Robert Reynolds, of Boston

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Robert Reynolds, of Boston

Also Known As: "Cordwainer of Boston"
Birthplace: Aylesford, Kent, England
Death: Died in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: Boston, Suffolk , Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of George Reynolds and Thomasyn Reynolds
Husband of Mary Reynolds
Father of Ruth Whitney; Tabitha Abbey; Capt. Nathaniel Reynolds; Sarah Mason; Mary Sanger and 1 other
Brother of Richard Reynolds; Anne Reynolds; James R Reynolds; William Reynolds; John Reynolds, of Ipswich and 2 others

Occupation: Cordwainer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Robert Reynolds, of Boston

Robert Reynolds

  • Born: 1586-1588, Of Aylesford, , Kentshire, England
  • Parents: George Reynolds, Thomasyn Church
  • Married: 1611, England - to Mary Pulleyne
  • Died: 27 Apr 1658, , Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts
  • Buried: Boston, MA, Kings Chapel Burying Ground

5 children born in Aylesford, Kent, England:

  1. Ruth b 1622/3. Married John Whitney.
  2. Tabitha b 1625. Married Matthew Abbey.
  3. Nathaniel b 1627. Married 1) Sarah Dedham 2) Sarah Dwight 3) Priscilla Brackett
  4. Sarah b 1628/9. Married Robert Mason.
  5. Mary b 1630. Married 1) Richard Lange 2) Richard Sanger

(Note: Not sure about birth year)

Acc. to:

Immigration: By 1634, ship unknown (admitted to membership in the First Church of Boston, August 10, 1634).

"The Great Migration Begins", Anderson, 1995, is the definitive work on immigrants for which there is definitive, objective, evidence of their being on our shores by December 31, 1633. Anderson admits there may have been others in America before December 31, 1633, but they did not meet his critieria for objective evidence. Robert Reynolds is not in the book. Douglas Reynolds, a descendant, contributed this information to me gleaned from the genealogy of Robert Reynolds by Marion Reynolds, 1931, indicating that Robert Reynolds if not here by 31 Dec 1633, was here shortly thereafter:

"In the book, The Winthrop Fleet of 1630, p.48. a provisional list of male passengers on the fly-leaf of Winthrop's Journal contains a "Reynold". A picture of the fly-leaf appears in the Book. Thus, there is a written "list" of various passengers. We also know that Robert's Boston home-lot was next to Gov. Winthrop's lot and was a large and well located property reflecting that he arrived early on with Winthrop. Robert was the first owner of this lot as confirmed by the Boston Book of Possessions. We also know that Robt became a Freeman on Sept. 3, 1634. Because so few persons became Freeman, it might appear that he would have been living in Boston with his peers a while before that privilege was bestowed upon him. However, the time each person waited for Freeman status varied. See also Rev. Runnels' history published in 1873 where he concluded that Robert arrived before 1632."


He should be a prime candidate to be in "The Great Migration... Continues" currently being published a letter at a time. The "R" book probably won't be published for awhile into the future.

Wife and family: It appears that his wife, Mary, and children accompanied him. It appears that all of his children were born in England before migration. The Whitney page shows her last name as Pulleyne. I don't know the evidence that identifies her.

Residences: There are records that suggest that Robert may be the Robert Reynolds first seen in Watertown, then in Wethersfield, Conn; but for sure it is he that is later in Boston and lived his remaining years there.

Will and Estate - He did have a will and an estate. I have not located a copy as yet. This appears to be the primary evidence for the wife of John Whitney II being his daughter.

Associations: He may have been related to John Reynolds, a contemporary immigrant, of Connecticut.

Biography: See Michael Roman's sketch of Robert Reynolds

Acc. to:


ROBERT REYNOLDS [#578], b. abt. 1580, d. Boston, MA 27 Apr 1659, m. abt. 1610 MARY ____, d. Boston, MA 18 Jan 1663.

