The Wades of Ipswich, Massachusetts 1610 to 2010

Jonathan Wade's line of descendants in North America

Death, Wills, and Probate – Part 3

Greetings, citizens of Ipswich and persons of interest in the case of the settlement of Jonathan Wade’s estate. In my earlier notes I recounted the depositions of Capt. Dudley Bradstreet, Samuel Giddings, and Gov. Simon Bradstreet. As the new Town Clerk, I was part of the Quarterly Court at Ipswich and did hear the judgement of the Court appointing Thomas Wade to take an inventory of the Wade estate and present it to the next court. And, as ordered, Thomas Wade did present an inventory to the Court at Salem on the 27th of November, 1683. But just as all seemed to be unfolding as it should, to my astoundment and to that of the Court and those attending the Court, Jonathan Wade junior of Mystic[Medford] asked the Court for leave to present his Petition which explained a few of the earlier actions of the Ipswich Court which had not been recorded in the proceedings and to which Jonathan, the eldest son, took great exception. As you read the following petition, pray keep in mind the singular paragraph from the September Ipswich Court (see details here) and the more detailed version given by Jonathan this November session:

Petition of Jonathan Wade ; of Medford, dated Nov. 27, 1683

Your petitioner’s father Mr. Jonathan Wade of Ipswich is lately deceased and as is supposed intestate [the emphasis is mine], and that thereupon your petitioner waited upon this Court lately held at Ipswich to have obtained Administration to his said father’s estate but for that he was not willing to join his younger brother in the Administration it was denied him and the sole Administration given to his youngest brother Thomas which he judges a great derogation from his right as he is the eldest son and heir to his said father. He therefore humbly prays that this Court will please to review that grant so much to his prejudice and to suffer him to have plea for the said Administration and that the same thereupon may be removed to himself and he is ready to give bond to Administer according to the law.1

Truly we were astounded by the facts that emerged from Jonathan junior’s petition. It appeared that, according to Jonathan Wade junior, Mr. Wade senior had no will to give directions to his heirs about his estate. It also appeared that Jonathan Wade junior had presented himself at the Ipswich Court in September 1683 as the oldest son and legitimate heir and thus was not willing to share the administration of the estate with his younger brother. This, he claimed, led the Court to declare Thomas the sole Administrator against the prevalent practice of bestowing that responsibility on the supposed heir. Perhaps the Court did err in this regard, though it is not the prerogative of a town clerk to make such an assertion. Perhaps the Court felt that administration of the large estate should have representation from someone from Ipswich in Essex County and not someone from Middlesex County. Or perhaps the Court felt that Thomas should be involved since Mr. Wade senior had lived with him in the later years of his life and that Thomas would be more current with Mr. Wade’s affairs than the oldest son who lived in Medford. Once Jonathan refused to join with Thomas in the administration of the estate, the Court may have felt that it had no choice but to nominate Thomas Wade.

The absence of the will, as revealed in this petition of November 1683, explains why depositions were being taken in the town. In order to ascertain what Mr. Wade’s intentions might have been, friends and family and other townspeople were being asked to recall anything that might shed some light on the issue. Many of these depositions were taken on Nov. 24, 1863, the day before the opening of the Quarterly Court in Salem while those that were taken earlier (see details here) were filed with this Court as I have shown below.

Nov 24: Deposition of Isaac Brooks aged about forty years:

I came from Charlestown with old Mr. Wade of Ipswich, sometime since the Indian War. Mr. Wade was askinge me of many things, which I answered as well as I could. The he was pleased to discourse about his affairs in England, viz: the troubles he met with in order of making a good title to his lands there, which with much adoe he had procured, and said Mr. Wade told me he had given said lands to his three sons equally to be divided between them.2

Nov 24: Deposition of Peter Tufts, aged about 34 testified that he had lived upon land adjoining Nathatniel Wade’s land in Medford ever since the Indian war and had often heard that when Mr. Williams Symms ran the dividing line between his and Wade’s land, Symms also ran a middle line on the farm of old Mr. Jonathan Wade of Ipswich. This line ran through the old field near the barn and so northward.3

Nov 24: Deposition of Thomas Shepard, aged about forty-eight years, testified that he had lived in Medford or nearby since Nathaniel Wade lived at his farm and ten or twelve years since he heard about the dividing line, etc.4

Nov 30:Deposition of Samuel Giddings made September 4, 1683 sworn in Court Nov. 30, 1683. (see details)

Nov 24-30: Deposition of Captain Dudley Bradstreet made August 31, 1683. (see details)

And thus did the divisions in the town begin. Many were of the opinion that Mr. Wade did indeed wish to see his lands equally divided between the three brothers and that the farm in Medford be equally divided between Jonathan junior and Nathaniel. Others felt that Jonathan junior was indeed the eldest son and that the common practice of primogeniture should dictate that the estate should be passed on to Jonathan junior. In the absence of a will, the Court was in a predicament as to how it should proceed. The Court did record that Thomas’s bill of expense as administrator of the estate dated November 7, 1683, was 8 pounds.

Ultimately, the Court, in usual fashion, wrote a very brief synopsis of the results of the November court hearings:

Thomas Wade, who was appointed administrator of the estate of Mr. Jonathan Wade at the last court, brought in an inventory, upon which Capt. Jonathan Wade appeared and asked for sole administration upon the estate and removal of his brother Thomas. Court appointed all three administrators and they gave bond for 1,000 li[pounds].5

It would not be long before this decision would be revisited by the Court.


1.  Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Volume IX. Edited by George Francis Dow. Published by: The Essex Institute, 1975. [Online at p. 123.

2. Ibid., p. 124.

3. Ibid., p. 124.

4. Ibid., p. 124.

5. Ibid., p. 122.

©Charles Labarge

Death, Wills, and Probate – Part 2

Greetings: I am John Appleton jr. currently Town Clerk of Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I was appointed Town Clerk in the 6th month of this year in the 23rd year of the reign of His Majesty the King, Charles II.[September 1683]. I was born in Ipswich in year of our Lord 1652 and married Elizabeth Rogers the daughter of the Reverend John Rogers who was the fifth President of Harvard College. I was honoured to succeed Mr. Robert Lord who was clerk for the period of forty-seven years and died one month ago, at which time I was appointed to replace him. It was quite a turbulent time to ascend to such a position of trust. A dreaded disease had swept through our homes and had taken the lives of many of our citizens. But the death of one of our leading and wealthiest men, Jonathan Wade the elder, caused such turbulence in town that I worried that the town would be rent asunder by all the legal proceedings which divided brother against brother and families against families. It began soon after Jonathan Wade the elder succumbed to what was believed to be the dreaded small pox and his sons began to consider how to deal with his estate. The three sons, Jonathan junior, Nathaniel, and Thomas, were due to appear in court on the 25th day of the 6th month [September] 1863 a to seek administration of their father’s estate. In the meantime, depositions were taken from a number of citizens in the town to ascertain certain facts.

The first to provide his deposition, on August 31, 1683,  was Captain Dudley Bradstreet, the son of Simon Bradstreet, currently Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and Nathaniel Wade’s brother-in-law:

When Mr. Wade came to speak to my father about a marriage between his son Nathaniel and my sister Mary[Mercy], I heard him tell my father that he would forthwith settle his said son upon one half of his farm at Mystic [Medford], which part of the said farm should be his, the said Nathaniel. Also, he intended one-third of his land in England for his said son Nathaniel, intending as he said to divide the said land in England equally among his three sons. My father urged him to make a conveyance of the land in England to his son Nathaniel, which he refused to do, saying that he did not know but that he might live to spend it himself, but if he did not, a third part of it should be his son’s, and he would leave it so in his will, & had so left it in his will when he went to England.1

A few days later, on September 4, Samuel Giddings was deposed about a conversation that he had with the elder Mr. Wade in late May, some two or three days before he fell sick:

Mr. Jonathan Wade of Ipswich came to Chebacco two or three days before he fell sick, of which he died, and inquired after the sheep of his daughter Symonds [Mary Wade wife of William Symonds], and I was by the field side going down to fishing, and when I saw him I stayed till he came to me. He complained that he was very hot, so we went under a shady tree, where we stayed near two hours, and there fell into discourse about several things, and amongst the rest, he inquired how we, that is, my brethren and I did agree about my father’s estate that he had left not making a will. I told him that in a short time we agreed amongst ourselves and that the Court confirmed it. He then spoke of his own concerns and intention. He said that he had settled two of his sons at Mystic. He asked how high the men who appraised our land valued it per acre. I told him that they appraised it at 5 pounds per acre. He told me it was very high, but said he, ‘I count the land at Mystic that my sons have to be worth fifteen hundred pounds apiece.’ He also said: ‘My land in England I intend shall be equally divided amongst my three sons and the land at Mystic to them two what enjoyed it, and my land at Ipswich for my son Thomas…I count that I have given my son Jonathan a great deal more that any of the rest, by reason he had enjoyment and improvement of all the land at Mystic for many years.’2

Later that month, September 21, 1863, the Honourable Simon Bradstreet was deposed and gave his version of his and Jonathan Wade’s discussion about the prospects for his son Nathaniel and what his daughter might expect if she married him:

When Mr. Jonathan Wade of Ipswich first came to my house at Andover in the year ’72 to make a motion of marriage between his son Nathaniel and my daughter Mercy, he freely of himself told me what he would give his son, that is, one half of his farm at Mystic, and one-third of his land in England when he died, and that he should have liberty to make use of part of the improved and broken up ground upon the farm until he could get some broken up for himself upon his own part and likewise that he should live in and have use etc. until he had one of his own built upon his part of the farm. I was willing to accept his offer, or at least said nothing against it, but propounded that he would make his son a deed of gift of that third part of his land in England, to enjoy to him and his heirs after his death; this he was not free to do, but said it was assured, for he had put it in his will [most likely the will dated May 1669] that his three sons should have that in England equally divided betwixt them, that is, each a third part. I objected he might alter his will when he pleased and have other children which he thought a vain objection. Much other discourse there was about the stock on the farm etc., but remaining unwilling to give a deed for that in England, saying he might live to spend it and often repeating he had so ordered it in his will which he should never alter without great necessity, or words to that purpose. So we parted for that time, leaving that matter to further consideration; after he came home, he told several of my friends and other as they informed me, that he had proffered to give his son Nathaniel better than £2000 and that I would not accept it. The next time he came to my house, after some discourse about the promise, and perceiving his resolution as formerly, I consented to accept of which he formerly engaged and left it to him to add what he pleased toward the building of him a house, etc., and so agreed that the young person might proceed in marriage with both our consents which accordingly they did.3

On September 25th, the three Wade brothers appeared at the Ipswich Quarterly Court to petition the court to grant them administration of Jonathan Wade’s estate. But events did not unfold as expected. The Court records read as follows:

Mr. Jonathan Wade’s three sons appeared in court and desired administration upon their father’s estate. Court offered to appoint all three, but the second [Nathaniel] asked to be excused and the eldest [Jonathan] refused to join with the rest, so court appointed the third son, Mr. Thomas Wade, he being most acquainted with his father’s affairs in Ipswich. He was ordered to bring in an inventory to the next Salem Court.4

Truth be told, I thought that this would be the end of the story. Mr. Thomas Wade lived in Ipswich and his father lived with him in the final years of his life. Surely, Thomas Wade would appear in court in November with a completed inventory and the court would approve it and the Wade brothers could proceed to divide the estate according to their father’s wishes. But this was not to be. I shall continue the story upon my return from court duties and will ask you to follow me through the maze of depositions, court hearings, and appeals that eventually lead to a final conclusion.


1) The Essex Historical Institute, Volume 4. Salem:1862. Published by: G.M. Whipple & A.A Smith, Salem:Mass. “Abstracts from Wills, Inventories, &c., on File in the Office of the Clerk of Courts, Salem, Mass.” p. 69.

2) Ibid., pp. 69 -70.

3) Ibid., pp. 68-69.

4) Records of the Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Volume IX. Edited by George Francis Dow. Published by: The Essex Institute, 1975. [Online at p. 97.

©Charles Labarge

Death, Wills, Probate and Inventory Part 1

After a long, fruitful, prosperous, and active life, Jonathan Wade, the immigrant from England, died on 13 Jun 1683 probably from an outbreak of small pox that was ravaging Ipswich and other Massachusetts Bay Colony villages and towns. His long-time wife Susannah had died on 29 Nov 1678, 4 years and 6 ½ months prior to his own death. Jonathan spent his last years living with his youngest son, Lt. Col. Thomas Wade who had a home in Ipswich. Jonathan would have been surrounded by 7 grandchildren and his daughter-in-law Elizabeth, the daughter and granddaughter of his old friends William Cogswell and John Cogswell respectively.

Jonathan’s death occurred at a time when many of the first generation were dying both by natural causes and from rampant diseases like small pox. The outbreak in 1682 – 1683 claimed a number of the very familiar names that have been mentioned in Jonathan’s life. The most information that is available on Jonathan’s death is a letter from John Rogers in Ipswich to Joseph Dudley, the son of Gov. Thomas Dudley and the brother-in-law of Maj. Jonathan Wade jr through his marriage to his sister Deborah Dudley. The letter details the extent of the human toll the epidemic took on Ipswich and, especially, on its elders:


Good Sir, Your second letter I have received for which I thanke you most heartily. I was exceeding Glad to see your hand writing and to kisse your hand after the best manner I could. I perceive, and do not wonder at it, that you are solicitous concerning the welfare of your son, Thomas, who is pretty well and in no danger, hath had indeed the feaver and ague an epidemical disease amongst us. I hardly know of one family in this Towne or Cambridge that hath not come downe of that ilnes. Many in the colledge have been and are down of it, two in our owne family. As soon as I understood your son began to be ill, we sent for him over to our house, and my wife tended him as well as she could, but my aunt sent for him home.

I visited him there yesterday, being under Mr. Allen his care and he is better, and without danger. Notwithstanding the disease doth G[row], yet through the Grace of God, there are hardly any that dy of it. I am hardly assured of one. Our poor Town of Ipswich within this 12 weekes have lost three or four of their principal men, the Major General before but in these few days, Mr. Jonathan Wade Senior, Mr. Thom: Andrews schoolmaster, Mr. Jno. Whipple Capt. of our horse that they are almost naked and much of their glory is departed. Sir, I cannot but condole your restraint who cannot turn again bout when you will nor to your own family: But I hope and pray heartily that you may soon have your liberty. I dare not say much to you of my apprehensions, but I should be glad you would please to communicate what you may. I hope you wil fare the better for the frequent yea constant prayers of al men of prayer.

Yea you have the wel wishes of all. Sir, I must not enlarge but take leave. My wife presents her service to your worship. I pray accept of mine and present my hearty service to Mr. Richards. my aunt and Mrs. Richards are well. Mr. Kellond dyed on monday in the night and is to be buryed on the morrow, which is Fryday. Within this moneth or two at most have been 10 or 12 several untimely sudden deaths. Mr., Mrs Paige present etc. to you. No more but that I am your most humble servant and kinsman.


Boston. 16. 6. 83

[Source: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, October 1916 – June 1917, Volume L. Boston: Published by the Society, 1917. Digitized by Google from an original at Princeton University}

As alluded to in earlier posts, Jonathan’s demise mirrored the same kind of controversy that he created during his lifetime. This time, however, Jonathan could only speak through any documents that he left behind. Settling of Jonathan’s estate was to become a complex matter with at least eight court appearances by the three brothers, Jonathan, Nathaniel, and Thomas, numerous witnesses called to testify, appeals and references to and from several courts, and a final decision being made by the President of the Colony, Gov. Joseph Dudley, some 3 years after Jonathan’s death was announced to him in the letter from John Rogers.

As one might well imagine, using documents that are well over 300 years old to re-construct the ins and outs of a legal battle that pitted brothers against brothers and involved a goodly portion of the townspeople as witnesses, the courts and the President of the Colony, is not easy nor as straightforward as some might wish it to be. But there is a sufficient amount of printed details that allows for the re-construction of the affair and a basic understanding of what eventually came to pass.

The legal issues seem to have surfaced quite soon after Jonathan’s death but started in earnest at the first application for administration of his estate on March 1, 1684, 9 months after Jonathan’s death. The three brothers, Jonathan junior, Nathaniel, and Thomas arrived in court and  Jonathan junior produced a a paper signed by his father dated 17 June 1657, written in London, England, signed by Jonathan, and witnessed by the now ex- Lord Mayor of London, Sir William Peake, and Samuel Sedgwick, Peake’s apprentice and son of the infamous Robert Sedgwick. The text of the will was simple and straightforward:

In the name of God. Amen.

I Jonathan Wade of Ipswich in New England, Gent. alias merch. being now in the city of London and bound to sea upon a voyage to New England and not knowing how it may please God to deal with me, I do ordain this as and for my last will and testament in manner and for use following.

Imprimis: my will is that all my debts should be justly satisfied and paid. My will is that my children should be decently brought up and educated. My will is that Susanna my beloved wife, shall enjoy the third part of ye rents and profits of all my houses and lands in New England and Old. My will is that my eldest son Jonathan Wade after four years have expired shall have and enjoy to him and his heirs all my land in Norfolk in the Parish of Denver, only his mother to receive her thirds during her life, but if he have no heir, then he shall return to the next heir of me, the said Jonathan Wade, and for all my houses, lands, & Estate in New England or elsewhere to be equally divided to the rest of my children and I do constitute and ordain and appoint Susanna Wade, my beloved wife, and Jonathan Wade my son to be Executors of this my will.   

In witness of this as my last will and testament I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 17th of June 1657.


                                   signed Jonathan Wade


Witness      William Peake          Samuel Sedgwick

 Whether it came as a surprise to Jonathan junior or not we do not know, but it must have caused a stir when his younger brothers Nathaniel and Thomas presented the Court a second will, this one dated the 22 d 3 mo., 1669 which would have been the 22 May 1669, the first day on the new year being March 25, 1669. This will had the late Jonathan’s signature torn off and so was unsigned and not witnessed. The second will is somewhat longer and contains a more comprehensive list of Jonathan’s bequest:

The 22 of the third month 1669


I Jonathan Wade of Ipswich in New England being to go a voyage to sea & not knowing the day of my death do order this as my last Will & testament. My Will is that my debts should be first paid off. My land in England should be equally divided betwixt my three sons: Jonathan, Nathaniel & Thomas, only that land I had of Mr. Drury for rent should be sold to pay Sir William Peak what is due to him & the remainder to be sent over in goods to my Executrix whom I doe hereby appoint to be my beloved wife Susanna. Also I give to my son Jonathan, the one half of my farm at Mistick with the one half the flock on it. Also, I give to Nathaniel the other half of the said farm at Mistick & half the flock on it to be equally divided betwixt them. I give to Thomas all my housing land and mills at Ipswich and the stock on it. I give to Jonathan all my land at Malden, to Nathaniel all my land at Wemeseck, to Thomas my grant of land of 800 acres. I give to Anthony Crosby my son fifty pound. I give to Thomas Crosby, Nathaniel Crosby, and Jonathan Crosby fifty pound a piece to be for the use of Prudence Crosby, their Mother, during her pleasure. I give to Samuel Rogers my son fifty pound and to his three children fifty pound apiece. I give to William Symonds my son two hundred pound only fifty pound of it to his daughter Susanna. I give to Elihue Wardell, my son two hundred pound to be laid out in housing and land to be for the use of his wife Elizabeth during her life and his two children after these legacies to be appointed out of my debts abroad at the appointment of my Executrix. [The rest] to be gathered in by then to [enlarge, shape, share] shares they shall [have, hold]. For the rest of my estate, I give equally unto my 3 natural sons to be possessed of as at the pleasure of my executrix or at her death or at the day of her marriage with another man which shall first fall out. So I commend my soul to God and Relations unto the good pleasure of my Sovereign Creator & Merciful Redeemer. The day and year above written

There are several major changes between the wills and I will try to highlight them to show why the battle over each of these wills went on for over two years.

1) The 1657 will was written when Jonathan was about to return home from England where he had transacted his real estate deals in Norfolk County. The 1669 will was written when Jonathan was about to take another trip to England. In both cases, he states the reason for writing a will was that he was going to sea and was not aware of how God would deal with him nor was he aware of the day of his death.

2) In both wills, as was common custom, he stipulates that his debts should be paid.

3) In the 1657 will, Jonathan appoints his wife Susanna and his son Jonathan Wade to be the Executors of his will. In the 1669 will, he only appoints Susanna as the Executrix.

4) In the 1657 will, he leaves his wife Susanna 1/3 of the rents and profits of all his houses and lands in both New and Old England. In the 1669 will, he leaves her the remainder of the sale of a rental house in England (Mr. Drury’s) after the payment of his debts to Wiliam Peake, “the remainder to be sent over in goods”. He also leaves her the remainder of the estate that is not willed to the children or grandchildren named in the will which Susanna can distribute at her pleasure or which will be distributed to his 3 natural sons after her death.

