Lucius B. (Lucius Bolles) Marsh.

Bronsdon and Box families. Part I. Robert Bronsdon, merchant, and his descendants. Part II. John Box, ropemaker, and his descendants online

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Online LibraryLucius B. (Lucius Bolles) MarshBronsdon and Box families. Part I. Robert Bronsdon, merchant, and his descendants. Part II. John Box, ropemaker, and his descendants → online text (page 1 of 32)
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cM-il^^lLft^W^ ilOCl'







Part I.

And His Descendants.

art 11.

And His Descendants.

Compiled by




{Published by Mrs. Parker.)


19 2.




Copyright, 1902, by

Lynn, Mass.





^ijun^tiiiii anil Driitrutimi.

h. in England, 163S-9. A ''Merchant of Boston;'' d. 1701.

(ill|iliirrn :
i. ELIZABETH, m. Mr. Samuel Greenwood. Hi. SARAH, m. Hon. William Clark,
a .\r.ii:Y,m. Capt. .Jonathan Evans. iv. BENJAMIN, m. Mary , dan Capt Gilbert Bant.


b. in England, 1697 ; m. Lydia Story. He was a '' Alerchant-ropemaker" of Boston,
d. 1774, and for many years Warden of King's Chapel, Boston.

(Cliillirrn :
ELIZABETH, m. Capt. Bant Bronsdon^-, (Benj:-, liobt.^J
LYDIA, m. William Iloskins, Esq.

( The History of the descendants of Lydia (Mrs. Hoskins) is contributed by Mrs. Eleanor (HoskinS) Waitt. i

is Affectionately and Bespectfully

to All the Descendants of the above Families
by the Compilers.

3ln iHrmiiriam,


" Merchant of Boston," County of Suffolk,
Province of Massachusetts Bay.

"QJljg blool). my frtrnft, anb partlji miitr."

— Tennyson.


•' They who on glorious ancestry enlarge

But prove their debt instead of their discharge."

THE labor of research and compilation connected with this book was
accomplished in three years. Similar undertakings frequently consume
ten or twenty years, or longer ; but, whatever the time allowed, it is a fact
that to the genealogist, ever aware of deficiencies in the records, the work
never seems finished. At the commencement some material, already gath-
ered, awaited but the opportunity of one who possessed considerable infor-
mation of family matters, together with practical experience in genealogical
methods. We refer to Colonel Lucius Bolles Marsh, late of Boston (see p.
124). Colonel Marsh passed on to a higher life, Aug. 14, 1901, while at his
summer home at North Scituate. A long and painful illness culminated
three days before his death in paralysis. He was mourned by all who had
the happiness to call him friend. In the beginning of this Genealogy he
applied himself with enthusiasm to correspondence with kindred and prepa-
ration of manuscript, but his strength proved unequal to such a task, and
by the advice of his physician, he desisted from writing, but continued to
impart instruction to his co-worker, Mrs. Parker ; her manuscript, when
ready for publication, was submitted to him for verification and approval.
Soon afterward his illness increased, and he thought better to relinquish the
undertaking wholly to Mrs. Parker, who, without delay, made arrangements
to publish the book, anxiously hoping the while that the Colonel might live
to see it finished ; for Colonel Marsh, above all other descendants of Robert
Bronsdon, would have rejoiced could he have held this volume in his hand
and turned its pages. It meant much to him, for he undertook the work
from the most unselfish motives. He believed that what we call " family
pride " often proves a real moral restraint, and that the man who is assured
of six or eight generations of respectable ancestors is better able to realize
the kinship of the race, and consequently becomes less narrow and selfish,
more scrupulous in the performance of his parental duties, and a better
member of society at large. Few families possess even one ancient relic
which might serve as a reminder of their forefathers. Heirlooms and relics
have their mission, inasmuch as they evoke inquiry on the part of our young
people and keep alive traditions of the past.



A noted college professor has said that there is one thing within our
grasp, and that is the " spiritual possession of the family kinship." Just a
mere name and a few dates stand for the lifetime of one who has, like our-
selves, lived and loved, joj^ed and suffered, gloried in achievement or bowed
in disappointment. Who does not sometimes ponder the hidden springs of
his own being ?

" Those days are vanished, tone and tint,
And yet perhaps the hoarding sense
Gives out at times, we know not whence,
A little flash, a mystic hint."

Some delay has resulted from the difficulty of providing for the expenses
of publication. These were underestimated at the start, consequently the
customary fate of genealogists is ours. No person who embarks in an enter-
prise of this sort need expect to make receipts and expenses balance. Lack
of funds obliged us to omit some interesting pictures which it was originally
intended to insert in the book. It was expected that three hundred pages,
including the Index, would be the maximum number, but this limit is
exceeded. For these reasons we are obliged to advance the price of this
book, which in future will be somewhat above the original sum paid by

Our work has been performed in a conscientious spirit, but errors will
doubtless have crept in, although we hope they are few, and we bespeak
your leniency for all such. We have for the most part refrained from com-
ment and allowed facts to speak for themselves. When doubt exists on any
point we have so stated, leaving the matter open for future information or
correction, which we will gladly receive ; also we desire to perfect all incom-
plete records.

We might entertain our readers with an account of the weeks and
months spent in poring over old books and papers in dusty, dimly-lighted
libraries, or in public buildings where knowledge was oftentimes to be gained
only from weighty volumes of bound docviments to which we scaled our way
by ladders ; of interviews with public and private officials, obliging or other-
wise ; of journeying to interview ''oldest inhabitants;" of searches in old
graveyards, or underground tombs, or wherever "original records" were
thought to lurk ; also of the almost interminable task of compilation when
names, dates, places and events were studied and assigned to their appro-
priate niches, and manuscripts copied and re-copied during the "wee sma'
hours ayant the twal." Hundreds of letters have been written and almost
as many received. In the wide acquaintance thvis gained, nothing has
impressed us more than the changed conditions of succeeding generations
and the differing fortunes of the posterity of those who were formerly on an
even plane of worldly prosperity.


However, all that has been wearisome or uncongenial in our task will
fade into the background of Memory if ours be the happiness of knowing
that we have presented you with an acceptable volume. We gratefully
appreciate the services of those who have facilitated the accomplishment of
our purpose. It is not possible, within the limits of this preface, to name
all, but aside from the descendants of liobert Bronsdon, we are indebted for
assiiStance to Miss Harriet Laughton Matthews of the Lynn, Mass., Public
Library- ; Mr. John L. Hassam of Boston, an authority on Colonial history ;
Mr. G. T. Ridlon of Maine, author of " Saco Valley Settlers ; " Mr. Sereno
D. Nickerson, Recording Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Mass., F. and
A. M. ; the late and the present Recorders of the city of Boston, viz., Mr.
Whitmore and Mr. McGlenen ; Mrs. Alice (Fairfield) Moody of Portland,
Me. ; nor must we forget to acknowledge the courtesy of the Boston
Evening Transcript in allowing us the use of their genealogical column.
In the preparation of Box-Story records, we have been helped by the
courtesy of the late Judge Isaac Story of Somerville, Mr. Robert Marion
Pratt of Boston, and Mrs. Eleanor (Hoskins) Waitt of Dorchester. Mr. I. J.
Greenwood of New York, author of much valuable genealogical literature,
kindly verified the Greenwood sketch. Mrs. Sarah (Vallette) Day of New
York contributed the sum necessary to the production of the Vallette
Appendix, and Mr. Milton H. Bronsdon of Providence, R. I., assumed the
greater part of the expense of the English researches, for which we engaged
Mr. Lothrop Withington, the celebrated genealogist of London, England.
These researches were not completed, but may be resumed at some future
time. Many who sent family records, etc., did not subscribe, doubtless for
sufficient reasons. Our book has not been electrotyped and the present
edition is small ; when it is exhausted, no more copies will be obtainable.

