Richard Wharton, of Boston

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Richard Wharton

Birthplace: Warcop, Westmoreland , England
Death: May 14, 1689
London, Middlesex, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Humphrey Wharton
Husband of Bethiah Wharton; Sarah Wharton and Martha Wharton
Father of William Wharton, Esq.; Richard Wharton; Humphrey Wharton; Sarah Cotta; Bethiah Bumstead and 8 others
Brother of Dorothy Pack

Occupation: Merchant, entrepreneur
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Richard Wharton, of Boston

Richard Wharton (b ca 1636 - d 1689) was an English merchant adventurer largely concerned with purchase of lands in Maine. He sued Edward West in 1671, bought the Pejepscot Patent in 1683-4, and had a further large grant of land from Mass. Bay Colony. He was appointed by Sir Edmund Andros to be a member of his Council, but, quarreling with Andros, he went home in July 1687 to oppose him, and d. at London 14 May 1689. Letters of administration on his estate, dated 1691, are in Suffolk Co., Mass., Probate, #1860. 1


From Descendants of the Reverend Francis Higginson, Massachusetts Bay Colony of Salem, 1910 page 10-11:

Sarah 3 Higginson (John 2 , Francis 1 ), born --, at Guilford, Conn. ; died May 8, 1676, at Boston, Mass. ; married Richard Wharton of Boston, born -- , 1636 ; died May 14, 1689, at London, Eng. He married 1st, about 1659, Bethia Tyng, daughter of Capt. William and Elizabeth (Coytmore) Tyng, born May 17, 1641. He married 3d, , 1677, Martha Winthrop, daughter of John Winthrop, Jr., and Elizabeth (Reade).

Origins & estate

From Notes and Queries page 447 - 448 6th series (Dec. 1885), William Sargent of Portland, Maine

Richard Wharton. — He first appears on record in Boston, Mass., in 1661. He acquired a large estate in the " Narragansett country," the present state of Rhode Island. He afterwards bought the Pejepscot Patent (including the present town of Brunswick, Maine) of the heirs of George Way and the heirs of Thomas Purchase. He bad three wives: (1.) Bethia, daughter of Wm. Tyng; (2.) Sarah, daughter of Rev. John Higginson ; (3.) Martha, daughter of the second Governor, John Winthrop. By these he had one son William, who married Eunice (?), it is supposed in England (and of whom more information is wanted) and five daughters, who survived him, and are named in his will. He was of Sir Edmund Audras's council; went to England in July, 1687; made his will there from a copy of a previous one left here, dated July 10, 1687, declared and published it May 10, 1689, and died a few days after at the house of his sister Dorothy Pack (written Hacke in one place.)

It is from this lady's testimony at the probating of her brother's will that a clue is found to the English origin of the family. Dorothy Pack deposes that she is a widow, of Kirby Street, Hatton Garden, co. Middlesex, where she had dwelt twelve years; was born in the parish of Warcupp, in county Westmoreland; and that Richard Wharton was her brother. In a codicil to his will Wharton calls Mr. Samuel Read and Mr. Nathaniel Whitfield, of London, merchants, "my kinsmen," and nominates them trustees. He makes a devise to Mary Read, probably the wife or daughter of the above Samuel. Was she his sister or niece?

Some of our genealogists assert that this Richard Wharton was the son of a Lord Philip Wharton. In the inventory of his estate I find "a house in Boston that was Philip Wharton's" (who had a wife Mary, and a daughter Rebecca born there 1660). He certainly was not a lord. Was he Richard's brother? He deserted his wife and went, 1668, we know not where. Was it back to England?

There are, besides, an Edward Wharton and a Thomas Wharton, mentioned very early in Savage's Dictionary as in America, but no connexion is known. The name is peculiar here. Were these relatives?

Richard Wharton was a man of wealth and prominence politically and socially. He had great expectations of the result of his landed speculations, and in his will made munificent devise to his son, but cut him off with 100 lbs. in his codicil, finding he had taken up too much money. Because of the disturbances of the Indian wars his estate greatly depreciated in value, and what is now worth millions of dollars was sold by his administrator, on representation of insolvency, to the Pejepscot Company, bringing only 140 lbs.

notable for

from "The History of Androscoggin County Maine" by Georgia Drew Merrill, editor 1891 Chapter VI, The Pejepscot Claim.