5)The 1657 will gives, after four years, all the land in Norfolk County in England to his eldest son Jonathan Wade except the 1/3 set aside for Susanna. Should Jonathan junior have no heir, then he must return all the houses and estate of Jonathan senior to the next heir (Nathaniel, if he were alive, or Thomas) and these would be equally divided to the rest of his children. The 1669 will stipulates that all the land in England be divided equally amongst his 3 sons (except for Mr. Drury’s house). Jonthan jr. would receive ½ of the farm at Mistick (now Medford) and ½ the flock there. His brother Nathaniel would receive the other half of both the farm and the flock. Son Thomas would receive all of Jonathan senior’s housing, land, and mills at Ipswich and the stock associated with them. He further gave Jonathan junior the land at Malden, to Nathaniel the land at “Wemeseck”1, and to Thomas the grant of 800 acres that he had most likely received from the colony on account of his investment in the Company of the Massachusetts Bay.

6) In the 1669 will only, Jonathan lays out bequests to his children and grandchildren as follows:

  • to Anthony Crosby (husband of Prudence Wade) £50
  • to grandsons Thomas, Nathaniel, and Jonathan £50 each to be administered by their mother Prudence
  • to Samuel Rogers (husband of Sarah Wade) £50 and £50 to each of Samuel and Sarah’s children
  • to William Symonds (husband of Mary Wade) £200 of which £50 was to go to their daughter Susanna
  • to Elihue Wardell (son of Elizabeth Wade) £200 for housing and land for Elizabeth during her life and their two children

7) The 1669 will also gives the remainder of Jonathan senior’s estate equally to his 3 natural sons under one of three conditions:

  • at the pleasure of Susanna, his executrix
  • at her death
  • at the day of her marriage with another man

It is clear that the 1669 will was a much more comprehensive and extensive document. It singularly mentions his sons-in-law and their families, a condition that did not exist at the time of the first will. However, the major differences were the the equal division of the lands in Norfolk County, England instead of willing them only to Jonathan Wade junior, and a broader approach to the distribution of the rest of his estate among all his extended family rather than the more limited practice of primogeniture whereby the eldest son was given everything.

So, how did the courts handle these competing wills? A quick answer might well be “gingerly”. Ultimately, as we shall see, the controversy landed on the desk of the President of the Council of New England, President Joseph Dudley, son the former Governor Thomas Dudley, and Jonathan Wade junior’s brother-in-law through Wade’s marriage to his older sister Deborah who had died only five short months after Jonathan Wade senior.

1 “Wemeseck” is the name of a former locality in Massachusetts that does not appear in the State of “Massachusetts’s Archaic Community, District, Neighborhood Section and Village, Names in Massachusetts” online list. With the assistance of the very helpful people at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, we determined that the name might have been “Winnisimet” which is now Chelsea, MA which is close to Medford and Malden where the Wade sons Jonathan junior and Nathaniel held property. There is also a reference in The History of Malden 1633 -1785 by Deloraine Pendre Corey to a place called Wamesit, also spelled Wamesick, which is further north from Malden near the current location of Tewksbury, MA.
© Charles Labarge

Jonathan Wade: Merchant and Landowner

From the earliest records in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Jonathan Wade is referred to as a merchant with the honorific “Mr.” prefixed to his last name. Whether this honor was due to his wealth when he moved to Ipswich (there are no references to it), or to his status as one of the investors in the Company of Adventurers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (even though it was his brother Thomas who invested the £50 in Jonathan’s name), or simply to a status he had in his pre-emigration life in England, it is clear that Mr. Wade was indeed one of Ipswich’s elite gentlemen. Alison Vannah, in her very-detailed dissertation “Crotchets of division: Ipswich in New England 1633-1679” (dissertation: 1999, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.), categorizes Jonathan Wade as not only a town elite but a colony elite putting into the same company as the Winthrops, the Dudleys, the Bradstreets, the Denisons, the Saltonstalls, and the Symonds, to name but a few.

Primarily, Jonathan Wade was a merchant. He did own a farm and in his early years and undoubtedly farmed to feed his family. But his most lucrative activities came in his capacity as merchant where he covered a wide array of categories. From court records, we know that he lent money, sold lace, ran an ordinary house (sale of liquor), sold fish bound for English markets, performed estate inventories and valuations, acted as a mediator, and acquired land.

It was perhaps the availability of large masses of land that drew him to move from Charlestown to Ipswich in 1635/36. True, on January 9, 1633/34 he had been granted 60 acres of land by the town of Charlestown which ordered “that 60 acres of ground be allowed Mr. Nowell, Mr. Beecher & Mr. Wade”. (The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2010), (Originally Published as: New England Historic Genealogical Society. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, 3 vols., 1995 p. 1343).   In Ipswich, the land grants would likely be much larger. In fact, on 11 February 1638/39, the town granted many of the newcomers large tracts of land. Jonathan Wade received 200 acres of farm land and 6 acres of “Planting ground”. He was in good company – his 200 acres at Chebacco (the land just southeast of the Ipswich Town) were bounded by John Winthrop jr.’s land on the northeast and Samuel Dudley’s land and a creek on the southeast. Further down the road, in “farther Chebacco”, the town granted John Cogswell three hundred acres of land which became known as Cogswell’s Grant and is now a part of the Historic New England’s historic properties (see Cogswell, as we know from his son William’s arrangement with Jonathan Wade for his daughter to marry Jonathan’s youngest son Thomas, was a man of considerable wealth who lost all his earthly possessions in a terrible storm that he and his family barely survived. Perhaps his land grant was greater than Jonathan’s for that fact and that the land was at the very end of the Ipswich town line at that time (it is now in the town of Essex).

Jonathan Wade began his more active involvement in land transactions in the late 1640’s. On 18 May 1647, Jonathan sold a portion of his land to Richard Smith, the father of  Elizabeth Smith and Edgar Gilham Jr. (This land became part of the controversy surrounding the purported marriage of  Edward Jr. and Elizabeth who were accused of “feigning themselves together in marriage before they were three several times published upon lecture days.” (see Vannah, Alison “Crochets of division” p. 253). Two years later, Jonathan decided to weigh in on a speculative proposal for land on Plum Island. Plum Island, which straddled the borders of Ipswich, Newbury and Rowley, had been used for many years as a source of salt marsh and a good place for hog growers to pasture their hogs. After a court decisionto allow two hersdmen to maintain a herd of hogs permanently on the island, Newbury petitioned the General Court for ownership of the land. This was denied, but ten years later, in March 1649, Newbury again presented its petition to the General Court. Interestingly, two months later, the General Court recorded that it had also received a petition from Jonathan Wade re: Plum Island:

Rec’d a petition from Jonathan Wade, who, for 60li formerly disbursed by Thõ Wade, of Northampton, for his vse into the country stocke, for the furtherance of this plantacon, desired land in Plum Island for it; wch was denyed by both. (Records of the Governor of Massachusetts, Vol. III, p. 154)

Later that same year, 1649, the General Court divided the island 2/5ths to Ipswich, 2/5ths to Newbury, and 1/5th to Rowley. But Jonathan was not going to give up on either of his two plans: to obtain land on Plum Island and to obtain a grant of land due to him for the £60 invested in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. On May 10, 1649, some 6 days after the General Court’s rejection of his request for Plum Island, the General Court seems to have decided to act on Jonathan’s request in an unusual way:

In answer to the petition of Jonathan Wade ffor land, as his formr petition desired on the same termes, ffower hundres acres of land is graunted to him where he shall find it vndisposed of, &, and so as the land found by him be not judged by this Court pjudicyall to any toune or plantacon already made, or to be made.  (Records of the Governor of Massachusetts, Vol. III, p. 160)

There are very few, if any, instances of grants of 400 acres of land being made in which the grantee is to find the land, make sure that it is not already spoken for or that the town or plantation involved has not made plans to use it nor has any idea of any plans to use it. It seems that it may have only taken Jonathan 3 years to find such a property for on the 27 May 1652, the General Court issues its decision:

In answer to the petition of Jonathan Wade, of Ipswich, that the fower hundred acors of land graunted him, for & with respect to fifty pounds by him formerly disbursed for the vse & behoofe of the country, this Court doth order the sd land shall be layd out on any side of Nashaway bounds, within a mile or two thereof, according to his request.  (Records of the Governor of Massachusetts, Vol. III, p. 271)

That might well seem to be the end of the saga but, as we shall see, thirty-three years later, in 1682, Jonathan still seems to be hounding the court for the land he was promised in 1629!

He fared somewhat better with his desire to acquire some property on Plum Island. After the General Court’s decision giving Ipswich 2/5’s of the island, the town began development of its land. Beginning in 1666, Jonathan Wade began purchasing lots on Plum Island from those who wanted to sell their 1649 and later landholdings. He eventually accumulated 7 lots comprising 24 acres which he gave to his son-in-law Elihu Wardwell as part of his marriage arrangement with Jonathan’s daughter Elizabeth.

In the intervening years between 1652 and 1657, Jonathan was preoccupied with investing in land in his home country. The Fenlands,  marshy low-lying areas in the east of England, were being drained in a major project to uncover more arable land. As we have seen in an earlier post

the Registers of the Bedford Level Commission­ers, in which is registered an Indenture dated 1 May 1657 between Richard SWANN of London, Merchant & Jonathan WADE of Ipswich in New England now residing in London Gentleman. SWANN conveys to WADE 251 acres 33 perches of Fen or Marsh Ground in Denver in Norfolk, now in the occupation of William DRURIE of Downham Market Beer Brewer & also a piece of ground of 5 acres near Salters Lode in Denver, which is built upon, in the occupation of John SAVERY Carpenter, with all buildings on it. (Charles Farrow correspondence, 16 April 1999).

This was a major investment and would represent some 20% of the value of Jonathan’s estate when he died.

The next largest land investment that Jonathan made was in what is now the town of Medford but which was originaly known as Mystick due to its location on the Mystick River. This investment may have been a much more strategic investment for Jonathan. The location was further south of Ipswich towards Boston and had a history of both ship building and successful fishing. The London Company agent, Matthew Craddock, had settled here in 1634 and developed the land and the water opportunties. After Craddock’s death, the land was sold off to three different individuals and one of them, Richard Russell, sold a portion of his purchase to Jonathan Wade, somewhere between 900 and one thousand acres. This was the land that his two oldest sons, Jonathan and Nathaniel, moved to and made their homes there.

By 1664/5, Alison Vannah credits Jonathan Wade with 63 miscellanous lands, windmills [probably 2], a sawmill, a portion of the Ipswich wharf, “(97) Malden/ land Wemesek” and 800 acres granted by the General Court. By 1665 – 1679, she calculates that he had the farm at Medford, another farm at Malden, land at Wemesek, 800 acres granted from the General Court and 87 miscellaneous lands. By any measure,this is a significant accumulation of land over a 40 year period.

But despite his success with his land transactions, Jonathan still felt cheated out of his promised land for the £60 that was invested in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Company in 1629. In the year before his death, he again petitions the General Court on March 17, 1682.

Petition to the General Court, dated March 17, 1682 of  Jonathan Wade (autograph), “being an aduenturer and participant with the patentes and undertakers concerning this colonie of the massachusets, and for the carrying on of the great occasions thereof, was encited unto, and did lay down, in the yeare 1629 in January or february into the common stock 50li and into the Joint stock 10li or more for which they pmised land here upon our aruall, and allso that there should be a deuision of the stock and fence at the end of seuen yeares. The abouesaid Jonathan Wade hauing found out land seural times, that was free from any former grant, and desired confirmation of it to him, he was denied, and the land hath bene giuen to others, and for the division of the stock to the aduenturers he cannot understand of any deuision but certainly he neuer yet had any of said diuision, but others cary away the whole, so that he now begeth of this government, being long out of the use of his money that the money may be returned to him with due interest as is alowed unto others, upon borowing of money.” (Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex, Massachusetts, Vol. III, 1680-1683, pp. 444-445.

It was to be Jonathan’s parting shot at the Massachusetts Bay Colony and its governing bodies. To the best of my knowledge, this petition was never answered and the death of Jonathan Wade on June 13, 1683 certainly put an end to his ongoing search for just repayment of his investment in the nascent colony back in 1629.

However, there was one more episode to torment both the courts and his family. Jonathan may well be said to have presaged Dylan Thomas’ s famous opening lines:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

The next post will explain how Jonathan managed to cause a furor even after his death.


Friends and Family: The Cogswells

Having celebrated Fathers’ Day yesterday, I thought it would be appropriate to conclude the marriage arrangement series of the Jonathan and Susannah Wade family with the final marriage of my 7th Great-Grandfather. Starting with my 8th Great-Grandfather, Jonathan Wade and having now progressed to my 7th Great-Grandfather, I honour their achievements, their lives, and their fatherhood of very large families in the roughest of conditions.

Thomas2 Wade (Jonathan1) was the last of the seven children that are known as part of the marriage of Jonathan and Susannah Wade; he was also the third son in the family. He was 17 years younger than his oldest sister, Mary, and 13 years younger than his eldest brother Jonathan.

Although Thomas appears frequently in official documents in both Ipswich and in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, very little is known about him; most of his signatorial appearances relate to his career in the colony.  His work as Clerk of the Writs and as Justice in the Court of General Sessions of the Peace, led one writer to proclaim: “He was an excellent penman, and a worthy man.” [History of Essex County, compiled by D. Hamilton Hurd, Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis & Co., 1888. Available on].

Joseph Felt in his History of Ipswich, Essex,and Hamilton Massachusetts concludes his short biographical sketch of Col. Thomas Wade with the following:

As Colonel of Middle Essex Regiment, he receives orders from Lieutenant-Governor Stoughton, to call out his men against French and Indians, as occasion may require, and to order military watches, wards and scouts, as be needful – When he fell, death had a “shining mark.” [p.170]

I can’t help but link the military role he played in the colony to the orders from General Stoughton which he received April 5, 1696 and his death on October 6, 1696 with that last fateful epitaph that Joseph Felt inserted into his sketch. When he “fell”, he was only 46 years old and he left his wife with nine children, the youngest of whom was a girl just over 4½ years old and the oldest of whom was his first son, Jonathan, who was almost 23½.

However he died, Col. Wade was given one of the finest gravestones of the day. The inscription on it is still quite clear:

Col Thomas Wade 1696



photo by Eric McGuire posted at

In Gravestones of Early New England, and the Men who Made Them, Harriett Merrifield Forbes wrote:

Ipswich has many stones which are more like William Mumford’s work than that of any other stonecutters of that period. Colonel Thomas Wade, 1696, has the real Mumford’s death-head, a close double to that on Henry Sewall’s stone, and lettering which is nearly identical with his. The border of Thomas Wade’s is much more beautiful and perhaps shows Mumford at his best. [p. 33].


Elizabeth3 Cogswell (William2, John1)was the oldest child of William Cogswell and Susanna Hawkes. The Cogswell family has a long and fascinating history in Massachusetts and elsewhere which has been extensively documented by the Cogswell Family Association in two books: The Cogswells in North America by E. O. Jameson in 1884 and the Descendants of John Cogswell published by Donald J. Cogswell in 1998. John Cogswell, the original Cogswell immigrant to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was the son of a wollen-fabrics manufacturer and, at the age of twenty-three, married Elizabeth Thompson, the daughter of the parish vicar. Sometime around 1635, John and Elizabeth Cogswell, with their family of nine children, sold all their business ventures and on May 23, 1635 left Bristol aboard the “Angel Gabriel” and headed for New England, as so many others had done before them.

The passage to new England proved to be disastrous. A powerful storm on August 15, 1635 was so strong that it broke the Angel Gabriel apart and tossed the Cogswells unceremoniously on the shores of Maine at Pemaquid, some 7 or 8 mailes from Bristol, Maine. The family lost some £5,000 of valuables but luckily rescued a tent and some furnishings from the floating pieces of the wreck. They spent their first night in their new homeland camped out on a beach in a tent. John eventually made passage to Boston and arranged for a local seaman to pick up his family and bring them to Ipswich. There, in 1636, he was granted 300 acres of land in the southerly section of Ipswich called Chebacco. Cogswell’s land was very close to what is now the town of Essex and was then the most-southerly part of Ipswich. The description of the grants is as follows:

Granted to Mr. John Coggswell three hundred acres of land at the farther Chebacco, hauing the River on the south east, the land of Wilim White on ye North west & a Creeke Coming out of the River towards willm white’s farme on the north east. Bounded also on the west with a creeke & a little brooke. Also there was granted to him a percell of ground containing eight acres, vppon part whereof the said John Coggswell bath Built an house, it being ye corner lott in Bridge streete and bath goodman Bradstreete houselott on ye s.e.
Their was also granted to him six acres of Ground late mr. John Spencers, Butting vppon the river on the sovth east haueing a lott of Edmund Gardners on the north east & a lott of Edmund Saywards on the south west wch six acres of ground the sd John Coggswell bath sold to Jao Perkins the younger his heiree and assignes; [Ipswich Antiquarian Papers 1879 -1885, Vol. IV No. LI p. 206]

The Cogswell grant is visible today and can be visited (see On this website, you will read that “The seventeenth-century buildings do not survive, but archaeological evidence has revealed that a structure from that period had lain perpendicular to the existing 1728 house. In 1651, John Cogswell began to divide his property among his sons, deeding sixty acres each to William and John Jr. John Jr. immediately sold his acreage to William, and by 1657, John Sr. had sold the remaining 180 acres to William as well. ”  ( – see paragraph 2).

William2  Cogswell (John1) was the third child but first-born son of John and Elizabeth Thompson Cogswell and, from all accounts, was as involved in the farm operations as his aging father was. He was sixteen years old when he spent his first night in New England in the beach tent in Maine and was thirty years old when he married Susanna Hawkes in 1649.  In an obituary written by Josepth B. Felt, it was noted that William Cogswell had been “active, against much and protracted opposition, in getting a church and society formed in Chebacco” and that he had often been elected the Selectman to represent its interests. [History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton, Massachusetts, p.  172.] The Cogswells in North America gives further details of his effort to establish a new church:

After two years of opposition, and several appeals to the General Court, at last, May 5, 1679, the Parish of Chebacco was established. Mr. Cogswell gave the land on which to erect a meeting-house, a lot thirteen rods by three. The first meeting-house in Chebacco stood on what was long known as Meeting-house Hill. Mr. Cogswell entertained at his house the Ecclesiastical Council that met Aug. 12, 1683, to organize the church and to obtain Mr. John Wise Wise, their pastor.”  [pp. 9-10]

Thomas Wade and Elizabeth Cogswell were born around the same time – circa 1650. Jonathan Wade and his family lived not that far from William Cogswell’s house on his father’s farm and since both Jonathan Wade and the elder John Cogswell were the original immigrants from England and were both considered merchants, it is not beyond the realm of strong possibility that the fathers and John’s son William were well acquainted with each other. And as neighbours and roughly the same age, it would be highly probable that their children knew each other from an early age on.  Also likely is that the male members of the family knew each other well. In March of 1673, for example, Nathaniel Wade, Thomas Wade, their brother-in-law Elihu Wardell, Jonathan Cogswell, and the three Rogers brothers – Nathaniel, Samuel, and Ezekiel – and others were all involved in a rowdy night at Quatermaster Perkins’ house. After a little too much to drink, the boys became a bit rowdy and eventually there was gunfire and one of them shot a certain Mark Quilter in the leg. The young men had been returning from a training exercise for the local militia when they stopped in for a drink. [Essex Quarterly Court Records 5: 31-33] But it was just this kind of association that would lead to families knowing other families and thus when Thomas Wade was thinking of courtship and marryiage, Elizabeth Cogswell would have been naturally on his mind. That the fathers knew each other and likely had done business together would make an approach between the fathers easy and once John Cogswell settled some land on his eldest son and heir, Jonathan Wade would be quite  certain that his son and future daughter-in-law would prosper.

Thomas Wade married Elizabeth Cogswell on Feb. 22, 1670 in Ipswich, MA. They would eventually have 9 children and begin a long line of descendants that would number in the thousands and would be spread across many parts of North America and beyond.

© Charles Labarge


Friends of the Family: The Bradstreets

Nathaniel2 Wade (Jonathan1) was the second son and the sixth child (that we know of) of Jonathan and Susannah Wade. He was born about 1648 based on a description of his tombstone in the old Medford Cemetery which reads “Here Lies ye Body of Maj. Nathaniel Wade Died Nov Ye 28 1707, in ye 60 Year of his age.” Along with his older brother, Jonathan2, he moved to Mystic, now Medford, Massachusetts where his father Jonathan had acquired a large property. Jonathan and Nathaniel were some of the earliest residents of Medford and Nathaniel became quite involved in civic affairs and in the local militia eventually becoming Major of the Middlesex Regiment.

The arrangements for Nathaniel Wade’s marriage to Mercy Bradstreet is one of the few early arrangements in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to be so well documented. Upon the death of Jonathan Wade senior, a protracted battle about his will and estate ensued over several years. As part of the proceedings, Gov. Simon Bradstreet filed a deposition as to what Jonathan had discussed with him when he sought permission to allow his son Nathaniel to court (and possibly marry) Bradstreet’s 6th child, Mercy.

