The Wainwright Family of Essex County Massachusetts

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The Row, Jeggles, Dickisson, Low, Harris, Norwood, Graham, Robinson and Andrews Families

Last Updated 17 January, 2008


n 1820 George Wainwright married Mary Rowe  of East Gloucester and settled there. Many New Englanders with the Rowe surname today can claim a single immigrant ancestor, John Row, who came to Gloucester Massachusetts sometime after 1642. His family, originating in Tavistock, Devon England, had a long, noble and well-documented history dating back to Sir Everhard de Rowe, a thirteenth century contemporary of Richard the Lionhearted. John may have lived briefly in Dedham Massachusetts and, after that in Salem Massachusetts. Upon arriving in Gloucester, John took possession of several acres of land in the Farms section of East Gloucester, near what is today known as Good Harbor Beach.

John was not very happy with his situation in this desolate area and said so publicly. In April 1656, he was charged with profanity and presented to the Essex Quarterly Court for punishment:

"John Row of Gloster being presented for saying if his wife weere of his mind he would sett his house on fire & Run away by ye light and ye divill shoud take ye farms & Speaking ye same a second time added that he would live noe longer among such a company of hell hounds : The prssnmt was acknowledged in a writing presented to this Court. Sentence of Court is that he shall pay a fine of 20s Alsoe to make a Confession at ye next towne meeting at Gloster of ye words spoken by him, wch if he refuse shall appeare at ye next Court in Salem & pay 2s 6d fees of Court."

In 1640, John married Bridget Jeggles of Salem.  The Jeggles were an early family of Salem shipwrights about whom little is known.  The original settler, William Jeggles, died in 1659. By Bridget, John Row had two sons: John and Hugh. Each son had a large family and became prominent in town. Elder John resided at his farm until his death in 1661. His wife afterward married William Collman of Gloucester, and died in 1680.

John Row's first son, John, was born in about 1640.  Being the eldest, he inherited most of the families' lands and estate, and lived at the Farms until his death in 1700. In 1663, John Jr. married Mary Dickisson, daughter of John and Mary Dickisson of Salisbury Massachusetts.  They had nine children before Mary died in 1684, seven of whom lived to maturity.   John married, second, Sarah Reddington who died in 1700.  By her he had four additional children, only one of whom lived to maturity.

The fourth son of John Jr. and Mary was Stephen, born in 1675. He married Martha Low daughter of John Low and Sarah Thorndick of Ipswich and granddaughter of Thomas Low, one of the first settlers of that town.  The couple had ten children before Martha died in 1718.  In 1721 Stephen married Elizabeth Corney and had an additional four children before he died in 1731. Elizabeth was nearly one hundred years old when she died in 1785.

John Row, second surviving son of Stephen and Martha, was a Lieutenant in the expedition against the French at Crown Point in 1755.  His son, John, was a sergeant under his command. and later commanded one of the Gloucester Companies that fought at Bunker Hill.  Home on furlough in 1776, he took part in an attack on a British vessel off Cape Ann and was taken as a prisoner of war to New York.  He later became a Major of the Militia and died at Ballston Spa, New York in 1801.  His body was returned to the family estate in Rockport where he was buried.

Thomas Row, youngest son of Stephen and Martha, remained at The Farms through his life.  With his first wife, Rebecca Tarr, he had four children.  Rebecca died around 1750, and he next married Sarah Harris, daughter of Thomas Harris and Sarah Norwood of Ipswich.  The Harris family was an early one in Ipswich and Rowley Massachusetts. .The immigrant ancestor, Thomas Harris, established the first ferry service between Winisimet (Chelsea) and Boston in 1631.  Thomas and Sarah had eight more children. Thomas died in 1790, leaving the family estate to his son William who died in 1856.

In 1772 Daniel Row, second son of Thomas and Sarah, married Mary Elwell, recent widow of James Brown and  had five children.  Mary was the daughter of David Elwell and Mary Graham of Gloucester, and the great-great-granddaughter of Robert Elwell, one of the original settlers of Gloucester.  Robert was known to have been a resident of Dorchester Massachusetts in 1634, and came to Gloucester shortly afterwards.  He was granted land around what is now Stage Point, as well as on Eastern Point where he lived.  He was Selectman from 1649-1675, and a Commissioner of Small Causes in 1651.  He died in 1683.  Mary Graham was the daughter of Andrew Grimes and Mary Davis.  Andrew came to Gloucester around 1730.

Daniel Rowe, son of Daniel and Mary,  was born about 1781, though no record of his birth exists in the Gloucester Vital Records.. He served as a Private in Capt. David Elwell's Company during the War of 1812, and was present during the engagement with the British at Bearskin Neck.  In 1797, Daniel married Polly Knutsford, daughter of Stephen Knutsfordand Mary Andrews. The Andrews were an ancient Cape Ann family that owned a large tract of land in Rockport around what is now called Andrews Point. Daniel and Polly died within hours of one another on 13 November 1842 and are buried together at the old parish burial ground in Rockport.

Daniel Rowe and Polly Knutsford had six children. Their second, Mary Rowe, married George Wainwrightin 1820.

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