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the parish in 1643.


I. John Chenye, prebendarie of the cathedral of Peterborough made
will Nov. 12, 1553. No allusion to wife or child; bequests to other func-
tionaries of the cathedral ; to his servant Anne Susan and her children, to
Henry Dray, his sister's son, to Bartholomew Taylor ; refers to his brother-
in-law, Henry [Jumay ?] ; residue to John Collman, clerk. Richard Whitte,
prebendarie, named as supervisor of the will.


1. John Cheyne was arch-deacon of Exeter July 10, 1379, prebend of
Landiacre, i.e. one of the clergy of Litchfield cathedral in June, 1382;
prebend of Huntingdon March 3, 1387-8.

2. Richard Cheyney was B. A. at Oxford in 1529 and held various po-
sitions in the church. Was made D. D. in 1569; was consecrated bishop
of the dioceses of Bristol and Gloucester April 29, 1562. He died in April,
1579, and was buried in Gloucester cathedral.

3. Thomas Cheyne, clerk, parson of Paston made his will, bequeathing
to Anne Susan, &c. making his brother John Cheyney residuary legatee.
John Cheyney was one of the witnesses. Probated June 4, 1548.

4. Henry Cheynie of St. Alban's Hall, Oxford, B. A. Nov. 3, 1568,
M. A. June 17, 1573, a member of Gray's Inn, 1563, rector of Ringwold,
CO. Kent, 1569.


5. John Cheyney was graduated M.A. from University College, Oxford,
May 21, 1590.

6. Richard Cheyney, b. Jan. i, 1595, was admitted to the Merchant
Taylor's School in London in 161 1, and Thomas Cheyney, b. March 21,
1597, was admitted in 161 2. Richard "subscribed " at Magdalen Hall, Ox-
ford, April 30, 1613, received B. A. in 1615 and M. A. in 1618; was rector
of Tarrant Rushton, Dorsetshire in 161 7 and onward.

7. Asteley (or Ashley) Cheney entered Merchant Taylor's School, Lon-
don, in Oct. 1606, registered as "born July, 1595." The editor of the
printed rolls of the school says he was second son of Josias Cheney of Mil-
stead in Kent.

8. John Cheney, "bom May, 1598," entered the school in Aug. 1605;
and the editor says he was "probably son" of the same Josias Cheney.

9. William Cheyne of Dorset, pleb. matriculated at Balliol College June
28, 1604, aged 18; B. A. May 20, 1605 ; M. A. from Broadgates Hall July
8, 1612; rector of Manston, Dorsetshire, 1614.

says Burke, "was, erm. on a bend sa. three martlets, or.
Crest — A bull's scalp ar." Lord Toddington, Sir Henry-
Cheney, used this shield with modifications, and had for his
motto: "Z,e mieux que je ^uis.^^

Sir John Cheney of Sherland in the isle of Sheppey, in
the north of the county of Kent, off whose shore " Cheney
Rock " is a land-mark, adopted the arms of the family of his
wife, the heiress of the Russells. " Az. six lions ramp. ar.
a canton erm." Crest, a bull's scalp.

The Cheneys of Stafford, Derby and Salop have the
Russell - Cheney arms, and this motto: Fato prudentta

Cheney of Up-Ottery, Devon, temp. Edward IV, had Gu.
four fusils in fess ar. each charged with an escalop sa.

Cheney of Bucks, and Berks. Ar. a fesse gu. in chief
three martlets of the second. Crest — A bear's head erased
gu. environed around the neck twice with a chain, passing
also through the mouth ar. at the end a ring Or.

A coat of arms which any branch of the family might not
hesitate to adopt is that given by Burke in a general way :
" Cheney, Az. a cross flory ar."

Part I.

William of Roxbury and His Descendants.

WILLIAM CHENEY was a very early resident of Rox-
bury, in the colony of Massachusetts Bay, in New England,
(now included in the city of Boston.) The oldest records of
that town which have been brought down to modern times
are contained in a volume whose opening sentence says that
the book ivas bought in i6jg for the purpose of record-
ing various matters relating to the inhabitants. Its earliest
entries are not dated. One of these is a list of the men
who owned land and lived in the town, entitled "A note of
the estates and persons of the Inhabitants of Rocksbury."
Seventy men are enrolled; they range from "Edward
Pason," possessor of 3 acres of ground, to " M'" Thomas
Dudle}'- " with his 356 acres. " W™ Cheiney " is the fortieth
name, with 24^ acres, showing that he was above the average
in wealth. This list is on a page where the year 1640 is
given as the date of a preceding entry; and 1642 is the date
of the entry on the following page. A number of circum-
stances indicate that the list was written near the close of the
year 1640. On other pages of the old record book there
are deeds of land recorded, and in the bounds of two of these
*' the land of Cheney " and " the meadow of Cheyney " are
mentioned ; both were made in 1640. These records dem-
onstrate the fact that William Cheney -was a land-holde?'
and resident in Roxbiiry before 16^0; and they do no