When Mr. Jonathan Wade, of Ipswich, came first to my house at Andover in the year -72- to make a motion of marriage betwixt his son Nathaniel and my daughter Mercy, he freely of himself told me what he would give to his son viz. one half of his farm at Mistick, and one third part of his land in England when he died; and that he should have liberty to make use of [the] part of improved and broken up ground upon the said farm until he should live in and have the use of half the house etc. until he had one of his own built upon his part of the farm. I was willing to accept of his offer, or at least said nothing against it: but propounded that he would make his said son a deed of gift of that third part of his land in England to enjoy to him and his heirs after his death, this he was not free to do but said it was assured for he had so put it into his will, that his 3 sons should have that in England equally divided betwixt them viz. each a 3rd part. I objected he might alter his will when he pleased, and his wife might die and he marry again and have other children, which he thought a vain objection. Much other discourse there was about the stock on the farm etc. but remaining unwilling to give a deed for that in England; saying he might have to spend it and often repeating he had so ordered it in his will as aforesaid which he should never alter without great necessity or words to that purpose so we parted for that time leaving that matter to further consideration.
After he came home he told several of my friends and others, as they informed me, that he had preferred to give his son Nathaniel better than 1000£ and I would not accept it. The next time he came to my house, after some discourse about the premises and perceiving his resolution as formerly, I consented to accept of what he had formerly engaged, and left it to him to add what he pleased towards the building of him a house etc. and so agreed that the young persons might proceed in marriage with both our consent which accordingly they did. [Adapted to modern spelling by C. Labarge].

Source: Dudley, Deane. History of the Dudley Family Vol. 6. Deane Dudley: Wakefield, Mass: 1892. (p. 1031 – 1032). Available online at The Internet Archive

This is a remarkable document from many different perspectives. In the first place, it is a rare document that describes in some minute details the kind of negotiations that would have taken place between two fathers whose children might be interested in courtship and marriage. In an earlier post, I commented on the roles of the father and the prospective father-in-law in the context of the puritan marriage rituals in the Massachusetts Bay Colony:

For his three sons, Jonathan would have needed to show the prospective father-in-law that the son would be endowed with property and enough wealth to maintain the prospective bride’s social circumstances. See

Simon Bradstreet showed a deep concern for Johnathan’s plans for endowing his son with enough property to ensure his wife’s present and future financial status. He pressed Jonathan to gift a portion of the land he had acquired in England to Nathaniel immediately rather than wait for Nathaniel to acquire it when Jonathan died and his estate was probated. He was also concerned about what might happen if Jonathan changed his will or if his wife died and he had more children from a new wife. It is clear from the document that Simon Bradstreet wanted to be very sure that his daughter Mercy and possibly his future grandchildren would be well taken care of in her marriage and widowhood. Secondly, it would appear that Jonathan might have been a little circumspect in his dealings with Mr. Bradstreet. Jonathan told Bradstreet that he had decreed in his will that his land in England be divided equally between his three sons. This will, as will be seen in a later post, was a second will that Jonathan had written, but not signed, ostensibly replacing an earlier will that bequeathed the land in England to his eldest son Jonathan. Simon Bradstreet was right to be skeptical about Jonathan never changing his will, and indeed, his deposition was given during the legal wrangling over which of the two wills was the “official” will. Bradstreet would obviously had been quite concerned if his son-in-law, Nathaniel, had not received what he claimed Jonathan had promised. As another sign of some friction between the two men, Bradstreet relays Jonathan’s supposed conversation with some of his friends “and others” to the effect that Jonathan claimed he had preferred to give his son £1000 but that Bradstreet would not accept it. The veracity of Bradstreet’s deposition was not verified – his deposition was simply accepted as his version of the discussion he had with Jonathan. When this deposition was made, Jonathan was already dead and unable to challenge any word of it. His sons, meanwhile, were busy wrangling over which one the wills was the legitimate one.

The third aspect of this document that is particularly interesting , to me at least, is the language that is used. This deposition reads like a family letter written in the most familiar of terms and conversational language. Written in 1683, it sounds very much like North American English used in the 20th Century, except for a few odd words such as “betwixt” and “propounded”. Although there are a few phrases that seem British in style, the deposition seems to show a progression towards an American version of English quite different from the formal language of Old England.

Finally, the deposition gives us an insight into these two leading men in the community. Jonathan has come to see Simon Bradstreet, perhaps at the behest of his son, Nathaniel, to discuss whether Bradstreet would give his consent to Nathaniel’s courtship and possible marriage to his daughter Mercy. From Bradstreet’s point of view, Jonathan freely offered to give one half of the farm at Mistick and one-third of his land in England to Nathaniel after Jonathan’s death. Then, they discussed that Nathaniel could make use of some of the tilled portion of the farm until he could till the land that would be his part. Since the farm contained a manor house (per the original deed of sale), Nathaniel and his wife could use one-half of the house until he built his own. Bradstreet wanted to secure his daughter’s position and inheritance while Jonathan wanted to keep his options open. After Bradford acquiesced to Jonathan’s plan, the two elders held a detailed discussion about the stock that was on the farm that no doubt included details about both quantity and quality. In the end, despite the quibbling over the will versus the deed of gift and despite Bradstreet’s surprise or irritation that Jonathan had told his friends a story that was not true, Bradstreet agreed to the arrangements and gave permission for the courtship and, if the relationship developed, to the marriage. It would seem plausible to interpret this final agreement as an affirmation of Jonathan’s status in the community and of Bradstreet’s perception of the Wades as a suitable level for his daughter to marry into. Coming from Simon Bradstreet, this was no light endorsement.

Who was Simon Bradstreet? Simon was the son of a Horbling, Lincolnshire non-conformist clergyman who died when Simon was only fourteen years old. He was committed to the care of Thomas Dudley, the future Deputy-Governor and the second Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After schooling and working as a steward for a number of years, he married Anne, the 16 year-old daughter of Thomas Dudley who would be later known as the first poet of America. They decided to emigrate with Thomas Dudley, John Winthrop, and the other passengers on the Arabella in 1630. He was an assistant to the new government in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, an office he held for forty-eight years. He became the first secretary of the colony, a position that lasted 13 years, and was made Deputy-Governor from 1672-1679, after which he served ten years as Governor 1679-86 and 1689-91. Thus, at the time Jonathan Wade came calling, he would have been months away from his appointment as Deputy-Governor, if he were not already in the post. In the sketch in The Essex Antiquarian from which this biographical material is mostly drawn, he is as described the following terms:

He was puritanic in his religion, and prosecuted the Quakers so severely that Bishop, in his New England Judged By The Spirit of the Lord called him “a man hardened in blood and a cruel persecutor.” He was, however, opposed to the witchcraft delusion.

He was a just magistrate judged by the times, possessing prudence, sound judgement, and strict integrity. Believing fully in his mission, he sought usefulness rather than popularity.

In his home life he was a tender father and loving husband. He took pride in his wife’s poetical talents, and greatly mourned her death.

from The Essex Antiquarian, Vol. 2 (1898) pp. 159-160. The Essex Antiquarian. Salem, MA: The Essex Antiquarian, 13 vols. 1897-1909. (Online database: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2006.)

His tombstone in Salem, MA originally contained a Latin inscription which may be translated as:

SIMON BRADSTREET, esquire,  senator, in  Colonial Massachusetts from the year 1630, unto the year 1673. Next, in the year 1679, the vice-governor. Finally, in the year 1686, Governor of the same colonies with common and consistent support of the populace. Husband, gifted judge, neither deities nor honor enticed him.  He drank evenly from the cup of authoritative ruler, and of liberty for the people. Religion with feeling, a life of innocence, the world he both conquered, and forsook, the 27 day of March AD 1697, the year William, 31, 9 and age 94.

(with my most sincere apologies to my high school Latin teacher and Latin scholars – I would be happy to receive alternate translations).

Simon Bradstreet and his wife Anne Dudley Bradstreet had eight children. Their first daughter, Dorothy, married the Rev. Seaborn Cotton, son of the well-known Rev. John Cotton, one of the most eminent puritan ministers in the Colony. This marriage would have clearly indicated Simon Bradstreet’s strong allegiance to the puritan religion and to its clerical leadership. Dorothy Bradstreet Cotton died on Feb. 26 1672 leaving the Rev. Seaborn Cotton with nine children ranging in age from 16 to 2 years old. Almost one and a half years later, Rev. Cotton married Prudence Wade, Jonathan Wade’s daughter and the widow of Anthony Crosby. She was 34 years old at the time of her marriage to Rev. Cotton on July 9, 1673 and still of child-bearing age. And within three years of their marriage, she had given birth to two sons. It is inconceivable that Rev. Cotton would not have talked to his former father-in-law about the suitability of Prudence Wade as a second wife. There are too many close connections between these two families that would support the idea of Simon Bradstreet being asked his opinion of the woman who would become his grandchildren’s stepmother.

Mercy was the sixth child and the fourth daughter of Simon and Anne Dudley Bradstreet. After the intense negotiations described in Simon Bradstreet’s deposition, she and Nathaniel Wade married on October 31, 1672, about 9 months before Rev. Cotton married Nathaniel’s sister Prudence. This marriage would have signified Simon Bradstreet’s acknowledgement of the status of the Ipswich merchant Jonathan Wade as well as the role that the merchants played in the development of the local and colony-wide economy. Bradstreet was himself a busy import and export merchant. According to the sketch in the Essex Antiquarian, while he was in Andover, he “did considerable business in sawing lumber, and shipping it to Barbadoes, where he exchanged it for West India goods, which he brought home and sold.”[page 159]. Obviously, he and Jonathan Wade understood the language of trade and were more than likely quite familiar with the art of negotiation and bartering. The deposition he made in 1683 gives a rare insight into the delicate negotiations for his daughter’s future and his skillful bargaining tactics. It is only unfortunate that Jonathan Wade was not alive to give his side of the story!

©Charles Labarge

Friends of the Family: The Wardwells

Elizabeth Wade is most likely the least known of the second generations of the Jonathan Wade family. She rarely appears in the official records of the time and there is little known about her character or her life except for a few vital statistics.

Elizabeth’s birth was not recorded or if it was, the record has yet to be found. Her date of birth has been recorded as circa 1645 based on a deposition taken in 1670 at the Essex Quarterly Court held in Ipswich on May 3, 1670. The case involved an appeal by Samuel Hunt against a verdict of theft of a bodkin by a certain Sarah Roper. Amongst a long list of people who were deposed and who gave testimony in the trial was this simple reference: “Elizabeth Wardwell, aged twenty-six years…” This would make her birth date around 1644-1645. The next reference to Elizabeth in the official records was her marriage to Elihu Wardwell on 27 May 1665 which seems to have been recorded in the Ipswich Marriages vital records (Vol. 2 p. 438) and in the Marriage Records of Charlestown, Massachusetts (p. 51). Her death, like her birth, does not seem to have been recorded in the vital records of the day.

