Joan Gilbert

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Joan Gilbert (Combe)

Birthdate: (77)
Birthplace: Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset, England
Death: January 1, 1691 (73-81)
Taunton, Bristol County, Province of Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Joseph Combe and Winifred Gilbert
Wife of Hugh Rossiter and Thomas Gilbert
Mother of Elizabeth Starr; Jane Gilbert; Mary Wiliams (Gilbert); Eleazer Gilbert and Thomas Gilbert
Sister of Agnes Torrey (Combe)
Half sister of Mary Norcross; Giles Gilbert and Joseph Gilbert

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Joan Gilbert

Split this Joan Combe, who married Thomas Gilbert of Taunton, MA, off from the Joan Rossiter who married Nicholas Hart of Rhode Island.

We know that this Joan was the daughter of Joseph Combe of Combe St. Nicholas, deceased, and Winifred Rossiter. Her mother was widowed with 2 or 3 children and went on to marry John Gilbert of Bridgewater, Somersetshire, England and emigrate to Taunton, MA with him.

Was Joan Combe a widow at 25 years of age when she married Thomas Gilbert or is there confusion in the records since her mother's maiden name was Rossiter? The records mention the possibility of her being the widow of Hugh Rossiter.


Jane Rossiter, who married John’s oldest son Thomas in Taunton on 23 March 1639-40. The ancient statement that she was a daughter of Hugh Rossiter has been shown by Colket to be baseless. The most probable alternative is that she was Hugh’s widow.* If so, whose daughter was she?

I think that both birds can be killed with one stone. My evidence so far is circumstantial, but it is still coming in, and it makes at least a very plausible story. I hope to present it eventually, either in another paper in this journal or in the “John Gilbert Genealogy”, of which I am at present a co-compiler. Meanwhile I should like to stake my claim to the “discovery”, and invite rebuttal.

I believe that Jane Rossiter was the widow of Hugh, and that Hugh died in 1638 or 1639, leaving her with an infant daughter Elizabeth. She was also Hugh’s first cousin. She was the daughter of Winifred Gilbert, and the stepdaughter of John Gilbert. She was stepsister of her second husband, Thomas Gilbert. Her maiden name was Joan Combe.

As for Elizabeth of the illegible surname, it should be pointed out that the illegibility must be blamed on the clerk who at an uncertain date transcribed the will into the Plymouth records. The will itself has perished. Instead of burdening Winifred with an unaccountable Pester relative (Pester is fully as logical a reading as Peaslee**) can we not assume that the clerk slipped, and that the word written by John was something like Roseter or Rocester? If so, the conjecture is just about set up. Winifred was a Rossiter herself, but the only way she could have had a Rossiter grandchild would be by marrying a daughter to a Rossiter. We have an available daughter in Joan (Jane is a mere variant), and an available Rossiter in Hugh. What more do we need?

What became of young Elizabeth? I think I know that, too. She makes one more brief appearance, in the Thomas Gilbert inventory.*** She is referred to as “the daughter of Mr. Thomas Gilbert”, and perhaps she was, by adoption. Anyway, she did not share in the estate. She had married Thomas Starr, Jr. and died before 1677.


  • Colket, idem.
    • Plym. Col. Records, Wills, vol. 2, pp. 46-7. See also the printed version in The Mayflower Descendant, vol. 14, 1912, p. 114, which gives it as Pester.
      • Plym. Col. Records, Wills, vol. 3, pp. 78-9.
      • Thomas Gilbert, 013981. Jane Rossiter, 027960. John Gilbert, 027961. Alice Hopkins, 027962. Edward Rossiter, 027963. --- Combe, 055920. Giles Gilbert, 055921. Joan Pearce, 055922. Thomas Hopkins

Another Joan Rossiter was the daughter of Edward Rossiter and Joan Combe, I assume.


Thomas GILBERT Thomas (-1676, 1677) & Jane (COMBE) ROSSITER (-1691), Taunton, w Hugh?; 23 Mar 1639, 1639/40 (ms); Taunton {Gilbert (1959) 20; Smith-Bryant 326; Hale (1952) 479; Reg. 83:341; Carter (1940) 135; TAG 13:148; Bassett; Plymouth (Davis) 116; Munsey-Hopkins 57; Shaw-Williams 52; Williams (,18) 35; MD 13:8; Taunton 1:45, 129; Taunton Min. 1:44-5, 2:618; Winthrop-Babcock 222; Rockwell 178; Bassett Reunion 1:2}

Source: Torrey (below)

New England marriages prior to 1700 By Clarence Almon Torrey, Elizabeth Petty Bentley



GILBERT, Thomas (-1676,1677) & Jane (COMBE) ROSSITER (-1691), Taunton, ?w Hugh?; 23 Mar 1639, 1639/40 (no); Taunton

GILBERT, John (-1657) & 3/wf Winifred (ROSSITER) COMBE (-1663+); in Eng, b 1619; Dorchester/ Taunton


The Mary & John left England in March of 1630 and arrived seventy days later, on May 30, 1630, at the mouth of what is now Boston harbor. The ship's captain refused to sail up the Charles river as planned, because he feared running the ship aground in waters that he had no charts for. He instead left the passengers in a desolate locale miles from their intended destination. The settlors were forced to transport 150,000 pounds of livestock, provisions and equipment 20 miles overland to their final destination.

These are two suggested passenger lists for the ship Mary & John that Bygod Eggleston and his sons probably traveled on to reach the New World in 1630. These lists were compiled by the authors from a variety of sources. No actual recorded passenger list from the Mary & John has come to light and there remain many questions as to who actually sailed on this ship and who came on subsequent ships. Some of the people on these lists have later been proven not to have traveled on the Mary & John. For more information see "Search for the Passengers of the Mary & John 1630" Vols. 1 - 26, published by The Mary & John Clearing House and available in many library genealogy collections.

Mary and John Passenger Lists

Name Born- Banks- Kuhns- Other Key - * approximate, (w) wife, (s) son,

___________________________Bold Names=Head of Family or Single

Edward Rossiter 1575 Yes Yes

_______ (w) 1577 Yes Yes

Jane Rossiter (d) 1614 Yes Yes

Joanne Rossiter (d) 1616 NL Yes


Nicholas Rossiter 1599 NL NL

Anne _______ (w) 1601* NL NL

Edward Rossiter (s) 1628 NL NL


Bryan Rossiter 1610 Yes Yes

Elizabeth Alsop (w) 1612* NL NL


Hugh Rossiter 1615 NL Yes

Mary and John Passenger Lists

ROSSITER, EDWARD a. 55 Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset

 ____, wife a. 53 Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 
 Nicholas Rossiter, son a. 31 Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 
 Ann ___, wife of Nicholas R. a. 29 Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 
 ___, child of Nicholas a. 4 Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 
 ___, child of Nicholas a. 2 Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 
 Bray Rossiter, son a. 20 Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 
 Jane Rossiter, son a. 16 Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 

Hugh Rossiter, son, a. 15 Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset

 Joan Rossiter, daughter a. 14 Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 
 ___, possible relative or servent - - Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 
 ___, possible relative or servent - - Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 
  ___, possible relative or servent - - Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 
 ___, possible relative or servent - - Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset 


view all 11

Joan Gilbert's Timeline

Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset, England
Age 24
Age 24
Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts, USA
Age 28
Taunton, Plymouth Colony
Age 30
Taunton, Plymouth Colony
Age 35
Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts, USA
January 1, 1691
Age 77
Taunton, Bristol County, Province of Massachusetts