The settlement at Roxbury was begun in 1630, a little
later than those at Dorchester and Boston ; but there was no



church organization for a year, and no pastor till 1632. In
the records of the Church of Roxbury, written by the first
pastor, who was that remarkable " Apostle to the Indians,"
Rev. John Eliot, there is a very interesting list of the mem-
bers, giving many personal sketches. They are arranged,
in a general way, according to the dates of their joining the
church, which was sometimes the order in which they came
to New England. But a good many men and women did
not unite with the churches at once upon their arrival ; in
certain instances they were unwilling to leave their allegiance
to the English church ; sometimes they were not considered
by the ministers to be suitable persons to be admitted ; in
other cases they were modest about themselves, and feared
they were not worthy. From some cause or other William
Cheney himself did not join until he had been in Roxbury at
least twenty four years; for it was " 5"' i"' i66i" that he
was " admitted to full communion." His wife joined much
earlier. In view of her membership it was that "4 (4) 1643
Mehittabell Cheyny the daughter of Willia Cheyny " was
baptized. But M^' Eliot does not give us the date when
she joined. Her name is the 210*'^ in his series; it follows
a little way after some who are said to have arrived in 1636,
1638 and 1641, mingled with undated names; and the next
member whose date of joining is given was " received the
21 of the 2*^ 1644."

" — Cheny the wife of William Cheny."

That is the entry ; a score of women are so recorded before
this line ; the good parson could not remember all the Christian
names of the sisters ! The date of her coming may have been
long before her joining ; and her membership must have begun
before 1643. There the direct evidence stops.

Right here it is proper to consider the matter of the other
Cheney family which resided in Roxbury in those early times.
The 133'^ entry in the list of church members is this : —

"John Cheny he came into the Land in the yeare 1635. he brought 4
children, Mary, Martha, John, Daniel. Sarah his 5' child was borne in the


last month of the same yeare 1635, caH February, he removed from o"^
church to Newbery the end of the next suer 1636.

Martha Cheny the wife of John Cheny,"

Only that ! Not a word as to whether he was related to
the man " William Cheny" whose wife the good parson was
to write down a few pages beyond ! The family name,
which he spelled the same, suggests kinship. Yet the Rev-
erend recorder described Philip Eliot in glowing terms with-
out a hint that he was his own brother, although he makes
note under Thomas Ruggles who " came in the yeare 1637,"
that "he was Eld"" broth"" to John Ruggles" who had been
enrolled before as having come in 1635. There is nothing
to be concluded from the omission of a statement concerning
the relationship of the " Cheny" families.

In the Roxbury Land Records there is a detailed descrip-
tion of each settlers real estate, with the names of the owners
of adjacent tracts.

William Cheney's homestead lay in a bend of the old
highway which is still a well trodden thoroughfare — Dudley
street — on the southeast side, near its junction with Warren
St. The other tracts of land were widely scattered.

"WILLIAM CHEINEY his house barne Garden and land theirto
about two accres and a halfe butting upon William Parkes south and east
and upon the highway north and west ; And sixteene accres in the great lotts
more or lesse betweene the lands of John Johnson towards the west, and
the schoole lands towards the east. And ten accres of swampe neare the
great lotts lying betweene Giles Pason, and Ralph Hemingway, and the
heires of Samuell Hagborne. And six accres of salt marsh in Gravelly
poynt. And six accres of fresh meadow in the great meade, upon John
Stowe his heires east, and Richard Sutton west, with two rodds wide of
upland at both ends and so upon the commons. And seaven accres more
or lesse of errable land upon Richard Sutton north, John Gorton west, and
upon John Turner south. And in the first and third allottment of the last
devission being the fift lott lying betweene John Johnson and heires of
George Alcocke threescore and sixteene accres and a halfe and ten rod. And
foure and twenty accres and a halfe within the thousand accres neare
Deddam. And twenty accres of land more or lesse lying in the great lotts
bounded on the way to the fresh meadow on the east the land of the heires
of John Levens on the south, the schoole land and Richard Peacockes north


west and upon Giles Pason and the highway northerly. And three accres
and a halfe of meadow Ijnng in the fresh meades butting east upon my
owne fresh meade and upon John Peirpoynt west. And an accre of land
commonly called the wolf trapp bought of Humphrey Johnson lying on the
north of the land of John Gorton, and west upon the highway. And
halfe of sixteene accres of woodland lately the land of Richard Sutton, but
bought by him of John Johnson."

The deed of this " Wolf Trapp " is not on record, though
there are deeds recorded whereby lands adjoining this piece
were conveyed and called " Wolf Trap," showing that the
name applied to quite a large tract, perhaps a valley where
many wolves had been taken. W^e find two deeds of
William Cheney's, one of land he bought, the other of some
he sold : and we give them here.

" 29. 3. 1648.

'• Humphrey Johnson of Roxburj- granted unto Willim Chenie of Rox-
bur}- twenty Acres of land in Roxburj- bounded w*''^ the high way that leads
to the fresh meddow on the East, the land of the heires of John Levens
south, the schoole lands & Richard Peacocks north west, & Giles Pason &
the high way Northerly & this was bj- an absolute deed of sale 2 (i) 1647.
w"^ all p^i\dledgs thereto belonging.

Humphrey Johnson and a scale "
Sealed & dd in p'sence

of William Aspinwall
Nicholas Butler.

William Cheney of Roxbur\- and Margaret his wife sell to John Peirpoint
" One entire quarter or fourth part of a Water Mill in Roxburj-, and one
quarter part of a peice of Marish ground esteemed to be one Acre more or
less being all that is his, or that belongeth to his said part of the said Mill,
part whereof lyeth neer to the sd Mill on the South side of the said Mill,
& adjoining unto the River wh dives the saied watermill, And on the north
side of a Creek cut out there for the passage of the wast water And the
other part thereof lyeth on the South side of the said Creek being a rod in
Breadth all along the sd Creek as it is Cutt together with the Rights and
appurtenances thereof, which said Quarter part of the said Mill & marsh
ground as aforesaid the said William Cheney purchased of John Johnson,
Joshua Hewes & others agents for Hugh Pritchard late of Roxburj- afore-
said now resident in the Commonwealth of England, as by their deed unto
the said Cheney bearing date the thirtieth day of June one thousand Six
hundred Fifty one appeareth." Dated July 6, 1658; attested by Dea.
William Parke Feb. i, 1683.


William Parke sold one fourth of the same Mill property to
John Pierpoint the same day.

The town records explain this transaction.

" Att a Meeting in Bro Johnsons Hall y« 17 : lo^"^ 1655 there was Liberty
on a voat propounded by y** Constable graunted to John Johnson, John
Gore, John Pearepoint, Willia Parke, Willia Cheney and Thomas Mekins
to sett downe a Brest Mill or und"" shott in or neere y® place where y« old
mill stood, neere Hugh Clerkes Barne provided that satisfaction be made
unto those that shall receive dammage by damming of y^ water in drowning
of Ground " &c.

In the margin this is written : " The Dammages done By damming the
water for the Corn Mill and fulling Mill to be made good."

Below a memorandum states that the abovementioned men had bought
Hugh Gierke's barn which was the old mill house and all the appurte-
nances and the ground &c. for " fifteene pounds & a load of wood."

The annals of the town do not give the proceedings of
town meetings in the earliest days, but there are a few
movements of the citizens which are noted well. One of
these is the founding in 1645 of the Roxbury Free School,
supported by voluntary subscriptions but managed by town

The original paper with its autograph signatures is extant.
It shows William Cheney not only as a subscriber to the fund
but as one of the few leading men who specially guaranteed
to the town the payment of their yearly contributions.

His subscription to the school-fund was eight shillings a
year, — more than the average. It is disappointing to find
that our ancestor made his " mark" upon these documents.
Possibly his eyesight had failed ; but as he was only forty-one
years old the probability is that he had not learned to write,
as was the case with a great majority of the people of Eng-
land in that age. Yet he must have been considered by his
neighbors a man of good general information and judgment,
or he would not have had the honor of being chosen as a
member of the board of directors, — "feoffees," — of this
Roxbury Latin School, who had the employing of the teacher
and other administrative matters in charge.


" The Doners did meet upon the fiftenne day of Febuary 1663 and thay
came to anew choise of seven foeffese and thay chose theas following

Dacon parks
Edward Denison
Robt willyams
Willyam Cheney
Giles payson
John Bowles
Thomas Weld."

To go back again in the history, we find that WiUiam
Cheney was elected to the board of assessors of the infant
borough at an early day.

Feb. 21, 1648 "It was voted that John Johnson [Edward] Deneson
and John Gore w^^ M^ John Alcocke . . , William Cheney should be the
men that shall . . ensuing year rate men according to theire estat . . •
the defraying of y® fore sayd Charges of y^ Ministry'."

A few years afterward he was called upon to use that good
judgment and fair-mindedness which he seems to have pos-
sessed in good amount in another matter.

" It was voted & agreed to by all the inhabitants Febru. 23. (52) that
their should be raised for the maintenance of the ministry for this yeare
insuing the sume of six score pounds to be borne by all the inhabitants in
an equall proportion, for the proportioning of which sume the inhabitants of
Roxsbury have chosen the two Deacons & John Johnson, William Cheiney
Edward Denison John Ruggles sr. & Thomas Weld which sume of six score
pounds is to be devided betweene M^ John Eliot & M^ Samuell Danfoorth
in an equall proportion : "

One of the offices that called for promptness and energy
and for good faculty of dealing with men was the position of
constable. He was the policeman on disagreeable occasions ;
the messenger of the selectmen sometimes ; but his chief care
was collecting taxes. He had a " rate " committed to him,
with a sum to be obtained from each adult male inhabitant ;
and he had authority to pay out sums of money on selectmen's
orders. At the end of the year he made a detailed report.
If he did not possess a good education he must have a sharp
faculty of reckoning and a strong memory of names and






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numbers. William Cheney was one of the two constables in
1654/5 and his final account was approved Feb. 13, 1655/6.

But the citizens were not content to have him simply per-
form the toilsome work of a constable. Jan. 19, 1656/7 he
was elected a member of the board of selectmen, associated
with men of education and rank. »

Jan. 18, 1663, he was made one of a committee to inspect
Peter Gardner's " leanetoo " and " the fence that doth ranae
from it" to see that they did "not intrench upon the high

We have already seen that he was chosen one of the f eofees
of the Free School in 1664 ; and on the town record we find
him written down "as Feoffee" in an agreement touching


some money belonging to the school fund, and affixing W


to the page along with half a dozen regular signatures, Jan.
25, 1666/7.

May 23, 1666, he was made a " freeman of the Colony,"
which made him eligible to colonial office and capable of
voting on matters relating to the general government. But
he did not live to make use of this franchise. He fell sick in
the spring of 1666/7, as we learn from the opening phrases
of his will ; and after a few weeks he passed beyond the
reach of care or pain. The town clerk made this entry in his
list of persons deceased :

" William Cheney aged 62 yeares died June the 30 day,
1667 " ; and the hand of either Rev. John Eliot or Rev.
Samuel Danforth wrote in the church book among the
burials :

" 1667. Moneth 5 day 2 Willian Cheany sen."

His will is in the hand of some expert penman, one of the
pastors, it may be, or some tried friend and associate in pub-
lic affairs ; but though he could not pen it, he gave it marks
of individuality, showing that he really composed it.

Its opening phrases are tjiose we find in hundreds of wills
of that period, but he certainly endorsed them ; and the ex-
pressions of care for his wife, who had been a sad invalid for


some years must be attributed to Mr. Cheney, in the depth
of their tenderness and the sagacity and prudence of the
plans made for her. One feels from this will that the man
had a good mind and a good heart ; was a loyal husband, a
kind father, and a cordial believer in Our Lord.


of Roxbury, Massachusetts, i66y.

" 'Being sick of body and of perfect understanding &- memory
according to my measure I doe make this my last will <5- Testament.
I doe commit t my soul into the Armes of the Everlasting mercy of
God my saviour fir deare Sr blessed Redeemer fir my body unto my
friends fir relations to be decently interfed by them in hope of a
blessed Resurection. As for that Estate which it hath pleased the
Lord to lend unto mee I doe dispose of as followeth : Imp""' my will
is that my deare fir afflicted wife margaret Cheney bee Carefully fir
sufficiently provided for duringe the time of her naturall life to that
end my will is that shee have fir Enjoy all the rents &■ profit syearely
fir Every yeare duringe the aforesaide tearme . . . of all my Houses
Lands fir Orchards that I die possessed of Either in l^oxbury Boston
or Elsewhere. Except such part of my Lands or Estate which I shall
hereafter in this my will dispose of to my children or otherwise,
which Estate bequeathed by mee unto my said wife it is my will shee
Enter upon fir bee possessed of immediately after my decease {to wit)
the present crop upon all the Land, fir the use of all my Household
stuffe fir goods my debts fir funerall Expences in the first place being
with all Convenient speed fully discharged : fir for my said wives
more Comfortable being, my desire is that one of my Executors may
live in my house in Roxbury with her to Enjoy the housing fir Lands
by the yeare, which I have as is aforesaid given unto my said wife,
upon such Equall tearmes as my other Executors fir overseers {all of
them to bee named hereafter shall agree with him for. but in case both
my Executors see Cause to refuse to accept of this motion in answere
to my desire herein then my will is that it bee lett out by my Executors
or Overseers to the best advantage for my said wives Comfortable
supply & maintenance ffurther my will is that when all my debts
fir Legacies are discharged out of my stock fir Husbandry utensils,
as Carts plowes fir such like what remains of my stock afterwards,
my will is it bee lett out or disposed of for my said wives use by my


Executors with the advice of my Overseers. And my will is that all
my moveables bee for my wives use duringe her life Except what is
before disposed. And in case what is above Expressed bee not
sufficient for the Comfortable maintenance of my said wife then my
will is that the house at Boston bee sold &■ imployed & improved
for her further Sr better supply : —

Item I doe will &■ bequeath unto my son John Cheiney all that Land
both arable &- pasture lying on the East side of the Great Lotts,
being twenty Acres more or less, being now in the possession of the
said John. Also I give to my said sonn a par cell of meadow in the
fresh meades being two Acres bee the same more or less as it/lyeth on
the south of a ditch made to dreine the said meadow. Also I Give
unto him one Acree of salt marsh, bee it more or less as it lyeth
bounded with a Creek next the marsh of John Bowles, formerly
Isaac Heathes Also give unto him Eight Acres of Land more or
less lying neere house of William Hopkins all &■ Every of these
parcells of Land my will is that my said sonn John bee possessed
immediately after my decease : — Item I bequeath unto my sonn
William Cheiney all that lying &■ being in medfeld, latly in the
possession of my sa/[^] [sow] upon this condition or proviso [thaf]
hee &- his wife Debo[rah'] bee Reconsiled & live together in mead-
feild or Elsewh\ere'\, [/o] the sattisf action of John Wisewell of Boston
&- Deacon {Williams'] of Roxbury, but not in Providence or that
Jurisdiction [pro^vided also that what either my selfe or Deacon
Williams have alrea[dy] or doe stand Engaged for to the Court
ehalfe bee first repayd &- fully discharged by h[im] or assignes,
but otherwise if said sonn neglect [to'] accept it with these pro-
visoes then my will is that [there] bee paid to John Wisewall of Boston
out of my Estate * * * [the re]sidue I dispose of as followeth

Item I will &- bequeath to my sonn Joseph Cheiney sixty pounds
{to witt) my Land lying in the thir . . * * being thirty seaven
Acres more or less. &■ twenty paid to my said sonn Joseph out of my
stock : — Item my will is that my three daughters {to witt)
[Ellen], [Marga]ret [and] mehittable have Each of them Tenn
pounds out of my stock

After my said wives decease my will is, first that <Sr

Lands in Roxbury ondisposed of before by this my [will be] give[n]
unto two sonns of my Eldest sonn Thomas Cheiny his sonn Thomas
& his sonn William, to bee improv[ed for their] benneftt by their
ffather untill they are twenty one then bee Enjoyed by them: —


seccondly what remaines of my Estate after my said wiv\_e'\ \_de']
cease either in stock or otherwise in housing or Lands [or] other
Estate in any kind undisposed of by this my will is that the one
halfe of it bee given to my sonn Joseph Cheiney &- for the other halfe
thereof is that [if] divided into ffoure Equall parts. And soe dis-
posed of \_it to] sonn John Cheiney &■ to my Three aforesd daughter\_s']
[to each of] them an Equal Portion thereof Lastly I doe [make
my] Loving sonns Thomas Cheiney &- Thomas [Hastings] [execu-
tors] of this my will, requesting my deare & respected [friends] John
Elliot, Deacon William Parke &- Edward Bugbee Overseers, Aprill
the last sixty seaven,

William \V Cheiney
his marke &- a seale

John newell
Samuell scarbarow.''

'^ jo"" of July 1 66 y
John newell 6r Samuel scarbarow deposed," Src.

30 July, i66y " Thomas Cheny & Thomas Hastings Executors
to the last will &- Testament of William cheny " presented the in-

Online LibraryCharles Henry PopeThe Cheney genealogy → online text (page 2 of 49)