Abraham Shaw, of Dedham

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Abraham Shaw, of Dedham

Also Known As: "He spelled his name Shawe", "Abraham SHAWE", "Abram"
Birthplace: Calderdale, Northowram, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: October 10, 1638
Dedham, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Colonial America
Place of Burial: Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Shaw, Jr. and Elizabeth Moore
Husband of Bridget Shaw
Father of Susannah Byram; Abraham Shaw; Joseph Shaw; Grace Richards; Thomas Shaw and 5 others
Brother of Sarah Shawe; Susan Shaw; Martha Lindsay; Joseph Shaw; Jonas Shaw and 4 others

Occupation: Tailor / Miner - Immigrated 1635, In 1636 elected Constable of Dedham MA; built first bridge across the Charles River, married 24 Jun 1616 - Halifax, Yorkshire, England, Farmer, Clothier
Immigration Year: 1635
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Abraham Shaw, of Dedham

Abraham Shaw

  • Gender: Male
  • Birth: before November 14, 1585 Calderdale, Northowram, Yorkshire, England
  • Death: October 10, 1638 Dedham, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • Place of Burial: Old Village Cemetery, Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
  • Son of Thomas Shaw and Elizabeth Longbotham
  • Husband of Bridget Best


Children of Abraham Shawe and Bridget Best, all baptised in Halifax, England

  • 1. Joseph bp. March 14 1618
  • 2. Grace bp. August 15 1621 m. William Richards of Weymouth
  • 3. Martha bp. Dec 1 1623 d. March 31 1625
  • 4. Maria (Mary) bp. June 18 1626 m. John Bicknell of Weymouth
  • 5. John bp. May 23 1630
  • 6. Martha bp. Jan 6 1632 m Thomas Vinson of Weymouth
  • 7. Susannah bp before Oct 1638 m Nicholas Byram of Weymouth


Abraham Shaw is a clothier by occupation a clothier is defined as someone who sells or makes cloth or clothing.

He is also involved in mining activities in the village of Northowram. Abraham signed agreements with John Booth of Northowram (20th March 1635, re: coal mining in Northowram), John Farrar of Eye wood (7th August 1633, re: coal mining in Hipperholme and Sowerby"), George Denton of Halifax (10th May 1634) & Joseph Lister of Northowram (10th June 1635).

"History of Weymouth, Massachusetts", by George Walter Chamberlain, (Boston, 1923). "ABRAHAM SHAWE and Bridget arrived from the village of Northowram, in the parish of Halifax, England, to Massachusetts Bay Colony with their children as early 1635 and first settled in Watertown. His house is burned in October 1636, and he removed to Dedham. (Fires started easily in old Colonial homes with thatched roofs). Abraham is an incorporator of Dedham and signed the town covenant. He is made a freeman, 9th March 1636-37.

Abraham Shawe is the executor appointed in the will of Henry Best, father of his wife, Bridget, dated 9th March 1627/8 and proved August 1628.

During the first year of Dedham's settlement, Abraham proposed the erection of a watermill for the purpose of grinding corn. He is called of Dedham and Weymouth, Suffolk (now Norfolk) Massachusetts, but no indication that he ever lived in Weymouth has been found. The town of Weymouth wanted him to build and operate a mill, but he never lived long enough to do it.

The town granted him about 70 acres of land. On 12th February 1636/37, he is granted permission by the town to build a corn mill. Abraham chose a site along the Charles River, but unfortunately died in 1638, leaving his work largely unfinished.

Abraham made his will in November of 1638. In 1639, the Shawe family sold the estate in Dedham and moved about 10 miles east to Weymouth.

Thomas Lechford wrote in his Note-Book, page 329, that Abraham Shawe, sometime of Halifax, in the County of Yorke, clothier, and late of Dedham in New England, planter, made his will about November 1638, mentioning his eldest son Joseph Shawe, his son-in-law Nicholas Byram, his attorney, Mr. Best of Halifax, his daughters Martha Shawe and Mary, his son John and all his children. He married in Halifax, 24th June 1616, Bridget Best...."