Richard Wharton, A Boston merchant, an Englishman by birth and education, conceived the plan of establishing a “manor” after the style of English gentlemen, and for that purpose bought, July 4, 1683, of the heirs of Purchase and Way the land covered by their patent of 1632, as well as lands bought by Purchase of the Indian sagamores. In this purchase of Wharton was included the claim of John Shapleigh. The price paid the Purchase heirs was one hundred and fifty pounds, thirty of which was paid down and the remainder was to be paid when the heirs furnished a copy of the patent given to Purchase and Way. There can be no doubt but the copy of the patent was produced, for we find him in 1687, making payments on account of his purchase, satisfied with the “conformation he had obtained in right of said Purchase and Way for said patent.” Wharton’s claim includes the whole of Harpswell, except a few islands, the greater part of Brunswick, and a part of Topsham. But this tract of land, extensive as it was, did not satisfy the Englishman’s manorial ideas, for he sought and obtained from Worombee and five other sagamores of the Androscoggin tribe, a large tract of land on both sides of the Androscoggin river and extending to the “uppermost falls in said Androscoggin river.” ...

THE SIX INDIAN SAGAMORE’S DEED TO RICHARD WHARTON – .... "And we the said Warumbee, Darumkin, Wehikermett, Wedon Dombegon, Neonongassett, and Nimbanewett Do covenant and grant to and with the said Richard Wharton that we have in ourselves good Right & full power thus to confirm and Defend the Richard Wharton his heirs and assigns forever in the Peaceable Enjoyment of the claim any Rights, title Interest of Property in the Premisses by from or under us the above named Sagamores, or any of our Ancestors. Provided nevertheless that Nothing in this Deed be construed to Deprive us the said Sagamores Successors or People from improving our Ancient Planting Grounds ... Sworn before me this 21 July 1684 Edward Tyng Justice O’Peace [n.b. Wharton's 1st wife's uncle]

Shortly after this transfer Wharton sailed for England for the purpose of securing from the crown a recognition of his claim and the authority to establish a manor in the then “Province of Mayne.” But this magnificent enterprise failed, Wharton having died (May, 1689) before the proper authority could be obtained.

Pejepscot Company—Four years after the death of Wharton, administration de bonis non on his estate was granted December 30, 1693, to Ephraim Savage of Boston, and four years later the Superior Court at Boston authorized and empowered Savage to sell the estate in order to liquidate the debts. ....

From "A River's Journey: The Story of the Androscoggin" Bethel Historical Society

In 1628, Thomas Purchase became the first European to permanently reside on the Androscoggin when he was granted land at the present site of Brunswick.  There, he built a fortified trading post and carried out an extensive trade with the Abenaki living in and near the river valley.  In 1683, his descendant—also Thomas Purchase—sold a substantial amount of territory along the Androscoggin to Boston merchant Richard Wharton, another promoter of English settlements.  Ratified by seven local Abenaki Sachems, this deed conveyed lands from the coast to the “uppermost falls in the said Andros Coggin River,” a phrasing that was to cause disputes over land titles for generations.

from History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell: Chapter 2: Pejepscot Purchase and Prior Settlements page 7

This land of Purchase and Way, and of Nicholas Shapleigh, all came into the hands of Richard Wharton, a Boston merchant. July 4, 1683, John Shapleigh, the heir of Nicholas, sold to Richard Wharton "all that tract or neck of land called Merryconeg in Casco Bay, Province of Maine, and is bounded at head or upper end, with the plains of Pejepscot or lands late belonging to or claimed by Mr.Purchase, and on all other sides or parts is incompassed and bounded with and by the salt water ; and. also all that the aforesaid island called Sebasco, alias Sequasco-diggin." ....

It will be seen, from the above extracts, that at this time Wharton owned the whole of what is now the town of Harpswell, -except a few islands, - the greater portion of Brunswick, and a tract on the river in what is now the town of Topsham.

family notes

From The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century By Bernard Bailyn page 138:

... Outspoken Anglicans like Wharton married freely into the group [of Puritans], and there is no indication that that outstanding entrepreneur felt discomfort in being related by marriage to Reverends Thomas Shepard and Samuel Willard. Marrying the heiress daughter of a nonconformist colonial seems, in fact, to have been a normal procedure for ambitious young Englishmen making careers for themselves in American trade, and their eligibility was not diminished by their Anglicanism ...

From "Road to Failure" Chapter One of The Road to the Revolutionary War: — Difficult Beginnings by John Taylor (copyright 2011)

“ … your sister Wharton’s two daughters … are like to continue as ancient maids … Sarah being 25 or 26 years old.”

Early settlers were a diverse group. Nowhere is this better shown than with the Wharton family. The father incredibly rich, the daughters old maids. Sarah and Bethia were daughters of Richard Wharton, a man who was determined to find fame and fortune in the New World. But the English colonial system was fickle and problematic. He tried several devices to advance his case including Massachusetts courts and the London elite. When one of the London power elite changed sides, he went back to garner support from another corner. His efforts wore him out. He died in 1689. Sarah and Bethia were able to support themselves with a small shop in Boston. Not all immigrants were as unlucky as Richard Wharton, or as lucky as Sarah and Bethia. ....

biographical notes

From "The Winthrop Papers," page 113

1. On the 4th of July, 1683, twelve days before the date of this letter, Richard Wharton purchased a large tract of land at Pejepscot, in the Province of Maine, which after his death formed the basis of the well-known "Pejepscot Company." See Wheeler's "History of Brunswick," &c, pp. 11-21. —Eds.

From "The Winthrop Papers," page 466

Note. — Richard Wharton was a very active man, who at different periods was concerned in trade with the West Indies, with mining operations, and with land speculations in Maine and in the Narragansett country. He was a member of the Council of Sir Edmund Andros, but, becoming one of the latter's strongest opponents, went to England in 1687 to complain of him. He died in London, May 14, 1689, leaving his affairs much embarrassed. There are both earlier and later letters of his to Fitz-John Winthrop; but his handwriting is so difficult that it has not thus far been convenient to decipher much of them. Some interesting letters of his to Wait Winthrop will be printed in the succeeding volume.

He married, first, about 1659, Bethia, daughter of William Tyng, and cousin of Mrs. Joseph Dudley; second, in 1672, Sarah, daughter of Rev. John Higginson of Salem (she died in 1676); and third, in 1677, Martha, one of the younger daughters of Governor John Winthrop of Connecticut, who survived him. He had issue by all three marriages. William Wharton, his son by his first marriage, is known to have been abroad as early as 1680, appears to have been secretary to Cranfield's Commission in 16S3, and was subsequently a lawyer in London. He is mentioned in the letters of William Penn and Sir Henry Ashurst in the present volume, and a letter from him to Fitz-John Winthrop is printed on page 288. Our late president, the Hon. James Savage, was rarely at fault in his Genealogical Dictionary of New England; but he made the mistake of describing two Richard Whartons, who, as subsequently pointed out by our learned vice-president, Dr. Charles Deane, were one and the same man. See 5 Mass. Hist. Coll., IX. 113. — Eds.

From A genealogical dictionary of the first settlers of New England, showing three generations of those who came before May, 1692, on the basis of Farmer's Register. By James Savage. page 494

Richard Wharton, Boston 1661, a very active gent. largely concern. in purch. of lds. as in 1683, the Pegypscot, of 500,000 acres, at the E. and engag. in public good, m. a. 1659, Bethia, d. of William Tyng, and next, 1672, Sarah, d. of Rev. John Higginson of Salem, and had two ds. Sarah and Bethia. Felt, in Geneal. Reg. IX. 339, calls him a lawyer, but perhaps he was only atty. for partic. individ. not a mem. of the profess. Under appointm. as one of the Counc. of Sir Edmund Andros, he thwart. some of his oppress. designs, and went home with others in July 1687 to complain against his measures, and d. in London a. 1690. He left much embarrass. est. and his ds. kept a small shop in Boston. Sarah m. John Cotta, in B. See Higginson Letters in 3 Mass. Hist. Coll. VII. 198— 205. RICHARD, Boston, m. Martha, d. of the sec. Gov. John Winth. had Richard, bapt. 28 Nov. 1675; Ann, 29 June 1679; Winthrop, 17 Apr. 1681; Martha, 29 Oct. 1682; John, 5 Oct. 1684; and Dorothy, 31 Oct. 1686.

From A Documentary History of Chelsea: Including the Boston Precincts ..., Volume 1 By Mellen Chamberlain, Jenny Chamberlain Watts, William Richard Cutter, Henry Williamson Haynes page 400

