Abigail Wilbur's Ancestors

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Note: Before 1752 the year began on March 25th. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year, not the beginning.

Daniel Wilbur was born on March 8, 1701, the eldest of four sons born to Benjamin Wilbur and his wife Mary Kinnicut. His birth is recorded in Newport County, Rhode Island, in volume four of James N. Arnold’s compilation of the Vital Records Of Rhode Island, in both the Portsmouth (as Wilbur) and Little Compton (as Wilbor) town records.

Daniel’s mother died just prior to his seventh birthday, and his father remarried when he was nine years old. He was probably then raised by his step-mother, Elizabeth Head, who gave him many additional brothers and sisters.

When he was 24 years old, on April 2, 1725, he married 31 year old Sarah Fish in Portsmouth, and they had several children together. (See Sarah’s bio for details.)

According to John Reid Wilbor and Benjamin Franklin Wilbour, in the second edition of their book, The Wildbores In America, Daniel Wilbore died in 1764. Unfortunately, a record cannot be found to support this, nor did the authors give a place of death, or a source for the year of death. It should be remembered that this book is a compilation of information supplied by descendants of the Wilbore’s starting in 1898 for 35 years.


Sarah Fish was born in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island on January 29, 1693/94, the fifth of seven children born to her parents, Daniel Fish and Abigail Mumford. By the time she married the much younger Daniel Wilbore, both of her parents were dead. Sarah and Daniel’s marriage is recorded in volume four of James N. Arnold’s compilation of the Vital Records Of Rhode Island, Portsmouth Marriages, listed under WILBUR, as “Daniel, of Benjamin, of Dartmouth, and Sarah Fish, of Daniel, of Portsmouth, dec.; m. by William Sanford, Justice, April 2, 1725.

The second edition of The Wildbores In America book states that Sarah and Daniel had at least eight children together – Mary; Jeremiah, said to have been born about 1728; ancestor Abigail; Patience; Dorothy; Daniel; Benjamin; and William. Unfortunately, birth records cannot be found for any of the children, but Smithfield marriage records do exist for some of them. Mary married Levi Herendeen in 1759. Jeremiah married Mary Smith in 1750. His brother Daniel married Mary’s sister Ruth, also in 1750. Jeremiah died three years later, as did Ruth Smith Wilbur. Jeremiah’s widow Mary then married her late husband’s younger brother Daniel, who was widowed by her sister Ruth. Although these records exist, none say that these were the children of Daniel and Sarah Wilbore. This researcher is not convinced that the information in the second edition of The Wildbores In America book is entirely correct. The main reason for doubt is that they have the birth and death dates for Sarah Fish as “b. 1758; d. Mar. 13, 1854,” which is impossible if she was married in 1725. The interesting thing is that the first edition of the book, did not state Sarah’s birth and death dates, nor list their children.

The other fact that confuses the matter is that there are Smithfield birth records for Patience (1756) and Dorothy (1758) with parents Daniel and Mary Smith. These are probably children of Daniel Jr. who married Mary Smith Wilbur, as even though in those days, Sarah’s were sometimes called Mary, our Sarah would have been much too old to have children in the 1750’s. So these girls may not have been the daughters of our Daniel and Sarah.

Some researcher say that Sarah died on March 13, 1754 in Smithfield, Providence, Rhode Island at the age of 60 years. Unfortunately, no source is given for this date, and a search of Arnold’s Vital Records Of Rhode Island came up empty.

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Daniel Fish was the second son of seven children born to Thomas and Mary Fish, in Portsmouth, Newport County, RI. His birthdate is unknown, as no records exist for his birth, but it probably was about 1656. Not much is known about his life, but his parentage is documented by his marriage record and his parent’s wills. He is called “my eldest and well beloved son Daniell ffish” in his father’s will. His mother made him executor of her will and in her will mentioned not only him, but his children also. Daniel’s older brother Thomas died about 1684 and Daniel took on the responsibilities of the eldest son. Daniel’s marriage is recorded in the Town Book of Records, Marriages, Births & Deceases [1684-1853] as follows, “in Portsmouth in 1682 on the first day of may Daniel Fish son of Thomas fish did take to wife Abigail the daughter of Thomas Mumford.” They had several children together, all born in Portsmouth. See Abigail’s bio for details on the family.

