John Beageley, or Bigelow, as most descendants spell their name, was born in or near Wrentham, Suffolk, England and baptized there February 16, 1617. After much research, the Bigelow Society has identified through several sources this John Bigelow as one John Baguley, son of Randall and Jane Baguley (or Beageley) of Wrentham, Suffolk, England. John, their youngest son, was baptised 16 February 1617 and it is probable that he immigrated to America in 1632 on one of the ships of the Winthrop Fleet. Sources: Gilman Bigelow Howe's book, The Bigelow Family in America (1890) published by Charles Hamilton of Boston. Visit the Bigelow Society website at www.bigelowsociety.com.
The rector of Wrentham parish in 1617 was the Rev. John Phillips, who later emigrated to Dedham, Massachussetts. During his years in Dedham, Phillips once stated that the blacksmith John Biglo of Watertown, Massachusetts was the same infant whom he had baptized in 1617 as the son of Randall Beageley, and that he (Phillips) had "known John Biglo from earliest youth upward".
Further, in a civil case in Watertown during his lifetime, John Biglo, took the witness stand and identified himself as "John Biglo, formerly of Wrentham, England." From these facts we state the identity and parentage of John Biglo, and through parish and probate records in England, can prove three generations of his English ancestry. (from "John Biglo, Immigrant Ancestor" www.bigelowsociety.com/rod/john1.htm;
John Biglow seems to have arrived in Watertown, MA about 1632. He probably came with an older relative, Elizabeth Bigelow, second wife of Deacon Richard Butler, who after a short stay in Massachusetts, followed the Rev. Thomas Hooker to Connecticut. It is assumed tht Elizabeth was an older sister or first cousin. No ship's records exist showing the date of their arrival.
John Biglo took part in the Pequot War of 1636, serving from Watertown. The next public mention we find of him is his marriage in Watertown on October 30, 1642 -- the first marriage recorded in Watertown--before Mr. Nowell, to Mary Warren, daughter of John and Margaret Warren. Ella Biglow's book, Reminiscences of Historic Marlborough, MA, contains a fictional description of John at his wedding, in white satin breeches, ruffled shirt and silver shoe buckles.There is also a docu-drama book called the Winthrop Woman, htat is very well researched. On page 250, there is related a cannon-ball pitching contest between Will Hallet and "his opponent-Bigelow, the blacksmith."The contest was held in the Commo of "little Boston", on Election Day in the mid to late 1630's. The book relates the life of Elizabeth, a grand-daughter of John Winthrop, and a passenger on one of the ships of the same Winthrop Fleet.
To quote from Howe's book, "from the list of those who took the oath of fidelity at Watertown 1652, we fid that John Biggalough was one of the number, and he became a freeman 18 April 1690 which we find from the roll of freeman written as John Bigolo; under the same date we find that Samuel Begaloo was made a freeman, and by another list, date 16 May 1690, we find Samuel Biggilo and John Warren jr. were made freeman. On the return of soldierws who were in the service from 25 November to 3 December 1675 (King Philip's War) we find the names of John Bigulah Sr., Michael Flegg, and Isaac Leonard, the last being wounded. Thus we find the name variously spelled by different officials, but when we find the name written by any member of the family, in those early days it is written Biglow, Bigelo, or Bigelow."
John Biglo appears by various accounts to have been a blacksmith, and again from town records we quote: "Agreed with John Biglo that for ten trees the towne allowed him for the setting up of a shop for a Smithes forge, that he shall either go on with his promise of setting up his trade, which is the trade of a Smith, within one twelfmonth after the date hereof, or else to pay unto the towne ten shillings for these ten trees he acknowledged to have off the towne." Dated 4 March 1651.
John Biglo was chosen a surveyor of highways in 1652 and 1660, a constable (Tax collector) in 1663, and one of the selectmen, or town council in 1665, 1670, and 1671. His homesite consisted of six acres and was bounded north by Richard Ambler and Willam Parker, east by Thomas Straight, south by the highway, and on the west by Miles Ives. After the death of his wife Mary in 1691, he married (2) on 2 October 1694, Sarah Bemis, daughter of Joseph Bemis. She outlived him. He died on 14 July, 1703, at the age of 86 years, as recorded in town records. His will was dated January 4, 1703 and was proved 23 July 1703. (Quoted in its entirety on the Bigelow Society page "John Biglo, Immigrant Ancestor." (C) 2006 Bigelow Society, Inc.