Who was Elihu Wardwell and how did he end up marrying the daughter of one of Ipswich’s more promiment and prosperous citizens? Again, the records are silent on the subject and all that is left is conjecture. Elihu was the second son and third child of William Wardwell and his wife Alice. In The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to N.E. 1620-1633, Robert Charles Anderson has produced a sketch of Elihu’s family beginning with William Wardwell who emigrated from Alford, Lincolnshire and who lived in Exeter, Boston, and Wells in what is now Maine. His occupation was listed as tavern keeper and he seems to have had several run-ins with both the church and civil authorities during his life. He was married twice and his first wife, Alice, bore six or seven children. Both Elihu and his older brother Uzall married their first wives in Ipswich. [GMB Vol. III, pp. 1922-1923].

Walter Goodwin Davis, the noted author of a number of genealogical studies, included a description of Elihu Wardwell and his family in his book Massachusetts and Maine Families  reprinted in 1996 by the Geneolgical Publishing Company of Baltimore, MD. I have taken the unusual step of quoting his sketch of Elihu Wardwell in its entirety simply because it seems to be the only work of any detail done on this particular family:

iii. ELIHU 1 bapt. Dec. 5, 1641, possibly an erroneous date.

iv. Elihu b. Nov. 1642, possibly the same child as Elihu above; m. in Ipswich May 26, 1665, Elizabeth Wade. With Ezekiel Woodward he supplied shingles for the Ipswich meeting-house in 1668 at 19s. a thousand, and laid them at 7s. 6d. a thousand. He had liberty to fell trees to fence his homestead in 1668. With about a dozen other men he was in court on May 1, 1672, for shooting pistols and creating other disturbance in the house of Quarter-master Perkins in the evening after training day [more about this rowdy event in a future post]. In 1674 he built a fulling-mill for Edward Lumacks. He served in King Philip’s war under Capt. Nicholas Manning. He took the Oath of Allegiance in Ipswich in 1678. Mr. Wardwell was allotted the second pew on the east side of the pulpit in Ipswich meeting-house for his wife and family and had liberty to sit in the sixth of the men’s long seats in 1699, in which year he subscribed 10s. toward the church bell. In 1699 his father-in-law, Col. Jonathan Wade, left him £200 to be laid out in a house and land for the benefit of his wife Elizabeth. He bought Wade land from his brothers-in-law and built a house, deeding a small lot to his grandson, Samuel Dutch, in 1716.*

Elihu Wardwell made his will March 81, 1708, while ill, but he recovered and the document was not proved until January 5, 1716. He left his entire estate to his wife for her life. After her death the real estate was to be divided between his sons Elihu and Jonathan. His wife was to dispose of his personal estate to the children according to her discretion. If either Elihu or Jonathan should die before their mother, his share of the housing and lands was to go to a third son, Nathan, and, if Nathan should die before his mother, “to ye next male heirs in the name of Wardwell yt is nearest of kin.” Executrix: wife Elizabeth. “I would be understood yt att this Time I have all my Children in remembrance … The Circumstances of my Estate & ffamily not enabling of mee to make a Distribution among them att this Time.” Witnesses: John Pottar, Joseph ffowler, Willm fellowes. Mrs. Elizabeth Wardwell renounced the trust, and administration, cum testamento annexo was granted to Elihu and Jonathan Wardwell Dec. 26, 1717.… Of the nine children listed below, there are birth or death records of six in Ipswich. Nathaniel is the Nathan of the will, and Mary and Margaret are “probable.”

I. Elizabeth, b. Dec. 15, 1666; m. in Ipswich Sept. 11, 1691, Jacob Rowell.

2. Elihu, b. Jan. 2, 1668.

3. Prudence, b. Oct. 6, 1670; m., int. Dec. 19, 1702, Samuel Dutch.

4. Jonathan, b. July 26, 1672; m. (1) in Charlestown Dec. 12, 1695, Katherine Chickering; m. (2) Oct. 18, 1710, Frances Morss.

5. Nathaniel; m. in Ipswich May 19, 1702, Hannah Edwardes.

6. Mary; m. in Ipswich Dec. 2, 1701, Abraham Rowell of Amesbury.

7. Margaret; m. in Boston May 13, 1708, Jeremiah Storer.

8. Susanna, b. Aug. 19, 1684; m. in Boston Dec. 2, 1712, Benjamin Storer.

9. John;  d. in Ipswich in 1688.

* Essex Deeds, 30: 150.

… Essex Probate. No. 28936.

This text may be found in Vol. III of the Massachusetts and Maine Familes pp. 551-552. The discussion of the family including the colourful history of William Wardwell, the first immigrant, begins on p.548.

This rather brief and unadorned biography of Elizabeth precedes the much more voluminous and well-documented sketch of Jonathan Wade’s second son and third child, Nathaniel.

Friends of the Family: The Rogers and Woodhouses

NPG D26836; John Rogers after Unknown artist

John Rogers, after Unknown artist, etching 17th to 18th century. © National Portrait Gallery, London. Used with permission.

Meet “Roaring John Rogers”, the grandfather of  Samuel Rogers, the man who married Sarah Wade on 13 Nov. 1661. Rev. John Rogers had a reputation as something of a firebrand preacher. He had been admitted to Emmanuel College at Cambridge on 4 Feb. 1588. In 1592 he became vicar of Honingham in Norfolk where he married a few years later and started a family that included three daughters and four sons, including the father of Samuel Rogers, the Rev. Nathaniel Rogers. John Rogers later became vicar of Haverhill in Suffolk, but was most famous as the preacher in Dedham, Essex, the seat of puritan nonconformity in the early 1600’s. Rogers had a unique way of preaching the Word and of delivering his sermons. His theatrics drew large crowds and his lack of conformance to the Church of England dictates drew the attention of bishops. The famous Rev. Thomas Hooker referred to Rogers as “The prince of all the preachers in England.” (Mather, Cotton: Magnalia Christi Americana, p. 334). He exerted some influence on the early puritans who eventually made their way to New England. Gov. John Winthrop apparently told his son: “Mr. Rogers hath set forth a little book of faith; buy it.” (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, citing Winthrop, R.C. Life and Letters of J. Winthrop, p.208).

Nathaniel Rogers was the second son of the Rev. John Rogers. He graduated with a B.A. from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1617 and earned his M.A. by 1621. He married the daughter of a wealthy grocer whose brother, Robert Crane, became an investor in the Massachusetts Bay Company. Nathaniel’s “conversion” to nonconformity occurred after he had a conversation with the Rev. Thomas Hooker but this conversion also forced him to abandon his position as curate at Bocking, Essex and take up a post as rector at Assington, Suffolk where his sponsor was a friend of John Winthrop. However, as Bishop Laud’s crackdowns on nonconformity spread beyond the bounds of London, he left England in 1636 and arrived in Charleston on 17 Nov. 1636. On 20 Feb. 1638, he was ordained pastor of the church at Ipswich where he replaced Nathaniel Ward and joined the preacher John Norton. He remained as pastor of the Ipswich church for the rest of his life. (c.f. Winship, Michael P. “Rogers, Nathaniel”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online database, 2004-2013).

Nathaniel Rogers had one daughter and three sons. The first son, Rev. Dr. John Rogers (named after his grandfather), became the fifth President of Harvard College in 1682. The second son was named Nathaniel, and the third son was Samuel Rogers. He was born 16 Jan 1635 in Assington, Suffolk, England, married 1) Judith Appleton 12 Dec 1657 and 2) Sarah Wade 13 Nov 1661. He died 21 Dec 1693 in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Sarah Wade married Samuel Rogers on 13 Nov 1661. Samuel had attended Harvard College and was well-versed in the puritan doctrines and strictures. He eventually became the town clerk of Ipswich. His proposal to marry Sarah Wade as his second wife would have only been acceptable to his father if Sarah Wade (and her family) had the prerequisite understanding of the puritan philosophy and had demonstrated her adherence to the puritan principles in her daily life. It may not have been recorded, but it would not be an unreasonable assumption that the Rev. Nathaniel Rogers knew the Wade family well since he was the pastor of their church, and that he felt that the Wades were sufficiently “puritan” to have one of their daughters admitted to his family. Sarah and Samuel would only be married for 32 years and a little bit more than one month.In that time, they had 9 children:

  1. Sarah Rogers b. 14 Oct 1664
  2. John Rogers b. 1666
  3. John Rogers b. 29 Apr 1667
  4. Susana Rogers b. 17 Mar 1668
  5. Jonathan Rogers b. 29 Mar 1671
  6. Mary Rogers b 10 Sep 1672
  7. Margaret Rogers b. 24 Oct 1675
  8. Elisabeth Rogers b. 1 Oct 1678
  9. Abigail Rogers b. 5 Jul 1681

(The names and dates of these children are from Ipswich. Vital Records of Ipswich Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849. Vol. 1 Births, Salem: Essex Institute [Available on and]. Thanks to John Cochoit for pointing out the errors in Doris Schultz’s account and poiting me to the more authoritative records).

Sarah Wade Rogers would have been in her early 50’s when her husband Samuel died. As well, she had some young teenagers in her care; Sarah, the youngest was twelve years old while Abigail was 13 and Elizabeth would have been 16. Enter Lt. Henry Woodhouse of Concord, Massachusetts who married Sarah Wade Rogers and took her and her young children back to Concord. There is not much about Henry Woodhouse (or Woodis as it was then spelled), and what there is seems to be more family tradition than facts and vital statistics. Three sources have been used to piece this narrative together, with a very guarded caveat that much of the story may be more fiction than fact. Henry Woodhouse is mentioned in a small pamphlet by Grindall Reynolds, The Story of a Concord Farm and Its Owners , February 1, 1883. A lecture delivered before the Concord Lyceum, pp. 29. Subsequently, a descendant of Joseph Lee, Henry’s son-in-law, a Dr. William Lee, physician, wrote a short review of the pamphlet in the New England Historic and Genealogical Society quarterly The Register on p. 109 of the January 1887 edition in which he imparted some rather fanciful descriptions of Henry’s adventures in New England, and finally some footnotes in an article in The Register, April 1912. p. 126 by Lawrence Brainerd “Some Descendants of Daniel King, Gentleman of Lynn, Mass.”

Reynolds claimed that Woodhouse came to New England around 1650 and by 1699 he owned 350 acres.  According to his short history of the Concord farm, Henry Woodhouse (Woodis) purchased the farm in March 1661 in Concord, Massachusetts for £240. This property eventually came to be known as Lee’s Hill, named after his son-in-law the physician Dr. Joseph Lee. Joseph Lee, the town physician, lived on what was called Lee’s Hill, and helped to spread the alarm in the opening skirmish of the American Revolutionary War in 1775. Several of the men who raised the alarm on that fateful day were physicians since they usually had the best horses to use for visiting the sick.  Five years after Henry’s house  purchase, that is in 1666, his house burned down and his only son, a few weeks old,  died in the fire. His military title came from his service during King Philip’s War where he was first the quartermaster and subsequently a lieutenant.

