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Walter Powers

Also Known As: "Power", "Walter Power"
Birthplace: Ireland
Death: February 22, 1708 (66)
Littleton, Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts
Place of Burial: Littleton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Husband of Trial Power
Father of William Powers; Mary Wheeler; Isaac Powers; Thomas Powers; Lt. Daniel Powers and 12 others

Managed by: Sheila Randall
Last Updated:

About Walter Powers

Walter Powers

  • BIRTH 28 Jun 1639 County Waterford, Ireland
  • DEATH 22 Feb 1708 (aged 68) Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • BURIAL Power Burying Ground, Littleton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • MEMORIAL ID 106620760 Photos by Crystal, Contributor: J Watson and Stanley Shepard


Walter Powers is a key figure in the New England branch of the North American Powers family, as many can trace their lineage back to him. He was 14 when he left the Old World in 1654. He first appears in New England records as a witness in a trial in Middlesex County in 1654. Walter Powers is listed as the son of Walter Powers I (or Sr.) in some family trees but to date, there is no confirmation of his exact parents.

Walter likely traveled on the ship Goodfellow. It sailed from County Waterford, Ireland and stopped in Bristol Port, England in 1654 (the same year Walter landed in the New World) and thence to America. The ship's captain (Capt. George Dell) landed at Marblehead, Mass. not the intended target of Salem or Boston because of foul weather. Unfortunately, a passenger manifest listing those who sailed aboard the Goodfellow that year has not been located.

The Ship "Goodfellow

The ship Goodfellow was primarily a transport ship for conquered Irish, Scottish, and child slaves, and it made repeated trips to Virginia and Boston to sell its human cargo. By order of the "State of England," many Irish people had been sent to New England. On their arrival, they were sold by those at whose expense they had been brought over, to any of the inhabitants who were in want of slaves or servants. There arrived [in 1653] a ship called the Goodfellow, Captain George Dell, with a large number of emigrants of the above description. Many of the Scotch people had been sent before this in the same way. Some of them had been taken prisoners at the sanguinary battle of Dunbar. There arrived in one ship, the "John and Sara," John Greene, master, early in the summer of 1652, about 272 persons. Captain Greene had orders to deliver them to Thomas Kemble of Charlestown, who was to sell them, and with the proceeds to take freight for the West Indies. [10]

Country of Origin

"Powers" is a surname found in Ireland, England Scotland. No birth certificate has been located for Walter Powers. Some sources say that Walter Powers emigrated from Essex, England, to Massachusetts in 1654. Because the Town of Littleton, and the Shepard family, have very strong ties to Essex, England, and because of the documented Powers that begin to appear in English records around the time of the Norman invasion in 1066, there is also some speculation that Walter was born in Bedford, England. A very interesting account of the early colonial life that addresses this issue can be found in Thomas Kree's historical account of the origin of Powers and Kree families. Other sources say the New England Powers family descended from Thomas and Walter Power (no "s"), brothers, born in County Waterford, Ireland. The ship Goodfellow had many other Irish refugees onboard when Walter may have been an indentured servant to settle in the New World. Indentured servants also came from England so Walter could have been an indentured servant from England. Recently, Y-DNA genetic genealogy of the male Powers line shows the Powers family to be R1b1a2a1a1b4, Irish Type III --This confirms Irish ancestry or a paternal event in the line that introduced the R1b1a2a1a1b4, Irish Type III Y-DNA.

From the County Waterford Museum in Ireland Early Waterford History The Powers No one can doubt that the original possessor of this name in the County Waterford has a goodly number of successors to the family patronymic. Nowadays we meet the name hourly among the inhabitants of Waterford. The Powers succeeded the Deesi in their territory. That liberal King, Henry II., granted to Robert le Puher (le Poer) in 1177 the City of Waterford, with all the circumjacent province, "and that all the lands which lie between Waterford and the water beyond Lismore shall belong to the service of Waterford." This was a fair reward for Robert le Poer, marshall to the King. But in 1704 the male line of the le Poers became extinct, and the inheritance fell Catherine Poer, who married Sir Marcus Beresford, as who was created Lord Viscount Tyrone by George I. The descent from Robert le Poer is thus traced: - From Robert le Poer was descended Richard le Poer who was created Baron le Poer and Curraghmore, 13th September, 1535 From him, Richard le Poer; Viscount Decies and Earl of Tyrone, 1673. From him, John, died 1693 and his brother James, died 1704, neither of whom having male issue, James's only daughter, Catherine Poer, was married to Sir Marcus Beresford, who was created Lord Viscount Tyrone by George I.

It must not be concluded that after the Norman invasion by Strongbow, 1169-70, or the English invasion by Henry II.,1172, and that the Irish princes and chieftains were so completely subdued as to be no longer capable of asserting their power. This is not so. For centuries after, the native harassed the invaders, while occasionally, it cannot be denied, they fell upon each other with that unhappy augury of division and want of unity which finally left the island is possession of the stranger.

Biography== continued...

After settling in Concord Village (now Littleton, Massachusetts), Walter worked for Deacon Ralph Shepard, a Puritan minister who escaped religious persecution in England. After six years (about the time it took to work off the cost of forced transportation to America), Walter met and married his master's daughter, Trial (Tryal) Shepard.

Walter confessed miscarriage with Tryal, daughter of Deacon Shepherd, "my now wife"; and Tryal, wife of Walter Power, petitioned in favor of her husband "in duress." It appears that Walter and his wife were "convicted of fornication by them committed together before marriage." They were sentenced to be flogged. Deacon Ralph Shepard bought her (Tryal) out of the flogging by paying a fine. Walter was sentenced "to be openly "whipt" with 15 stripes by the constable of Cambridge.

Middlesex County records list the date of the marriage of Walter and Tryal as on "ye eleventh day of ye first month, 1660, to Trial, daughter of Deacon Ralph and Thankes". We know that Walter and his new bride, Tryal, established a large family of seven sons and two daughters, many of whom lived in and around the Littleton, Massachusetts area for nearly five generations. They were very actively involved in the civic and economic activities of their communities.

Walter probably had few educational advantages, but he had the strength and will to establish a home for himself and his family. Tryal Sheppard Power, his wife, was evidently the teacher of her sons, who took prominent place in the affairs of the town in which they lived. Walter established a family household and sawmill on a tract of land that consisted of one fourth of the Indian village of Nashoba. Walter obtained this land from his former master and now father-in-law, Deacon Ralph Shepard, who purchased the whole village of Nashoba from Thomas Waban and other Indians. On March 25, 1666 Tryal's father, Ralph Shepard, deeded Walter 60 acres in Concord. In 1694 Walter Powers bought a quarter of the Town of Neshoba from the indigenous people. It became Littleton.

The land and timber served as an economic opportunity for Walter, an immigrant. He and his sons built the Powers homestead with hard work, clearing the land, farming and establishing a sawmill to help build houses and other structures for their fast-growing colonial town. The house was built on the north side of Quagony Hill, which was near Magog Pond, an ideal location for a sawmill. Their home was on the north side of Quangany Hill on the Concord Road. It was about a half mile from the garrison house. The Powers sawmill and the graveyard were nearby. He ran the sawmill in Littleton, Massachusetts until his death there on February 22, 1708.


Tryal, his wife, appears to be a woman with some education, and from the positions their sons took in the developing township, we can presume they were fairly well educated for their times. Their son, Isaac, served as the moderator of the very first town meeting of Littleton. Their children were all born in Littleton.

Walter and Tryal Powers were the parents of nine children. William Powers was born on March 16, 1661. Mary Powers Wheeler was born 1663. Captain Isaac Powers was born on April. 9, 1665.

Thomas Powers was born on May 25, 1667. Daniel Powers was born on May 10, 1669. Increase Powers was born on July 16, 1671. Walter Powers. was born in 1674. Jacob Powers was born on December 15, 1679. Sarah Powers Barron was born on February 8, 1683. Walter wrote his will in 1704. At that time he had already settled land with his son Jacob. He was given the land in consideration of taking care of his parents.

Post Life

Walter, Sr. and Tryal both died in 1708. They were probably buried in the Powers burying ground near their home. The old Powers homestead is no longer standing. Unfortunately the graveyard was plowed up in later years [circa 1950] and the gravestones, most of which bore the name "Powers" were used to build a fence. However, many of the tombstones, including Walter's, have been relocated to a nearby cemetery. Walter's will is recorded in the book of the Register of Deeds, Middlesex County, Mass. [4]




Spouse Tryall Shepard Powers 1641–1708 (m. 1660)

William Powers 1661–1710
Mary Powers Wheeler 1663–1740
Isaac Powers 1665–1724
Thomas Powers 1667–1707
Daniel Powers 1669–1730
Increase Powers 1671–1747
Walter Powers 1674–1738
Jacob Powers 1679–1759
Sarah Powers Barron 1683–1711


Seen as son of Walter Powers Sr. without supporting evidence other than same given & surnames along with appropriate ages. [2]



[2] Walter Powers, Sr.



[4] Waterford County Museum Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland

[5] Register of Deeds, Middlesex County, Mass


[7] "White Slavery in Colonial New England"

[8] "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register", Volume 19

[9] "The Powers Family of Southwest Virginia", Virginia Creeper

[10] History and Antiquities of the City of Boston, by Samuel Gardner Drake.

"History and Antiquities of the City of Boston", by Samuel Gardner Drake




[14] C. Thomas Cairnet, Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland, Jefferson, North Carolina; London: McFarland & Company, 1989.

[15] Thomas Addis Emmet, Irish Emigration during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Journal of the American-Irish Historical Society, v. 2, 1899, pp. 56-70.

[16] Law Case, Master Samuel Symonds against Irish slaves. William Downing and Philip Welch,
Salem Quarterly Court, Salem, Massachusetts. June 25, 1661
available on the website of The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance,
and Abolition at Yale


[18] Edward MacLysaght, Irish Life in the Seventeenth Century, Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1979. (first published in 1939)

[19] Denis Murphy, S.J., Cromwell in Ireland, a History of Cromwell's Irish Campaign. Dublin, M.H. Gill & Son, New Edition, 1897.

[20] Michael J. O'Brien, Pioneer Irish in New England, P.J. Kennedy and Sons, 1937. Walter Power's probable arrival in Massachusetts on the Slave Ship The Goodfellow, is documented on pp 239-241.

[21] Gabriel O'C Redmond, An historical memoir of Poher, Poer, or Power with an Account of The Barony of Le Power and Coroghmore, County Waterford, Dublin: Office of "The Irish Builder", 1891



[24] John P. Prendergast, The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland, London:Longman,1865

[25] Robert E. West, PEC Illinois State Director "England's Irish Slaves", originally published in the newsletter of the Political Education Committee, (PEC) American Ireland Education Foundation.)

[26] James Scott Wheeler, Cromwell in Ireland, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1999.

[27] Y-DNA source

view all 27

Walter Powers's Timeline

December 19, 1641
Age 12
Age 12
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
March 16, 1661
Littleton, Middlesex County, MA, United States
January 1, 1663
Littletown, Middlesex, Massachusetts
January 1, 1663
Littleton, Middlesex County, MA, United States
April 9, 1665
Littleton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Colonial America
May 25, 1667
Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
May 10, 1669
Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts