About Matthew Grinnell, of Colchester & Portsmouth
- b. est 1590 of Lexden, Essex, England
- d. bef 1643 Portsmouth Park, Newport, Rhode Island
- parents: unknown
- Wife: Rose French
From A Grinnell Family
Matthew Grinnell was born ca. 1590, probably in or near Colchester, Essex County, England. He is known to have married on 27 August 1615 "Rose ffrench" in St. Leonard's Church (Anglican) in Lexden, a short distance west of Colchester.
Matthew, Rose and their children came to America around 1631 or '32 following the birth of their son, Thomas. They arrived first in Massachusetts. Matthew was then about 40 years old.
Establishing a homestead was difficult enough, but life was compounded by religious strife in New England. This seeming contradiction requires explanation, for, after all, hadn't the Pilgrims fled to America seeking a place of "religious freedom?"
It is an undoubted fact that in those years Rhode Island was a haven for dissenters from the religious views of the day, especially those of Puritan Massachusetts. During these years, a small band of men, driven from Massachusetts by religious persecution and intolerance, had established a new colony on the island of Aquidnexk, later to become Rhode Island. The Rhode Island colony of Roger Williams and associates permitted "free thought," meaning the liberty of a person to choose not to affiliate himself with a religious congregation, and thus to escape the strict controls which, at that time the Puritans of Massachusetts exercised over all aspects of life. A free-thinker believed that a man's religion was nobody's business but his own. This was in sharp contrast to the Puritan view that everyman's religion was a vital community concern, and anyone not controlled by a religious congregation was a threat to the community. There was no special liberal denomination originating in Rhode Island. All the usual denominations of the day were represented there, all living in relative harmony, but the man who chose to have no religion at all was rare. As a result, the concept attracted persons of an independent turn of mind, often in politics as well as religion.
Landing first in the vicinity of Portsmouth, the majority of the settlers proceeded to the southwesterly part of the island, and there founded the tiny colony of Newport on the simple tenets of public rights to fishery and tolerance for doctrine. The small communities rapidly attracted newcomers, among whom was Matthew, who was "admitted" to the settlement of Newport as a freeman on 6 August 1638.
The life was hard, and Matthew died between 1638 and 1642, when he was about 50, leaving the widow and children. This is known, as Rose signed a prenuptial agreement with her second husband, Anthony Paine in 1643.
1. Matthew Grinnell; m. Rose French 27 Aug 1615 at Lexden Parish, Essex, England; 1st husband; d. between 1638 and 1643. He resided on 20 May 1638 at Newport, RI.
Rose French married Anthony Paine circa 10 Nov 1643; 2nd husband. She married James Weeden; 3rd husband.
Known children of Matthew Grinnell and Rose French were as follows:
- i. Rose Grinnell; baptized 21 May 1616 at Lexden
- Parish, Essex, England.
- ii. Thomas Grinnell; baptized Jan 1630/31 at Parish of
- St. Botolph, Colchester, Essex, England.
- 2. iii. Daniel Grinnell; b. circa 1636; m. Mary Wordell.
- iv. Mary Grinnell; m. John Manchester.
- v. Matthew Grinnell; baptized 18 Jul 1619 at Lexden,
- Essex, England; bur. 26 May 1620 at Lexden, Essex,
- vi. Matthew Grinnell.
Spouse & Children
- Rose French 1590 – 1673
- 1. Daniel Grinnell 1636 – 1709
August 27, 1615 Age: 25 Marriage to Rose French in Lexden,Essex,England
- Fiske, Jane Fletcher. Matthew Grinnell's French Connection. New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (1993), 147:71. 'Lexden Parish Registers (FHL microfilm 560,908): Mathew Greenell & Rose French ware married August ye 27 '
Matthew Grinnell, of Colchester & Portsmouth's Timeline
Colchester, Essex, England
May 21, 1616
Lexden, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Saint Leonards, East Sussex, UK
July 18, 1620
Lexden, Essex, England
November 13, 1624
January 30, 1630
Colchester, Essex, England, United Kingdom
March 4, 1635
Portsmouth, Newport County, Rhode Island, United States
August 6, 1638
Probably Newport Colony, (Present Newport County), (Present Rhode Island)