Abraham and Bridget...arrived at the Massachusetts Bay Colony with their children around 1635 [CI:187:?1:CI]. This will is published in NEHGR Vol 2 1848 pg 180[CI:100:?1:CI] The Last Will & Testament of Abraham Shawe deceased. Memorandum that if it please Almyghtye God to take me to his mercye by death. That it is my minde & will that my estate shal be disposed of as followeth (that is to say) I bequeathe to my sonne John, & Martha Shawe, beinge infants ten pownds betweene them, also betweene the aforesd Martha & Marye I leave as much quicke goods as shal be balance to eight pownds, also to Joseph in some goods twelve pownds as may be thought fitt: furder, that Joseph & John shall have my lott att Dedham equally to be devided between them. Also that all the rest of my estate whatsoever be devided, proportionate, betwene all my childron. Witnesses Nicholas Biram Joseph Shawe These psons were ordered to make an Inventorye of the estate by the helpe & advice of Mr. Edward Allen.

"He came to New England in 1636 and is admitted a freeman, 9th March 1636/37. He is a proprietor of Watertown in 1636. His house there is burned in October, 1636, and he then removed to Dedham. He had a grant of 'coal or iron ore which may be found in any common land in this Country's disposing', 2nd November 1637, and it is presumed that he made a search for minerals at a time when great mineral wealth is expected from the earth in New England. He is given liberty to erect a corn mill, 12th February 1636/37."[CI:107:?1:CI] "Abraham Shawe is graunted haulfe of the benefit of coles or yron stone, wch shalbee found in any comon ground wch is in the countryes disposeing."[CI:109:?1:CI] "The petition for the sale of Abraham Shaws land is granted upon the condition inserted."[CI:111:?1:CI] "Joseph Shawe and Nicho: Byram are granted administration of the goods of Abraham Shawe, deceased."[CI:113:?1:CI] "Abraham Shaw, adm. freeman, 9th March 1636-7, (also [CI:190:?4:CI]%29 and at the same time proprieteor of Watertown His house and goods were burnt in Watertown, October, 1636 (Winthrop I., 200). Mary (his wife?) adm. chh. Charlestown, 1 (5) 1645. He is one of the first subscribers to the Covenant, in Dedham, where he probably settled soon after the loss of his house and goods. His Inventory, by "Mr. Edward Allen admin. (Reg. II, 180). Nicholas Biram is his son-in-law. Jo. (John) Kingsbury, Jo. Howard (John Haywood), and some others," is dated, 1638. His Will, not dated, (but made in November, 1638; see [CI:191:?3:CI]) mentions no wife, ch. eldest son Joseph; son John, and dr. Martha, the 2 latter being infants; also son Joseph, and daughter Mary, and "my lot in Dedham". [CI:120:?1:CI] "Abraham, called in his will, "sometime of Halifax in the County of York, clothier, then of Dedham, N. E. planter," frm. 9th March 1636-7. Came first to Watertown, propr., 1636. Coal mines at Halifax, England to be sold."

Abraham Shaw is alive 2nd November 1638 but dead by 25th March 1639. Joseph Shaw and Nicholas Byram [sic] were granted administration of the goods of Abraham Shaw, deceased, on 29th October 1640. His will is made about November 1638. Joseph Shaw is his eldest son.

There were seven children, probably all born in England. Only four were named in his will. Some have included the name Mary as another child, because Mary is mentioned in the will of Abraham, but according to Russell K. Shaw, researcher and author of Marietta, Ohio, researcher and author of Marietta, Ohio, "There is no record of baptism of Mary, and the Mary mentioned in his will is a variation of Maria." (NEHGR 48:346) This does not include Susanna, claimed by some as his, the first child who would make it eight children, if she is indeed his.

