bapt:04-07-1592 Westbury Leigh, ENG
marr:09-10-1615 Westbury Leigh, ENG
died:11-29-1669 Ipswich, MA
buried:Old North Graveyard, Ipswich, MA
born:         -1594 Westbury Leigh, ENG
marr:09-10-1615 Westbury Leigh, ENG
died:06-02-1676 Ipswich, MA
buried:Old North Graveyard, Ipswich, MA


JOHN COGGSWELL, son of EDWARD and ALICE COGGSWELL, of an ancient and honorable English lineage, was born about 1592, in Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England. He married ELIZABETH, daughter of Rev. WILLIAM and PHILLIS THOMPSON. Her father was vicar of the parish from 1603 to his death in 1623. They resided in Westbury until 1635.

At age 23, JOHN took over fathers' business and settled down in the old homestead. His parents died soon after his marriage, and he received his inheritance, "The Mylls called Ripond, situated within the Parish of Frome Selwood," together with the home place and certain personal property. Like his father, he was a manufacturer of woolen fabrics, largely broadcloths and kerseymeres. The superior quality of these manufacturers gave his "mylls" a favorable reputation, which appears to have been retained to the present day. There are factories occupying much the same locations and still owned by the Cogswells, which continue to put on the market woolen cloths that in Vienna and elsewhere have commanded the first premium in the world exhibitions of our times (1880s?).

JOHN COGGSWELL doubtless found, in London, a market for his manufactures. He may have had a commission house in that city which would account for his being called, as he sometimes has been, a London merchant.

About twenty years after their marriage, with a family of nine children about them, and having the accumulations of a prosperous business, JOHN and ELIZABETH decided to emigrate to America. The particular reasons which led them to leave England may have been much the same that influenced others in their times. It appears that early in 1635, Mr. Cogswell sold his "mylls" and other real estate, and soon after, with his wife, eight children, all of their personal effects, and a considerable sum of money, embarked at Bristol, England, May 23, 1635, for New England. They were detained many days after going aboard the Angel Gabriel for lack of wind. It was not until June 4, that they actually set sail from Bristol.

On the same day another ship, the James, set sail from Bristol, with Rev. Richard Mather on board. Both ships landed at Milford Haven, Pembroke Co., South Wales, England, and on June 22, they put to sea again and proceeded on their way, and many on board saw the English coast fade from view, never to be seen again. The vessels kept company for about two weeks, when they became separated, but arrived about the same time on the coast of New England. The James lay at anchor off the Isles of Shoals, and the Angel Gabriel off Pemaquid, ME., where the great storm of Aug. 15 of that year struck.

The James was torn from her anchors and forced to put to sea, but after two days of terrible battling with storm and wave, she reached Boston Harbor with "her sails torn and split in pieces, as if they had been rotten rags." The passengers of the James landed in Boston Aug. 17., having been twelve weeks and two days at sea.

The Angel Gabriel fared worse. "The storm was frightful at Pemaquid, the wind blowing from the northeast, the tide rising to a very unusual height, in some places more than twenty feet. The Angel Gabriel became a total wreck, passengers, cattle and goods were all cast upon the angry waves. Three or four passengers and one seaman perished, and there was loss of cattle and property. But the Cogswell family escaped with their lives.

JOHN COGGSWELL and his wife ELIZABETH settled at Ipswich. JOHN was the third settler in that part of Ipswich, now Essex., and received 300 acres of land in Chebacco Parish, to be known as Cogswell Grant. Under the date of 1635, there appears this entry:

"Granted to Mr. John Cogswell three hundred acres of land at the further Chebacco, Having the river on the southeast, the land of Will White on the northwest & a creek coming out of the river towards Will Whites farm on the northeast. Bounded also on the west with a creek and a little brook. Also there was granted to him a parcel of ground containing eight acres, upon part whereof the said John Cogswell hath built a house, it being the corner lot on Bridge Street and has goodman Bradstreet's' houselot on the southeast. There was also granted to him, six acres of land of the late Mr. John Spencers. Butting upon the river on the southeast having a lot of Edmund Gardners' on the northeast & a lot of Edmund Saywords on the southwest of which six acres of ground the said John Coggswell hath sold to John Perkins the younger, his heirs and assigns."

The fact that he was designated "Mr." at that date, and the considerable amount of land granted him indicate that he was a man of good social standing in society. Only about 30 of the 335 original settlers received this honor. Shortly after his arrival, Mar. 3, 1636, by an act of the Court, JOHN COGGSWELL was admitted freeman, to which privileges none were admitted prior to 1664, except for some respectable members of some Christian churches.

The records of about that date further show that Cornelius Waldo was JOHN COGGSWELL's farmer. He would later become JOHN COGGSWELL's son-in-law.

The COGGSWELLs were also involved in an attempt to prevent the execution of Goodwife Proctor in the Salem witch trials. According to Ipswich in The Massachusetts Bay Colony, 290-291, by Thomas Franklin Waters, The Ipswich Historical Society, 1905: "Five members of the Cogswell family were among the twenty prominent people who signed the petition drawn up by the Rev. John Wise on behalf of Goodwife Proctor, who stood accused of witchcraft. MARY WARREN alleged that she had been threatened and abused by Goodwife Proctor, and that she had seen apparitions of people who had long since been murdered by the wife of John Proctor. This evidence prevailed and the good woman was sentenced to death."

ELIZABETH survived her husband by a few years. She was a woman of sterling qualities and dearly loved by all who knew her. Side by side in the old Churchyard in Ipswich have slept for more than three hundred years, the mortal remains of this godly pair, whose childhood was passed near the banks of the river Avon; who leaving behind the tender associations of the Old World, came with their children to aid in rearing on these shores a pure Christian state. They did greater work than they knew, died in the faith of the Gospel, and while their graves are unmarked by monument of stone, their souls are safe in heaven, their memory blessed, and their names honored by a posterity in numbers second only to that of Abraham.


  born marr died
Unknown          -1616                                         
  husband Godfrey Armitage
08-    -1696     
John 07-25-1622        09-27-1653     
  husband Cornelius Waldo
  husband Thomas Clarke, Jr.
Edward          -1629         
01-    -1691     
  husband Nathaniel Masterson