There is a Daniel ffish mentioned in The Early Records of the Town of Portsmouth, who became a freeman on the 30th of the 9th month 1685, but unfortunately, we don’t know if this refers to our Daniel or his cousin by the same name, who was the son of his Uncle Robert and Aunt Mary, and about the same age as our Daniel.

Daniel wrote his will on January 8, 1716/17. Because he doesn’t mention his wife, she is believed to have already died. It is recorded in volume 2 of the Portsmouth Town Council and Probate records as the will of Daniel Fish of the Town of Portsmouth. In it, he leaves all of his houses and land in the township of Portsmouth, to his four daughters, and names them: Comfort Broadway, Sarah Fish, Abigail Fish and Mary Fish. This inheritance is equaly to be divided and each of these daughters should pay £25unto my daughter Ruth Thomas” within four years of his death. He leaves his houses and land in the township of Kingstown to his youngest son Jeremiah Fish. He leaves to all his children, “all my cattle both horse kind and neat cattle and sheep and swine to be equally divided.” To the “three youngest daughters, Sarah, Abigail, and Mary all the rest of my moveables that are undisposed of.” His eldest child Comfort Broadway was named as executrix.

Daniel Fish died on September 16, 1723, in Portsmouth. This researcher could not find a death record for him, but in the inventory of the personal property of Daniel Fish of Portsmouth, it states that “he decease this 16th day of ... Sept 1723.” His estate totaled about £226. More than a third of it was for Neat Cattle and hay. The will was proved about a month later on October 14th.


Abigail Mumford’s birthdate is unknown, but has been estimated from 1658 to 1662. Most researchers say she was born in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island. The uncertainty is because the early records for this time and place are gone. James N. Arnold writes in volume 5 of his Vital Record of Rhode Island series that “. . . the compiler of this volume regrets the sad loss of the old Kings Towne Records . . .” We know from the actions taken by her oldest brother Thomas that Abigail was the daughter of Sarah Shearman and Thomas Mumford. Just a few days after their father's death, Thomas Jr. deeded over one hundred acres in Kingstown to his sister, Abigail stating that his father had died without a will, leaving him heir by law: “I the said Thomas Mumford for and in consideration of the naturall Love and affection which I have and Bear unto my well beloved sister Abigail ffish the wife of Daniel ffish of the town of Portsmouth . . . grant . . . unto Daniel ffish and Abigail fish his wife a certain parcell of land . . . in the township of Kings Town . . .” It is believed that Abigail was the third child and oldest daughter of four children born to her parents.

On May 1, 1682, “FISH, Daniel, of Thomas, and Abigail Mumford, of Thomas” were married by John Albro. Daniel and Abigail had at least eight children together, all born in Portsmouth – Comfort, born on February 7, 1682/83, married into the Broadway family; Thomas, born on July 3, 1685; Ruth, born on November 2, 1687, married Joseph Thomas; Daniel born on July 11, 1690; ancestor Sarah; Abigail, born about 1696, has no documented birth record; Jeremiah, born on September 15, 1698, who married Mary Shearman; and his twin sister Marion/Mary. James Gregory Mumford states in his book, Mumford Memoirs, “The family was very well-to-do for the times and lived in comparative affluence. When Daniel died in 1723, six years after his wife, he left a good estate and eight children.” This statement stirs up some confusion pertaining to these children, as follows:

First, is it Marion or Mary? There is a Rhode Island Births and Christenings record for a Marion Fish, born on September 15, 1698, to parents Daniel and Abigail Fish. This record has a Reference ID of p28, just like her three brothers and three sisters’ records, and would make Marion a twin of Jeremiah. There isn’t a record for a Mary in this collection. But neither Marion nor Mary’s name appears in the list of Daniel and Abigail’s children in Arnold’s volume 4 of Vital Record of Rhode Island, that also references page 28 in book 1. Marion is not mentioned in Daniel’s will, but Mary is. No other researcher even mentions Marion, they only speak of Mary, who goes on to marry Stephen Austin. It is possible that Mary and Marion are the same person. The transcribers of the original book could have made an error and called Mary, Marion, and Arnold could have left Mary/Marion off the list by accident.