The Halifax Coalfields, W.B. Trigg, 1931 in the Halifax Society Journal. The Shaw family is involved in working in coal and ore mining, Clothier and planter. There are many land records which link this family together and to areas in Northowram Twp. In May 1590, there is an inheritance dispute over the Scolecote Brow land between brothers, Thomas and John, sons of Christopher Shawe. Thomas, the defendant retained the land. On 7th October 1600, "Abraham Shawe, son and heir of Thomas Shawe, deceased," paid license on it. In 7th October 1607, in the survey of the manor, Abraham is recorded as the owner of this land, then described as in Northowram, in ye greaveship of Hipperholme, with the same physical description as Sculcote Brow located in Northowram which is a township within the bounds of Halifax Parish in Yorkshire, England. Abraham and his wife Bridget, sold the Sculcotte Brow messuage (containing by estimation twelve acres and three rods) just before 25th September 1635. While in Sculcote, Abraham is trying to borrow money to finance coal mining. He is recorded in Northowram on 5th June 1635 when he gave a bond to Joseph Lister of Netherbrea and would have left for New England at about the same time as his surrender of the copyhold land. He is absent 21st September 1635 from a mandatory appearance at the Court Baron. [CI:121:?1:CI]

"The ss. had the estate at Dedham, the rest divided among all his children. Joseph Shaw and Nicholas Byram of Weymouth granted to Robert Mason all their house and grounds in Dedham 1639. It is supposed Byram m. a D. (Susanna) of Abraham, and that he and Joseph, both then of age, sold their lands in Dedham and the family all removed to Weymouth. Byram called John Shaw of Weymouth his brother in 1687." [CI:122:?1:CI] "He built the first stone 'carte' bridge across the Charles River to enable the people of that region to come to his mill"[CI:129:?1:CI]

Abraham Shawe is believed to be buried at the Old Village Cemetery in a unmarked grave in the older section to the left, Village Avenue, Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, New England The Oldest stone in this cemetery is 1678.

The old Congregational Church in Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, New England is now the Unitarian Church there.

An interesting note: There is a Abraham Shaw alive and well in 1641 Cambridge, Massachusetts well after this ones death, who could this Abraham be? Maybe Jenet Shawe's son out of wedlock? or possibly maybe this Abraham Shawe's son Abraham Shawe Jr? Here is some of the proof: Constable 6 (7) 1638. rem. to Cambridge; town officer 1640 (and moved to Weymouth 1639; see [CI:192:?3:CI]%29 . (also [CI:188:?4:CI]).

"It was ordered, that the constables should informe of newe comers if any be admited wthout license: and to that end warrant to bee sent out to the cunstabels of each towne, to informe the Court of Assistants, wch is to consider of the fines whether to take them or to mitigate them. Onely Willis Kingsbury and Abraham Shawe are appointed for Dedham, there being yet no cunstables chosen there."

He signed the famous compact (also [CI:189:?4:CI]) and is Constable of Dedham, elected 6th September 1638. He removed thence to Cambridge and is a town officer there.

Those dates listed in these documents are clearly after the Abraham Shaw's death who is married to Elizabeth Best. At that time, this proves that there is definitely two Abraham Shawe\Shaw's!


  • The Genealogist 10:1:86-97, "The English Ancestry of Abraham Shaw of Dedham, Massachusetts (1590-1638).
  • The Genealogist 10:1:99, 104, "Ancestry of Grace (Shaw) Davis.
  • 50 Great Migration Colonists to New England, Threlfall, quoting from NEHGR: 2, 48, 49, 106. TAG 57:85 gives Abraham's parents as Thomas and Elizabeth (Longbotham) Shaw, of Halifax, Yorkshire, England, and Thomas' father as Thomas Shaw Sr.
  • Russell F. Shaw, M.D., of Los Alamos, New Mexico, in his article, "The English Ancestry of Abraham Shaw of Dedham, Massachusetts (1590-1638)," said Thomas Shawe was born about 1542, a son of Christopher Shawe, that he was dead by 6 May 1600 “
  • Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the ..., Volume 3 edited by William Richard Cutter, William Frederick Adams. Page 1384. GoogleBooks
  • GEDCOM Source U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,60525::0 1,60525::105123570
  • GEDCOM Source Ancestry Family Trees Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members. Ancestry Family Tree
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Abraham Shaw, of Dedham's Timeline

November 14, 1585
Calderdale, Northowram, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
November 14, 1585
Northowram, West Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
March 24, 1616
Northowram, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
June 24, 1616
Halifax, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
March 14, 1618
Northowram, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
August 15, 1621
Northowram, Halifax, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
October 14, 1622
England (United Kingdom)
Northowram, Halifax Parish, York, England (United Kingdom)
June 18, 1626
Northowram, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)