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My 8th great-grandfather was born in Virginia Colony in 1643. His parents were both killed in the Jamestown Massacre when he was an infant.
Godfrey Ragsdale I was the first generation emigrant to America. He came sometime before 1641. He and his wife were killed in an Indian massacre on April 18, 1644. Their baby, Godfrey II, was spared. He evidently came at his own expense with intent to inhabit the land, for no grant has been found to him, but there is a record of a purchase of 300 acres of land by deed from John Butler, 25 Feb 1642. This land lay on the north side of the Appomatox River in Henrico Co. Virginia. Source: “Godfrey Ragsdale From England to Henrico Co. Virginia” by Caroline Nabors Skelton; 1969; and Henrico Co. Records; Bk. 6; p. 21.
Godfrey Ragsdale II (1643 – 1703)
Ann Wragsdale (1659 – 1724)
daughter of Godfrey Ragsdale II
Benjamin Abraham Vesser (1740 – 1779)
son of Ann Wragsdale
Samuel Harris Vassar (1757 – 1846)
son of Benjamin Abraham Vesser
Mary Vessor (1801 – 1836)
daughter of Samuel Harris Vassar
Margaret Mathews (1831 – 1867)
daughter of Mary Vessor
Julia McConnell (1854 – 1879)
daughter of Margaret Mathews
Minnie M Smith (1872 – 1893)
daughter of Julia McConnell
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Minnie M Smith
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse
The Ragsdale family name is said to come from Ragdale, England, meaning either “valley at the pass” or “dweller in the valley where the lichen grows.” Henry Ragsdale was born in Leicestershire, England about 1450, his son Robert was born about 1485 in Ragsdale, Leicestershire, England. He died about 1559 and some of his children were Henry, Thomas R. and John R. Henry was born about 1510; he married Elizabeth Oglethorpe about 1532 , and their children were William, Dorothy, Elizabeth, Margaret, Owen and Catherine. Henry died in 1559. William was born in 1575; he married a woman named Heathcote, about 1615; they had a son, Godfrey I, who married Lady Mary Cookney and they both came to America.
Godfrey Ragsdale I and his wife, Lady Mary Cookney arrived in Virginia some time late in the summer of 1638. They were some of the first Ragsdales to come to America. Godfrey Ragsdale I ands his wife, Lady Mary Cookney lived in Henrico County Virginia on a 300 acre plantation on February 25, 1642, upon the north side of the Appomattox River.
On April 18, 1644 afterwards known as “Opechancanough Day” the Pamunkee Indians and several tribes in the Indian Federation went on a rampage. There was a carnage that was greater than the one in the Norfolk area in 1622. The Indians slaughtered no less than 500 Englishman. This massacre fell almost entirely upon the frontier Counties at the head of the great rivers, and upon the plantations on the south side of the James River. Both Godfrey I and his wife Lady Mary were killed and scalped.
From documents we know that Godfrey and Lady Mary had a son named Godfrey Ragsdale II, who was born in 1644. Because his mother and father had been killed in the “Jamestown Massacre”, Godfrey II’s next door neighbors raised him and later became his in-laws. Historians say that most Ragsdales in America came from Godfrey II.
My 7th great-grandfather was a gentleman and a trader in Massachusetts Colony. Another descendant paid a professional genealogist to research his history. The results that follow are fascinating because she takes steps to figure out which of the various William Thomas’s my ancestor was. I have made big mistakes in my own tree on the ancestors with very common names like John Taylor. Record keeping varies from place to place and time to time. I am impressed and pleased with this expert research. I once paid for research to be done by the Somerset PA Historical Society, which I visited in person. They stiffed me and did no investigation for the fee they charged. This experience burned me on the idea of paid experts. This example is very well done. The lady who did the work is:
Diane Rapaport, Historical Consultant/Attorney Quill Pen Historical Consulting, P. O. Box 204, Lexington, MA 02420 Tel.: 781-698-7884 (866-QUILLPEN) – Fax: 781-861-6744 (888-QPFAXES) Email: email@example.com Web: http://www.quillpenhistorical.com
She does very thorough work. Thanks to James Crawford for making this public information. We appreciate your contribution, cousin.
William Thomas (1695 – 1733)
Mary Thomas (1729 – 1801)
daughter of William Thomas
Joseph Morse III (1756 – 1835)
son of Mary Thomas
John Henry Morse (1775 – 1864)
son of Joseph Morse III
Abner Morse (1808 – 1838)
son of John Henry Morse
Daniel Rowland Morse (1838 – 1910)
son of Abner Morse
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Daniel Rowland Morse
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
RESEARCH REPORT for JAMES CRAWFORD
May 31, 2010
By Diane Rapaport
Documentation of the parents and origins of William Thomas:
b. 1695, Marlborough, MA (or Wales?)
d. 25 July 1733, Marlborough, MA
m. 19 June 1721, to Lydia Eager (b. 03 July 1696, Marlborough, MA, d. 12 Oct 1735, Marlborough, MA)
Lovina Thomas, b. 15 Aug 1721, Marlborough, MA, d. Shrewsbury, MA
Sophia Thomas, b. 28 July 1723, Marlborough, MA, d. 24 Aug 1745
William Thomas, b. 19 Mar 1724, Marlborough, MA [Note: Per Marlborough Vital Records, year should be 1725; see below.]
Lydia Thomas, b. 30 Sep 1727, Marlborough, MA
Mary Thomas, b. 16 Feb 1729, Framingham, MA [Note: Marlborough Vital Records suggest that the birthplace was Marlborough; see below.]
Odoardo Thomas, b. 7 May 1731, Marlborough, MA
[Note: The information about William Thomas and his family, which you provided by .ged file, is unsourced. The Ancestry record “hints” in other public trees include only “OneWorldTree” and “Massachusetts Marriages” database, which are not authoritative sources.]
Summary of Research Results
Jim, I searched numerous record sources—vital records, probate records, land records, trial court records, and secondary sources (which I found online and at the Massachusetts Archives, the Middlesex County Registry of Deeds, and the New England Historic Genealogical Society)—for clues to the life and origins of William Thomas. I found much documentation about William (which I am providing to you as PDF and JPG files, posted at the “Files and Messages” page of our project at Ancestry’s Expert Connect – scroll down to the bottom of that page, where you will find the files, which you can read or download to your computer).
The search revealed other men named William Thomas in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, during the relevant time period, including a Native American from the town of Natick, the son of a blacksmith from Newton, and a “husbandman” (the colonial term for a farmer or laborer) from Lambstown in Worcester County (where, as it turns out, your William had connections). But I was able to distinguish these other men from your William Thomas, who was identified consistently in the records as a “gentleman” (and in a few instances as a “trader”), suggesting that he was of a high social rank. I also discovered in the Middlesex County Court records that he was a licensed “retailer” and probably operated a store in Marlborough; the license was transferred to his wife Lydia after his death.
I discovered that William purchased land in Framingham, the town next to Marlborough, in 1720, just before his marriage to Lydia; at the time of that land purchase, he was identified in the deed as being of Framingham, suggesting that he already lived there. I could not find any record of his purchasing property in Marlborough (although the probate records indicate that he owned real estate in the town); it is possible, since Framingham adjoins Marlborough, that the land was actually the same that he purchased in 1720, and that the town boundaries changed. (I found no evidence of other Thomas families in Framingham before that date.) And, I discovered documentation in the Worcester County land records, as well as in the Middlesex County probate records, that William began buying land in Shrewsbury, Worcester County, shortly before his death.
In the 8 hours authorized for this project, I was unable to determine more about William’s origins. I did find evidence, in the guardianship records of his children (after the death of William and his wife), that William’s sons chose an uncle from Shrewsbury, Asa Bouker, to be their guardian. I did not have time to do any research about Asa Bouker or his connections with either William or Lydia. I found evidence in land and probate records of other people with the Thomas surname in early Middlesex County and elsewhere in Massachusetts (see my notes, below), but I did not have time to follow up on those leads. One promising name might be Nathaniel Thomas of Plymouth (identified as “Esquire,” suggesting that he was a “gentleman” like William), who had some connection with a wealthy Elizabeth Thomas who died in Medford, Middlesex County, in 1729. Perhaps William was indeed of Wales, as you suggested. Also intriguing is the name of his son, Odoardo, which my quick Google search indicates is an Italian name, and may suggest some cosmopolitan origins for your William Thomas.
The next step that I would recommend is to search for more information about Asa Bouker of Shrewsbury, Nathaniel Thomas, and other early Thomas families in Massachusetts, as well as resources about early Boston, since William Thomas or his family (like many families of high social rank) may have spent time there upon arriving in New England. I also would recommend a more review of the probate and land records that I have obtained (I provided you with copies, but have not made a thorough study), to see if there are any other clues about family members. I would be happy to continue the search, if you would like to consider authorizing more time!
Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (database of the New England Historic Genealogical Society)
Searched Thomas surname in Marlborough, MA:
In published Marlborough Vital Records, earliest entry is marriage of William and “Lidia” Eager in 1721 (see copy, Thomas Wm & Eager Lidia marriage.pdf), followed by their children’s births (see copy, Thomas Wm children births.pdf), and the deaths of William, his wife Lydia, and their daughter Sophia (see copy, Thomas Wm Lydia Sophia deaths.pdf). [Note: According to the vital records, son William was born 1725, not 1724, and daughter Mary was born in Marlborough, not Framingham, but otherwise all the dates match up with the information in your family tree (except there is no record or date for William Sr.’s birth).]
Searched Thomas surname in Middlesex County to 1721:
In published Newton Vital Records, marriage record of:
Thomas, William and Anna Loverin, Aug. 29, 1695, in Watertown (see copy, Newton VRs marriages.pdf). But note that William and Anna had a daughter in 1695. However, it appears that this William Thomas of Newton and a first wife, Elizabeth, had a son William in 1687; see below.
Thomas, Joanna, ch. William and Ann (second w.), Oct. 28, 1695.
Thomas, William, s. William and Elizabeth, Aug. 31, 1687. (See copy, Newton VRs births.pdf.) Probably this is the William Thomas, blacksmith, and his son, and no relation to your William Thomas. See notes re: probate records, below.
Searched Thomas surname in Worcester County to 1721:
Found only a Sarah Thomas who married in Mendon in 1707.
Searched Thomas surname in Framingham:
No early Thomas entries
Note: I have not made an exhaustive search of the available published vital records. Many births were not recorded with the town officials, however, but evidence can be found in collateral records, such as church, land, probate, etc. I did not have time to search church records.
(Reviewed at Middlesex County Registry of Deeds and on microfilm at New England Historic Genealogical Society)
As you will see, I reviewed some deed records for dates afterWilliam Thomas’ death, since sometimes deeds are not recorded until years after the conveyance.
Middlesex County, MA
Grantee Index, 1639-1799 (microfilm)
(and I briefly searched deed book volumes, where indicated)
I searched for early entries with the Thomas surname, before William’s death in 1733, which I noted, since the index did not refer to the town, and reviewing the records might show connection with Marlborough or William Thomas:
1685, July 20, Thomas, Ales & Benjamin, from E. Corlett, 9: 411 – Ales Thomas of Boston & Benjamin his son, purchased land in Cambridge
1686, Oct 20, Thomas, John &al from F. Hinchman, 10: 7 – no Thomas found on this page
1687, March 9, Thomas, Edward, agent, from W. Cutter, 10: 33 – Mentions Edward Thomas of Boston
1697, Nov 23, Thomas Edward, from C. Morton, 12: 106 – no Thomas found on this page
1701, Dec 12, Nathaniel Jr from J. Croade, 13: 89 – Nathaniel Thomas Jr. of Plymouth buys land in Groton
1719, May 11, Thomas, Joshua, from M. Meeds, atty, 20: 333 – Joshua Thomas of Boston
1720, March 30, Thomas, John & Solomon, Samuel’s est., deposition 12: 733 – no Thomas found on this page
1721, Aug 18, Thomas John &al, deposition, 21: 412 – re: John Thomas of Natick, Indian
Entries for William Thomas, all after his death date:
1735, Feb 27, Thomas, William, from Edward Clap, 36: 516 – This seems likely to be your William Thomas, since it refers to him as “gentleman” and the conveyance in Framingham occurred in 1720, before his marriage. (Copy, Thomas Wm deed Mdsx v36p516.jpg and Thomas Wm deed Mdsx v36p517.jpg.)
1739 March 12, Thomas, William, from B. Tray, 39: 642 –William Thomas of Natick, Indian
1742, Dec 11, Thomas, William, from T. Bowman, 44: 51 – William Thomas of Natick
1745, Apr. 2, Thomas, William, from M. Speen, 45: 97
1747, Feb. 10, Thomas, William, from S. Abram, 46: 429
1752, Feb 8, Thomas, William, from M. Tom, 49: 357
Other William Thomas entries after this date, but not until 1782; no entries found for Lydia Thomas
Grantee Index, 1639-1799, A-G
Found several entries for surname Eager (Eagar, Augur, Egar), who might be relatives of Lydia Eager, but no entries for Lydia.
Grantor Index, 1639-1799, S-Z
(and I briefly searched deed book volumes, where indicated)
No entries for a William Thomas until 1738:
1738, Feb 19, Thomas, William, to D. Morse and J. Carver, 39: 542, 547 – William Thomas of Natick, Indian
No other entries for William Thomas until 1749:
1749, July 24, Thomas, William, to J. Loring, 49: 61
Worcester County, MA
Grantee Index, 1731-1839, P-Z (microfilm)
(and briefly searched deed books, where indicated)
1734, Thomas, William, from Gerstrom Keyes, Nahum Ward and Eleaser Rice, 4: 432-437, Shrewsbury deeds (Copies, Thomas Wm deed Worcester v4p433.jpg, Thomas Wm deed Worcester v4p434.jpg, Thomas Wm deed Worcester v4p435a.jpg, Thomas Wm deed Worcester v4p435b.jpg, Thomas Wm deed Worcester v4p436.jpg, Thomas Wm deed Worcester v4p437.jpg) – These land purchases occurred in 1730 and 1733, and refer to William as “of Marlborough,” “Gentleman” and “Trader.” No other people surnamed Thomas are mentioned, and no obvious clues to his origins, although it is possible that he may have been related to some of the people involved.
1734, Thomas, William, from Saml Smith, 5: 161, Hardwick – William Thomas of Lambstown, husbandman, 1734
1736, Thomas, William, from Saml March, 9:25, Hardwick –William Thomas of Lambstown, husbandman, 1736
1737, Thomas, William, from John Jordan, 9: 73, Hardwick –William Thomas of Lambstown, husbandman, 1736
1740, Thomas, William, from Amos Thomas, 13: 141, Hardwick –William Thomas, husbandman, of Lambstown, Worcester County, and Amos Thomas, husbandman of same town. Deed signed 1739, so obviously not your William Thomas.
1746, Thomas, William, from Amos Thomas, 20: 556, Hardwick
1746, Thomas, William, from Amos Thomas, 22: 1, Hardwick
And more William Thomas entries after this date, to 1838
No entries for Lydia Thomas
Grantor Index, 1731-1839, T-Z (microfilm)
1735, Thomas, William, to Stephen Harrington, 7:17
1740, Thomas, William, to Ebenr Foskett, 13: 68
1740, Thomas, William Jr., to Ebenr Foskett, 13: 68
1742, Thomas, William, to Amos Thomas, 16: 207
And more William Thomas entries after this date, to 1836
The only Lydia Thomas entry was:
1787, Thomas, Lydia, to Fos Fayerweather, 102: 20
(Reviewed at Massachusetts Archives)
Early Thomas records in Middlesex probate:
William, Newton, 1698, Will, 22416
Will refers to this William Thomas as a blacksmith, and he signs will with mark. Leaves estate to widow for her life, and then to son William. Small estate, about 50 pounds.
William, Newton, 1699, Guardian, 22417
Papers say he is about 12 years old in 1699. Nathaniel Hancock appointed guardian.
William, Marlborough, 1734, Administration, 22418. This is your William Thomas. See copy, Thomas Wm Mdsx probate.pdf. Note: I did not have time to make a thorough study of these records for further clues.
William, Marlborough, 1740, Guardian, 22421. This is the son of your William Thomas. See copy, Thomas Wm Jr Mdsx guardianship.pdf.
Lydia, Marlborough, 1735, Administration, 22406. This is the wife of your William Thomas. See copy, Thomas Lydia Mdsx probate.pdf.
Lydia, Marlborough, 1743, Guardian, 22419. Mary, Marlborough, 1743, Guardian, 22419. Sophia, Marlborough, 1743, Guardian, 22419. These are William and Lydia’s daughters. See copy, Thomas Wm daughters Mdsx guardianship.pdf.
Odoardo, Marlborough, 1743, Guardian, 22420. This is the son of your William Thomas. See copy, Thomas Odoardo Mdsx guardianship.pdf.
Elizabeth, Medford, 1729, Will, 22399
Leaves most of property to nephew Henry Dunster, etc.; gives gold ring to Nathanil Thomas Esqr., but mentions no other Thomas heirs; apparently wealthy [consider copying re: freed slave Tonney]
Paul, Natick, 1746, Administration, 22408
Solomon, Natick, 1736, Administration, 22412
Solomon Jr., Natick, 1737, Administration, 22413
Early Thomas entries in Worcester County probate:
Aaron, Hardwick, 1748, Guardianship, 58837
Amos, Hardwick, 1754, Will, 58844
Israel, Hardwick, 1748, Guardianship, 58869
William, Leominster, 1746, Administration, 58910
William, Hardwick, 1747, Administration, 58911
OTHER COURT RECORDS
Middlesex County Court Folio Collection index
Thomas, Lydia, Concord 1733-127-A-II
Paid excise tax
Thomas, Lydia, Marlborough, 1733-129-A-3
Granted retailer’s license
Thomas, William, 1725-86x-III
Thomas, William & Jonathan How, 1730, 119-A-2
Thomas, William, 1727-252-2
Marlboro licensed retailer
Thomas, William, 1726-107x-4
Marlboro licensed retailer
Thomas, William, 1685-117-6
Bond for administrator of Mark Woods & Strattons’ Est.
