Ralph Hemingway, of Roxbury

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Ralph Hemingway, of Roxbury

Also Known As: "Hemenway", "Hinningway", "Ralfe Hiningway"
Birthplace: England (United Kingdom)
Death: June 01, 1678 (64-73)
Roxbury, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: Eliot Burying Ground, Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of N.N. and N.N.
Husband of Elizabeth Hemingway
Father of Mariah Hemingway, died young; Deacon Samuel Hemingway; Ruth Hemingway; John Hemingway; Deacon Joshua Hemingway, Sr. and 6 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Ralph Hemingway, of Roxbury

Ralph Hemingway of Roxbury is first seen in church records in 1633. He is the immigrant ancestor and progenitor of the American Hemingway family. He was an early member of the Roxbury church, and became a freeman in 1634. He died June 1, 1678, and his will dated May 4, 1677, was proved July 11, 1678. He was very active in town affairs.

He makes bequests to his wife Elizabeth and his children John, Samuel, Joshua, and Elizabeth Holbrook. On July 5, 1674, he married Elizabeth Holbrook. [Was there a second marriage?] Ralph brought a large property with him, and his wife was also wealthy.

By 1638, 5 years after his first arrival, he is one of the largest taxpayers and land owners in Roxbury. Like many wealthy early planters, and Winthrop Fleet immigrants, there are no records of his arrival outside of church records. He may have already been engaged in trading, or like many other wealthy immigrants, a religious refugee.


Unknown. No evidence presented to support Ruth Hemenway & Samuel Hemmingway as parents. Please raise a discussion if any is available.


Ralph Hemingway, in Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995), II:908-910.

  • ORIGIN: Unknown.
  • CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: "Ralph Hinningway a man servant" admitted to Roxbury church as member #96, among those admitted in 1633 {RChR 79].
  • FREEMAN: 3 September 1634 (as "Ralfe Hiningway") [MBCR 1:369].



The Massachussetts Hemenway Family

1. RALPH1 HEMENWAY1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 was born Bet. 1592 - 1609 in (possibly) Bradford, West Riding, Yorkshire, England18,19,20,21,22,23, and died Bet. 04 May 1677 - 10 Jul 1678 in Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35. He married ELIZABETH HEWES36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49 05 Jul 1634 in Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA50,51,52,53,54,55,56, daughter of JOHN HEWES and MARY FOOTE. She was born Bet. 1602 - 1604 in Royston, Hertfordshire, England57,58,59,60,61,62,63,64, and died 02 Feb 1684/85 in Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA65,66,67,68,69,70,71.



	i.	 	Mariah2 Hemenway72,73,74,75,76,77,78,79,80,81, b. 24 Apr 1635, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA82,83,84,85,86,87,88,89; d. Bet. 01 - 04 May 1635, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA90,91,92.

2. ii. Samuel Heminway, b. 15 Jun 1636, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA; d. 20 Sep 1711, East Haven, New Haven Co., CT.

	iii.	 	Ruth Hemenway93,94,95,96,97,98,99,100,101,102,103, b. 21 Sep 1638, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA104,105,106,107,108,109,110,111; d. 17 Jul 1684, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA112,113,114,115,116.

3. iv. John Hemenway, b. 27 Apr 1641, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA; d. 04 Oct 1724, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA. 4. v. Joshua Hemenway, b. 09 Apr 1643, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA; d. 29 Oct 1716, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA. 5. vi. Elizabeth Hemenway, b. 31 May 1645, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA; d. 30 Nov 1719, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA.

	vii.	 	Mary Hemenway117,118,119,120,121,122,123,124,125, b. 07 Apr 1647, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA126,127,128,129,130,131,132,133; d. 21 Dec 1653, Roxbury, Suffolk/Norfolk Co., MA134,135,136.