We wish our subscribers to receive renewed assurance of our gratitude
for their loyal and cordial support, which has kept us from relinquishing
the enterprise when sometimes it has seemed impossible to carry it through
to a su.ccessful termination.

" Vento favente navis in portum venit.''''


Address :

Mrs. Creighton W. Parker,

28 Lowell Street, Lynn, Mass.



Early Origin of the Name.

Bronsdon is derived from the old Saxon, Bronteston. We quote from
that quaint old English book, " Shaw's Staffordshire," Vol. I, page 22 :

" Bronteston is a small place in Staffordshire, a hamlet belonging to
Burton. (Brantestun, Braunteston, Brantiston, Branston, Bronston). It is
situated two miles south of Burton and near the River Trent and upon the
old Roman road Ryknield-Street, now the Turnpike to Litchtield.

" The first mention of this small place is before the Conquest, much
earlier than I believe I shall find any other original document or grant else-
where in the whole county, viz., 956, when King Edwy, by his charter bear-
ing that date and signed by himself, his son and Odo the Archbishop, other
Bishops and Saxon Dvikes, &c., grants to his faithful servant, or Thane,
Eadwig, eight farms of land in Brantestun for his life, with permission after
his death to leave them to whom he pleased, to be inherited forever.

" The estate was afterward the property of Godeva, the wife of Leofric,
Earl of Mercia, who died possessed of it, leaving it, with other estates, to
her son Algar, whose heir, Edwyne, having forfeited it by his opposition to
the Conqueror, we find it was held of him in the 20th year of his reign by
the Abbey of Burton.

" For, in Domesday Book, it is thus recorded.

" This Abbey held Brantestone, which the Lady Godeva before held.

" It then consisted of one hide and a half.* The arable lands of Braun-
teston were o caracates, &c., 24 acres of meadow, a wood, a lialf a mile in
length, and the same in breadth. It had been worth 60 shillings, but then
only 40 shillings. In the time of Henry I, the wood was held by Robert
de Ferrars.

" It was granted for services to the church by the Abbots of Burton to
various persons, until, in the time of King John (1199 to 1216) a family
became settled there who took their surname from the place and divers of
the lands there, as follows,

" About the year 1250 A-vice the widow of Robert, son of Ailwyn de
Brontiston, grants and confirms to God and the church of Burton a tene-
ment and one bovat of land in Brantestun, in the wood at Littlehay, with
appurtenances, &c.

" Next, Richard, the son of Robert de Brontiston, and Margaret, his
wife, quitclaim, &c. to the said Abbey the above volantum in Littlehay
wood for which they paid them, in their greate necessity, half a mark of

" About the year 1320 William, son of Richard de Brontiston, for the
sake of charity and his own soule and those of his ancestors and successors,
grants to Robert, Abbot of Burton, and monks there, two bovats of land in

* A "hide" was 120 acres. In 960 land sold at one shilling an acre, and thus we
learn how dear was money and how cheap was land. In 1066 the ancient families were
reduced to poverty by seizure of their lands by William the Conqueror. This is known
as the Dissolution.


"A-vice, daughter of Koger de Brantiston, for the health of her soul
and those of her ancestors and successors, grants to God, and the said
cliurcli, two bovats of land in Brantiston which Humphrey, the son of Edwy,
held, an Xll acres of meadow for 111 shil. YI pence yearly."

There was also a William Bronston, Abbot of Burton, who died in 1472,
after occupying the ofRce of Abbot for eighteen years. He died March 7,
1472, and was sumptuously buried in St. Mary's Chapel, under a marble
tomb on which is inscribed a Latin epitaph beginning,

''^Abbates gessit, qui hie requiescit, Wilhelmus nomine Branston cui det Deus.

He was a great benefactor to the Abbey. The Abbot William Bronston
gave six pieces of cloth of silver and gold to the Abbey, and also added
greatly to its revenues. He also procured an exemption from serving the
office of Sheriff of Staffordshire.