Ancestry of John Bigelow 1617-1703 from a historical perspective
Immigrant ancestor of nearly all persons in North America bearing the surname Bigelow in any of its several variants (Biglo, Biggalough, Bagley). Well known citizen immigrant of Watertown, Massachusetts. (1)
H.G. Somerby, the genealogist, felt that John Biglo came from Wrentham, Suffolk, England, and was the son of Randall and Jane Beageley, who had their youngest son, John, baptized February 16, 1617.
Also from probate records of Wrentham, Somerby quotes the will of Francis Baguley, Blacksmith of Wrentham, who in a will dated October 20, 1656, granted money to his “brother John Baguley, now living in New England, if he comes for it within two years”. In addition, the rector of Wrentham parish in 1617 was Rev. John Phillips, who later emigrated to Dedham, Mass. During his years in Dedham, Phillips stated that the blacksmith John Biglo of Watertown, Mass. was the same infant whom he had baptized in 1617 as the son of Randall Beageley, and that he (Phillips) had “known John Biglo from earliest youth upward”.
Further, in a civil case in Watertown during his lifetime, John Biglo took the witness stand and identified himself as “John Biglo, formerly of Wrentham, England.” From these facts are identified the parentage and identity of John Biglo and through parish and probate records can trace 3 generations of his ancestry in England. (1) John was able to draw the Baguley coat of arms from memory as well.
He seems to have arrived in Watertown, MA in about 1632. He came with an older relative, Elizabeth Bigelow. John would have been about 16 years of age. He was most certainly part of the Winthrop Fleet, a group of Puritan Congregationalists who left England during the English Civil War and the rule of Charles I. At that time, the Puritans had a general feeling of hopelessness about their prospects in England, and many of their ancestors had been Protestant nobility who had been both attainted and disenfranchised from their lands over the previous centuries in both the struggles of the Wars of the Roses and the many other conflicts leading up to the English Civil War. Charles 1, before his eventual beheading, desperately sought to hang on to his power, which was opposed by the Puritans and Parliament. Resisting them, he sought to restore the power of the Catholic church, and a monarchy of “divine right.” Disease had also taken a terrible toll on England at this time, the plague having visited England many times since the 14th century. It is with background we can understand why the sons and daughters of noble families fled England for an unknown world. One such group is the Winthrop Fleet.
John’s parents were already both dead by 1626, having died within a week of each other which would account why John and Elizabeth were not accompanied by their parents. The Winthrop Fleet passengers came in many ships, and numbered about 700 people, whose leader, John Winthrop required colonists, many of them wealthy, to be able to pay their own passage, which was expensive at the time, and have a useful trade to contribute to the new colony, unlike other “Planter” families in other colonies. Obviously, John was not without means, nor trade, since he was accepted as a colonist. He seems to fit the exact profile of the type of Puritan John Winthrop was recruiting. Some Winthrop passengers were wealthy enough to bring servants, as in the case of future Gov. Winthrop and others. The Puritan families knew each other, and were not random strangers thrown together for a sea voyage. John Winthrop did extremely careful planning for his colony. From a theological perspective, only other Puritans of similar beliefs and station would have been welcome in the colony. A partially reconstructed passenger list of the Winthrop Fleet includes the names of John’s future wife and inlaws, Margaret and John Warren, and their children including Mary ( his future wife). (3)
Many of these people, including both John Bigelow and John Warren, previously lived in Lancashire, especially Chesire, and their families were descendants of nobility and landed gentry, and married several times over the centuries. Other families who emigrated, and were related through marriage in England, especially in the Chesire area, were the Woodbury, Massie/Massey, Cotton, Devereaux, Dudley, French, Frost, Graves, Legh(Legge), Skelton, and Stearns. Chesire, Lancashire is considered the birthplace of the of the English Civil War.This would explain why they emigrated, first to Wrentham, and then to New England. Things must have been quite bad for them in Chesire. Society was undergoing a complete revolution, and they were in the middle of it.
All of this gives us good insight into who the Puritans of the Winthrop Fleet really were, and why they were so determined to found a community where they could worship in peace. I would also venture that John Warren probably had a close existing relationship with the orphaned young John Bigelow, all originating in Chesire, and whose families would have known each other for many generations.
1.) John Biglo, Immigrant Ancestor. The Bigelow Society.
2.) Winthrop Fleet
3.) Winthrop Society, Passengers Lists. http://www.winthropsociety.com/settlers/wy-data.htm
@John Bigelow(Baguley) family tree link