Robert Elwell, of Gloucester

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Robert Elwell, of Gloucester

Also Known As: "Goodman Robert Elwell", "Robert Elwell"
Birthplace: Perhaps of Stoke Abbot Parish, Beaminster, Dorset, England
Death: May 18, 1683
Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Elwell
Husband of Joane Elwell and Alice Elwell
Father of Mary Gardner; Samuel Elwell; John Elwell; Capt. Isaac Elwell; Josiah Elwell and 7 others

Occupation: Fisherman, landowner, constable, magistrate,
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Robert Elwell, of Gloucester

Robert Elwell

  • Birth: by about 1609, perhaps of near Stoke Abbott, Dorset, England. Baptism date of March 6, 1614 seen without supporting evidence.
  • Death: 18 MAY 1683 in Gloucester, Massachusetts
  • Parents: unknown; seen as Thomas Elwell & Sarah Elwell without supporting evidence
  • Immigration: 31 MAR 1633 Came to America on the ship "Recovery of London" 2



  1. ABT. 1634 in Gloucester, Massachusetts to Joan [Dolliver] b: 1615 d. Gloucester 31 Mar 1675.
  2. 29 MAY 1676 in in Gloucester, Massachusetts to Alice, widow of Robert Leach

Children of 1st wife

  1. Thomas Elwell b: 12 NOV 1654 in Gloucester, MA
  2. Samuel Elwell b: ABT. 1636
  3. John Elwell b: 23 NOV 1639
  4. Mary Elwell b: ABT. 1640
  5. Isaac Elwell b: 27 DEC 1641
  6. Josiah Elwell b: 1644 in Salem, Massachusettes
  7. Joseph Elwell b: 1649
  8. Sara Elwell b: 1651
  9. Sarah Elwell b: 12 MAY 1652
  10. Jacob Elwell b: 10 JUN 1657
  11. Richard Elwell b: 11 APR 1658


Robert Elwell is thought to have been in Dorchester, now part of Boston, as early as 1634.  It is believed that Robert Elwell was born about 1612 in England.  According to the Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English immigrants To New England 1620-50 by Charles Edward Banks, Robert Elwell came to New England from Stokes Abbot, Devonshire, England.  Robert is seen in New England records as early as1634.  He owned land in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1634.  Robert Elwell died in Gloucester, Massachusetts on 18 May 1683.  He was admitted as a freeman on 13 May 1640 in Boston.  According to the Genealogical Guide To The Earlty Settlers of America, “Robert Elwell, of Dorchester, 1635 removed 1638 to Salem, there had baptized, besides two others not named, John Elwell, 1640; and Isaac, 1642”.  Robert Elwell removed to Gloucester, Massachusetts and was a selectman there in 1648 and was elected selectman several times after that.  Robert Elwell is included as an inhabitant of Gloucester, Massachusetts from the time of its settlement.


  • Robert Elwell, in Anderson, Robert Charles; George F. Sanborn; and Melinde Lutz Sanborn. The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635. (NEHGS, 1999-2011).
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Birth: By about 1609
  • Death: 18 may 1683 Gloucester.
  • Migration 1634 to Dorchester. Fisherman.
  • Marriage:
  1. By about 1634 Joan ______ d. Gloucester 31 Mar 1675.
  2. Gloucester 29 May 1676. Alice ______ (widow of Robert Leach). She d. 10 Apr 1691 Gloucester. [EPR 8825]
  • Savage, James. 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. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co, 1860-1862). "ROBERT, Dorchester 1635, rem. 1638 to Salem, there had bapt. besides two ch. on 28 Aug. 1639, whose names the ch. rec. does not give, John, 23 Feb. 1640; and Isaac, 27 Feb. 1642; freem. 13 May 1640, rem. to Gloucester, was a selectman 1648, and often after; had w. Jane, wh. d. 31 Mar. 1675, and he d. 18 May 1683, but may have m. 29 May 1676, Alice Leach. He had Samuel, prob. eldest s.; Josiah; Joseph; Sarah, b. 1651, d. soon; Thomas, bapt. at Salem, 22 Apr. 1655; Jacob, by Gloucester rec. b. 10 June 1657, d. next May; Richard, bapt. at Salem, 11 Apr. 1658; and perhaps one or two others at S. or at G."


  • Robert was a resident of Dorchester (now a part of Boston) when on 1 Sep 1634 a lot was transferred to him. Testified at the court held at Newtowne (Cambridge) against Thomas Wonnarton who had threatened John Holland with great bodily harm.He was summoned to appear before the governor on 7 Mar 1636/7. On 2 Jan 1637, he and Mr. Holland were given some upland and marsh. On 8 Jun 1640, John Holland sold the land he had purchased from Elwell.
  • He became a freeman of the colony (along with 143 others) on 13 May 1640. * He sold his property by 8 Jun 1640 and soon moved to Salem, MA. He was counted as a citizen of Salem until he actually lived at Gloucester, the children being baptized there until the close of 1641, and his name is on the list of members of the church in 1643.
  • He bought land in Gloucester in Apr 1642, but probably didn't move there until later in the decade. He was named selectman in 1649, and also for several other terms. In 1651 he was granted a part of "Stage Neck." On 27 Sep 1652, Feb 1652/3, and Mar 1654/5, he was named one of the "commissioners to end small causes." He owned other land that is named in his will.
  • In 1654, he and four others were chosen to take charge of "Towne affairs." In 1658 he was chosen Magistrate and did considerable business in this judicial position. 5 Mar 1657/8, he was chosen Constable and served one year. About this time he became known as Goodman.
  • As Goodman Elwell, in Sep 1660, he and another were sureties for John Jackson; in Mar 1663, he was "master of the voyage." He was a member of a committee to erect a new meeting house in 1664.
  • His will was dated 15 May 1683 and proved 26 Jun 1683. He signed it by mark the day before he died. In it he names eldest son Samuel, sons Thomas, John, Isaac, Joseph, daughter Deliber [Dolliver], grandson Samuel Elwell, grandson Robert Elwell (son of Samuel), grandson William Elwell (son of son Josiah deceased), executors "deare and well beloved Friend" Mr. John Emerson & Jeffrey Parsons Sen.2,1


  1. The Elwell family in America a genealogy of Robert Elwell, of Dorchester and Gloucester, Mass., and the greater part of his descendants, to the fifth generation, with a list of revolutionary soldiers of the name who enlisted from the state of Massachusetts compiled by Jacob Thomas Elwell, revised by Charles Henry Pope. Published 1899 by C.H. Pope in Boston, Mass . Written in English. Page 53 (diagram)


was christened 6 Mar 1614 and died Jun 1674

Robert Elwell was born about 1609 based on an estimated date of marriage. His origins and parentage are not yet known, but he might have been from a parish not far from Stoke Abbott, Dorsetshire the home of his first wife-- or at least that of her brother. (See her profile.)

Robert emigrated about 1634, settling initially in Dorchester, but removed to Marblehead by 1639 and Gloucester by 1644. He was a fisherman. In 1662 he frequently went to court over the matter of fish.

He married first by 1634 Joan ______. She died at Gloucester 31 March 1675; he m2 in Gloucester 29 May 1676 Alice (_____) Leach, widow of Robert Leach. She died in Gloucester 10 April 1691. He died in Gloucester 18 May 1683.

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Robert Elwell, of Gloucester's Timeline

Beaminster, Dorset, England
March 6, 1614
Age 5
April 1635
Age 26
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
August 28, 1639
Age 30
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
August 28, 1639
Age 30
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
January 23, 1640
Age 31
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
December 27, 1641
Age 32
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
June 22, 1644
Age 35