In the 24th year of the reign of Edward III, Joan, wife of Richard de
Calangewood, and Henry, their son and heir, held lands in " Brondeston."
This manor passed, with the rest of the Abbey lands, to Sir William Paget
after the Dissolution, and from him to the Earl of Uxbridge.


i. Alivines de Brontlston} before 1216.

ii. Robert de Brantiston^ and Avice his wife, 1250.*
ill. Richard de Brantiston^ and Margaret his wife,
iv. William de Brantiston^, Abbot of Burtou, 1330.

v. Roger de Brantiston^ (of Loudon ?).
vi. A-vice de Brantiston^.
vii. William Bronston', Abbot of Burton, 1454 to 1472.

Description of Burton, by Shaw.

Burton consists of one principal street, running north and south, paral-
lel with the River Trent, called High-street, and, at right angles, another
spacious street called Horninglow-street. In the parish are 6 hamlets,
Burton extra, Bronston, Horninglow, Stretton, Winshill and Staplehill.

William Bramston was Sheriff in London, 1395, and was the ancestor
of the Bramston family of Boreham, near Chelmsford, County Essex, Eng-
land. The same variations of spelling are noticeable in the name of this
family as in the early Bronsdon generations, and there is little or no doubt
that it is a branch of the ancient Brontestons. A record preserved in the
Greenwood family was written over a century ago. It is as follows :

* Robert and Avis remained as ancestral names in the family for centuries. Robert
Bronsdon of Boston left legacies to cousins Robert and Avis Bronsdon in England. See
Will of Robert Bronsdon in 1701.


" Samnel Greenwood married a Brinsdall descended from the Knights
of Moulsham (near Chelmsford), Co. Essex. William Knight (see Chelms-
ford Parish Register) had two sons and a daughter living temp. Charles I.
One son was in the Army and the second, to whom the estate descended,
died without issue, after which the property was managed by Pitz Walter
and D. Fitz Gerald. The daughter married Brinsdell and had twin daugh-
ters, of whom the eldest married S. Greenwood."

The foregoing was furnished by Mr. I. J. Greenwood of New York City,
who says further : " The name Fitz Walter comes in here, as the Manor of
Moulsham belonged to the Mildmay family since 1542, and in 1669 Henry
Mildmay was allowed the Barony of Fitz Walter which his ancestors had
claimed. Both his sons Charles and Benjamin were Lords Fitz Walter, the
latter dying in 1758, s. p."

This may mean either that the mother of Bathsheba Eichards was
named Knight and that the writer confused the identity of mother and
daughter, or that Robert Bronsdon was previously married according to the
above record, and that Elizabeth was the daughter of that marriage, and
therefore a step-daughter to Bathsheba. The Knight family was closely
associated with Robert Bronsdon in America, as a study of documents
relating to him will reveal. He purchased a Knight estate in Salem.
Hoping to obtain a record of this marriage, we addressed the Deputy Parish
Clerk of Chelmsford, who made researches in the old registers of marriages,
baptisms and burials, and, as the spelling of the name varies so much, he
concluded that Robert Bronsdon or Brimsdon sprang from the old family of
Bramsdon or Bramston.

The crest of the Bramstons of England is a " Lion sejant, or gorged
with a collar, sable, charged with three plates."* This crest is taken from
the tomb of Sir John Bramston of Roxwell, near Chelmsford, Co. Essex.
He was son of Roger Bramston (a descendant o^ William, the Sheriff of
London). He married Priscilla Cloville, and, in consequence of this alliance,
removed to Boreham. While Roger Bramston and his wife were visiting
relatives at Maldon, near Chelmsford, John was born May 18, 1577, as
recorded in the Parish Church there. One of his godfathers was Henry
Mildmay, Esq. In course of time he attended the University at Cambridge,
and went from thence to the Middle Temple, and in due season was called
to the Bar. He was appointed Counsel to the University at Cambridge and

* Note. The Lion gorged with a collar, charged witli three plates, is the crest in
the " Coat of Arms " which John Box Bronsdon caused to be adorned with the symbols
of American Independence as a memorial of his English origin and the part he took in
the War of the Revolution. See illustration wherein it is reproduced from the original
picture, now over 120 years old, and which is faded and crumbling. It belongs to the
heirs of the late Hannah (Bronsdon) Allen. The English Coat of Arms was etched on
a silver plate which disappeared about 35 years ago. It had descended to Phinehas
Bronsdon's heirs from earlier generations.



to numerous otlier positions of honor, until, in 1630, he became Chief Justice
of Ely, and in 1(532 Queen's Sergeant, and was knighted that year. In 1635
he was constituted Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench.

In 160G he married Bridget, a daughter of Thomas Moundefort, or
Mountfort, Doctor of Physic, and Mary, daughter of Richard Hill of London
by Elizabeth, 20th child of Sir AVilliam Lock, Alderman of London. Sir
John Bramston by his first wife had twelve children, of whom three sons
and three daughters survived. The first Lady Bramston died in the 36th
year of her age, and Sir John married, second, Elizabeth, widow of Sir John
Brereton and daughter of Lord Brabazon. In the year 1635 he purchased
the estate of the son of the Earl of Portland at Skreens, Eoxwell, near
Chelmsford, Co. Essex, where he died Sept. 22, 1564. A monument to his
son. Sir John Bramston, states that he was made a Knight of the Bath on
April 23, 1661, at the coronation of King Charles II. He resided in London
at his town house in the Charterhouse Yard, and also on his ancestral estates
near Chelmsford. He had a quarrel with his political enemy, Sir Henry
Mildmay, about the repairs to a bridge. The Mildmays were successors of
the Bishop of London, who originally built the bridge. Lord Fitzwalter,
the then owner of the Mildmay estates, retained all the solicitors of the
county and obtained a verdict in his own favor. Sir John Bramston, being
very bitter over the result, carried his grievance before the King in Council
in 1672, and His Majesty was pleased to declare his very good opinion of
Sir John and his two brothers, and that he regarded Mr. Mildmay's pro-
ceedings as "a malicious contrivance against them who appeared to him
altogether innocent of the charge." The second Sir John Bramston died
Feb. 4, 1699, in the 89th year of his age.

The above is condensed from Chancellors " Monuments of Essex," from
a copy in full sent to the compilers of the Bronsdon history by the Parish
Clerk of Chelmsford, England. The reader will observe the association of
the Mildmay and Bramston names. A large and very quaint old book that
belonged to Robert Bronsdon is carefully preserved ; this book is dedicated
to Sir William Brereton, and probably that was the reason for its possession
by Robert Bronsdon.

We have the names of a brother and sister of Robert ; Benjamin Brons-
don, whose Will is briefly summed up as follows :

20 June 1681. Benjamin Brunsden Devizes, Wilts, glazier. To sone
£10 & buffe breeclies, to daughter £10, Rest to wife Avis executrix. Wit-
nessed by William Whittier for Xicholys Biddell, Walter Hulthorp.

Inventory 24 August 1681 . . . coffee powder, coffee pott, etc.
Total £112 : 15 : 6. Debts £15 : : 6.

Signed Rich. Jeffries, Nicholas Biddell.
(Consistory of Sarum, file for 1681.)


His daughter, Avis Brunsden, married John Gale of Broomham, Wilts.
Her son, Benjamin Gale, was in Boston fifty years later, when he signed
deeds of real estate. Robert Bronsdon's sister Mary married into the
Bosson family, probably of Roxbury, Mass. There was a Robert Bronsdon
of London, called " cousin " by Robert of Boston. He died without children.

We have abstracts of a number of old Bronsdon Wills, not any of which
can be connected with absolute certainty with our ancestor, Robert, until
further information is obtained. A few are here given, to indicate that the
Bronsdon family of the time of Robert was prosperous and possessed of
culture. There have been several of the name at the University at Oxford
from early times.


18 June 1615 Jone Brunsden, East Grafton parish of Greate Bedwin,
CO Wilts. To be buried in greate Bedwin church. To church of Greate
Bedwin 6 s. 8 d. To poor of ditto 10 s. To Jone Brunsdone daughter of
son Thomas £10. To daughter Jone bed etc. and £3. To son Thomas £5.
To children's children 10 s. each. To Marie and Jane Brunsdone daughters
of son John a bocram shete each. To servant Jane Batt 10 s. and second
gowne. To Edward Brunsden son of John cowe and shepe. To daughter
Jone all wearing linen. To god-children 10 s. each. Rest to son John
Brunsden, executor. Inventory of Jone Brunsen late widow of Edmund
Brunsen of Greate Bedwin taken and prized by Christopher Batt, Thomas
Blandy & Robert Noyes £6 : 2 : 8. (Consistory of Sarum, file for 1615.)

15 Julie, 13 James I. William Brinsden towne and parish of Wotten
Bassett, Co. Wilts, gentleman. To the poor of Wotten Bassett 20 s. To
Anne Jacobb £20. To William, Thomas and Mary Jacobb, grandchildren,
£10 at 21 years. To daughter Jane £40. To daughter Ann brasse pott
weight 15 pounds, powder weighing 12 pounds. To son John all lands in
Wotten Bassett and paying to heirs of son John and daughters Jane and
Ann 200 marks to be divided to children's children. Residue to son John
Brinsden, Executor. Cozen John Brinsden of Bristoll, Richard Bosson of
Woodshawe, gent., and John Parsons of Wotten Bassett overseers. Written
with owne hand. No witnesses. Proved 11 Nov"" 1616.

23 April, 17 Charles II, 1675. Ann Brunsden of Wootton Bassett. To
daughter Mary Maye my new Shiffe gown and third of Avearing apparel and
a ring. To daughter Rebeckah Ayloffe the bed she lyeth on and Lynnen,
third of wearing apparel and a ring. To daughter Susannah Levett silk
Pettycoate and bedd I doe lye upon and other third of wearing apparel and
a ring. To granddaughters tAvo little rings. To grandsons two rings. To
children of Susannah Levett 50 ^ apiece, etc., etc. Son Charles ex'or.
Proved at London 12 May 1675.


Will of Christopher Brunsdon of the City of Bristoll, vintner. To be
biiried at discretion of wife »& ]\Ir. Hiiinphrey lirent whom I desire to jireach
my funeral sermon. Wife Ann executrix & my friend, ]\Ir. Humphrey
Little, Overseer, to whom I give 20 s. for a ring. My tenement, mill &
lands at French Hay in Winterbourne in Co. Glos, to my eldest son Arthur
Brinsdon and in default of him to son John l^>rinsdon and in default of him
to daughters Anne & Ursula. My wife to have use of dwelling house for
life. Tenement in Worten Bassett to son Arthur. To wife three tenements
called the Three Trouts in St. Thomas Street, Bristoll, for life and then to
fower children. To daughters my corner messuage in Temple Streete, my
two stables in St. Thomas Lane, and messuage at Kedcliffe Pitt. Touching
my Mowbarton at Temple Gate I give the same to my wife and at her
marriage or death to son John, also to John the debt due from my brother-
in-law, Roger Roydon, in case he accepts the Spittle house close as part of
his wife's dividend etc. but if he refuse I give said close to son John. To
the feoffies of St. Thomas Church £30 the interest to be imployed for a
sermon to be preached every year forever August 24 my birth day, and the
overplus to the poor. All my goods, household stuff, implements of trade,
etc., to be inventoried and divided into five equal parts and divided to wife

Online LibraryLucius B. (Lucius Bolles) MarshBronsdon and Box families. Part I. Robert Bronsdon, merchant, and his descendants. Part II. John Box, ropemaker, and his descendants → online text (page 1 of 32)