Capt. Edward Goffe

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Edward Goffe

Birthdate: (64)
Birthplace: Ipswich, Suffolk, , England
Death: December 26, 1658 (60-68)
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Goffe and Mrs. GOFFE
Husband of Joyce Goffe and Margaret Goffe
Father of Thomas Goffe; Lydia Sprague; Samuel Goffe; Nathaniel Goffe; Deborah Goffe and 4 others

Occupation: Large landowner, arrived New England 1635, farmer/landowner
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Capt. Edward Goffe

Edward embarked on the Good Hope with Shepard 1634 for new England. Narrowly escaped a ship wreck. The next year he arrived safely with his wife and 2 or 3 children.

He was a prominent citizen, a selectman for 16 years, treasurer of Middlesex county, a representative, a landowner, and was one of the wealthiest men in town.

---From the history of Cambridge, MA

From Royan Webb, correspondent, note of June 21st, 2007

I've just received a copy of "Edward and Joyce Goffe: New Information about their Origins" by Roger Thompson. In it, he states Edward married Joyce FROST 6 March 1624/5, parish register of St. Mary's, Wherstead, on the southern edge of Ipswich. Also found in Percival Boyd's "Marriage Index" for Suffolk.



Roger Thompson

Although Edward Goffe - Rev. Thomas Shepard's "Brother Goffe" -- soon became a leading citizen of Cambridge, Massachusetts, after his arrival there in 1636 and was the richest resident when he died in 1658, very little has been discovered about his English background, his wife or family. Even his date of birth has had to be estimated. His listing as a defendant in Chancery Proceedings has been known for half a century, but, so far as I am aware, this has never been investigated further. A recent search of court, probate, and parish records in England and America has shed some light on this mystery man and his first wife.

His date of birth can be established with greater (though not total) accuracy from the Middiesex County Court Records. On 1 April 1656, Edward Goffe petitioned to be excused from military training because of disablement; he there described his age as "about 63," placing his birth at around 1593.

Two Suffolk wills and Chancery Court documents help indicate Goffe's English residence. The 5 April 1613 will of Richard Gough of Burgh Castle in the northeastern comer of Suffolk was written when he was "sick and weak of body." He hoped, in the common formula later adopted by Puritans in North America, and "steadfastly believed that his soul would be saved by the merits and mercy of Christ Jesus." He left the "house and tenement where I now dwell" to William Walles, son of Margaret Walles, born out of wedlock. If William did not survive to manhood the property descended to "Edward Gough [senior] my brother and unto his heirs for ever." The same went for the other bequest to young Henry , son of Edmund EIIward of Thurlton, Norfolk, six miles southwest. It comprised "one tenement called Ritches or where he last [previously] dwelt with the lands and appurtenances in Burgh aforesaid and all my other land in Bradwell [adjacent parish] now in the occupation [possession] of me Richard Gough.."

On 17 February 1634 [1633/4], Edward Goffe the elder of Ipswich, Suffolk, clothworker, mindful of "he uncertainty of this vain and transitory life," made his will, though still "in reasonable health." Its preamble was even more pious and reverential than Richard Gough's. His first bequest was of £100 of lawful English money "unto Edward Goffe, my son." This was to be paid "on Christmas Day next ensuing the date hereof" [i.e.,25 December 1634], irrespective of whether Edward Sr. had died. After bequests to be paid to younger son Tobias (£80), daughter Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Layter (£20), daughter Alice, wife of Edmund Ellett (£50), and fourteen grandchildren {6/8d each), the residue was to be shared by Edward and Tobias, who were appointed executors.

The records of proceedings in the Court of Chancery, in the Public Record Office at Kew, Landon, contain a 3 February 1644 complaint by John Warren of Burgh Castle, gentleman, and his neighbor John Holmes, a linen weaver. "Divers years since," they had each acquired several small properties in their parish. However, "lately, one Edward Gough alias Goffe of Cambridge in New England, yeoman, have [sic] claimed and made title unto all and every the aforesaid premises." Goffe had authorized Cambridge neighbor, merchant Edward Collins, bound for England, to act as his attorney, and he sold these properties "for a good and valuable consideration in money" to Warren and Holmes. A 12 August 1643 deed to Holmes conveyed "one tenement called Riches with four acres of freehold land in. . . Burgh Castle." On 5 February 1644 Collins confirmed the validity of the transactions including the sale of "Ritches" part of whose four acres was in adjacent Bradwell.