Secondly, there are no records at all for an Abigail with a father named Daniel, in any collection. We get her name solely from her father’s will.

Lastly, why is Comfort named as executrix to her father’s will? This is usually the responsibility of the eldest son. Also note that father Daniel does not mention his two older sons, Thomas and Daniel, in his will. Thomas was the eldest son, and would have been named executor. There doesn’t seem to be any marriage records for these two sons, so it is possible that they may have already died by the time Daniel wrote his will. If they did die, did Daniel leave six children or eight?

A death or burial record for Abigail Mumford Fish can’t be found. Most researchers believe that she died around 1716-17, prompting her husband to write his will.

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Thomas Fish’s ancestry information comes from an article published in volume 53 of  The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, called The Fish Family of Great Bowden in Leicestershire, England written by John Dean Fish, who was a Corresponding Member of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Although there is no solid proof that his British Thomas is our Portsmouth Thomas, the author's reasoning in connecting the two is sound and logical, so this researcher has accepted it. Thomas Fish was baptized on January 1, 1618/19 in Great Bowden, Leicestershire, England, the eldest of 11 children born to Robert Fish and Alice Fyshe. His father died when he was about 20 years old and the family disappeared from that area’s records. It is believed that Thomas and some of his siblings immigrated to Portsmouth, Newport County, RI in or just prior to 1643, where he met and married a woman named Mary, whose surname is unknown (see her bio for more on this).  

Thomas’ name is mention several times in the The Early Records of the Town of Portsmouth, mostly pertaining to land boundaries and as a deed witness. The earliest is on October 15, 1643, when Thomas’ received a grant of land at the first brook in Portsmouth. From December 28, 1648 to December 3, 1662, his name is mentioned on land issues six times. On February 17, 1663 he was named as one of six Pettey Jury men. On June 5, 1665, he was named as Chosen Constable for this yeare. On April 23, 1667, he was again named as Pettey Jury men. On October 16, 1668, he is named as one of the Chosen Graund Jury men. On June 7, 1675, the first time we see him called Senr., he was Chossen to be of the Towne Councell and Engaged. The last entry where we know it was him and not his son is a vote dated July 12, 1675. It states “. . . a Rate of four hundred pound was ordered to be levied in this Island and this Towne to pay one hundred and twenty pounds of the Said 400! The Towne doe order that nine men be chossen to make the Said Rate.” Both mr phillip Shearman and Thomas ffish Senr were on this list of chosen men. The record continues with “. . . they or the Major part of them are Empowred to make the Said Rate and with all Convenient speed Returne it under their hands unto the Treasurer of this Towne.

By the time Thomas Fish Sr. wrote his will on February 9, 1686/7, his eldest son Thomas was deceased. The will is recorded in the Portsmouth, R.I. Land Evidences 2nd Book, No. 1 and partially reads as follows:

... Thomas ffish of Portsmouth ... . I ... bequeath unto my dear and beloved wife Mary ffish all and Every part of my Real Estate during her naturall life for her better support comfort and maintainance in her old age and also I give & bequeath to my said Wife a _____ every part of my personall ... estate for her proper use and to be at her own disping after my decease only excespting such legases as are hereafter given & bequeathed. I give ... unto my eldest and well beloved son Daniell ffish my now dwelling house with all the land hereunto belonging only excepting the land which I purchased of James Badcock. I ... bequeath unto my well beloved son John fish all that my Land above mentioned purches of said said Badcock ... I give ... my ... son Robert ffish 20 shillings... . I give unto my three beloved daughters, to wit Mehittabell, Mary & Ales to each ... 20 shillings .... . I give ... unto my grand son Presserved ffish son to Thomas ffish deceased 5 shillings. I .... appoint my ... wife Mary ffish to be ... sole executrix ….

Thomas Fish Sr. died in Portsmouth sometime prior to December 13, 1687, the date the will was proved. The Inventory of his estate was valued at £49, 10 shillings. It is believed he was buried in the Old Portsmouth Cemetery, pictured right.