Ralph Hemenway

A Word about Ralph Hemenway (ancestor of Ernest)

(Revised 12 Sep 2006 & 25 Oct 2011)

For those of you interested in Ralph Hemenway, who is the undisputed earliest recorded ancestor of a great many North American Hemingways including the famous author Ernest Hemingway, I have chosen to express a few thoughts here. I am not disputing the lines back to Ralph at all. A great many individuals have undertaken this research and I believe they have all reached the same conclusion. That is that they are descended from Ralph Hemenway who married Elizabeth Hewes in Roxbury 5 July 1634. Ralph had at least seven children with Elizabeth between 1635 and 1647 and he died 1 June 1678. Amongst other locations where this is well documented, is an excellent 856 page text that is still in print that was produced by Patricia S Hemingway.*

However, a statement made in the book and repeated in various forms in other works is that Ralph Hemenway, “…was born c1603 near Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England”. There is no evidence that I have seen that can support this assertion. I have tried very hard and a great many other researchers have struggled to try to find any evidence of Ralph’s parents, birthplace or even record of emigration to North America. To date, none of these have been found.

Having failed to find any evidence of his origins, I am led to believe that a very real possibility is that Ralph Hemenway, was not a Hemenway at all. Given that he just “appears” in the Roxbury records in 1634 with no trace of an origin or in any passenger list, I am led to believe that he perhaps assumed the Hemenway name when starting his new life in Roxbury, or what is now Boston, Mass, USA.

The longer that I have had to reflect upon this theory, the more trust I have in its value. I am the first to admit that I have no more hard evidence to support the suggestion than those that say that Ralph came from England, but whilst we search for any hard evidence of his origin, it must be a very real possibility. It is for this reason that I believe that all those Hemenways and Hemingways etc in North America, including Ernest and his family, may not Hemenways or Hemingways in the usual or genetic sense. However, they carry the surname of Hemenway and Hemingway (or a similar variant) and they are perfectly entitled to do so, but cannot claim to be descended from a Yorkshire Hemingway, without some hard evidence. One of the reasons that I have created the Hemingway DNA Project is in order to try to provide some hard evidence about the family of Ralph Hemenway in the hope that we will sooner or later provide some evidence to prove or disprove the connection. If you are a male (direct line) descendent of Ralph, it is vital that you join our project.

Meanwhile, I urge all researchers not to promulgate this myth that Ralph was a Hemingway from Bradford or anywhere else in England until there is some evidence.

Maurice Hemingway © Maurice Hemingway 25 Oct 2011

  • Copies of Patricia’s book entitled The Hemingways (Past & Present and Allied Families) published 1988 are available from :

Ernest H Mainland PO Box 488 Petoskey Michigan 49770 USA

Ernest will ship a copy anywhere in the world for US$45.00. Copies to USA postal codes will cost US$35.00. Payment should be made by any financial institutions check (cheque) or money order, payable in US Dollars, and sent to and made payable to Ernest H Mainland.


Ralph Hemingway was born by about 1609 based on date of marriage. He came to Massachusetts Bay in 1633 & settled in Roxbury. He died at Roxbury in June 1678 (inventory). He married at Roxbury 5 July 1634 Elizabeth Hewes; she was probably the "[blank] Hues a maid servant" admitted to Roxbury church as member #102, at the end of 1633 or beginning of 1634; she died Roxbury "Widow of Ralph Sr., 2 January 1684/5, age 82 years" and was buried as "old widow Hinningway" Roxbury 3 February 1685/6. (The burial as recorded by Eliot is a year, a month and a day after the date of death as given in the town records; Eliot's dates are usually more reliable. Pope, perhaps in an effort to resolve this discrepancy, erroneously states that wife Elizabeth d. Feb. 4, 1684, aged 82.). Source: Anderson's Great Migration Begins.* Reference: Find A Grave Memorial - SmartCopy: Feb 5 2020, 8:33:38 UTC

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Ralph Hemingway, of Roxbury's Timeline

April 24, 1635
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Colonial America
April 24, 1635
Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
June 13, 1636
Roxbury, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Colonial America
September 21, 1638
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Colonial America
April 27, 1641
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Colonial America
April 9, 1643
Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts Bay, British Colonial America
April 9, 1643
Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Colonial America
May 21, 1645
Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts