Mary Bryant Alverson Mehling.

Cowdrey-Cowdery-Cowdray genealogy : William Cowdrey of Lynn, Massachusetts, 1630, and his descendants online

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Online LibraryMary Bryant Alverson MehlingCowdrey-Cowdery-Cowdray genealogy : William Cowdrey of Lynn, Massachusetts, 1630, and his descendants → online text (page 1 of 31)
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In sending fortli the Cowdrey-Cowdery-Cowdray
Genealogy, to the family in particular and the public
in general, I desire to say that while I know there is
much more to be done in this line, I have simply come
to the end of my nervous strength and must be content
with what I have accomplished, leaving the rest for
other hands to take up in the future years. It was
by sheer effort that 1 held on till the last pages were

I offer no apology to the family because the work
is not better done f I did the best I could under the
circumstances. I did not seek the honor of being
family historian, it was thrust upon me, and for my
mother's sake I have persevered to the end.

The name of Cowdei-y or Cowdrey is undoubtedly
of French origin, and signifies a Hazel Tree or Hazel
Grove. This will api)ear by examining many authori-
ties. The name is spelled Coudrill, Coudrette, Coud-
rail, Coudre. Coudraie, Coudrier, etc. (see Boyer's
French Dictionary of 1829, The Modem French Dic-
tionary, and Spier's and Surenne's Dictionai-y). In a
work on English surnames by Laun, third edition,
1849, Vol. 1, page 69, it is stated that the name Cow-
dray is derived from the French Coudraie, signifying
a grove of hazel trees.

We find the name in England spelled Cowdery, Cow-
drey, and Cowdray. In the Peerage of England men-
tion is made of Elizabeth Cowdery, daughter of Peter
Cowderv. as the wife of one of the sons of the Duke
of Bolton. One form of the name, "Caudray," is used
by Victor Hugo in his novel, "Les Travailleurs de la
Mer" (The Toilers of the Sea). Ebenezer Caudray is
there a verv spiritual and interesting minister, who
marries the heroine, Deruchette. He is supposed to


8 Preface

be an Englishman, who comes, as minister, to the
Island of Jersey.

William Cowdrey, of Weymouth, England, who
came to America in 1630, spelled the name at times,
Cowdrey, and at other times Cowdery. I have seen it
in his own handwriting spelled both ways. The old
time Town Clerk spelled the name according to its pro-
nunciation, Cowdry. Nathaniel, son of William, fol-
lowed the example of his father ; his name being found
spelled in three different ways. His descendants be-
came more particular, however, and after the marriage
of Nathaniel (1660) to Mary Bachelder, we find most
of the descendants of Samuel, the son of Nathaniel's
first wife, Elizabeth, spelling the name Cowdery ; while
the children of Nathaniel's second wife, Mary Bach-
elder, spelled it Cowdrey. One family in Ohio have
adopted the French form, Coudray.

The dates in this book have been obtained from old
family Bibles; the Town Records of East Haddam,
Conn., Charlestown, Mass., Boston, Mass., Middletown,
Conn., East Hampton, Conn., Sandisfleld, Conn., Rox-
bury, Mass., Chelmsford, Mass., Westford, Mass., Read-
ing, Mass., and Tunbridge, Vt. ; the Records of the
First Church of Charlestown, Mass., from 1632 to
1789; Brattle Street Church records, Boston, Mass.,
Old South Church Records, Boston, Mass., and the
First Congregational Church Records of Reading,
Mass. Dates have also been taken from Savage's Gen-
ealogical Dictionary; Histories of Reading, Lynn,
Westford, Acton, Billerica, Henniker, and Berkshire,
Mass., and other works too numerous to mention. In
some instances the date.s have been taken from grave
stones, while the date of a certain marriage was found
recorded on a pillow case, yellow from age, where it
had been written in a spirit of fun. In many instances
two or more dates have been given. Wherever this has
occurred, the second date has been put in brackets.

With much gratitude to all who have aided and
encouraged me in the work,

Mary Bryant Alverson Mehling.



Dedication 5

Preface 7

Cowdray Park and Castle. 13

First Generation 35

Second Generation 47

Third Generation 53

Fourth Generation. 65

Fifth Generation 75

Sixth Generation 89

Seventh Generation 161

Eighth Generation 235

Ninth Generation. 325

Tenth Generation 367

Nine families unconnected as yet with William the Emigrant 371

Unplaced family and miscellaneous items 407

Index 413



Cowdrey Arms Frontispiece

Title Page, DrawTi by Georgia Cooper Washburn (page) 3

Cowdray Castle, West View 14

Quadrangle of Cowdray Castle. 19

Cowdray Castle, Northeast View 26

Inner Front of Cowdray Castle 32

Portrait of Oliver Cowdery. 172

Autographs of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin

Harris (page) 175

Fac-simile from First Manuscript of Book of Mormon 176

Fac-simile from Second Manuscript of Book of Mormon. 178

Portrait of Samuel Cowdrey. 216

Portrait of Jabez FrankHn Cowdery 270

Portrait of Jacob Edwin Cowdery 288

Portrait of Mrs. Jacob Edwin Cowdery 290

Portrait of Mrs. Sally Hoyt (Cowdrey) Candler 301

Portrait of Mrs. Elizabeth (Cowdrey) Phelps 302

Tablet on Monvunent to Theodore Augustus La Fayette

Cowdrey ^^^

Portrait of De Witt Chnton Cowdrey 308

Portrait of Clinton Cowdrey. ^^'^




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"TOP, L-^r'O;' Ah'D


.D>-N i-oU-.C^T^ONS.


On the gentle slope of an eminence which forms
part of the rolling landscape of the lovely South
Downs of the County of Sussex, England, about fifty
miles from the stir and life of the great metropolis,
London, lies the little town of Midhurst. It has an
air of dignity which becomes its great age, and an
aristocratic tone belonging to its association with
histoi-y and important personages who have lived in its
vicinity. It is one of those historic old towns in
Avhich England abounds; where every walk leads to
some quaint point of interest, and the air is laden
with traditions of the dim and far away past, v/hen
seines which have become history were enacted Within
its bounds, and knights and fair ladies moved through
its streets in life, and were carried to their last rest-
ing place within tlie precincts of its ancient church.

The site of the present town is of great antiquity,
having been a Roman station very early in the Chris-
tian era, about the third centui-y, and was called by
the Romans Miba or Mida, from which the later name
of Midhurst was probably derived. There are houses
still standing in some of its streets which bear the
initials of the owners and tlie dates of b'ulding, three
of which are 1621, 1650, and 1660.

As early as 1311 Midhurst returned two membei-s
to Parliament, and many eminent men have repre-
sented it since in that body. During the Common-
wealth, one of its representatives was William Yalden
of Blackdown, who was the intimate friend of Oliver

From 1311 to 1813 the right of voting was vestefl
in several Burghers, or Tenants, who were seized of
houses, lands, or tenements, held of the Lords of the
Borough of Midhui-st by ancient Burgage tenure. It


did not matter whether or not the tenants actually
lived within the Borough; hence it happened that
when one of the ownere of Cowdray Park wished to
build a wall around his possessions, he found several
of these tenements standing in the line with his wall.
He calmly removed them, built his wall, and inserted
in it so many large stones, each on the spot where the
tenement had stood, to mark the site, and each in-
scribed ''A Burgage." These stones each represented
a vote, which gave rise to many facetious remarks as
to the Members representing stones in Parliament.
One of these "Burgage" stones may still be seen, with
its inscription, set into a house on the outskirts of Mid-
hurst. Fox, the eminent statesman, also represented
Midhurst in the House of Commons; he being at the
time only nineteen years of age, just at the threshold
of his parliamentary career.

The Curfew bell is still rung at eight o'clock each
evening from the tower of the old church. Whether or
not it was rung from the time of the institution of the
Curfew in the reign of William the First, is not
known. Tradition has it that the present custom
dates from the night, ''a long time ago," when a be-
lated traveller from London, unable to find his road,
heard a bell ringing and followed its sound until he
reached ^lidhurst, and in gratitude for the help re-
ceived which led him to safety, he gave a piece of land
as a perpetual endowment for the ringing of a bell
every night at Midhurst at 8 o'clock. This ground is
now called the Curfew Garden.

The ecclesiastical history of Midhurst is also very
ancient, and it would be interesting to follow the religi-
ous life and some of the quaint habits connected with
it, but space forbids more than the briefest mention.
Midhurst church was the offspring of the Benedictine
Priory of Easebourne, situated on the road past Cow-
dray Park. Mention is found of it as early as 1249,
and the church was probably built sometime between
that date and 1422, when it seems to have been re-


built. It was ag^ain rebuilt, or restored, in 1881, when
the following old notice board, undated, was found
among the accumulated rubbish about the church.
''It is requested by the Minister and Churchwardens
that all persons will refrain from wearing pattens
into Church during the celebration of Divine Service.
It is also requested by the same the Minister and
Churchwardens that no pereon or persons of whatever
age more especially Children will intrude themselves
into the Church or Churchyard so as to cause noise,
confusion or interruption during the performance of
the solemn rite of Burial or on any other occasion

Before the days of rubber overshoes the wooden pat-
ten, with its iron ring to elevate the foot out of the
wet, was worn by men, women and children, and one
can imagine the clatter made by the many feet coming
in to church on a rainy day. In a very entertaining
and useful little work, The Guide Book to Midhurst
and the Neighborhood, may be found a partial history
of this old church, as well as of other points of his-
toric inter&st. To it we are indebted for much infor-
mation as to the place, and from its pages all quota-
tions given are taken.

At the foot of the rise upon which Midhurst is situ-
ated, flows the river Bother, while in the neighbor-
hood are many small streams which feed the Bother;
itself a tributarv of the Arun. Evervwhere delight-
ful walks are filled with vistas of charming scenery.
North, South, East or West, in all directions diverse
and extensive views are before the eye of the pedes-
trian who loves nature, while the salubrious air has
made Midhuret a favorite summer resting place for
the worn and weary toiler of the great metropolis and
cities far and near. It is a pastoral scene; in which
flocks of sheep and their shepherds, clad in the same-
fashioned smocks that were worn by their forefathers
several centuries ago, move peacefully through the pic-
ture, and here and there a bit of warm color appears


in a herd of cattle or the bright dress of the shep-
herd's little child, as she runs with her father's dinner,
or plays among the little lambs.

Passing out of the town by a fine country road,
leading to the northeast and walking along for some
distance, we come to a wide iron gateway swung on
massive stone supports, and passing within, we find
ourselves in the beautiful Park of Cowdray, with its
ruins of the fine old Castle, which are the chief pride
and attraction of Midhurst. The gate opens upon a
wide causeway, which is elevated above the depression
of the meadows on either side of it, and soon passes
over the Rother by a bridge; the river flowing along
the entire western front of the ivy-covered ruins. On
every hand are magnificent trees, large belts of them
stretching for miles in every direction. Some of the
trees are of extraordinaiy dimensions, and nowhere in
Sussex is Cowdray surpassed for its trees; more than
one of its possessors having paid especial attention to
the planting of rare specimens, many of them bearing
sweet blossoms in the spring, which perfume the air
for a considerable distance.

As is common in most English estates of any size,
herds of deer may be found browsing among the tall
bracken-ferns which form the underbrush of the woods
and their outskirts; over one thousand of them roam-
ing at will over Cowdray Park. At every turn fresh
beauties greet the eye. Here is a lovely pond com-
pletely over-run with water-lilies; a little further on
are two fine old avenues lined with hoaiw oaks,
against one of which, standing further back upon a
rise in the ground. Queen Elizabeth is said to have
stood when she shot at a deer, during her memorable
visit to Cowdray.

The Park is six hundred acres in extent, and in
one part is an avenue of horse-chestnut trees over a
mile long. The X'leasure grounds surrounding the
present house cover nine acres, while the kitchen gar-
den is four acres, A\ath two acres devoted to glass,
which includes vineries, a peach house, and a plant





house for the cultivation of azaleias, camilias, and
other flowers.

This fine old estate was in the possession of the
Cowdrey family for many years, and their name has
clung to it ever since. In 1304 Thomas de Cowdray
is mentioned as owner, and it is quite possible that
he is the same person as the Thomas de Coudray who
was living in the fourth year of Edward II (1310),
and who possessed the ancient manor of Moulsoe or
Mulshoe, in Newport Hundred, Buckinghamshire, and
who was the great-grandson of Fulc de Coudray or
Cowdray, the first feudal tenant of Moulsoe, who died
in 1251 (Lipscomb's History of Buckinghamshire, Vol.
4, p. 251).

A glance at the accompanying illustrations of the
old castle of Cowdray will give the reader some idea
of tlie strength and beauty of the structure as it was
before the fire, which utterly devastated its interior,
but made little impression on the massive walls. The
towers and walls, with their ivied windows, still stand
proudly erect, marking the quadrangle of the ancient
building. This quadrangle enclosed a court, forty
yards long, now carpeted with grass, and having in
the centers graceful fountain. At the far end of this
great quadrangle, on the south, was another entrance,
leading into still another quadrangle, devoted to farm

The principal room of the castle was a noble hall,
called "The Buck Hall," from the fact that it had, ac-
cording to an old historian, "at the upper end a buck
standing, carved in brown wood, on the shoulder a
shield with the arms of England," and "ten other
bucks, as large as life, standing, lying, and sitting,
some with small banners of arras supported by their
feet." Of this great hall our Midhurst history, men-
tioned above, says:

"The chief entrance is through a lofty archway. The
visitor enters a spacious court; opposite are the walls
of the east side, which enclose the noble hall. In ad-
vance of which, at one end, is an elegant square em-


battled porch, with the royal arms over the dooi-way,
with, the lion and grifBn as supporters. The roof is
richly wrought in a delicate fret work, and displays
the cognizance of Lord Southampton, an anchor and £\
trefoil with his cypher 'W. S.' in Gothic letters. The'
hall is ceiled with Irish oak, after the ancient man-
ner, and is called 'The Buck Hall.' It is a noble apart-
ment, sixty feet long by twenty-eight feet, wainscoted
with cedar, and around it, above the cornice, are
placed stags, life size, carved in oak. * * * The
Avails are adorned "wath architecture by Eoberti, the
statues by Goupe, and the staircase by Pelegrini.
The dining parlour, at the upper end of the hall, is of
Holbein's painting, where that great artist has de-
scribed the exploits of King Henry VIII. before
13oulogne and Calais, etc. In the other rooms are
many excellent pictures of the ancestors of the
family, and other historical paintings of Holbein re-
lating to their actions in war. * * * There are also
four history pieces, two copies of Raphael's marriage
of Cupid and Psyche, and several other religious and
military pictures from Battle Abbey."

All these and many other priceless treasures of art,
with which the house was stored, the accumulation of
ages, were destroyed in the brief space of six hours
from the time the flames were seen to burst forth from
the carpenter's workshop, at the top of the north-
western angle, on tiie 24th of September, 1793. The
house was under repairs, and it is thought some of
the workmen left a pan of burning charcoal which set
fire to the shavings. "Such was the rapidity of the
conflagration that scarcely any of the valuable con-
tents of the house could be saved. The immense
amount of old woodwork facilitated the progress of
the devouring element, and the solidity of the build-
ing rendered it impossible to break down any part of
it in order to cut off communication, so that in about
six hour-s the work of demolition was complete, the
beautiful frescoes with which the walls were covered,
of course, perished with them."


"Approaching the ruins by the principal entrance,
on the right side of the now desohite Buck Hall, there
stands a tower, which once formed the south-east ex-
ternal angle of the quadrangle, and whose massive
masonry gives one the idea that it would defy for ever
the attacks of time. The fire, which must have raged
on both sides of it, apparently found no ingress here.
But years of damp and neglect have done their work
insidiously, and although this tower can still boast
of floor, ceiling and stairs remaining, the whole fabric
has been pronounced to be so unsafe that the entrance
door at its base has been for several years under the
assurance of lock and key. This part appears more
ancient than the rest of the building; the construc-
tion is very curious, and may be the remains of some
previous edifice. * * * the great kitchen occupied
the whole of the base, up to a height of thirty feet,
the remaining portion of the tower being occupied by
an apartment twenty-two feet in diameter."

Among tlie notable personages who visited old Cow-
dray was Doctor Jolmson, who remarked to his host:
"Sir, I should like to stay here four-and-twenty hours.
We see here how our ancestors lived." He was there
in 1782. Edward VI also paid a visit, and was so well
pleased Avith his entertainment that, in a private
letter, he describes it as "a goodlie house, where we
were marvellously, yea, rather excessively banketted."