Mary, the wife of  Thomas Fish’s maiden name is unknown. Some researchers say she was a Sherman, because Clarence Almon Torrey in his book New England Marriages Prior to 1700 lists her as Mary [?Sherman]. Others say her maiden name was Soule, because Frank J. Doherty in his book Settlers of the Beekman Patent, Dutchess County, New York, states that Thomas m. Mary _ (poss. Soule). Still other researchers say her surname was Ayers, because in 1651, the town traded two acres of land adjoining Thomas‘ land to Henry and Ann Ayes. Nine years later, Thomas puts up a fence on their 2 acres in return for the deed of their house, allowing them to remain in the house rent free as long as they live. Any one of these could be her surname, or none of them! There are no marriage records for them, so her maiden name will remain a mystery.

Mary and Thomas married about 1643-4, and they had at least seven children, all born in Portsmouth – Mehitable, born about 1644-5, married Joseph Tripp in 1667; Thomas, born about 1649, married Grizigon Strange, and died prior to his parents; Mary, born about 1652, married Francis Brayton in 1671; Alice, born about 1655, married William Knowles; ancestor Daniel; John, born about 1657; and Robert, born about 1665, married Mary Hall in 1686 and he was a blacksmith who owned slaves.

Mary Fish wrote her will on September 9, 1697. She made ancestor Daniel, her eldest surviving son, executor. It is interesting to note that one of the witnesses to her will was John Anthony. The land that The Old Portsmouth Cemetery is on, where her husband was buried, was owned by the Anthony family. The will, found in the Portsmouth R.I. Town Council and Probate, Vol. 2, reads in part as follows:

“Last will . . . of Mary ffish of . . . Portsmouth . . . widow . . . Bequeths to: sons John ffish and Robert ffish, £5 each; daughter Mehittable Tripp £5 and brass chafindish, one pewter plater, three porringers and a ______; to daughter Mary Brayton, £5, table with a drawer in it, a brind bason my bigest, pewter platter of long cup and a plait; daughter Alice Knowles , £5 and two new T_____ fether pillows, a great round bason, one pewter platter, a pewter candlestick and a plait; daughter Mehitable Tripp my least chest; to daughters Mehittable Tripp, Mary Brayton, and Alice Knowles, all waring apparrell both linin and wollllen with all other my Linin and cotten an Linins except what is otherwise disposed of; grandson Preserved ffish 20 shillings; grand daughter Mehitable ffish daughter of son Thomas deceased 10 shillings; grand daughter Comfort ffish, daughter of son Daniel, "be ad and boulster with the ____ which use lodge on with three blankits and ye coverlet ... ; grandson Thomas ffish son of son Daniel my winscot beadsteed which I use to Lodge in; grandaughter Ruth ffish daughter of my son Daniel ffish my box where I use to put my small linin and my Great Chest; to granddaughter Mary ffish daughter of son John fish, feather head which use to lye in the high beadstead in chamber with a boulster and c___, two blankits and a new couverlet at 16 years or at marriage; grandson Robert son of son Robert two goood ewe sheep. The rest of the moveables to son Daniel. To daughters Mehitabel, Mary, and Alics all bankits not otherwise dispossed”

On July 12, 1699, Mary wrote a Codicil to the will, making only a few slight changes in the bequests. Mary died shortly after this codicil was written, as the inventory “of the goods and Estate of the Late deceased Mary ffish of Portsmouth” was taken just seven days later on July 19th. The inventory totaled £130, 2s and included £32, 5s for animals, £8, 8s in cash and £29, 14s owed to the estate. The will with the codicil was proved on August 9, 1699. Mary was probably buried with her husband.

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Thomas Mumford was born about 1625. Some researchers say he was born in Oldham, Lancashire County, England, the son of Thomas Sr. and his wife Ann Remington. Some researchers believe he is the son of the Thomas Montfort, who came to Virginia with Captain John Smith in 1607. Documentation can’t be found to support either of these. It is widely believed that Thomas was born in England and arrived in America about 1650, settling in Portsmouth, north of the Island of Aquidneck (some called it Rhodes Island). This was a place where religious tolerance had been established, and inexpensive, good land could be purchased.