"For some account of Richard Wharton, of whom we shall hear much in connection with the Bellingham estates, see Savage, Gen. Diet. "Something may be inferred of his social position from the fact that his three wives were daughters of the most important men in New England. About 1659 he married Bethia, the daughter of William Tyng, one of the wealthiest men in the colony; after her decease he married, in 1672, Sarah, daughter of Rev. John Higginson, of Salem; and after her death, which occurred on the eighth of May, 1676, he married [in 1677] for his third, Martha, daughter of the second John Winthrop, the Governor of Connecticut Colony." (Shurtleff, Boston, 684.) [He was a merchant in Boston engaged in foreign trade, active in the courts as an attorney, and a partner in many business and land ventures. In 1686 he was appointed a member of the Council of President Dudley, having been recommended by Edward Randolph. He served on the Council of Governor Andros, but opposed both Randolph and Andros. He sailed for England in July, 1687, to secure a patent for mines and for some Narragansett lands. He joined the agents of Massachusetts in representations to the King, and died in London May 14, 1689. (Sewall, Diary, i. 255.) His estate was much involved at his death, and his daughters kept a small store in Boston. Sarah married John Cotta. See letters from Wharton in 6 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc, v. 9-18, 25; also 5 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc, ix. 112; 6 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc, iii. 466, 467; Sewall, Diary, i. 182; N. E. Hist, and Gen. Reg., xxxvii. 270; Prince Society Pub., Randolph Papers, ii. 33, 50, 79; iv. 44, 114, 115, 162, 221, 244, 279.]

  • Reference: Ancestry Genealogy - SmartCopy: Jul 21 2016, 23:21:25 UTC
  • The Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, Volume 9 edited by Stephen Marion Watson page 137
    • Richard Wharton died in London, England, May, 1689. Had son William, whose widow Eunice was in Pejepscot 1730. Also five daughters, Sarah, wife of John Cotta Jr. and Bethiah, by 1st wife, and Ann, Martha and Dorothy by 2d wife. There is mention of Sarah and Bethiah's uncle John Higginson, John Cotta jr. and wife Sarah, Bethiah Wharton, Martha Wharton and Dorotha Wharton are mentioned as all of Boston.
  • "The Winthrop Family in America"; Lawrence Shaw Mayo; p. 56; Boston Historical Society, Boston, Massachusetts; 1948 (CS71 W79 1948 NGS) CS71.W79 1948 CSL)
  • The Winthrop Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1889 - Connecticut page 576
  • The Pepperrell Papers by Sir William Pepperrell. Massachusetts Historical Society, 1899 - Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society - 563 pages page 718
  • "The Weber Thesis Revisited" in The Origins of American Capitalism: Collected Essays.By James A. Henretta page 55. Puritan Rev. John Higginson's daughter Sarah married Anglican Richard Wharton ...
  • Diary of Samuel Sewall. 1674-1729. v. 1 [-3] by Sewall, Samuel, 1652-1730 page 12. Monday, May 8, 1676. "Mrs. Wharton dyes: buried Wednesday afternoon."
  • Diary of Samuel Sewall. 1674-1729. v. 1 [-3] by Sewall, Samuel, 1652-1730 page 135 Thursday, May 6, 1686. "Mr. Wharton buried a child since our going ..."
  • Diary of Samuel Sewall. 1674-1729. v. 1 [-3] by Sewall, Samuel, 1652-1730 page 235 Tuesday, May 14, 1689. "Mr. Richard Wharton dyed about 10 post merid.". 1. Mr. Wharton was of Boston, and married Bethia Tyng and Sarah Higginson. He was largely interested in the Pepescot Purchase, but died poor. ... It may be mentioned that he used a seal bearing the arms of the Whartons of Yorkshire, a branch of which family was ennobled, as before noted. -- Eds.
  • Pejepscot Historical Society Celebrating the history of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell, Maine
    • “The Forgotten Founders of Pejepscot: Thomas Purchase & Richard Wharton” by Anna Ridgel, 2005;
    • History of Brunswick, Topsham & Harpswell, Maine by George A. & Henry Warren Wheeler, 1878;
    • Brunswick, Maine: 250 Years a Town, 1989.
  • Coddington, John Insley. "A Royal Descent from King Edward III of England to Thomas Coytemore of Charlestown, Mass., Elizabeth wife of William Tyng of Boston, Sarah wife of Ralph Eddowes of Philadelphia co., PA, John Quincy Adams, Neville Chamberlain, and others." The American Genealogist." vol 32. pp 9-23.
view all 19

Richard Wharton, of Boston's Timeline

February 21, 1637
Warcop, Westmoreland , England
February 21, 1637
Warcop, Westmoreland , England

There is record of a Richard, *son of Richard*, baptized 21 Feb. 1637. The father's name may be in error. Dorothye Wharton, dau. of Humfray, bapt. 30 May 1638, in Warcop, Westmoreland. Richard Wharton was the brother of a certain Dorothy Pack of co. Middlesex, England, whose will mentions her brother Richard, and the fact that she was born at Warcupp, co. Westmorland.

April 16, 1663
Age 26
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
February 1, 1664
Age 26
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
August 5, 1666
Age 29
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
August 7, 1671
Age 34
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
September 18, 1672
Age 35
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
October 6, 1673
Age 36
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts