addictive game.  Most of the time I want to pull my hair out, but when the pieces all fall together I feel like I’ve won a battle. My opponents in this game are varied, time and distance from my ancestors of course, but more frequently it is other genealogy fans who, like me, post “stuff” on the internet.  The tough part it trying to figure out if their “stuff” is legit or not. So here is some of the “stuff” I have found either in books, vital records, or on the internet, about Robert Sanderson of England, Hampton NH, Watertown and Boston.
Updated: 5 May 2015

English Origins
Robert Sanderson left very little in the way of information about his origins.  He was born in about 1607 based on the age given in a deposition taken later in life. In the older histories and genealogies, such as Currier and Bond, he is said the be from Norfolk, England.  The following entry, dated October 17, 1623, is found in the London register of the Goldsmith’s Guild:
"That I Robert Sanderson the sonne of Saundersonne of Higham doe put myselfe apprentize until William Rawlins Citizen & Goldsmith of London for the terme of nyne yeares." 
Unfortunately there are several small towns in England called Higham.  

who he wasn't 
Many ancestry trees and other internet sites claim that Robert was the son of Edward Saunderson and Isabella Shiercliffe of Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. This is not correct. 
Isabella Shiercliffe of Holehouse, buried at Sheffield Jan. 2, 1613; married at Sheffield Aug. 7, 1598, Edward Saunderson of Sheffield and Grimesthorpe, bapt. at Sheffield Jan. 15, 1576/7, will dated Apr. 21, 1617, buried at Sheffield Apr. 24, 1617, only son of Nicholas Saunderson and Margaret (Rawson).
— Nicholas Saunderson of Sheffield, gent., eldest son and heir, bapt. at Sheffield Aug. 3, 1600, married a daughter of Norton of Sandal-Magna, gent.
— Edward Saunderson of Sheffield, gent., second son, bapt. at Sheffield Aug. 17, 1602, will dated May 2, 1670, buried at Sheffield Feb. 19, 1673, married Anne, daughter of Francis Barlow of Sheffield.

I have seen genealogies where they have blithely ignored the fact that Edward the son was born, married and died in England and made him into the Edward Sanderson who immigrated to the Bay Colony. Then they stuck Robert on as a third son and voila family complete. As far as I can tell, the parents of Robert are unknown.

robert sanderson upRobert's unnamed father apprenticed him to William Rawlins, a London Goldsmith from 1623 until 1632. He continued to work in London, when his apprenticeship was complete, until his departure for America in 1639.  There are three known pieces of his work in existence from that time period.  The following information is from a website for a consortium of American Colleges and Museums which have a piece of his work:
"three pieces are known from that period - an unlocated salver and two communion cups and patens. This form of communion cup with its flared body and large trumpet foot follows the chalice-like form revived by William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury during the 1630s. This form along with the use of the "IHS" on this cup was exactly the kind of vaguely Roman Catholic symbolism that infuriated the English Puritans and provoked a deep suspicion of the actual religious beliefs of King Charles I and Archbishop Laud. Probably having converted to Puritanism at an early age, Sanderson's dissatisfaction with having to make such forms may explain his decision to leave for Puritan New England.  A number of American silver authorities had questioned if the London and Boston John Sanderson were the same man; however, tests confirmed that the the marks on his London and Boston pieces were struck with the same die."
london clues
Robert was apprenticed in 1623, he finished in 1632 and was made a Freeman of the Guild of Goldsmiths.  In 1634 William Rawlins, his old master, apprentice his own son William Jr. to Robert Saunderson. The apprenticeship would have been for nine years, however the apprenticeship was transferred to another Goldsmith, George Dixon, presumably when Robert was preparing to immigrate to New England. 

In 1642 William Rawlins Jr. completed his apprenticeship.( William Rawlins  Sr. lived and presumably worked, on Sherborne Lane in the parish of St. Mary Woolnoth. He worked as a goldsmith from 1607 until his death 1637. The baptisms of his children are recorded in the St. Mary Woolnoth parish records.

In 1640 and 1651 men named Saunderson from a small village called Pilton were apprenticed to Goldsmiths in London. Pilton is only twelve miles from Higham, believed by some to be the origin of Robert Sanderson. Are they related, cousins maybe?

marriage and children What does a master goldsmith need? A wife of course.  I don't think that men were able to marry during their apprenticeship so Robert would most likely have married in 1632 after he finished and established his own business. In the parish records of St. Mary Abchurch are found the baptismal records of Robert and Lydia Saunderson. On 26 Feb 1633 Robert was baptized and his sister Lydia on 21 Jan 1635. In the book, The Inhabitants of London 1638, a Mr. Sanderson lives in the parish of St. Mary Abchurch. This sounds like our family.

Arrival in America. 
Robert left England and arrived in New Hampshire in 1639.  He was not a passenger on the ship “The Increase” in 1635 and neither was Edward Sanderson, nor John and Mary Cross. The little we know about his life at this time is from the records of Hampton, NH.   According to Dow in his history of Hampton, Robert received 80 acres of land, including a house lot in December of 1639. He later sold this lot to Francis Swaine and moved to Watertown, MA by 1642.  Dow also records the baptism of a daughter Mary on 29 Oct 1639. the mothers name is recorded as Lydia. 

Mary Cross
At some time after the birth of his daughter Mary, which was probably in October of 1639, Robert’s wife Lydia died.  Her death is said to have occurred in Hampton, but it was not recorded.  According to Torrey and other sources Robert then married a widow named Mary Cross.  Their first child was born on 1 January 1643 in Watertown.  Subtracting nine months from this date gives a marriage date of no later than March of 1642, both Cutter and Bond in their histories say the marriage occurred in 1642. Torrey says that Robert married by 1643.

But who was the widow Mary Cross. She was not the widow of John Cross who was in Hampton, NH at the same time as Robert Sanderson.  That John arrived in 1634 on the “Elizabeth” with his wife Hannah.  He lived in Hampton briefly but removed to Ipswich.  He died in 1650.  According to his bio in the Great Migration series by Robert Charles Anderson, he had only one child, a daughter Hannah who later married Thomas Hammond. All we know was that he was John Cross of Watertown and that he died Sept 15, 1640. Mary subsequently gave birth to a daughter Mary on May 10, 1641. Mary was buried in the Granary Burying Grounds.  According to her headstone she died June 21 1681 aged 74 and her grandson in the grave with her.

Robert Sanderson and his family settled in Watertown.  In addition to son Joseph, Robert and Mary had Benjamin (1649), Sarah (1651) and Robert (1652). Presumably Robert was working as a silversmith at this time, but very little is written about his life in Watertown.  In 1652 he moved his family again, this time settling in Boston.

On August 19, 1652 Robert took his oath as an Officer of the Mint.  The colony of Massachusetts was about to begin producing it’s own coins and Robert Sanderson and his partner John Hull of Boston were the silversmiths chosen for the  job. By mid October the new coins were in circulation. In addition to making coins the men produced silver pieces for Churches and other customers, many of these pieces survive today. The first two apprentices taken on by this new partnership were the two oldest sons of Robert, John and Joseph.

In 1658 John Hull recorded in his diary the death of his apprentice John Sanderson of some type of fever.  He also notes that Robert Sanderson and his son Joseph also suffered from the same fever but recovered.

Robert was active in the church, becoming a deacon of the First Church of Boston. He together with the Rev. John Oxenbridge, John Hull, his partner, and others established the first (gun) powder mill in Massachusetts in about 1675. A pair of silver cups made by John Hull and Robert Sanderson were estimated by Sotheby's for 300,000 to 500,000 dollars. Wow! 

