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Early Families of Taunton, Massachusetts

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  • Esther Marshall (1632 - 1721)
    Biography Esther Lugg , daughter of Jane Deighton and her first husband, John Lugg, married (1) James Bell, (2) Richard Marshall.[1] Burial: Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts[2] James Bell is first men...
  • James Bell, of Taunton (1632 - 1676)
    James Bell Birth: Aug 23 1632 - Kempsford, Gloucestershire, England Death: May 1676 - Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts Wife: Esther Lugg Biography James Bell is first mentioned in America when...
  • Francis Smith, of Taunton (1614 - 1679)
    Not a known child of John Smith and Susanna Hinkley Biography Francis Smith was born by about 1614 (based on grant of land at Hingham in 1635; "about sixty years of age" on 22 February 1678/9). Came...
  • Dorothy Rossiter (1620 - 1697)
    GEDCOM Source ===@R1203558009@ Ancestry Family Trees Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members. === GEDCOM Source ===Ancestry Fam...
  • Abigail or Lydia ? Dean (1646 - 1688)
    The following is COPIED from WikiTree as it is a useful summary of the issues with "Abigail Dean". Biography One of the six known children of Walter Deane and Eleanor Cogan was a daughter who was marri...

A place to collect the families and individuals who settled Taunton, Massachusetts and examine where they came from in England and their marriage patterns.

"Probably the early settlers of this region came largely from the southwest of England, for we there find the familiar names of Norton, Dorchester, Weymouth, Wareham, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Barnstable, Somerset, Dartmouth, Berkley, Tiverton, surrounding the English Taunton, much as do their namesakes our own city ; and the settlers of Cohannet on March 3, 1639, (O. S.) procured the name to be changed to Taunton, as they themselves say, 'in honor and love to our dear and native country.'"

A marginal note in the Plymouth Colony Records states that"Taunton began here to be added to this booke, June 5, 1638." A list of Plymouth Colony freemen of 7 March 1636/37 contains seven names of men identified as being of Cohannett: Mr. William Poole, Mr. John Gilbert, Sr. Mr. Henry Andrews, John Strong, John Deane, Walter Deane, and Edward Case. (Edward Case's lot was sold to Samuel Wilbore, one of those who were banished with Mrs Hutchinson from Massachusetts. After residing in Taunton a short time, he returned to Boston, and gave his lands in Taunton to his son Shadrach Wilbore.) Other records show that these seven were first made freemen on 4 Dec 1638 so that the names were additions to the earlier list. Previous to 1640, Mr. Richard Smith, William Parker, John Smith, Mr. Thomas Farwell, Mr. David Corwithy, Mr. Holloway, Mr. Nicholas Street, Thomas Gilbert, Thomas Cooke, John Richmond, Hezekiah Hoar, Richard Paull, Hugh Rossiter, Francis Street, John Gingell, and William Scadding, were freemen. Thus we have the names of not less than twenty-four men, who doubtless belonged to the original church of Taunton, and if there were as many women, it was certainly a goodly company to covenant together on the banks of the Tetiquet.

A shipping list shows that Elizabeth Poole (William's sister) left Weymouth, Dorset on 22 April 1637 on the Speedwell traveling with two friends, fourteen servants, goods valued at 100 pounds and twenty tons of salt for fishing provision. Walter Deane and six servants sailed to New England on the same ship at the same time. Another ship, the Prosperous, left Dartmouth, Devonshire on 27 April 1637 carrying bullocks and heifers for various planters in New England, including passengers William and Elizabeth Poole. William Poole had probably preceded his sister across the Atlantic.

On 5 March 1638/39 Captain Poole was authorized to exercise the men at Cohanett in arms. At this time the colonies needed supplies and ammunition desperately. The war against the French and Indians was not popular and as early as 25 Dec 1689 the court noted that the towns of Bristol, Dartmouth, Swansea and Eastham "refused or neglected" to pay their taxes for the cost of the war. The towns of Bristol County were especially obstreperous. One of the first orders of the reconvened court in 1689 was to recommission the officers who had commanded the county regiments and town military companies in 1686, before Andros took power. In a very beginning Marshfield and Swansea objected to their captains and before long there was considerable dissension over who would officer the troops. In Taunton feeling was so high that the court on 1 April 1690 ordered the formation of two companies, each officered by one of the two opposing sides. This was not a satisfactory solution as was noted by Walter Deane and some of the other leading men at Taunton in a letter to Hankley of 7 April 1690 in which he states " the contempt of authority by one party seems to be too little discountenanced." Major Walley was also unhappy about the Taunton matter and he wrote Hinckley that a great many people were long be "ready to oppose all that doth not plese them...You have given such a precedent as never was in New England and other towns are pleading for the benefit of it; and we shall want, not only two, but ten captains in the town." He commented also on difficulties with military neglect or other, all orders and warrants come to nothing.

A number of the early settlers of Taunton were from Bridgewater, County of Somerset, England and were related by marriage already in England including (John) Gilbert, (Francis, Rev. Nicholas) Street.

Immigrant John Gilbert was married to Mary Street, aunt of Immigrants Francis Street and Rev. Nicholas Street. We need to do a bit more sleuthing but I believe that the Rossitor and Combe families were from this area as well. John Gilbert's second wife was Winifred (Rossitor) Combe. A mystery is the relationship of Rev. Nicholas Street's wife Ann or Amy or unknown given name, who appears to have been a Pole (Poole), possibly related to William Poole and Elizabeth Poole of Taunton, but not Ann Pole, daughter of Sir William Pole, since that daughter married and remained in England.


Andrews Family

Henry Andrews, b. 1608, Somerset, England; d. Feb. 10, 1652/3, Taunton, MA. Will dated Mar. 13, 1652, and estate inventoried Feb. 20, 1652/3. He was an original purchaser at Taunton, MA in 1637, built the first meeting house in 1647 for which he received a tract of land known as the "calves pasture," and was deputy to the Plymouth general court in 1639, 1642, 1643, 1647, and 1649. Probably married about 1628 in England

Browne Family

John Browne Brown, of Worcester, was associated with the Pilgrims at Plymouth. While he was traveling in his youth he became acquainted with Rev. John Robinson, pastor of the Pilgrims, and through him met many of his people in the same way that Governor Winslow and Captain Miles Standish came to join the Pilgrims. He did not come in the "Mayflower," however. It was not until March, 1629, that he reached New England. He landed at Salem. Two years earlier, however, March 19, 1627, the council for New England approved a patent for trade soil and planting on which a Royal charter was obtained March 4, 1628, to certain patentees and their associates, among whom were John Browne, John Saltonstall, and others who became well known in the colonies. He was elected to Governor John Endicott's council, April 3, 1629, with Francis Higginson, Samuel Skelton, Francis Bright, Samuel Browne, Thomas Graves and Samuel Sharp. He went from Salem to Plymouth and later to Taunton with his son, James. In 1643 John Brown and his sons, John and James, were residents of Taunton, but next year they settled at Rehoboth, Massachusetts. There John Browne, Sr., and John Brown, Jr., stayed and were among the first settlers, but James Browne being a Baptist was forced to leave town in 1663 and with others of his sect founded the town of Swansey, Massachusetts. The designation Mr. given him in the records always shows that he was counted among the gentry. His sons and grandsons were leaders in civic, judicial and military affairs. John Brown was appointed one of the townsmen (an office) in Rehoboth, March 16, 1645, and again in 1650-51. He served the town on important commissions. He was on the prudential committee. He was for seventeen years from 1636 to 1653 0ne of the governor's assistants or magistrates. In 1638 the following were the governor's assistants: William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Captain Miles Standish, John Alden, John Jenny and John Browne. He was one of the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England (which foreshadowed the later confederation) from 1644 to 1655. In the governor's court June 4, 1652, he won a notable suit for damages for defamation against Samuel Newman, the judgment being for one hundred pounds and costs. Mr. Browne waived the judgment, however, and let Newman off on payment of the costs. Mr. Browne was a friend of Massasoit, and the proof of their friendship was shown when the life of his son James was spared by King Philip, son of Massasoit, when he came on a mission from the governor to the Indians. Colonel Church in his narrative says: "that the Indians would have killed Mr. Browne, who with Mr. Samuel Gorton and two other men bore the letter, but Philip prevented them, saying that his father had charged him to show kindness to Mr. Browne." It is said in his honor that he was the first magistrate to raise his voice against the coercive support of the ministry, taking the stand that all church support should be voluntary and backed his precepts by liberal example. He was a man of abilities, intellect, piety and patriotism, and was buried with civic and military honors in 1662. His wife Dorothy died in 1674. His eldest son died the same year as he (1662). His other son, James, was afterwards in the magistracy. His grandson, John Browne, became useful and eminent. In 1685 John Browne was one of the first associate justices of the court of common pleas in the county of Bristol. In 16gg, during the administration of Lord Bellamont, Vve was again appointed a justice. John Browne, Sr., was born in 1595 and died April 10, 1662. His wife died at Swansey, Massachusetts, January 27, 1673. The children of John Browne (I) were: Ensign John, Jr., born in England, died last of March, 1662; (settled in Rehoboth and had these children: John, born last Friday in September, 1650; Lydia, August 5 or 6, 1656; Annah, January 29, 1657; Joseph, April 9, 1658; Nathaniel, June 9, 1661; Major James, of Swansey, born in England 1623, died 1710; Mary, born in England, married, July 6, 1636, Captain Thomas Willett, of Plymouth, the first English mayor of New York city, who was twice elected to that office. William, resided in Salem, not mentioned in will and not proved to be son of John Browne (I).

(II) Major James Brown, son of John Browne

(1) , born in England in 1623, was in Taunton in 1643 with his father, the assistant, and went with him to Swansea, Massachusetts. He was said to be a Baptist and preacher. He was chosen an assistant in 1665. He married Lydia Howland, daughter of John Howland, who came over in the "Mayflower," and all his descendants are likewise descended from Mayflower ancestry. He died October 29, 1710, aged eighty-seven years. Their children were: James, born at Rehoboth, Massachusetts, May 4,' 1655, died at Barrington, Rhode Island, 1725; Dorothy, born at Swansey, Massachusetts, August 29, 1666, married —;— Kent; Jabez, born July 9, 1668, at Swansey, Massachusetts.

Cooke Family

Thomas Cooke, known as Bowcher, Bocher, or Butcher, arrived near Boston in 1637 with a group that accompanied Elizabeth Poole and her brother, William. Thomas, his wife, and three children sailed on the ship, Speedwell; others included John Reade, Richard Smith, and Henry Smith. Thomas Cooke was an early proprietor of Taunton, Massachusettes. He was "one of the 46 original settlers of Taunton in 1637" and settled in Portsmouth in 1643.

Deane Family (also written Dean)

Walter Deane, born at Chard, a market town, some ten miles from Taunton, in Somersetshire, England, in the extensive and fertile valley known as Taunton-Dean, on the river Tone, came to America with his elder brother
John Deane, both being among the earliest English settlers at Cohannet, which soon after was called Taunton. Both were original purchasers of the town. Walter Dean was a tanner by trade. His wife was Eleanor, daughter of Richard Strong, of Taunton in England, and sister of Elder John Strong, who came with her to America in the ship "Mary and John," in 1630, and thence in 1637 went to Cohannet, now Taunton.

Benjamin Deane, son of Walter and Eleanor (Strong) Deane, was married to Sarah Williams, January 6,1680 or 1681. They settled in Taunton, Mass, and had children,—Naomi, Hannah, Israel (born Feb. 2,1685), Mary, Damaris, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mehitable, Benjamin (born July 31, 1699), Ebenezer (born Feb. 24, 1702), Lydia, and Josiah (born Oct. 23, 1707). His will was made Feb. 2, 1723, and probated April 14, 1725.

Gilbert Family

John Gilbert, immigrant ancestor, was born in Bridgewater, County Somerset, England, and came to Dorchester, Massachusetts, in the ship, "Mary and John," in 1630. His wife Winifred and two sons, Thomas and John, described by Savage as "Well grown youth," came with him. In 1637 he and his two sons were members of an incorporated body of forty, who purchased of Sachem Massasoit about one hundred and sixty-two thousand acres of land lying west of Plymouth, which was named Taunton. Here the family established itself, and here descendants remained for over one hundred and forty years. In 1668 that portion of the town in which the Gilbert family lived was set apart under the name of North Purchase. Again in 1711 it became a part of the new town of Norton, and finally, in 1725, Norton was subdivided and the Gilbert land became a part of Easton. John Gilbert was admitted a freeman of Taunton, December 4, 1638, and was chosen constable in 1640. In 1641 he received a grant of land from the town, with others, "for their great charges in attending courts, laying out lands and other occasions for the town." He was over sixty years old in 1643, as he was excused from military duty in that year. He was the first representative from Taunton to the general court. His house was in the meadow on the western side of Taunton Great River. John Gilbert and his first wife, Mary Street, had three children: John, Thomas, and Elizabeth. His first wife died before 1630. John Gilbert and his second wife, Winfred -- probably Winifred Rossiter, widow of John Combe -- had three children -- Gyles (Giles), Joseph, and Mary Norcross. He may also have been married to Alice Hopkins as 2nd wife.

Hodges Family

Leonard Family

Thomas Leonard was the father of James and Henry, the first Leonard immigrants. He did not emigrate to this country with his sons and is known to us only by name. James was the progenitor of the Leonards, of Taunton, Raynham, and Norton. He and his sons often traded with the Indians, and were on such terms of friendship with them, that, when the war broke out, King Philip gave strict orders to his men never to hurt the Leonards. Philip resided, in winter, at Mount Hope; but his summer residence was at Raynham, about a mile from the forge. The Leonards were apparently from a noble family (Lennard, D'Acre) and had ironworks in their hometown in England. They continued as prominent ironworkers in Plymouth Colony.

Thomas Leonard, son of James Leonard, "was a distinguished character."
He came to New England with his father, " when a small boy," and afterwards worked with him in the forge. He was a physician, major, justice of the peace, town clerk and deacon. He was also judge of the Court of Common Pleas, 1702-13. An eulogy upon his character by the Rev. Samuel Danforth, of Taunton, was printed in 1713.

His second son, John was the father of Thomas II , whose daughter, Sarah, b. 26 June, 1729, was the wife of Rev. Eliab Byram, of Mendham, N. J., and mother of the wife of the late Hon. Josiah Dean, who was owner of the old Raynham forge. Gamaliel, eldest son of Thomas II, b. 30 April 1733, died 12 March 1809; was father of Eliakim, b. 17 July, 1773, who married Mary Williams, and was father of Rev. George, of Portland. The latter was born at Raynham, 17 Aug. 1802, graduated Boston University 1824, and died 12 Aug. 1831. He married 1827, Abigail C. daughter of Rev. Ebenezer Nelson, and was settled in 1830, over the First Baptist Church in Portland, Me. The year after his death, in 1832, a volume of his Sermons was published at Portland.

Major George Leonard, third son of Thomas, removed about 1690, to Norton, then a part of Taunton, where he became the proprietor of very large tracts of land; being as it were the founder of that town and the progenitor of the Norton family. Here this family, as possessors of great wealth and of the largest landed estate, probably, of any in New England, have lived for one hundred and sixty years. Rev. Wm. Tyler, of Northampton, who spent his early days within a few miles of the Leonard mansion, writes thus: "The Norton family of Leonard, whether or not descended from the Lennards, Lord Dacre, have come the nearest to a baronial spirit and style of life of any family I have known in New England."

Macey Family

Richmond Family

John Richmond was born in 1594, in Wiltshire, England, at Ashton Keynes. He was one of the purchasers of Taunton, MA. in 1637. He was a large landholder and amassed considerable wealth for that time. He died in Taunton in 1664. His children were John b.1627; Edward b. 1632; Sarah b. 1638; Mary b. 1639. John Richmond Sr. was apparently in the shipping and trade business and made many trips between Bristol in England and Saco, Maine before choosing to settle in Taunton, Massachusetts in 1635 because of the problems in England. He was one of the purchasers of Taunton but his name does not appear in the list of men able to bear arms in 1643. This is not surprising because he opposed the Royalists and would not bear arms for them. He chose instead to return to England and join Cromwell's army in the Civil War.

Of his sons, John Richmond settled in Taunton, Edward in Newport. The Richmond family was very prominent in the Colonial Wars and also the War of the Revolution. Their motto on their Coat of Arms was, "Resolve well and persevere."

Pole (Poole) Family

William Poole (above mentioned), son of the Sir William Pole and Marie Periam, was matriculated at Oriel College, Oxford, March 24, 1609-10, a. 16; B.A. Nov. 3, 1612; student of the Inner Temple, 1616, as of Colyton, gentleman. (Foster's Alumni Oxonienses, vol. 3, p. 1176). He and his sister Elizabeth came to New England as early as 1637. He settled at Dorchester, but after a short stay there removed to Taunton. He returned to Dorchester as early as 1660, and died there Feb. 25, 1674-5, aged 81. A biographical noted of him, by William B. Trask, A.M., is printed in the Dorchester Antiquarian Society's History of Dorchester, pp. 487–9.—Editor.]

This William Poole is mentioned prominently in the early days of Taunton, 1939, as Capt. William Poole. He was deputy of Taunton to Plymouth in that and other years, and was also member of the Council of War. He moved to Dorchester in 1660, where his son Theophilus was born 27 May that year. He held the offices of clerk of the write and schoolmaster in Dorchester, where he died 24 Feb. 1674-5. On his tomb was engraved an epitaph of his own composition. Jane, his wife, survived him. From depositions in the Suffolk and Bristol County records, there seems to be a relationship with the Farwell family at Taunton, through it may be through William Poole rather than his wife. Jane, widow of William, died 9 Sept. 1690. Her will, dated 29 Aug. 1690, mentions son John and his wife, daughters Bethesda Filer (wife of John Filer) and Mary Henchman (wife of Daniel Henchman), a grandson, John Poole (who died before 1711), and his sister Jane (who married Timothy Lindall). The children of William and Jane Poole were: John, b. 1639, d. 1711; Nathaniel, living in 1654; Timothy, drowned at Taunton 1667; Mary, m. Daniel Henchman; Bethesda, m. 1686, John Filer; William, bapt. 1658, d. 21 April, 1687; Theophilus, b. 1660.

Smith Family

According to Samuel Hopkins Emery (1853), The relation of the two early settlers, Mr. Richard Smith and John Smith is not known. If John was the son of Richard, as is not improbable,* the following names copied from the Proprietors' Records, may be those of his children, otherwise his grand-children. "The names of the children of John Smith, Sen.: (1) Elizabeth, born Sept. 7, 1663. (2) Henry, born May 27, 1666. John Smith, Senior, mar. Jael Parker of Bridgewater, Nov. 15, 1672. (3) Deborah, born March 7, 1676. (4) Homer, born March 22, 1678. (5) John, born Dec. 6, 1680.

Richard Smith, Jr. came with his father, Richard Smith, Sr. [Is this correct??] in 1630, from Gloucestershire, England, to Boston where he married. The young man settled with his father at Taunton, Massachusetts, in 1641; he then purchased a large tract of land on Narragansett Bay and built a trading post at Wickford, Rhode Island. After having trouble with his neighbors in Rhode Island, young Smith removed to the colony of Southampton on Long Island where he again got into difficulty, finally moving to Setauket where he built a home and became a magistrate and public spirited citizen. His wealth permitted him to buy land freely and he soon had assembled a princely domain. He became one of the great men of Colonial Long Island. Smith was buried near his home at Nissequogue.

Street Family

Francis Street, from Bridgewater, Somersetshire, England, was one of the original purchasers of Taunton. His brother, Rev. Nicholas Street was baptized at Bridgewater, county Somerset, England in 1603. In 1621 at age 18 he matriculated at the University of Oxford, receiving his B.A. in 1624 at age 22. He arrived at Plymouth Colony circa 1637. His name was added to the list of freemen of Plymouth and in 1638 he was ordained Teacher of the Church in Taunton, by Rev. William Hooke. In 1639 an upland meadow was cleared for him in Taunton. In 1644 he became Minister of the Church in Taunton. He moved to New Haven Colony in 1659 and died at age 71 in New Haven. His daughter, Susannah Street, married George Macey, and was the mother of Elizabeth Macey Hodges, Rebecca Macey Williams Leonard, and Mary Macey Williams. Thus, the descendants of Rev. Street were prominent in the establishment and development of Taunton.

Elder John Strong

Elder John married second about 1635 in Dorchester, Suffolk, MA, Abigail Ford, whom he would have met during the 1630 crossing. In 1635 after having assisted in founding and developing the town of Dorchester, he moved to Hingham, Plymouth, where he received a land grant, Sept 18, 1635 for five acres of land on North Street. On March 9, 1636/37 he took the freeman's oath at Boston.

They then moved to Taunton, Bristol, MA in 1638, where he had a house on Dean Street, west of John Dean's house. On Dec. 4, 1638, he is found to have been an inhabitant and proprietor of Taunton. Elder John Strong, Walter and John Deane were admitted freemen of the Plymouth Colony, Dec 4, 1638. Elder John was the first constable in 1638 and 1639, a deputy to theGeneral court in Plymouth in 1641, 1643, and 1644, and a juror in 1645. In 1646, Elder John moved to Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut. He eventually settled in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he lived the remainder of his life.

Walker Family

James Walker and Sara Walker settled in Taunton with John Browne, their uncle and guardian. William in Eastham, and Richard joined his father in Lynn. James is first recorded as being in Taunton. 1643, being enrolled as able to bear arms, the list appearing: "Mr. John Browne, Mr. William Poole, John Browne, James Walker." James Walker, the Hingham immigrant. 1634, son of "Widow" Walker, the mother of all the Walker immigrants of this period, was a settler in Taunton, Massachusetts Bay Colony, before 1643. He was a member of the committee appointed to distribute the portion of the relief fund for those suffering from Indian warfare, and when the division was marked between Massachusetts Bay colony and Plymouth colony he was a deputy to the Plymouth court for sixteen years from 1654. He was a member and chairman of the town council of war, 1667, and again 1675 and 1678, and one of the council of war of Plymouth colony in 165861-71-81. He was assigned in the division of lands ninety-six acres. He had no military title, but was content to be a servant in both church and state. The children of James and Elizabeth (Phillips) Walker were: 1. James, 1645-46, married Bathsheba Brooks, died June 22, 1718. 2. Peter (q. v.). 3. Hester, 1650, married Joseph Woods, had four children, and died April 9, 1696. 4. Eleazer, 1662, never married, died December 15, 1724. 5. Deborah, married George Goodwin, died about May, 1726.

Wilbor Family

Immigrant Samuel Wilbore was admitted freeman of Boston in 1634. He bought largely in the town of Taunton, Mass., and removed thither with his family. While in Taunton, he, with others, embraced what was then called “the dangerous doctrines of Cotton and Wheelwright;” for which he was banished the province November, 1637. He, with seventeen others, fled to Providence; and, being advised by Roger Williams, they purchased of the Indians the Island of Aquidnic (now Rhode Island), to which place he removed his family early in 1638. These eighteen persons formed a colony by solemn compact, March 7, 1638. He did not remain long on the island; for a subsequent document refers to him as “Samuel Wildbore of Taunton.” He returned to Boston, probably, in 1645; that being the date of his wife Elizabeth’s admission into the church in Boston. He had a house in Boston, and also one in Taunton, in which he resided, probably, alternately in the warm and cold seasons; as in his will he refers to them as residences in which he “doth now inhabit.” He, with some associates, built and put in operation an iron-furnace in Taunton (now Raynham), the first that was built in New England. Its site is on the main road from Titicut to Taunton, and is still, or until recently was, improved according to its original purpose.

Shadrach Wilbor, son of Samuel Wildbore, settled in Taunton (afterwards Raynham), on lands received probably from his father. He was evidently a man of wealth and influence in his time. He held several important trusts, representing his town in the provincial government, and served as town clerk for thirty-five successive years. For lifting his voice, however, in opposition to the evils, as he deemed them, in the government of Sir Edmund Andros, he was apprehended and imprisoned in Boston, Aug. 30, 1687, but it is not probable that he long remained there. He married twice, first to Mary Deane, with whom he had ten children and subsequently to Hannah Bass, the widow of Stephen Paine. He died in 1696 or 1697.

Shadrach Wilbor, Jr., sixth child and third son of Shadrach, was born in Taunton (now Raynham), and was a farmer by occupation. It is not known whom he married. He had five sons, viz.: Shadrach, Meshach, Joseph, Jacob, and Abijah. The first two sons settled in Taunton, but it is not certain where the other three settled. Meshach Wilbor, Sr., second son of Shadrach, Jr., was born in Taunton (now Raynham), married Elizabeth.

Williams Family

Richard Williams of Taunton, MA, was baptized in the parish of St. Mary the Virgin in Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucester, England in 1607 and died in Taunton, Massachusetts August 1693. Married Frances Deighton, sometimes spelled "Dighton". Richard and Frances Williams' descendants are linked in marriage with many well-documented early American families such as those of Captain John Gallup, Governor Thomas Dudley, John Woodbridge VI, Pilgrim Thomas Rogers, Pilgrim John Howland, Pilgrim Samuel Fuller (the son of Pilgrim Edward Fuller), Reverend John Lothrop, and Governor William Leete.

Richard was a tanner by trade. He was a man of good abilities, was deputy to the General Court of Plymouth Colony from 1645 to 1665; selectman in 1666 and 1667. It is not know exactly when Richard Williams came to New England, nor upon which vessel. The biographer Charles Williams believes him to have come about 1636/7, rather than in 1633, as Pope suggests. He came with his wife, Frances and two children, probably her two eldest sisters and their spouses. Richard and Frances settled soon in Taunton. He was among the original purchasers of the Teticut Purchase, The North Purchase and the South Purchase, now comprising collectively the towns of Taunton, Raynham Berkeley, Norton, Mansfield, Easton and Dighton, the last so named for his wife Francis. He was one of the original shareholders in the Iron Works of Taunton and received income from this venture until 1691. In 1693, his son Thomas directed that these moneys go to his Mother, Francis, these sums continuing until 1700. He, himself, was a tanner, as his son Joseph succeeds to this business after his death about 1692/3. He was called by Emery, the "Father of Taunton." He was a member and deacon of the First Church. He died in the year 1693, aged eighty-seven years. The children born to Richard and his wife Frances (Dighton) were: John (died England), Elizabeth (died England), Samuel, Nathaniel, Joseph, Thomas, Elizabeth, Hannah, and Benjamin.

Richard and Frances' children married children of other early settlers, e.g., children of John Rogers and Anna Churchman of Duxbury, Thomas Gilbert and Joan Rossiter of Taunton, George Macey and Susanna Street of Taunton, and Thomas Bird Sr and Ann ? of Dorchester. Samuel married Mary (Jane) Gilbert. Samuel married as his second wife Hannah (Anna) Rogers, daughter of John Rogers (her third marriage) late in life. Nathaniel married Elizabeth Rogers, daughter of John Rogers, granddaughter of Pilgrim Thomas Rogers. Joseph married Elizabeth Watson. Elizabeth married John Bird of Dorchester. Thomas married Mary Macey. Hannah married John Parmenter of Boston. Benjamin married Rebecca Macey, Mary's sister. See the Richard Williams Family project for more details.

Richard Williams' 7th great granddaughter, Anne Williams Rubenstein Dick, is now 84 years old. She wrote: "When I was thirteen years old my mother and I took a greyhound bus from St. Louis to visit relatives in the East and my brother Arthur Williams in Boston. We stopped in Hartford to visit the Green or Greenes. I never did figure out how they were related to us. There were several old people living in the large old Green house. They showed me the family Bible that Richard Williams had brought from England. He was the first signature in it. I was impressed and remember this well 71 years later."

Tisdale Family

In the region of Yorkshire, England, along the River Tees, a family lived and thrived. They lived on the dale, or flat land, near the river. Therefore, they became known as the family from Teesdale; or the Tisdale family. John Tisdale was the son of Thomas and Ruth Tisdale. He was was born in 1614, named after his grandfather. He was baptized in Ripon, England, in the region of Yorkshire. In approximately 1634 John Tisdale came to Plymouth Plantation, reportedly bringing with him the Tisdale coat of arms (which has been passed down through the generations and is with a descendant in Canada) and a great table of carved English oak. This table is mentioned in the wills of later generations.

It was required, per the early laws of the colony, to get permission of the magistrates before any person was allowed to live alone or keep house or plant for himself. In 1636, in accordance with this law, "John Tisdale upon good report made of him and his good carryage is allowed to keep house and plant for himself provided he shall continue his carryage still." He was granted 10 acres at Green Harbour of the Old Massachusetts Bay Colony, had land at Hounds ditch, and at Namassakeeset in Duxbury.

Around the year 1640, John, a yeoman, or farmer, married Sarah Walker. Sarah, whose mother was widowed, was born in 1618 in Weymouth, England. She came from England on the ship "Elizabeth", either in 1633 as a servant of her uncle John Browne or in 1635 with her brother James, reports vary. In March 1642 John Tisdale took the Freeman Oath, and in September of that year, the General Court admitted him a "freeman", a position secured only by attachment to the church and by a very exemplary life. It gave him standing in the community and a place in the town meeting. Around that same time, their son, John, Jr. was born. The following year – in March 1643 he was admitted to the church. He also sold his land in Duxbury and moved his family to Taunton. He built his home on the east side of the Great River at Assonet, about three and one-half miles from Taunton Green, and bordering what is now Berkley. Above the site rose Mount Hope, the home of the Indian known as King Philip. The second son, James, was born in 1644. In June 1645 John was appointed Constable of Duxbury. Their third son Joshua was born in 1646.
In 1650 their first daughter Sarah was born and John was named a selectman in Taunton. Now that John was established in Taunton, he served as constable of that town in 1655. His and Sarah’s fifth child and fourth son, Joseph was born in 1656, followed in 1657 by Elizabeth, their sixth child and second daughter. In 1658 John was again elected Constable, and also selectman of Taunton, and his daughter Mary was born. The last child of John and Sarah, a daughter, Abigail, was born in 1659.

That was the year that John and 25 others organized "Yee Freeman’s Purchase" and bought, from the Indians, the settlement that was known as Freetown. The purchase price included coats, rugs, pots, kettles, shoes, hatchets and cloth. John had plot #23. There were problems with some of the Indians who lived in the area. In 1671 soldiers assembled at the Tisdale home to prepare for war against hostile Indians. This war would come to be known as King Philip’s war. John was once again voted as selectman in 1672 and in 1674 he was a representative of the General Court at Plymouth. He served his last year as selectman in 1675. In 1675 King Philip’s war came to Freetown. Either on June 27, 1675, as reported to the Plymouth Court by Shadrach Wilbore, or, or on April 4, 1675, as stated in a letter by John Freeman, an officer in the war. John Tisdale was killed by Indians. It was reported that three men were slain: John Tisdale, Sr., John Knowles and Samuel Atkins. John Tisdale’s house was burned as was the house of his brother-in-law James Walker. John’s gun was carried off by the Indians. The gun was retaken at Rehoboth on Aug 1 1675, where it was found with the body of an Indian who was slain there. The gun was later used as evidence in court. Sarah Walker Tisdale did not outlive her husband by much. She died on Dec 10 1676, in Taunton. John’s estate was settled on March 6 1677. That same day, three Indians: Timothy Jacked, Massamaquat and Pompachonshe were indicted for the murder of John and the other two men, on the evidence of having John’s gun. Charges against one were dropped for lack of evidence. The other two wre deemed probably guilty. All three were sold into slavery, and removed from the country. In June of that year John and Sarah’s youngest daughter, Abigail, only 14, was given into the guardianship of James Browne of Swansea. He was the son of her mother’s uncle, John Browne. In 1677 the Tisdale’s oldest son, John, committed suicide.

History and Geography

Taunton is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the seat of Bristol County and the hub of the Greater Taunton Area. The city is located 40 miles (64 km) south of Boston, 18 miles (29 km) east of Providence, 10 miles (16 km) north of Fall River and 25 miles (40 km) west of Plymouth. The City of Taunton is situated on the Taunton River which winds its way through the city on its way south to Mount Hope Bay, 10 miles (16 km) away. Taunton is considered to be a mill town, with several mills in the city as well as in nearby Fall River.

Founded in 1637 by members of the Plymouth Colony, Taunton is one of the oldest towns in the United States. The native Americans called the region Cohannet before the arrival of the Europeans. Taunton is also known as the Silver City, as it was an historic center of the silver industry beginning in the 19th century when companies such as Reed & Barton, F. B. Rogers, Poole Silver, and others produced fine-quality silver goods in the city.

Taunton once included many surrounding towns, including Norton, Easton, Mansfield, Dighton, Raynham, and Berkley. Possession of the latter is still noted by the naming of Taunton Hill in Assonet, which is now North Main Street, a street that heads into Berkley and Fall River.

Taunton was founded by settlers from England and officially incorporated as a town on September 3, 1639. Most of the town's settlers were originally from Taunton in Somerset, England, which led early settlers to name the settlement after that town. At the time of Taunton's incorporation, they explained their choice of name as being, in honour and love to our dear native country... and owning it a great mercy of God to bring us to this place, and settling of us, on lands of our own bought with our money in peace, in the midst of the heathen, for a possession for ourselves and for our posterity after us.[citation needed] Prior to 1640, the Taunton area was called Cohannet.

The British founders of Taunton took possession of the land from the native Wampanoag people. The Taunton area was the site of battles (on its soil or in the surrounding area) during various conflicts, including King Philip's War and the American Revolution. Taunton was re-incorporated as a city on May 11, 1864.

Landowners (46 Ancient Purchasers of Taunton)

  1. Henry Andrews
  2. John Briant
  3. Mr. John Browne
  4. Richard Burt
  5. Edward Case
  6. Thomas Cooke
  7. David Corwithy
  8. William Coy
  9. John Crossman
  10. John Deane
  11. Walter Deane
  12. Francis Doughtye
  13. John Drake
  14. William Dunn
  15. Thomas Farwell
  16. Mr. John Gilbert
  17. Thomas Gilbert
  18. John Gilbert
  19. John Gingell
  20. William Hailstone
  21. George Hall
  22. William Harvey
  23. Hezekiah Hoar
  24. Robert Hobell
  25. William Holloway
  26. John Kingsley
  27. John Luther
  28. George Macey
  29. William Parker
  30. John Parker
  31. Richard Paull
  32. William Phillips
  33. Mr. William Pole
  34. The Widdo Randall
  35. John Richmond
  36. Hugh Rossitor
  37. William Scadding
  38. Anthony Slocum
  39. Richard Smith
  40. John Smith
  41. Francis Street
  42. John Strong
  43. Henry Uxley
  44. Richard Williams
  45. Benjamin Wilson
  46. Joseph Wilson


  • Mary and John (1630): Highly probable that Hugh Rossiter, son of Edward Rossiter and his unnamed wife, age 15 was on the Mary and John. Also Joan Rossiter, who married Nicholas Hart, early of Taunton, later of Warwick, R.I.
  • Elizabeth (1634): James Walker, Sara Walker, John Browne.
  • Hopewell (1635) : It is believed that the following were Hopewell passengers -- John Gilbert, 54, of Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset, who settled at Dorchester, MA and later at Taunto, MA . Family members: wife, Winifred; sons Thomas, 23, John, 20, Giles, 8, and Joseph, 6; daughters Elizabeth and Mary Gilbert; step-daughter, Dorothy Combe, 15, and possibly another step-daughter, Joan Combe who married Thomas Gilbert in 1639. John Strong of Chard, Somerset and/or Chardstock, Devon, age 26, who settled at Hingham, MA. Family members: Margery Deane, wife; John Jr., 2, and an infant; also John’s sister, Eleanor, 22.
  • Speedwell (1637): A shipping list shows that Elizabeth Poole (William's sister) left Weymouth, Dorset on 22 April 1637 on the Speedwell traveling with two friends, fourteen servants, goods valued at 100 pounds and twenty tons of salt for fishing provision. Walter Deane and six servants sailed to New England on the same ship at the same time. Thomas Cooke, his wife, and three children sailed on the ship with Elizabeth Poole; others included John Reade, Richard Smith, and Henry Smith.
  • Prosperous (1637): Another ship, the Prosperous, left Dartmouth, Devonshire on 27 April 1637 carrying bullocks and heifers for various planters in New England, including passengers William and Elizabeth Poole. William Poole had probably preceded his sister across the Atlantic.

Notable Military or Civic Service

Company of Continentals, led by William Poole

  • William Poole
  • Nicholas Hart

In 1643, there were 54 men on the list of males between the ages of 16 and 60 years, able to bear arms (8 Ply. Col. Rec. p. 195.):

  • Abbott: Edward Abbott
  • Andrews: Henry Andrewes
  • Barratt: John Barratt
  • Bobbett: Edward Bobbett
  • Browne: John Browne, James Browne
  • Case: Edward Case
  • Cassell: Thom Cassell
  • Chichester: James Chichester.
  • Coggin: Thomas Coggin
  • Cooke: Thomas Cooke, Thom Cooke, Jr.
  • Deane: John Deane, Walter Deane
  • Evans: William Evans
  • Farewell: Thomas Farewell
  • Gallop: John Gallop
  • Gilbert: Thomas Gilbert, John Gilbert, Junr.
  • Gingell: John Gingell
  • Hailstone: William Hailstone
  • Hall: Georg Hall
  • Harvey: Thom Harvey
  • Hodges: William Hodges
  • Holway: William Hollway, Tymothy Hollway
  • Hore: Hezekiah Hore
  • Ilart: Nicholas IIart
  • Knapp: A i on Knapp,
  • Macey: George Macie
  • Maycumber: John Maycumber
  • Parker: William Parker, John Parker
  • Paule: Richard Paule
  • Perry: John Perry
  • Phillips: William Phillips
  • Pitts: Peter Pitts
  • Poole: Mr. William Poole
  • Powell: William Powell
  • Purchase: Oliver Purchase
  • Rew: Edward Rew
  • Saunders: Tobias Saunders
  • Seward: William Seward
  • Slocome: Anthony Slocome
  • Stacye: Richard Stacye
  • Strong: John Stronge
  • Street: Mr. Street
  • Thrasher: Christopher Thrasher
  • Wetherell: William Wetherell
  • Williams: Richard Williams
  • Wilson: Benjamin Wilson
  • Wyatt: James Wyatt


  1. 1639 Thomas Gilbert and Joan Rossiter (First marriage in Taunton)
  2. 1660 Samuel Williams
  3. 1663 John Dean
  4. 1669 Thomas Deane
  5. 1672 Elizabeth Macey
  6. 1675 James Leonard, Jr.
  7. 1678 Benjamin Leonard
  8. 1680 Benjamin Deane
  9. 1681 Nathaniel Hoare


  1. Wikipedia article on Taunton
  2. Wikipedia reference to Register of Historic Places listings in Taunton
  3. Founders of Taunton
  4. Taunton marriages
  5. early Plymouth colony marriages
  6. A genealogical memoir of the Leonard family: containing a full account of the first three generations of the family of James Leonard, who was an early settler of Taunton, Ms., with incidental notices of later descendants by William Reed Deane. Google Books.
  7. Passenger List of Certain or Highly Probable Passengers on Mary and John 1630
  8. An historical memoir of the colony of New Plymouth, Volume 2 , Francis Baylies. Hilliard, Gray, Little, and Wilkins, 1830. (Google eBook)
  9. The ministry of Taunton: with incidental notices of other professions, Volume 1, By Samuel Hopkins Emery. J. P. Jewett & co., 1853. Google eBook