In about 1655, Thomas married Sarah Shearman and they had at least four children. (She her bio for more on the children.) On December 10, 1657, he received a grant of 8 acres of land, but life in the area was complicated. James Gregory Mumford, in his book Mumford Memoirs, says “There was then much civil turmoil going on owing to Governor Coddington's ‘usurpation,’ as it is called. Roger Williams and John Clarke, indeed, were then in England petitioning Cromwell's Parliament to free them from the Coddington claims, and in that they were successful. Against these claims and all autocratic power in the Colony, Thomas himself naturally protested. Rhode Island was the one New England Colony where liberty of conscience was allowed, and as a Church of England man he had settled there for freedom from religious strife. The settlements on Aquidneck and at Providence, however, were made up largely of Baptists and other sectaries; and Thomas soon felt that it would be more comfortable in every way for him to plant a virgin soil. He seems to have had little sympathy with the searching out of the spirit which occupied his neighbours. He was content with the faith of his fathers, and, as a pioneer in the New World, sought merely to establish his penates.

On January 20, 1657/8, Thomas and several other men, including Samuel Wilbore and John Porter participated in the Pettaquamscutt Purchase, buying land from Quassuchquansh, Kachanaquant, and Quequaquenuet, chief sachems of Narragansett, for £16 and other considerations mentioned in the deed. (It should be noted here that Samuel Wilbore was married to Thomas‘ wife’s mother’s half-sister Hannah Porter, and John Porter was Thomas’ wife’s step-grandfather.) The deed included “all the land and the whole hill called Pettaquamscut bounded on the south and southwest side of the rock with Ninigret's land, on the east with a river northerly bounded two miles beyond the great rock in Pettaquamscut westerly bounded by a running brook or river beyond the meadow, together with all manner of mines, etc., they to have free ingress and egress on the sachems lands.” This secured a large tract of land along Narragansett Bay for the English colonists, that became the towns of North and South Kingstown. It should be noted that there were many other purchases like this one being done. The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations states that “These frequent purchases caused so much trouble that the Assembly soon afterwards prohibited any further purchases of land or islands from the Indians within the colony without express permission from that body, on pain of forfeiture of the land, and a fine of twenty pounds besides.” In the book “History of Washington and Kent Counties,” J.R. Cole writes about a place called Usquepaug, “This place is situated on both sides of Queen's river, and is partly in the town of South Kingstown. The place was formerly called Mumford, from the fact of the Mumford family having been among the first settlers and owners of a large estate here.” Near the end of The Early History of Narragansett, in volume 3 of the 1835 Collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society, Elisha R Potter Jr, tells us about a place called Training lot. He describes it as “A lot on the west side of Narrow river, south east from Tower hill, originally laid out, as appears by the plat, to Thomas Mumford, now in possession of the town. It has occasionally been used as a place of execution for criminals.

In 1664, Thomas was appointed High Sheriff of the region, but had a run-in with Massachusetts commissioner, Timothy Mather. In May of 1664, Thomas and Enoch Place accused Mather of “speaking words of a dishonorable nature against his Majesty.” The King was not in the favor of the Massachusetts colonist, so Mather’s had Thomas and Enoch arrested and imprisoned without a trial. After a few days, on May 5th, they were allowed to withdraw the accusation and were released on a £100 bond to appear when called to speak further to matter. In 1665, Thomas was appointed Inspector General. In 1668, Thomas and his wife Sarah, sold 1,000 acres of their land for £25 to Peleg Sanford of Newport. Between July 15th and 21st of 1670, Thomas became involved in what is now called the Kings Province Dispute. On June 20th, Thomas, as constable, was ordered “to seize any persons found excersing jurisdiction in Narragansett in behalf of the the colony of Connecticut.” Thomas followed his orders and was accused by Commissioners of Connecticut of assaulting and detaining “two of our men who were inoffensively ridng on the King’s highway.” The Council of Connecticut issued warrants to arrest Samuel Wilson and Thomas Mumford, because they were the Rhode Island officers who had torn down the declaration of authority that had been nailed on the door of Capt. Hudson's house by the Commissioners. They also wrote a letter to Rhode Island, complaining of the zeal with which she strove to maintain her rights over the Kings Province. In December of 1675 during King Philip's War the Great Swamp Fight occurred on Mumford's land. The battle dealt a severe blow to the Narragansett Indian tribe from which they never fully recovered. From 1683 to 1686 he served as the High Constable of the colony.