A splendid episode in the history of old Cowdray
is the visit to it in 1591 of Queen Elizabeth, who spent
a week tliere as the honored guest. Her visit is thus
described in an ancient paper:

"The Queen having dined at Famham, arrived at
Cowdray Avith a great train about eight o'clock at
night, on Saturday, the 15th August. Upon her Maj-
esty coming in sight, loud music sounded, which at
her entrance on the bridge suddenly ceased; then was
a speech delivered (by a personage in armour, stand-
ing between two porters carved out of wood, he re-
sembling the third, holding his club in one hand and
a golden key in the other), as follows: 'As the walls


of Thebes were raised by music so these are kept from
falling. It was a prophecy since the first stone was
laid, that these walls should shake, and > the roof
totter, till the wisest, fairest, and most fortunate of
all creatures, should, by her first step, make the
foundations staid, and by the glance of her eye make
the turret steady. I have been porter here many
years, many ladies have entered passing amiable,
many very wise, but none so happy. These, my fellow
porters, thinking there could be none so noble, fell
on sleep, and so incurred the second curse of the
pix)phecy; which is never again to awake. Mark how
they look ! more like posts than portei'«, retaining
only their shapes, but deprived of their senses. I
thought rather to cut ofi' my eyelids than to wink
until I saw the end. And now it is; for the music
is now at an end. This house is immovable, your vir-
tue immortal. Oh miracle of Time! nature's glory!
fortune's empress! the world's wonder! Soft, this
is the poet's part and not the porter's. I have noth-
ing to present but the crest of my office — this key.
Enter, possess all, to whom the heavens have vouch-
safed all. As for the owner of this house — mine hon-
oured lord — his tongue is the key of his heart, and his
heart the lock of his soul. Therefore what he speaks
you may constantly believe, which is, that in duty and
sei'vice to your Majesty, he would be second to none,
in praying for your happiness equal to any.'

''The Queen then accepted the key, saying: 'She
would swear as to the fidelity of the master' . . .
That night the Queen took her rest in the velvet bed-
chamber. Next day, being Sunday, her Majesty was
most royally feasted, three oxen and one hundred and
forty geese forming part of the breakfast.

"On Monday morning, about eight o'clock, the
Queen with all her train rode into the park. Here a
nymph emerged from a delicate bower, and singing
a sweet song accompanied by music, presented the
Queen with a cross-bow; with this she killed three or
four deer, some thirty of them having been previously


enclosed in a paddock for the occasion. The Countess
of Kildare, the only lady of her train who ventured
to shoot with her Majesty, having brought down one
of the deer, thereby incurred her royal misti'^s's dis-
pleasure, and it is said she did not afterwards dine at
the royal table. In the evening of the same day, about
six o'clock, the Queen witnessed from the tuiTet near-
est the drawing-room, sixteen bucks pulled down by
greyhounds on the lawn, all of them having fair law.

"On Tuesday, the Queen was feasted at Easebourne
Priory, and after dinner visited the walks. Here she
was met by a man in the habit of a pilgrim; his coat
and hat being of russet velvet, with scallop-shells
formed of cloth of silver, who addressed her as fol-

" ^Faire^t of all creatures, vouchsafe to hear the
prayer of the pilgrim, which shall be short, and the
petition, which is reasonable. God grant the world
may end wdth your life, and that your life may be
more happy than any in the world; that is my prayer.
I have travelled many countries, and in all countries
desire antiquities. In this island (but a span in re-
spect of the world) and in this shire (but a finger in
regard of your realm), I have heard great cause of
wonder, some of complaint. Hard by, and so near as
your Majesty shall almost pass by, I saw an oak, whose
stateliness nailed mine eye to the branches, and the
ornaments beguiled my thoughts Avith astonishment.
I thought it free beingin a field, but I found it not so;
for at the vers' entry I met I know not what rough-
hewed niflian, whose arms were carved out of a knotty
box, for I could receive nothing from him but boxes;
so hasty was he to strike, he had no leisure to speak.
I thought there was more ways to the wood than one,
and finding another passage, I met a lady very fair,
and passing forward, her words set me in a greater
heat than the blows. T asked her name, she said it
was Peace; I wondered that Peace could never hold
her i>eace. I cannot persuade myself since that time,
but that there is a wasp's nest in mine ear. I re-


turned discontent. But if it will please your Majesty
to view the oak, that rude champion at your fair feet
will lay down his foul head, and at your beck that
lady will make her mouth her tongue's mue. Haply,
your Majesty shall find some content; I more anti-

"Then the pilgrim conducted her highness to the
oak, whereon her Majesty's arms, and all the arms of

Online LibraryMary Bryant Alverson MehlingCowdrey-Cowdery-Cowdray genealogy : William Cowdrey of Lynn, Massachusetts, 1630, and his descendants → online text (page 1 of 31)