Elizabeth Kingsmill
In 1681, only months after the death of his second wife Mary,  Robert Sanderson was preparing to marry for the third time.  He created a deed which would ensure that his new wife, Elizabeth,  would be taken care of after his death.  He gave her his “mansion house”, two orchards, other land in Boston, half of his household goods and furniture and 50 pounds in money or silver plate. He said she could have whatever of his books she wanted.  He also said she would have all of the rents of his tenements and houses in Boston.  Obviously, Robert was fairly well off.  In return Elizabeth agreed to take care of his daughter Abigail, who was incapable of caring for herself.  Abigail’s birth is not recorded. 

children of robert sanderson

Robert Saunderson bp. 26 Feb 1633 St. Mary Abchurch, London d. young

Lydia Saunderson bp. 21 Jan 1635 St. Mary Abchurch, London, m. 13 Dec. 1654 Thomas Jones of Boston, d. unknown, her son Tom Jones Jr. named in her father's will

Mary Sanderson b. 29 Oct 1639 Hampton, NH.

John Sanderson  b. unknown, d. 18 Sep 1658 of a fever. His brother Joseph was also sick but he recovered. John was unmarried and was an apprentice at the time of his death. 

Joseph Sanderson Second or third son of Robert, his birth was recorded in the Watertown records as 1 Jan 1641/2.  He began his apprenticeship in 1658 with his brother John.  He became a silversmith on the completion of his apprenticeship and worked until his early death in 1666 at age 23. Joseph married Mary Unknown and had two daughters Abiah  and Mary.  His widow remarried to William Ardell in Boston. A trust deed was established to protect Mary’s rights to her property.  Robert Sanderson and his wife Elizabeth gave land and houses to the Ardells. 

Benjamin Sanderson Benjamin, born 1649, followed his brothers in an apprenticeship in his fathers business. He served  as an apprentice from 1663 until 1670. He married Mercy Viall about 1672 and his son Benjamin Jr. was born on May 25th 1674. He was dead by December of 1678 only 30 years old. None of his children apparently survived.

Abigail Sanderson birth not recorded. Elizabeth third wife of Robert agreed to take care of Abigail who could not care for herself.

Sarah Sanderson b. 1651 Watertown. Sarah married Robert Darby of Boston. Her son is name in her fathers will. She too died before her father.

Hannah Sanderson Hannah (Anna) Sanderson’s birth is not recorded. She married Richard West.  They are both named in her fathers will and in her step mother, Elizabeth’s will as well as are her children

Robert Sanderson
Robert was the only son to survive his father.  He too was an apprentice in the business and in fact took over the silversmith business after the death of his father. He is named in his father’s will.

Mary Cross daughter of Mary Cross
Married James Penniman, their children were named in Robert Sanderson's will.

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the ..., Volume 3, edited by William Richard Cutter
Family Memorials: Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston: to which is Appended the Early History of the Town, Volume 1, Henry Bond
Vital Records of Watertown
New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Torry

History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire: From Its Settlement ..., Volume 2, Joseph Dow

Studies on John Hull, the Mint and the Economics of Massachusetts Coinage by Louis Jordan

Suffolk Deed Volume 12 page 125-126

New England Genealogical and Historical Register, Vol 17 page 214

"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 May 2015), Lydia Saunderson, 21 Jan 1635; citing SAINT MARY ABCHURCH,LONDON,LONDON,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 374,483.

The Transcript of the Registers of the United Parishes of S. Mary Woolnoth ...By London(England). St. Mary Wollnoth with St. Mary Woolchurch (Parish), Jame Mark Saurin Brooke, Arthur Washington, Cornelius Hammen.

T C Dale. 'Inhabitants of London in 1638: St. Mary Abchurch.' in The Inhabitants of London in 1638 (London: Society of Genealogist, 1931). 105-106 accessed May 4 2015,

The Sanderson Family Genealogy Facebook Page

Greaves, Beverly Bahr, "William Sanderson and His Descendants 1641-1694" self published manuscript from 1989, found on

Comments, Challenges,  Polite Criticisms Welcome, Proof Required!