James Gregory Mumford sums up Thomas’ life as follows, “It was not a great life certainly, and I cannot record a brilliant exit; but he served his country well and modestly as gentleman and magistrate, and he kept the faith without ostentation, when others were giving themselves over to theological warfare. He begat wholesome sons and daughters, and left a name long remembered and honoured in the land.”  Thomas Mumford died without a will before February 12, 1692, the date his son Thomas, as heir at law, deeded land to his sister ancestor Abigail Fish. We do not know where he is buried, but volume 1 of The Narragansett Historical Register printed the recollections of Joseph P. Hazard, Esq., of South Kingstown in 1882/3 as follows: “The oldest tombs that I know of in Narragansett are on the Mumford farm that now makes up a portion of the ‘Sprague Estate,’ on the south side of Pettesquamscutt Cove. These are on the west side of Mulnunk Brook, and just west of where the Narragansett Pier Railroad passes through the Mumford farm. Some of the stones were evidently imported from England.” (Mouse over image right.)


Sarah Shearman (Sherman) is said to have been born in April or October of 1636, in what is now Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. She was the eldest daughter of thirteen children born to Sarah Odding and Philip Shearman. Unfortunately records for this area do not exist today, but her father’s will, written in 1681, confirms her parentage. In it he mentions his grandchildren Thomas and Peleg Mumford, and my daughter Sarah.

Shortly after her birth, the family moved to Portsmouth, Newport, RI, where she was raised. In about 1655, she married Thomas Mumford in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI. They had at least four children all born there – Thomas, born on November 25, 1656; Peleg born about 1659; ancestor Abigail; and Sarah, born about 1668. There are interesting stories about two of these children. First, the eldest son, Thomas, seems to have been a fair man, as he gave his sister, ancestor Abigail, land out of his inheritance (see Abigail’s bio for details). At age 30, Thomas married 16 year-old Abigail Kenyon, who many years later was murdered by a slave belonging to him. The murderer drowned himself to prevent being taken alive. The assembly ordered, as a warning to others, that his head, legs and arms be cut from his body and hung in a public place near Newport, and his body be burned to ashes. Secondly, the youngest daughter Sarah was the second wife of Benedict, the eldest son of the distinguished Benedict Arnold who was Governor of Rhode Island from 1663 to 1678, and the great-grandfather of the traitor, Benedict Arnold. Being the second wife, Sarah was not his great-grandmother.

It is not known when Sarah Shearman Mumford died, but it is believed it was before her husband’s death sometime between 1690 and and 1692.

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Robert Fish was baptized on August 12, 1593 in Market Harborough, Leicestershire County, England, probably in St. Mary's Church pictured right (mouse over image for more info). He was the third of seven known sons born to the unnamed wife of Thomas Fishe. On February 24, 1617/18, Robert married a not too distant cousin, Alice Fyshe in Market Harborough, which was the main city of the parish of Great Bowden. On their Leicester Archdeaconry Registry Marriage Bond, both of their names are spelled Fishe and they are listed as being from Bowdon Magna, which is the ancient Latin name for the parish of Great Bowden. John Dean Fish, in his 1922 article, The Fish Family of Great Bowden in Leicestershire, England, tells us that “There are three church buildings belonging to the parish. The church of old Roman Catholic days was dedicated to St. Mary-in-Arden, and a portion of the old structure still remains, surrounded by a large burial ground containing many ancient stones. . . . The present parish church, standing on the north side of the public green in the little village of Great Bowden, is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. . . . The more numerous and important community of Market Harborough has only a chapel of ease, which is dedicated to St. Dionysius. This chapelry, however, is very ancient, being mentioned as early as 1344, in an ecclesiastical record, as ‘a parcel of the Rectory of Bowden Magna.’”  St. Dionysius was originally a dependent chapel of St. Mary in Arden Church, which was located on a hill outside of the main town. So exactly which church the baptism or marriage took place in, is uncertain.

It should be noted that the Fish surname have been spelled many different ways including Fishe and Fysh. Robert and Alice had at least eleven children together (see Alice’s bio for more on the family). John Dean Fish goes on to say that Robert was sometimes styled ‘mercer,’ which means he was a dealer in fine textile fabrics. Carl Boyer in his third edition of Ancestral Lines, calls Robert a silk merchant.

Robert died at the young age of 46, and was buried in the churchyard at Great Bowden on December 20, 1639, leaving his 42 year-old wife with nine children ranging in age from 4 months old to ancestor Thomas who was 20 years-old. John Dean Fish, in his 1922 article, suggests that “through his death or business reverses, the young family were thrown upon their own resources, and broken up. The older sons, Thomas and John, are accounted for in the Thomas of Portsmouth, R. I., and in John of Connecticut who died at Mystic in 1689. The tradition handed down in the Rhode Island family, put in writing one hundred years ago, confirms the close relationship between the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut families, even making the claim that the three progenitors thereof were brothers. In this connection it is to be noted that Thomas gave to two of his children born at Portsmouth, the names of Robert and Alice, in remembrance of his father and mother. Moreover, the will of John Fish of Mystic mentions his daughter Alice. Alice was an uncommon name in New England in those days, but the remembrance of and love for a mother explain its use by these two men in their new, far away homes.

Alice Fyshe was baptized on November 6, 1597, in Great Bowden, Leicestershire County, England. She was the eleventh of thirteen children born to John Fyshe and his wife Margaret, whose surname is believed to be Cradock.

Alice married Robert Fish on February 24, 1617/18, in the Market Harborough church and they had eleven children together, some baptized on the dates shown in the Great Bowden (GB) church, and some in the Market Harborough (MH) chapel. Their children were – ancestor Thomas; John on January 21, 1620/21 in MH, who went to New England with his brother; Ruth on September 1, 1622 in MH; Mary on January 24, 1623/24 in GB, who died at three months old and buried on May 14, 1624 in MH; another Mary on April 24, 1625 in MH; Joseph on September 17, 1626 in MH; Nathan on March 7, 1629/30, in MH, who died at 18 months-old, and was buried on October 4, 1631 in MH; Tabitha on May 8, 1630 in MH, who died unmarried at age 27 and was buried on March 23, 1657/58 in GB; Hannah on November 24, 1633, in MH; a daughter Christian on December 10, 1637, in GB; and Benjamin on August 11, 1639, in GB.

On May 6, 1673, Thome that was one of the qualifications of the title Freeman. Six years later Thomas was granted a license to sell victuals and drink to travelers at a town meeting held on April 23, 1679.

It is not known what became of Alice after her husband died, but she was left with nine children. There isn’t an entry for a widow named Alice Fish, by any spelling, in the Leicester Archdeaconry Registry Marriage Bond records, nor is there a burial record for her in this area. It could be possible that she came to New England with her children and remarried, or she could have taken over her husband’s business, and left the area. We will probably never know what happened to her.

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Thomas Fishe was probably a descendant of Edward Fysh of Harborow, as suggested by John Dean Fish, in his January, 1922 article, The Fish Family of Great Bowden in Leicestershire, England. John Dean goes on to say about Thomas, “He may have been a brother of John of Great Bowden, or perhaps a cousin. These relationships are suggested by the fact that the name Austin was given to one of Thomas' sons, a name so often used in the family in its other form, Augustine. . . The registers of Market Harborough give the records of two generations of this branch of the family.” Unfortunately, the records only gives us names, dates, and father’s name. We do not know the name of Thomas’ wife. His known six children were all baptized/buried in Market Harborough as follows – Thomas on March 10, 1585/86; Austin on April 22, 1590, who died at one month old and was buried on May 22nd; ancestor Robert; William who was born and died on November 16, 1595; another William, baptized on March 27, 1597; and Jeffrey on October 28, 1599. In the Market Harborough records, there is a burial record dated July 14, 1594, for John, son of Thomas Fishe. Being that a baptism record does not exist for him, it is not known for certain if this is another child of our Thomas.