It is believed that Robert Reynolds came to America from Nayland, Suffolk, England in the fleet with Governor Wintrop in 1630.[1] Evidence is not given but Rev. Moses T. Runnels in his Runnels-Reynolds Family writes, "from well authenticated 'private records of long ago', Robert is known to have been in Boston in 1632".[2/10] Speculation on these private records is that they were documents that had been taken from state records for someone's private collection and that Runnels was allowed to use them as long as he didn't reveal the source. Robert was certainly in Boston by 1634 as on August 10 of that year he was admitted to membership in the First Church of Boston and was made a freeman September 13, 1634.

On Dec. 14, 1635 a Robert Reynolds was allotted 25 acres of meadowland in Watertown near what is now the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. On May 29, 1635 he was dismissed from the church at Watertown to the new church at what became Wethersfield, CT. It is believed that this man was our ancestor Robert and that late in 1635 or early in 1636 he returned to Boston where he spent the remainder of his life. His daughter Mary joined the First Church of Boston on October 4, 1645.[1] There was also a John Reynolds who left Watertown to go to Wethersfield in 1635. He appears often in the records while there is only a minor mention of Robert at Wethersfield April 26, 1636. A Robert Reynolds died there in 1662.[2/17] It is possible he was the Robert from the 1636 record but more likely another man. He was certainly not the ancestor as our Robert's later life was clearly documented in Boston up to his death in 1659.

Robert was a cordwainer (or shoe maker). His home lot was on what is now the southeast corner of Milk and Washington Streets, He afterward divided this into several lots, on one of which Benjamin Franklin was born January 6, 1705, while the lot was still owned by the Reynolds family. In 1638 and 1641 Robert Reynolds was granted land at Muddy River (now Brookline), and in 1640 he was granted land on Hogg Island. His name is often found in records of land transfers, as witness to legal papers, appraiser of estates, etc. On Aug. 18, 1653 he sold his original grant of 25 acres of land in Watertown.[1]

Under the date of November 14, 1653, Captain Robert Keayne willed him 20 shillings for testifying for him for suits about a hog in 1636 and again in 1642, tried before the General Court. "This sow business" aroused such hot contention within the dignified General Court that the Magistrates forthwith split apart from the Assistants (Deputies) and sat seperately. The two legislative houses never again consolidated and the Magistrates in time became the State Senate and the others, the Lower House of the Massachusetts Legislature. Robert Reynolds was elected sealer of Leather in 1657 but did not serve. His will, dated April 20, 1658, was proved July 27, 1659. Inventory of the estate amounted to 336.19.10.[1]

REF: [1] The Warner-Harrington Ancestry - Frederick Warner, 1949

    [2] The History of Robert Reynolds - Marion H. Reynolds, 1928


1. Ruth, b. Eng. abt. 1622, d. Watertown, MA between 1692

  and 1706, m. Boston, MA 1642 John Whitney, b. Eng. abt.
  1620, d. Watertown 12 Oct 1692

2. Tabitha, b. Eng. abt. 1625, d. Boston, MA May 1661, m. 1646

  Matthew Abdey (or Abbey)

3. Nathaniel, b. Eng. abt. 1627, d. Bristol, RI 10 Jul 1708,

  m(1) 30 Dec 1657 Sarah Dwight, b. 1638, d. 1663, m(2) 1664-5
  Priscilla Bracket

4. Sarah, b. Eng. abt. 1629, d. 1684-1706, m. 1653 Robert Mason,

  d. abt. Jan 1679-80

5. Mary, b. abt. 1630, d. after 1711, m. 1649 Richard Sanger,

  b. abt. 1620, d. 1691

Copyright © Michael J. Roman, 1968-2000, all rights reserved. The information contained herein may be printed, copied, and/or distributed in part or in whole for personal use only provided this copyright notice is attached to the printout, copy, or distribution. Commercial use is expressly prohibited.


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Robert Reynolds, of Boston's Timeline

Aylesford, Kent, England
Age 25
Aylesford, Kent, , England
Age 37
Aylesford, Kentshire, England
Age 37
Age 38
Massachusetts, United States
Age 39
Aylesford, Kent, England
Age 41
Aylesford, Kent, England
Age 43
Aylesford, Kent, England
Age 44
Aylesford, Kent, England
April 20, 1658
Age 72
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts