John Saunders, of Salem

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John Sanders (Saunders)

Also Known As: "Sanders"
Birthdate: (30)
Birthplace: Weeks, Dainton Parish, Wiltshire, England
Death: November 10, 1643 (30)
Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Immediate Family:

Son of John Saunders, of Weeks and Alice Saunders
Husband of Elizabeth Saunders
Father of John Saunders, famous Quaker and James Saunders
Brother of Alice Sanders; Elizabeth Saunders; Sarah Pike; Joseph Saunders and Moses Saunders

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Saunders, of Salem



'“John Saunders of Salem” (1613 - 1643)

was the son of John Saunders and Alice Cole.

He was a Quaker.

He came on the "Margaret" in 1628

and married Elizabeth Grafton (1624 – 1678).

He acquired property with his uncle Robert Coles.

This John died in 1643 and left a will in Salem.

He had two sons:

  1. James
  2. John.

His son John was the famous Quaker who returned to England

to petition for the rights of Quakers.


John Saunders (alt Sanders) (1613 – 1643)

came to the Colony as a passenger in the merchant ship, "Margaret,"

and settled at Salem, Massachusetts, June 28, 1628-9 from Plymouth, England,

in company with John Endicott and his party.

He came under the protection of Robert Coles (his uncle),

who became one of the wealthiest investors in the Colony, at that time.

This connection to the Coles family indicated that he was

the son of John Sanders (c 1572 – 1674) and

Alice Coles (c 1591 – 1636). 

In 1629, he united with the first church in Salem.

In 1636 he was made freeman, and received a grant of 40 acres of freemen's land, 

adjoining that of his uncle Robert Coles.

The grant is the present location of the south side of Washington Square,

adjacent to the Common.

Upon the knoll side of the lot facing the Common, he built his house.

About 1636 John Saunders married Elizabeth Grafton (c 1618 – 1678)

the daughter of Joseph Grafton (c 1596 – 1682) and Mary Moore (c 1600 – 1674).

He had two children: John and James.

His son John Sanders was the famous Quaker who went to England

and procured a royal order to prohibit the persecution of Quakers in Massachusetts.

After his death Elizabeth (Grafton) Sanders married second to John Kitchen (c 1619 – 1675).

He died at Salem after 12 Oct 1643 and before 10 Nov 1643.

From deeds and his will, we find that he described himself as coming from

"Weeke in ye parish of Downton, in ye county of Wiltz, Eng."

The will, dated Oct. 12, 1643 (probated at Salem, Nov. 10, 1643)

was sealed with the crest of the Sanders Coat of Arms.

Some earlier works had erroneously started that his wife was Priscilla Grafton but this has been disprove.[7] She was Elizabeth’s half-sister. His widow did *not* marry Feb. 20, 1644 to John Gardner of Salem. Priscilla Grafton married John Gardner.

The will of John 3 Sanders, dated 12 Oct 1643 was probated at Salem Court house in Oct of 1643 states:

  • “I do leave unto me son, John Sanders, my ten aker lot, with me house now built, on the commons side front knoll over against, solon he comes to the on e twenty-five or at the death of his mother, with the aker and pastare of meadow bound alonging it, and I do make my father [in-law], Joseph Grafton and Goodman Hardie to admr. this my will and deed, the 12 of Octover.” - John Sanders, inhabitant of town of Salem.

Biography and sources by Roland Henry Baker, III


  • 1 “New England families, genealogical and memorial: a record of the achievements of her people in the making of commonwealths and the founding of a nation” Volume 4 by William Richard Cutter p 2039- 2040 (Note this are a lot of errors but it is worth a read). link
  • 2 "The founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony: a careful research of the earliest records of many of the foremost settlers of the New England colony” by Sarah Sprague Saunders Smith pages 42,54, and 55. link.
  • 3 "An American Family History, accessed on 28 Dec 2015 link
  • 4 “Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of Boston and eastern Massachusetts” Vol 1 (1908) by William Richard Cutter p 323 - 324link
  • 5 Essex County Probate records dated 23 Oct 1643
  • 6 Marriage and baptism records available on FramilySearch also cited by Cutter:
    • Marriages in Downton, Wiltshire, England:
    • 4 Feb 1610 John Sanders and Ales Coles
    • Baptisms in Downton, Wiltshire, England:
    • 26 Mar 1613. John Sanders, son of John Sanders of Weeke, 26th March
    • 26 MAR 1614. Elizabeth, dau. of John Sanders of Weeke.
    • 20 AUG 1615. Sarah, dau. of John Sanders of Weeke.
    • 22 JAN 1617. Joseph, son of John Sanders of Weeke.
    • 18 Apr 1622. Moses, son of John Sanders of Weeke.
  • 7 Recent and Correlated Information Concerning the family of John Sanders of New England, and Related Families Grafton, Gardner, and Winship" by Edwin D. Witter, Jr., 1977, pg. 20, quoting Alicia C. Williams.

See also

Lt John Sanders of Cape Porpoise, Maine

John Saunders of Salisbury

John Saunders of Weeks

John Saunders of Salem

John Saunders The famous Quaker

John Saunders of Weymouth

view all

John Saunders, of Salem's Timeline

March 26, 1613
Weeks, Dainton Parish, Wiltshire, England
November 1, 1640
Age 27
Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony
November 10, 1643
Age 30
Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Age 29
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony