John Smith b. 1598

John Smith 11th great grandfather on RootsMagic Tree

John Smith was born in England, around 1598. In England he married Alice her last name unknown. John was in Dorchester, Massachusetts by 1634 and by 1635 he was ordered to leave because ‘dyvers dangerous opinions’. At about the same time in Salem, Massachusetts Roger Williams had the same contrary views that didn’t align with the people in power. Roger had to return to England and maybe have a trial or meeting with superiors.

The story is Roger escaped in the night in a canoe and with 4 others they made their way to a spot, connected peacefully with the native people and founded Providence, Rhode Island. The seal of Providence shows this event. In 1636 John and the others had built their homes and begun organizing. John was a miller and given a land to build a mill. He operated the mill agreeing that every 2nd and 5th day of the week the mill was reserved to grind corn for the town. John was a town clerk in 1641 so his name is on deeds and wills and laws passed. He probably died in 1648 and his will (not yet found) leaves the mill to his son and widow. The town council OKed this as long as Alice and John Jr provided good service, as John Sr. had, they did.

The history of the state of Rhode Island and Providence volume 1 page 144

Seal of the city of Providence Rhode Island at Wikipedia 

Records of the Governor and company of the Massachusetts Bay Volume 1 page 159 John Smith banished 2 Sep 1635

James Waters b. 1568

James Waters 10th great grandfather on RootsMagic tree.

James was born in England around 1568, during the first Queen Elizabeth’s reign, his parents are unknown. He was an apprentice in the Ironmongers Company in 1592.  ‘Ironmonger’ was the word for a manufacturer of iron goods, today the word is still used in England for a hardware store worker or owner. Once James finished his ironmonger apprenticeship he married Phebe Manning.

An old illustration of the gate, c. 1650

James and Phebe were parents of at least 7 children. Those who didn’t survive to adulthood are buried in St Botolph without Aldgate Churchyard, in present day East End, London. James wrote his will in 1676 and requested that he be buried in the same cemetery “in or near the place where my children do lie buried”. The will divided his estate in to three parts, one for his wife, one for his son Richard, not the first born, but may be the only surviving son. The third part James divided between St Botolph church, the poor living in East Smithfield, and some friends: a cordwainer, a shoemaker, and a (black)smith.

James’s widow Phebe remarried and with her husband and son Richard sailed to America.


  • The gate around Aldgate was standing until the mid 1700s, history at Wikipedia. The illustration of the gate, c. 1650, Anonymous cartographer public domain,  University of Toronto Wenceslaus Hollar Digital Collection. Wikipedia
  • James’s will is in New England historical and genealogical register volume 51 page 406 at, a digital book.

William Lewis b. 1594

William Lewis 10th great grandfather on RootsMagic tree

William Lewis was born in Cardiff, Wales January of 1594. In 1620 he married Felix Collins also of Wales. On June 22, 1632 William, Felix and their young son William Jr. sailed from London to New England, arriving in Boston on September 16, 1632.

Lewis, Wm and family

Page 101, Planters of the Commonwealth by Banks, an Ancestry . com source

John Winthrop of New England kept a journal in 1630s and 40s, one thing he recorded was ships arriving and leaving. “He brought one hundred and twenty three passengers whereof fifty children, all in health, they had been twelve weeks aboard and eight weeks from Land’s end.”

Winthrop the Lyon

Volume 1 page 92 The Winthrop journals at HathiTrust

The Winthrop Journals are at HathiTrust  more info on John Winthrop at Wikipedia 

William settled first in Cambridge and was a freeman on Nov 6, 1632. He moved to Hartford then Farmington, Connecticut where he was a selectmen, constable and deputy. As a selectmen William would have helped put his new town together, selectmen explained at Wikipedia  “In most New England towns, the adult voting population gathered annually in a town meeting to act as the local legislature, approving budgets and laws. Day-to-day operations were originally left to individual oversight, but when towns became too large for individuals to handle such work loads, they would elect an executive board of, literally, select(ed) men to run things for them.”

William wrote and signed a will August 30, 1683, his estate was settled December 18 1683, his son William was executor. “I William Lewis, being stricken in years, do think it meet to set in order the Estate which God hath graciously given me.” Volume 1 page 331 A digest of the early Connecticut probate records at HathiTrust.

William Lewis 1594 – 1683
William Lewis 1620 – 1690
Mary Lewis  1645 – 1690
Hannah Judd  1681 – 1747
Hannah Smith  1711 – 1785
Prudence Risley  1735 – 1816
Joseph Gaines  1756 – 1841
Obed Gaines  1793 – 1877
William Newcomb Gaines  1825 – 1907
Mary Ella Gaines  1855 – 1917
William E Miller  1879 – 1949
Faber W Miller  1905 – 1957

Thomas Bliss b. 1588

Thomas Bliss b. 1588, 10th great grandfather on RootsMagic Tree

Thomas Bliss came to America with other Bliss family members and is frequently mixed up with other Thomas Blisses, probably relatives. One sure thing is this Thomas Bliss’s will names Nicholas Ide, Thomas’s son-in-law, husband of Martha Bliss. A will provides great proof when children or married daughters are mentioned. Thomas also names his (best) oxen: Spark and Swad, Quick and Benbo; and cows: Traveler and Damson.

This Thomas Bliss arrived in America around 1640. In 1642 May 18, he is in the list of Freeman of Massachusetts Bay Colony. 1644 June 31 his name is in a list of land lots, No. 29. In 1644 July 3 Thomas signed the Rehoboth, now Seekonk, Compact. Similar to other colony or plantation Compacts of the time male residents made a pact to live in and protect the community to the best of their ability, etc. Thomas married Dorothy, probably in England, they had 9 children. Thomas was a farmer, blacksmith and surveyor.

Thomas’s will. Volume 8 page 85 Society of Mayflower Descendents (Mass.). The Mayflower Descendant. Boston: 1899-1940 at HathiTrust

Freeman. No pages image 15 Andrews, H. Franklin. List of Freemen, Massachusetts Bay Colony From 1630 to 1691,  Exira, Iowa: Exira Print. Co, 1906 at

Land lots page 27, Rehoboth compact page 28. Bliss, Leonard. The History of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, Boston: Otis, Broaders, & Co, 1836 at HathiTrust

Thomas Bliss 1588-1647
Martha Bliss 1622-1676
Martha Ide 1654-1700
Timothy Walker 1687-1745
Eunice Walker 1728 – 1772
Cynthia Hill 1763 – 1830
Dexter Angell 1794 – 1854
Delia Viola Angell 1839 – 1916
Matilda Flood 1858 – 1940
Philippa Flood Mockford 1891 – 1979
Elizabeth Speedy 1917 – 2005 m. Stanley Roose 1915 – 2004

Michael Metcalfe b. 1587

Michael Metcalfe 10th great grandfather on RootsMagic tree.

Michael Metcalfe was b.1587 into a long line of Metcalfs. He lived in Tatterford and Norwich, England, was a weaver and married Sarah Ellwyn. Michael was a Puritan in England which led to trouble in the 1630s when he felt persecuted by Archbishop Laud and Bishop Wren. Both bishops were eventually charged with various crimes and locked in the Tower of London. Wren was let go and Laud was executed.

Michael wrote a letter, “I was persecuted in the land of my fathers’ sepulchres for not bowing at the name of Jesus and observing the ceremonies inforced upon me at the instance of Bishop Wren of Norwich, and his Chancellor Dr. Corbet, whose violent measures troubled me in the Bishop’s court, and returned me into the High Commissioner’s Court. Suffering many times for the cause of religion, I was forced for the sake of the liberty of my conscience to flee from my wife and children to go into New England; taking ship for the voyage at London, 17th Sept., 1636, and being by tempests tossed up and down the seas till the Christmas following; and then veering about to Plymouth in Old England. Leaving the ship I went down to Yarmouth, in Co. Norfolk, whence I finally shipped myself and family to come to New England; sailed April 15, 1637, and arrived three days before Midsummer with my wife, nine children, and a servant, Thomas Comberbach, aged 16.”

In April 1637 the Metcalf family got ready to sail to America: The examinacion of Michill Metcalfe of Norwich, Dornix weauer, aged 45 yeares and Sarrah his wife, aged 39 yeares, with 8 Children, Michill: Thomas: Marey: Sarrah: Elizabeth: Martha: Joane: and Rebeca: and his Saruant Thomas Comberbach, aged 16 yeares, are desirous to passe to boston in New England to inhabit. 

The family with Michael, Sarah, 9 kids and a servant landed in Boston on or about June 24, 1637. The Metcalfs settled in Dedham, Connecticut. Michael was a townsmen, a selectman and on the committee to create the meeting house. His will left various possessions and money amounts to his 2nd wife Mary, children and grandchildren with one grandchild getting the ‘Largest gray Horsmann’s coate’ and son John getting all the books.

Michael Metcalfe (1587 – 1664)
Jane Metcalfe (1632 – 1701)
Samuel Walker (1655 – 1712)
Timothy Walker (1687 – 1745)
Eunice Walker (1728 – 1772)
Cynthia Hill (1763 – 1830)
Dexter Angell (1794 – 1854)
Delia Viola Angell (1839 – 1916)
Matilda Flood (1858 – 1940)
Philippa Flood Mockford (1891 – 1979)
Elizabeth Speedy (1917 – 2005) m. Stanley Roose (1915 – 2004)


  • Excerpts from a letter written in Plymouth England January 13, 1636 the New England Historical and Genealogical Register NEHGR Volume 6 page 171 at
  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register NEHGR Volume 14 page 325 at

Francis Sprague b. 1590

Francis Sprague 10th great grandfather on RootsMagic tree

Francis, along with daughters Anna (most likely a daughter, could have been a wife) and Mercy sailed on the Anne in 1623 from England to the Plymouth Colony. It was a summer voyage lasting about 3 months.

Wikipedia article, Passengers of the ships Anne and Little James 1623 has more detail. “From these statements … the reason so many of the first arrivals disappeared from Plymouth … many of the emigrants on the Anne and Little James would eventually be sent back to England as unfit for the task of living and working in a harsh colonial environment.” William Bradford’s history tells of his dismay at some of the passengers sent. “And some were so bad, as they were faine to be at charge to send them home again next year.”

Francis Sprague got to stay. He was a freeman, an innkeeper licensed to sell liquor and he owned land.


Snapshot from Memorial of the Sprague family by Soule, Richard page 30 at HathiTrust