Mary E. Spalding, for Franklin P. Rice, Colonial Records of Marlborough, Mass. (Boston: NEHGS, 1909) – Early records, only to 1660s
Charles Hudson, History of the Town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its First Settlement in 1657 to 1861, with a Brief Sketch of the Town of Northborough. . . (Boston, Press of T. R. Margin, 1862). Brief entry for William Thomas family on p. 458. (No new information.)
Marlborough, Massachusetts, Burial Ground Inscriptions: Old Common, Spring Hill, and Brigham Cemeteries (Worcester, Mass.: Franklin P. Rice, 1908). No inscriptions for surname Thomas.
Note: Marlborough town records, 1666-1847, are available from FHL on microfilm.
My 8th great-grandfather was kicked out of the Puritan’s church at Roxbury and became a Quaker. He moved to Rhode Island, as many of my ancestors did, to practice his religion. He was influential and prosperous in Rhode Island.
Philip Sherman (1610 – 1687)
is my 8th great grandfather
Eber Sherman (1634 – 1706)
son of Philip Sherman
Mary Sherman (1688 – 1751)
daughter of Eber Sherman
Thomas Sweet (1732 – 1813)
son of Mary Sherman
Thomas Sweet (1765 – 1844)
son of Thomas Sweet
Valentine Sweet (1791 – 1858)
son of Thomas Sweet
Sarah LaVina Sweet (1840 – 1923)
daughter of Valentine Sweet
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Sarah LaVina Sweet
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse – (not you?)
In Bertha L. Stratton’s book, “Sherman and Other Families,” she made the statement that Philip Sherman intended to settle in New Hampshre, but the climate proved too severe and so the lands there were abandoned. Upon discussion with Roger Williams at Providence, Rhode Island, the other people from Massachusetts bought Aquidneck Island in Narraganset Bay. Nineteen men signed the compact for the town in 1638. Upon leaving the church in Roxbury, Philip joined with the Friends. The Massachusetts Court ordered Philip to appear before them on 12 Mar 1638, he did not go. But he continued as a prominent figure in Rhode Island; he was the General Recorder in 1648-1652 & the Deputy to the Assembly in 1665-1667. Tradition says he was a “devout and determined man, and he was also a “neat and expert penman & an educated man,” and his Last Will & Testament “shows that he was wealthy for those times.”
Philip Sherman immigrated to Roxbury, MA and married Sarah Odding shortly after his arrival. He might have felt pressured to marry quickly, because bachelors especially of such an advanced age as 23 were looked upon with suspicion, and their single state could even effect business opportunities and social acceptance.
According to Representative Men of Old Families of Southeastern Massachussets, by J. H. Beers & Company, in a biographical entry of one of Philip’s descendants, Philip Sherman “took the side of Anne Hutchinson,” a brave woman in Salem, MA who maintained that women should be allowed to hold prayer meetings as well as men, and proceeded to hold such meetings in her home in defiance of the rules of the time and demands that she quit. She, with some members of her family including young grandchildren, were driven out of Salem into the wilderness of Rhode Island. Families in sympathy for her or in fear of retaliation for their past support and/or defense of her beliefs soon followed to Rhode Island, and Philip Sampson and his family were among the group that left Salem following her ouster.
In Providence, Philip met Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island promising religious freedom to it’s citizens. Williams advised Philip andthe members of his party to purchase Aquidneck from the Indians, which they did on 1 Jul 1639. They created their own government with Coddington chosen to be the first governor of Rhode Island, and Philip chosen to be secretary.
Some historians believe that the death of Anne Hutchinson with most of her family during an attack of native Americans was the first act in several that led to the end of the Puritan Church. Members of the communities in all the colonies were horrified that she was banished for her beliefs and suffered so. Many felt banished themselves from England when their Puritan faith had been banned, and her treatment forced them to recognize their own harshness.
Philip left what is now called “the Congressional Church” and joined the Society of Friends, or Quakers.
He was the father of 13 children, and many of his descendants served America as congressmen and soldiers.
We have his will:
WILL of PHILIP SHEARMAN, of Portsmouth, RI
In the name of God Amen, I, Philip Shearman, yeoman, aged seventy-one years, of the Town of Portsmouth in the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England, being in good memory, praise be therefor given to Almighty God, do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in the manner and form following: (that is to say); first and principally I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God and my body to the earth to be decently buried by my executor hereafter named. And as for the disposition of my worldly estate, it is in manner and form following; first I give to Sarah my loving wife the use and her dwelling in the first room at the west end of my now dwelling house & bed and bedding with the furniture thereto belonging now standing in the aforenamed room. Also I do here by ordaine and appoint my son Samuel my sole Executor to this my last will and testament truely performed; and to b__ himself, heirs, Executors and Administrators for the true performance hereof; furthermore my will is that my executor shall sufficiently maintain my loving wife with food and raiment and all necessaries whatsoever during her natural life and at her decease decently to bury her; furthermore, I do give unto Sarah mywife ten good ewe sheep to be marked out of my flock for the sole use and dispose both of bodie and wool yearly, wch said number shall be kept by my said Executor during the natural life of Sarah my said wife free and without any charge to my wife.
Item: I do give unto Eber my Eldest son that which I have already given him, ten acres of land in the bounds of Portsmouth aforesaid at a place called Briggs swamp joining to a parcel of land of his own to him and his heirs forever. And all my horse flesh in the Narragansett country except one mare, the scond best; such excepted mare, I give to Thomas Mumford and Peleg Mumford my Grandchildren.
Item: I give unto my son Peleg five ewe sheep.
Item: I give unto my son Edmund a quarter share of meadow and a sixteenth part of a share of upland lying in Ponagansett within the Township of Dartmouth in the colony of New Plymouth in New England with all the privileges th__ to belonging or any wards appertaining. And also my whole right in the purchase of Squamscutt now called Westerly by thecollony to the said Edmund and his heirs.
Item: I give unto my son Samson after the decease of my said wife his half of the breadth of my farm wch I now dwell upon from the westward end to the sea and three Rood more in breadth of the whole length of the aforesaid land and bounded southward upon a straight line Eastward from the south west corner of that orchard now called Sampson’s upon a straight line to a lande marke about a rood short of the cart way that goes from my dwelling house to my barn in Portsmouth aforesaid. And from the said land marke upon a sloap line five Rood westwardly of my barn until it comes to the lineof the aforesaid half-breadth of the aforesaid farm to him and his heires forever and to have the third part of any hay and grass yearly of the aforesaid farm. And my son Samson and my son Samuel to have equal privileges in the arible land of the aforesaid farm during the natural life of Sarah my wife.
Item: I give unto my son Samuel all the remaining of my aforesaid farm with my now dwelling house and all the other buildings upon the said part of the land lying southward of the other part of my farm now given to my son Samson as aforesaid to him and his heirs forever after the decease of Sarah my wife and to have two parts of the grass and the hay during the natural life of Sarah my wife.
Item: All my neat cattle, hors kind, sheep kind and swine I do give unto my son Samuel aforenamed Executor, (excepting two oxen and a fatting cow.) And also all my moveable goods (Excepting two great chests with lock and key to each of them, which said chests I give unto my wife Sarah) he my aforesaid executor paying the several legacies herein this my will specified both the aforementioned and what shall hereafter be exprest in this my will.
Item: I givee unto my son Samson aforenamed one white faced mare with her foale and all those four Indians wch we jointly bought.
Item: I give unto my son Samson and my son Samuel my draught horse and two draught steers equally betwixt them.
Item: I give unto my son John my bay mare.
Item: I give unto my son Benjamin all the remaining __art of of my land at Brigg’s Swamp whereupon the said Benjamin’s house now stands, being by estimation twentie acres be the same more or less to him and his heires forever.
Item: I give unto my daughter Sarah ten ewe sheep to be paid her the year after my decease.
Item: I give unto my daughter Mary ten ewe sheep to be paid her the year after my decease.
Item: I give unto my daughter Hannah fivee pounds of New England silver money for the proper use of her selfe and children to be paid the year after my decease.
Item: I give unto my daughter Hannah five ewe sheep to be paid to her the year after my decease.
Item: I give unto my daughter Philip ten ewe sheep to be paid to her the year after my decease.
Item: I give unto Benjamin Clarke to my son Edmund until he comes of age of one & twenty years, the said Edmund finding the said Benjamin with sufficient food and clothing duting the terme aforesaid.
Item: I the above said Philip Shearman do ordain and appoint this to be my last will and testament, making void all former wills and testaments heretofore by me made.
In witness whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seal this one and thirtyeth day of the month comonly called July, Anno Domino on thousand six hundred and Eightie one.
Philip Shearman (Seal)
Before the signing and sealing of this my will and testament, I the aforesaid Philip Shearman do declare that wheras the word Assigns is omitted in the giving of the several parcels of land to my children:
That it is my true intent and meaning that I do give the said several parcels of land specified in my above written will to my children to their heires and Assigns forever.
Signed and sealed in the presence of:
Proved March 22, 1686/7.
Recorded on page 260 of “Land Evidence, 2nd Book, No. 1”
New England Families Genealogical and Memorial: Third Series, Volume IV
(The Sherman Line).
(IV) Philip Sherman, son of Samuel Sherman, was named after his mother. He was born in Dedham, England, February 5, 1610. He came to America when he was twenty-three, and settled at Roxbury, Massachusetts. He was made freeman there, May 14, 1634, standing next on the list after Governor Haynes. He married Sarah Odding, in the year after his arrival; she was stepdaughter of John Porter, of Roxbury, and her mother, Margaret Porter, was widow of (???) Odding. He returned to England in 1635 for a short time. On November 20, 1637, he and others were warned to give up all arms, because “the opinions and revelations of Mr. Wheelwright and Mrs. Hutchinson have seduced and led into dangerous errors many of the people here in New England.” The Church record says he was brought over to “Familism” by Porter, his wife’s stepfather. In 1638 he was in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, but the Massachusetts authorities evidently thought he had not left, for on March 12, 1638, though he had license to leave, he had summons to appear at the next court if they had not yet gone, to “answer such things as shall be objected.” He did not answer these summons, but continued to be a prominent figure in Rhode Island affairs. In 1639 he was secretary of the colony; made freeman, March 16, 1641; was general recorder, in 1648 to 1652; deputy from 1665 to 1667. On April 4, 1676, he was among sixteen persons who were requested to be at the next meeting of the deputies to give advice and help in regard to the Narragansett campaign. He died in March, 1687. His will, dated July 30, 1681, showed that he was wealthy for the times. He had thirteen children, eight boys and five girls, their dates of birth being between the years 1634 and 1652.
from: “The Great Migration Begins”
FIRST RESIDENCE: Roxbury
REMOVES: Portsmouth 1638
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: “Phillip Sherman. He came into the land in the year 1623 [sic], a single man, & after married Sarah Odding, the daughter o[f] the wife of John Porter by a former husband. This man was of a melancholy temper, he lived honestly & comfortably among us several years, upon a just calling went for England & returned again with a blessing: but after his father-in-law John Porter was so carried away with these opinions of familism & schism he followed them & removed with them to the Iland, he behaved himself sinfully in these matters (as may appear in the story) & was cast out of the church” [RChR 78-79].
FREEMAN: 14 May 1634 [MBCR 1:368]. 16 March 1640/1 [RICR 1:111].
EDUCATION: Sufficient to be General Recorder of Rhode Island. His inventory included “four old Bibles & other small books” valued at £1.
OFFICES: General Recorder, 16 May 1648, 22 May 1649, 23 May 1650 [RICR 1:209, 217, 230, 236]. On 4 November 1651 colony records were demanded of Philip Sherman “late recorder of this colony” [RICR 236].
Attended Portsmouth town meeting, 13 May 1638, 20 May 1638, 20 August 1638, 5 November 1638, 2 January 1638/9 [RICR 1:53, 54, 58, 61, 63]. Selectman, 30 April 1639 [RICR 1:71]. Committee to build fences, 20 May 1638 [RICR 1:54]. Surveyor, 1640 [RICR 1:102]. Town clerk, 1649-1656 [PoTR 42, 45, 49, 50, 57, 60, 62, 67, 71]. Town Council, 1649, 1650, 1653, 1654, 1656, 1657, 1670-1673 [PoTR 42, 45, 61, 62, 71, 76, 152, 161, 169, 176]. Portsmouth commissioner to Rhode Island General Court, 21 May 1656 [PoTR 70; RICR 1:337]. Committee to audit treasurer’s accounts, 21 May 1661 [RICR 1:442]. Portsmouth deputy to Rhode Island General Court, 3 May 1665, 25 October 1665 [PoTR 130; RICR 2:96, 130].
ESTATE: On 10 February 1639/40 he was granted 200 acres at Portsmouth [RICR 1:73].
On 28 August 1650 Samuel Gorton of Warwick sold to Philip Sherman of Portsmouth seven acres in Portsmouth [PoTR 304-05].
On 3 October 1677 Philip Sherman Senior of Portsmouth deeded to “Pelegg Sherman my son” fourteen acres in Portsmouth [PoLE 1:148]. On 15 April 1678 Philip Sherman Senior of Portsmouth deeded to “Benjamin Chase my son-in-law and my daughter Philip his wife” four acres and a half in Portsmouth [PoLE 1:150].
In his will, dated 31 July 1681 and proved 22 March 1686/7, “Philip Shearman, yeoman, aged seventy-one years, of the Town of Portsmouth,” bequeathed to “Sarah my loving wife the use and her dwelling in the first room at the west end of my now dwelling…”; “my son Samuel my sole executor” and to provide “my loving wife with food and raiment and all necessaries whatsoever during her natural life and at her decease decently to bury her”; to “Sarah my wife ten good ewe sheep”; to “Eber my eldest son that which I have already given him, ten acres of land in the bounds of Portsmouth … at a place called Briggs swamp … and all my horse flesh in the Narragansett country excepting one mare, the second best, such excepted mare, I give to Thomas Mumford and Peleg Mumford my grandchildren”; to “my son Peleg five ewe sheep”; to “my son Edmund a quarter share of meadow and a sixteenth part of a share of upland lying in Ponagansett within the township of Dartmouth … also my whole right in the purchase of Squamscutt now called Westery”; to “my son Samson after the decease of my said wife his half of the breadth of my farm which I now dwell upon … my son Samson and my son Samuel to have equal privileges in the aerable land of the aforesaid farm during the natural life of Sarah my wife”; to “my son Samuel all the remaining part of my aforesaid farm with my now dwelling house and all the other buildings … and to have two parts of the grass and the hay during the natural life of Sarah my wife”; to “my son Samson … one white faced mare with her foal and all those four Indians which we jointly bought”; to “my son John my bay mare”; to “my son Benjamin all the remaining part of my land at Briggs’ Swamp whereupon the said Benjamin’s house now stands”; to “my daughter Sarah ten ewe sheep”; to “my daughter Mary ten ewe sheep”; to “my daughter Hannah £5 of New England silver money for the proper use of herself and children”; to “my daughter Hannah five ewe sheep”; to “my daughter Philip ten ewe sheep”; “I give Benjamin Clarke to my son Edmund until he comes of age of one & twenty years, the said Edmund finding the said Benjamin with sufficient food and clothing during the term aforesaid” [Roy V. Sherman, Some Descendants of Philip Sherman The First Secretary of Rhode Island, hereafter Sherman Anc, citing PoLE 2:260-61].
The inventory of the estate of Philip Sherman, dated 19 March 1686/7, totalled £100, with no real estate included [Portsmouth Scrapbook 17].
BIRTH: Baptized Dedham, Essex, 5 February 1610/1, son of Samuel Sherman [Sherman Gen 95].
DEATH: Portsmouth before 19 March 1686/7 (date of inventory).
MARRIAGE: Roxbury about 1633 Sarah Odding, daughter of Margaret (_____) (Odding) Porter [RChR 78-79; TAG 73:176-80].
i EBER, b. say 1634; m. Mary _____. (She has been called Mary Wilcox, daughter of Edward [Transatlantic Shermans 114; Philip Sherman 28], but there is no room for her in the family of Edward Wilcox [NEHGR 147:190-91].)
ii SARAH, b. say 1636; m. by about 1656 Thomas Mumford [Austin 136].
iii PELEG, b. say 1637; m. Portsmouth 26 July 1657 Elizabeth Lawton, daughter of Thomas Lawton [RIVR 4:Portsmouth:37].
iv EDMUND, b. 1641; m. by 1674 Dorcas Hicks, daughter of Samuel Hicks and granddaughter of ROBERT HICKS [Harriet Woodbury Hodge, Hicks (Hix) Families of Rehoboth and Swansea, Massachusetts (Winnetka, Illinois, 1976), p. 59].
v SAMSON, b. 1642; m. Portsmouth 4 March 1674/5 Isabel Tripp, daughter of John Tripp [RIVR 4:Portsmouth:37; TG 4:62].
vi JOHN, b. 1644; by about 1674 Sarah Spooner, daughter of William Spooner (in his will of 8 March 1683[/4] William Spooner made a bequest to “my daughter Sarah Sherman” [PCPR 4:2:71]).
vii MARY, b. 1645; living on 31 July 1681 (father’s will). (Austin says she married Samuel Wilbore, son of Shadrach, but this Samuel was born in 1663 [Austin 228], so this identification seems highly unlikely.)
viii HANNAH, b. 1647; m. by about 1678 William Chase, son of William Chase [NEHGR 87:51-52; Austin 178-79].
ix SAMUEL, b. 1648; m. Portsmouth 23 February 1680/1 Martha Tripp [RIVR 4:Portsmouth:37; TG 4:62].
x BENJAMIN, b. 1650; m. Portsmouth 3 December 1674 Hannah Mowry, daughter of ROGER MOWRY [Austin 179].
xi PHILIP, b. 1652; m. by about 1674 Benjamin Chase, son of WILLIAM CHASE [PoLE 1:150; Austin 178-79; NEHGR 87:51].