While Reynolds mentions in a footnote on p. 13 of his pamphlet that “tradition adds that he lost in the great London fire the preceding September two houses more”, it is William Lee who provides even more insight into Lt. Woodhouse’s fortunes and misfortunes. According to the Lee’s family tradition, Henry Woodhouse “was the younger son of a rich family in Bruton St., London who came to New England in 1633, then about nineteen years of age, and brought with him a good estate in specie.” Apparently, Henry owned two houses in London and several “good” houses in Derbyshire, the result of two estates given to him by a rich uncle.William Lee’s story goes on to relate that legend has it that Henry missed travelling on a boat to England which subsequently foundered with all passengers drowned, not just once, but three separate times, and, of course, on three separate boats! It seems that “the good man’s heart was warmed by the goodness of the mercy of God towards him and his family…” Lee corroborates Reynold’s claim that Henry lost his only son when his house in Concord caught fire, but adds a whole new set of details. “The fire was supposed to begin in the cellar. The snow was about five feet deep, wind north-west and extremely cold. Mr. Woodhouse with his wife and daughters, saved themselves by jumping from the chamber windows with only their linen on.” As their nearest neighbor was a mile away, the Woodhouses took shelter in a pig pen after driving the hogs out. Mrs. Woodhouse froze her feet “as to be a cripple whilst she lived.”

According to Lawrence Brainerd, Abigail Rogers, the second last of Samuel and Sarah’s children, married a Richard King in Concord on 18 April 1699. After his death in 1702, Abigail returned home to her mother Sarah’s house, also in Concord, where, on 1 November 1704, she married Lieut. Samuel Dudley. They were later part of the early settlers of Littleton, Massachusetts and had 11 children before Abigail’s death 9 August 1720. Sarah Wade Rogers Woodhouse died 19 January 1717 in Concord.

From the little that we know of Sarah Wade Rogers Woodhouse, she seems to have been a devout puritan and a dedicated mother with a large family. But if Sarah seems to be a bit of enigma, wait for the story of her next youngest sibling, Elizabeth, who married a few years later in 1665.

Friends of the Family: The Crosbys, Cottons, and Hammonds

Depending upon what date Mary Wade was actually married (see the 2nd  previous post for that discussion), Prudence² Wade may have been the first of Jonathan¹ Wade’s daughters to marry, when she married Dr. Anthony Crosby on December 28, 1659 in Rowley, Essex County, Massachusetts, a town about 4 miles north and a little west of Ipswich. The Crosbys are a very interesting family who settled both in Rowley, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as leaving one oldest son in Holme-on-Spalding Moor in York County in England. The original emigrant was Thomas Crosby who first settled in Cambridge and then moved to Rowley. According to the Colonial Families of the United States”  by Nelson Osgood Rhoades, Thomas Crosby is supposed to have emigrated from England in 1638 and traveled to New England aboard the same ship that brought the Reverend Ezekiel Rogers. He and his wife Jane had four sons, Anthony who died in 1632 in Holme, Thomas who stayed behind in England and managed the Crosby properties in Old England, William who died in England in 1640 and was the father of our Dr. Anthony Crosby, and Simon who also emigrated and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Anthony³, the son of William² was orphaned around the age of five and grandfather, Thomas¹, adopted him and seems to have brought him to Rowley at the age of 16. Anthony pursued his studies of medicine at Boston with Dr. John Alcock. Shortly after his studies ended, he returned to Rowley to practice medicine there and in the surrounding towns. In 1659, he married Prudence Wade of Ipswich, daughter of Jonathan¹

Thomas¹ Crosby was evidently a wealthy man. He is credited with having advanced a large sum of money for the first printing press that was brought and set up in America. He had a large amount of property in England which he had given to his eldest living son Thomas² prior to emigrating, but in his will he gave his entire estate in both Old England and New England to his grandson Anthony. There is some speculation that Thomas² was only given certain lands in England and the father, Thomas¹, had kept a number of his landholdings which he then passed on to Anthony. In 1662, Anthony went to England to settle his grandfather’s estate and likely came back to Rowley a richer man. (Simon Crosby the emigrant: his English ancestry and some of his American descendants,  Crosby, Eleanor Davis, Boston: Geo. H. Ellis Co., 1914). By 1666, Anthony Crosby had some 700 acres of village lands, according to a judgement issued on 25 September 1666 (Simon Crosby the emigrant, p.34 citing Ipswich Deeds at Salem).

Eleanor Davis Crosby on p. 35 of her book Simon Crosby the emigrant provides a clear and concise synopsis of why this was a good match for Dr. Anthony Crosby:

Her[Prudence] father was a merchant of wealth and distinction, and the family were allied with the best blood in the Colony: one of her sisters married a son of the Dep’ty Gov. Samuel Symonds, and the other married Samuel Rogers of the celebrated ministerial Rogers family of Ipswich; one of her brothers married a daughter of Gov.  Thomas Dudley, and the other married a daughter of Gov. Simon Bradstreet. (p. 35).

When Dr. Anthony Crosby came to Ipswich to solicit Jonathan¹ Wade’s approval to court his daughter, he came with good credentials. Anthony’s grandfather, Thomas¹, may well have known Jonathan¹ Wade from some of his businesses. He would have easily convinced Jonathan¹ that Dr. Anthony had a good future ahead of him. Not only was he a Doctor of Medicine, quite in demand in early colonial times, but he had the prospect of inheriting a large estate from the grandfather. Jonathan¹’s daughter Prudence² would be well looked after should Dr. Anthony predecease her. And unfortunately, he did die young at the age of 37 on January 16, 1672/73, and he died intestate. Prudence dutifully filed an inventory of his estate on March 25, 1673 which showed that his lands were worth £347-10-0 and that after debts owing, his net estate was £380-3-3 (Essex County Probate Records, File No. 6589).

Besides his property and goods, Dr. Anthony Crosby left his widow Prudence Wade Crosby with five young children:

  1. Thomas³, b. Mar. 1660/1, married Deborah ____________ around 1686, and died 30 March 1735 probably in Hampton, New Hampshire where he had been a teacher.
  2. Jonathan³ b. 26 January 1663/4. buried 27 May 1634
  3. Jonathan³ b. 28 August 1665, moved to York, Maine and was a soldier in the Canada Expedition in 1685.
  4. Nathaniel³ b. 5 Feb 1666/7, died soon after.
  5. Nathaniel³ b. 27 September 1668, married Elizabeth Bennett 13 December 1693, and died 7 March 1699/1700 all in Rowley where he and his wife were living in Anthony’s homestead after his oldest brother Thomas sold all his rights to his father’s land in Rowley.

(The above information is from Doris P. Schultz, Jonathan Wade of Ipswich, Massachusetts, pp. 10-11).

It was a common facet of puritan life that when marriages ended due to death, the widow or widower should soon be remarried. First were the practicalities,as in Prudence’s case, of having some support for her children. A widower, in particular, would be looking for someone to take care of his household and his children. A widow needed a roof over her head and someone who could provide for her and her children. These practical issues more often led to early remarriage than to prolonged periods of grieving. And it reflected the puritan belief that, at heart, marriage was a contract between two people for mutual benefits that would lead to love as the couple grew to know and understand each other. And families could play a role in helping a widowed daughter or sister find a new man.

Although there are no records to support this supposition, it is highly coincidental that on 30 October 1672, a mere two and a half months before Dr. Anthony Crosby was to leave his wife Prudence a widow by his early and untimely death, Prudence’s brother, Nathaniel,  was to marry Mercy, the daughter of Gov. Simon Bradstreet and his wife Anne Dudley Bradstreet. This will be the subject of a future post but at this point it becomes relevant to the second marriage of Prudence Wade. Mercy had a sister named Dorothy who married the Rev. Seaborn Cotton, eldest son of the very famous, and to quote Eleanor Davis Crosby, “the most eminent of all the Puritan Divines who emigrated to New England.” After 18 years of marriage and at the mid-life age of 38, Dorothy died on 26 Feb 1671/2, a mere 8 months before Nathaniel married Mercy and some 10 months before Dr. Crosby died making Prudence a widow. Would Mercy and Nathaniel have suggested a possible candidate for the brother-in-law Seaborn Cotton to consider? Would Nathaniel have advocated with both his father Jonathan¹ and his father-in-law Simon Bradstreet for such a union? Seaborn was one month shy of his 40th birthday and was well-established in his parish at Hampton, New Hampshire; Prudence was around 6 years younger than Seaborn, still of child-bearing age, and in possession of an estate from her former husband.

Whatever the circumstances that led to their union, Prudence² Wade Crosby married Rev. Seaborn Cotton on 9 July 1673. Here was the linking of the civil and the religious, of the tripartite major currents of the new colony: the ruling elite, the religious elite, and the commercial elite. Previous posts have alluded to Gov. Simon Bradstreet and future posts will outline his significant contribution to the development and leadership of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Jonathan¹’s credentials as a wealthy merchant have been well-established. But who was the Rev. Seaborn Cotton and how did he become part of the religious elite in this puritan colony?

Robert Charles Anderson, in his monumental work, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, has a complete curriculum vitae of Rev. John Cotton beginning on page 484 of Volume I. A summary of this sketch can only extract the barest of details: John Cotton was born at Derby, in Derbyshire, England on 4 December 1585, the son of Rowland Cotton. He enrolled in Trinity College, Cambridge University in 1598 then received his B.A. in 1602-3, his M.A. from Emmanuel College in 1606, and his B. D. in 1613. From there, he moved to the town of Boston, Lincolnshire, where he served as a minister and where his teachings began to lean more towards puritanical views and increased criticism of the Church of England. When Archbishop Laud was appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633, he finally resigned his post at Boston and decided to emigrate with his family to New England. According to Robert Charles Anderson in his recently published book The Winthrop Fleet: Massachusetts Bay Company Immigrants to New England 1629-1630, Rev. Cotton had been considering emigrating to New England as early as 1630, perhaps at the same time as John Winthrop himself. It was Rev. Cotton who preached the farewell sermon at Southampton to the Winthrop fleet and encouraged the settlers to remain faithful to the Ordinances of God. But by 1633, he received a summons to the Court of High Commission which he knew would probably end his spiritual career. Rather than face the Commission, he decided to go into hiding and on May, 1633 he sent his letter of resignation as vicar of St. Botolph’s church in Boston, Lincolnshire. He then boarded a ship to Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and by October 1633, he was admitted to the church at Boston. From there, at the very center of the new colony, he wrote, preached, and gave direction and advice on matters of principle and of religion. He died in Boston on 23 December 1652.

Rev. John Cotton married twice. His first wife, Elizabeth Horrocks, bore him no children during the 18 years of their marriage. He married his second wife, Sarah Story, before 3 October 1632, and she sailed with him on the voyage to the Massachusetts Bay Colony on board the Griffin. Sarah must have been a strong lady for she undertook the journey despite knowing that she was at least seven or eight months pregnant. And so it was that on 12 August 1633, she gave birth on the ship to a son who was appropriately named Seaborn. He was baptized on 8 September 1633 five days after arriving in the colony and was to have three younger sisters and two brothers. He graduated from Harvard College in 1651 and preached in Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut in 1655. According to Savage’s A Genealogical Dictionary of First Settlers of New England, Vol. I, p. 464, he “was ord[ained] at H[arvard] C[ollege] aft[er] long trial” in 1660. He married Dorothy Bradstreet on 14 June 1654 and they had 9 children, 8 girls and one boy. After her untimely death on 26 February 1671/72, he then married Prudence Wade on 9 July 1673. They would have two sons:

  • Rowland Cotton b. 29 Aug 1674 in Hampton, New Hampshire, d. 1753 in Warminster, Wiltshire England. (The NEHGS Register, Vol. 33 (1879), p.35)
  • Wade Cotton b. 6 Oct 1676, Hampton, New Hampshire, d. 11 Oct 1676 in Hampton, New Hampshire.  (The NEHGS Register, Vol. 33 (1879), p.35)

The Reverend Seaborn Cotton died in Hampton, New Hampshire on 19 Apr 1686. Prudence  Wade-Crosby-Cotton was once again a widow, but one with an impeccable pedigree. It was not long before she married for the third time, around 7 November 1686, Lieutenant John Hammond. Prudence would outlive him by 2 years and died on 1 September 1711 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts at the age of 72.

John Hammond’s father, William, came from Lavenham, Suffolk, England, and emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631. Hew took up residence in Watertown, Massachusetts, and in November 1647 was a selectman for that town. Fortunately, Robert Charles Anderson included a sketch of William Hammond in his Great Migration Begins Vol. I-III, a sketch that begins on page 850. Anderson reports that William Hammond was declared a bankrupt in England fled to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, most likely sailing on the Lyon which left Bristol on 1 December 1630 and arrived in Charlestown in February 1631/32. Settled in Watertown, he accumulated various parcels of land in addition to a dwelling house, an orchard, and a barn; according to the inventory taken for the probate of his will, he willed his 275 acres land to his wife Elizabeth and after her death (in 1670), to his son John Hammond.

John was the eight and last-born child of William and Elizabeth Hammond and was born in Lavenham, Suffolk on 2 July 1626. Like Prudence Wade-Crosby-Cotton, he had two previous marriages before he married Prudence on 7 November 1686. And as was common in early New England, the degrees of separation between Prudence and John were very small. John’s mother, Elizabeth, was a Paine, the sister of William Paine who had lived his earlier days in Ipswich and then moved to Watertown (see my earlier references to the Paine family in Ipswich in my post Jonathan’s Life in Ipswich: Part 2.  And as one genealogist has noted, “John’s first wife, Abigail Salter was the sister of Theophilus Salter, an early resident of Ipswich.” [, Family tree UHP-1476 html]. According to James Savage’s A Genealogical Dictionary of New England, Vol. II p. 345, John was the richest man in town, a selectman in 1664 and afterwards. His military record includes a stint in King Philip’s War in 1675 and 1676, in the garrison at Wrentham (Soldiers in King Philip’s War by George Madison Bodge, Boston: 1906 pp. 366-7 [images available on His will dated 4 days before his death named his wife Prudence and his son John along with four daughters. His grave is located in the Old Burying Place in Watertown, Massachusetts.

John Hammond’s Grave, Watertown, MA
Created by: Bill Boyington
Record added: May 28, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27162680

Friends of the Family: The Dudleys and the Dunsters

Before launching into Jonathan Wade jr.’s marital associations, it is time to introduce the genealogical methodology for the numeration of people who follow in a line of succession and who may or may not have similar names. To avoid confusing Jonathan Wade senior and Jonathan Wade junior, and to identify which generation people fall into in any line of descent, the standard nomenclature adopted is as follows: the first generation is followed by a superscript number one as in¹, the second generation becomes superscript two as in², the third generation is superscript three as in³, and so on. Thus Jonathan¹ is Jonathan Wade senior while his son is Jonathan² and Jonathan²’s daughter will be Deborah³. This numbering can continue for each generation in a direct line of descent and while it can become quite lengthy and unwieldy, it is a simple and direct way to indicate the generational names in a family line.

Also before unravelling Jonathan²’s marital connections, there is a need to discuss an earlier marriage to a woman named Dorothy Bulkely, variously spelled Buckly, Buckley, Bulkeley, and Beckley. There has been tremendous historical confusion over the marriage of Jonathan Wade to “Mrs. Dorothy Buckly” on December 6, 1660 (Town Records of Ipswich 1635-1687). Some historians, like Joseph Felt, and many online genealogists, claimed that Jonathan Wade¹ was the one who married “Mrs. Dorothy Buckley…who must have been his second wife, and his third wife, Susannah, d. Nov. 29th, 1678.” (History of Ipswich, Essex and Hamilton, Massachusetts, p. 168.) This scenario would only work if Jonathan had married two Susannahs, one very early who was named in the early church register at Charlestown when their daughter Mary was born in 1633, then married Dorothy who died sometime before 1665, and then married another Susannah. There is nothing in the records that would support this contention and it is more likely that it was Jonathan² who married Dorothy Buckly in 1660 when he was about 23 years old. But who was Dorothy Buckly? Some researchers (including Doris P. Schultz) suggest that she was the daughter of  William and Sarah Buckley who briefly lived in Ipswich but later moved to Salem. William Buckley was a “cordwainer” or shoemaker who arrived in Ipswich around 1648 and sold his land in Ipswich on August 31, 1651, probably to Simon Bradstreet. He and his wife moved to Salem where Sarah gained some notoriety by being charged along with two other women with witchcraft. Other researchers (including Sandra Olney in Passengers on the Lyon in 1632) claim that she was the daughter or daughter-in-law of the Rev. Peter Bulkely who was eventually an eminent minister in Concord, and who had a daughter named Dorothy who was married to David Osborn. Without more documentation, it is difficult to sort through all the possibilities of who this Dorothy was. It is possible that she may have married into the Buckley family and was a widow (hence the “Mrs.”) when Jonathan² married her. In any event, it must remain, for the time being, an early marriage by Jonathan² which only lasted a short time and which produced no known children.

Jonathan², like his elder sister Mary, married into a very eminent family. Thomas Dudley was likely the second most eminent luminary in the new Massachusetts Bay Colony, second only to John Winthrop, the first Governor of the colony. Thomas, when he was Deputy-Governor, was the second person to be admitted to the new Boston church at its founding in 1630. (The Great Migration Begins, p. 582). He first lived at Cambridge, then moved to Ipswich where he was granted land in 1635 and where he lived for just one year, then ultimately settled in Roxbury in what is now Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Thomas Dudley had two wives: 1) Dorothy whom he married in England in 1603 and who died in Roxbury on December 27, 1643, and 2) Catherine (Deighton) Hagborne whom he married on April 14, 1644 in Roxbury. Between these two wives, Thomas fathered nine children. The list of the family alliances made through these 9 children is a veritable who’s who of the early years of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The children of his first wife, Dorothy, who were all born in England, married one of John Winthrop’s daughters, one of Simon Bradstreet’s sons, a son of Daniel Denison, a son of Robert Keayne, co-founder of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery of Massachusetts and speaker of the House of the Massachusetts General Court, and a son of Rev. John Woodbridge, the son being one of the founders of Andover, Massachusetts and its first minister. The children of his second wife, Catherine Deighton, who were all born in New England, married a son of Jonathan¹ Wade, a daughter of Edward Tyng, the first settler of Dunstable, Massachusetts,  and a daughter of John Leverett, a Governor and son of Thomas Leverett who was a close friend of Rev. John Cotton.

There are numerous sources available to consult about the life of Thomas Dudley. His biography includes a period of service in his youth with the Earl of Lincoln, his military role in the service of Henry IV, King of France, his early contributions to the formation of the Massachusetts Bay Company, his departure on the Arabella of the Winthrop fleet in 1630, and his subsequent contributions to the growth and development of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Thomas was a principled man and it seem incongruous that he would have accepted Jonathan²’s request to court his daughter had Thomas not known and approved of the Wade family’s religious, civil, and social status.

With his marriage to Deborah Dudley, Jonathan² became part of a family that had singular connections. His wife’s half-sister was Anne Dudley Bradstreet, the wife of Governor Simon Bradstreet and the first poet of the new colony. Deborah would also have been half-sister to Rev. Samuel Dudley whose wife Mary was the daughter of Governor John Winthrop. Through marriage, he would have had a family connection  to Major-General Daniel Dennison, the pre-eminent military leader of the colony. And, of course, his brother-in-law, Joseph Dudley, was to also become Governor of Massachusetts several years after he was first appointed President of the Council of New England.

Deborah Dudley died November 1, 1683 leaving Jonathan² with seven children aged from 16 years old to a few weeks old. It is not surprising that Jonathan² would feel the need to re-marry soon after his wife’s death and he was fortunate enough to find someone who had the right connections and the maturity to be able to handle seven children from his first marriage and another two from her own marriage to Jonathan². Elizabeth Dunster was the youngest child of Rev. Henry Dunster, the highly respected President of Harvard College. There are numerous turns and twists to President Dunster’s life and his final self-exile to the Plymouth Colony in 1654. According to Samuel Dunster, author of Henry Dunster and his descendants, Elizabeth Dunster was the child who precipitated President Dunster’s departure from Harvard as he had refused to bring her to the Holy Ordinance of Baptism due to his long-developing belief that baptism should not be administered to children but should involve the consent and understanding of an adult. It is not clear whether President Dunster took his family to the Plymouth Colony when he left Cambridge, but sometime around 1686 or 1687, Elizabeth was married to Major Jonathan² Wade. Elizabeth would live long past her husband Jonathan²’s death in 1689 and remarry much later in life and die at the age of 73. Her will was an extraordinary document that demonstrated an enormous affection for her family, friends, and servants. Her life will be examined at greater length in a future posting when the second generation is examined as whole, but for now, it should be noted that Jonathan² was able to select and marry two of the most well-connected women in his area. Samuel Dunster’s 1889 book Henry Dunster and his descendants is available on Google books (free), and is quite a fascinating story of the early educational commitment of the puritans as well as the growing divisions between various factions over the strictures of the puritan way of life and the handling of theological differences that arose in the puritan community.

In the next post, we shall examine Prudence Wade’s marriages to Dr. Anthony Crosby and to the Rev. Seaborn Cotton.

©Charles Labarge