The specifying of Ritches establishes links between the three Goffes. We may safely assume that young Henry Ellward did not survive to inherit Ritches from Richard Goffe and that the property therefore passed to Goffe's brother Edward, senior, whom we may identify with the Ipswich clothworker. The claim of Edward Goffe, Junior, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to ownership of Ritches - conceded by its occupier John Holmes - argues that Goffe was the eldest son of the wealthy Ipswich clothworker. It seems also plausible that the 1634 division of the father's property was prompted by Edward Jr.'s eagerness to emigrate in the company of Rev. Thomas Shepard, who arrived in Ipswich on a collier from Newcastle in early June 1634. They set sail from Hanvich, just downstream, in the Hope of Ipswich on 16 October 1634, only to be driven northward and nearly drowned by a terrifying storm before being rescued at Great Yarmouth (only a mile or so from Burgh Castle!).

Despite owning land in Burgh Castle, probate records indicate that both generations of Goffes lived in Ipswich and locate them more precisely in the bustling industrial and port town. On 25 August 1629 Edward Goffe Sr. witnessed a will in St. Peter's parish, Ipswich. Three years later, on 18 September 1632, our emigrant, Edward Jr., witnessed another will there. This will mentioned "washyards" adjoining the testator's dwelling "now occupied by Edward Goffe." The witnessing, conventionally performed by neighbors, and the implied occupation, strongly suggest that the father and the son lived in St. Peter's! With its fine fourteenth-century stone and flint parish church and access to the River Onvell and 'The Salt Water" [a tidal part of the Ipswich harbor], St. Peter's was the home of clothworkers, mariners, and merchants. The notorious religious radicalism of Ipswich, epitomized by the famous town preacher Samuel Ward, helps explain why the younger Goffe was drawn to Puritanism. Ward's indictment on thirty-four charges in 1634 and his silencing by the Court of High Commission, accounts for the urge among many Ipswich citizens, to emigrate to the godly haven of Massachusetts Bay.

Goffe did not sail alone. With him were his wife Joyce, son Samuel, and two daughters Lydia and Mary. Because of the loss of the St. Peter's parish registers for the early seventeenth century, no record survives of the children's baptisms. However, the marriage of Edward and Joyce Goffe is found in Percival Boyd's Marriage Index for Suffolk, and the parish register of St. Mary's, Wherstead, on the southern edge of Ipswich, records the 6 March 1624/5 marriage of Edward Goffe and Joyce Frost! The first name Joyce was extremely rare in the seventeenth century. If only the surname Frost were as rare! We may assume that Wherstead was Joyce's home parish, but the register gives no more enlightenment about the family.

It is possible that either Edward Goffe or his wife Joyce was related to the Rev. Edmund Brown of Sudbury, Massachusetts, who married in 1639 Anne (Whiting) Lovering. As the Browns had no children, they each named an "adopted son" as residual heir in their wilIs. The 1687 will of Anne Brown, widow, named her "loving kinsman James Barnard of Sudbury" [her nephew] as her adopted son . Edmund Brown's 1678 will named his "loving kinsman Samuel Goffe" as his adopted son . Samuel Goffe, son of Edward and Joyce (Frost) Goffe, had married in 1656 the niece of Anne (Whiting) (Lovering) Brown, this relationship would have been sufficient for Edmund Brown to call him "Ioving kinsman." However, we should not rule out the possibility there was another relationship back in England. One potential clue is the appointment in 1639 of "Jonathan Goffe of East Bergholt in the County of Suffolk clothier" as attorney for Edmund and Anne (Whiting) (Lovering) Brown to try to recover property in England due to Anne as the widow of John Lovering.

The evidence presented here argues that the 1635 emigrant, Edward Goffe (ca. 1593-1658), lived in the parish of St. Peter's Ipswich near his wealthy clothworker father, Edward, who died a widower in 1634. The 1635 emigrant was nephew to Richard Goffe of Burgh CastIe from whom property, including a tract called Ritches, descended. In 1625, aged about thirty, Edward Jr. married Joyce Frost of Wherstead, two miles downstream along the River Onvell from St. Peter's. This background helps explain how Goffe was able to acquire such a large landed estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also participate in commercial enterprise in American waters.

The above was published in the April 2004 issue of The New England Historic and Genealogical Society Register. The Author, Roger Thompson, retired from teaching American colonial history at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, in 1999. He has recently completed a series of case studies of early Cambridge, Massachusetts.

From A. Arnold Sprague, correspondent, note of December 29, 2008

His source is actually:

Edward and Joyce Goffe: New Information about Their Origins

Roger Thompson

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register


Volume 158, While Number 630, April 2004

Pages 101-104

The same applies to his wife, Joyce Frost (I58173). [4, 5]

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Capt. Edward Goffe's Timeline

Ipswich, Suffolk, , England
Age 18
Age 34
Age 36
Ipswich, Suffolk, , England
February 1638
Age 44
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts
December 15, 1639
Age 45
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
March 23, 1644
Age 50
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
August 23, 1645
Age 51
Cambridge, Middlesex, MA, USA