It is not known what became of Thomas Fishe, as there isn’t a burial record for him in Market Harborough.


John Fyshe was probably born about 1555 in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England. He may be the son of Augustine Fyshe and a descendant of Edward Fyshe who was living in Market Harborough in 1518. if so, he would have been a distant cousin of ancestor Thomas Fishe. John’s ancestry is uncertain because parish records for Great Bowden do not exist prior to 1559. It should be noted that his surname has been spelled many different ways including Fish, Fishe, and Fysh. This researcher chose to call him Fyshe, to distinguish him from the other Fish surnames in the tree.

John married Margaret whose maiden name may have been Cradock, as he makes reference to that name in his will. Their marriage is not found in the Great Bowden parish records, but all of their children were baptized there. (See Margaret’s bio for more on her maiden name and their children.) Most of their children survived to adulthood and married.

John wrote his will on January 2, 1622/3. From his will, we know he was a yeoman, and we learn much about his children. The will, as printed in John Dean Fish’s January, 1922 article The Fish Family of Great Bowden in Leicestershire, England reads as follows:

I, John Fysh of Bowdon Magna, co. Leic, yeoman, being sick of body, do ordain and make, etc :— To William Fish, my second son and his heirs one old cottage with two cow pastures and ten shepes commons adjoining unto his dwelling house, which I purchased of Sir Thomas Gryfin. To Francis Fish my fifth son one cottage house with a close and orchard now in the occupation of Richard Wimant laborer. To Robert Fish of Harborow, my son-in-law, one piece of meadow in little Bowdon field, called Stony Holme. To Thomas Fysh, eldest son of Robert Fysh, five arable lands in Lubnam brook, now in his occupation. To Elizabeth Ashton my niece one cottage with two cow pastures and ten sheep commons, she paying yearly for the same, unto John Fysh, my youngest son, 6s. 8d.during her natural life, provided that John shall have power to cut and lop and carry away wood. To John Fysh my youngest son and his heirs three closes which I purchased of my kinsman William Cradock of Farndon, one lying in west end of town betwixt the land of John Fish and Richard Kirbie, another in the middle of the town, next the land of Jeffrey Parsons and John Marson, and one in yeast and next the lands of Francis Fish and Thomas Wells the younger ; also the old cottage after the death of Elizabeth Ashton my niece; and all my timber except one taylltre and a squared piece for my myll, which I give unto my eldest son Austin Fysh. I further except the myllne post, and give it unto Austin Fysh my eldest son, he paying his mother 40 s. Residue to Margaret my wife, whom executrix. Signed : John Fysh. Seal, I. F. divided by a spray of roses.

One of the witnesses of the will, was Augustine Fish, who is believed to be his eldest son called Austin in the above will. John Fyshe died shortly before February 19, 1622/3, the date he was buried in the Great Bowden churchyard, which is believed to be at St Peter and St Paul's church pictured right (mouse over image for more info). The will was proved on March 9, 1622/3 by his wife as relict and executrix, and is recorded in the Leicestershire Wills and Administrations, 1495—1649, filed in the 1622 register, no. 102.
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Margaret Cradock's ancestry is unknown. It is not at all certain that her surname was Cradock. This maiden name was given to her by researchers because in her husband’s will it mentions “my kinsman, William Cradock of Farndon,” and her son Thomas, named a son Cradock. So this surname is a good possibility, but is not fact.

Margaret married John Fyshe and they had thirteen children, all baptized in Great Bowden parish, Leicestershire, England – Augustyne on June 11, 1578 and called Austen in his father's will; William on March 9. 1580/1, who married Anne Parsons; Katheryne on April 15, 1582, who married a man with a surname of Garvoise; Thomas on May 8, 1584, who married Mary Sprigge; Sara on April 11, 1586, who married John Johnson; Ambrose on July 6, 1588, who died in 1628; Mary on December 20, 1589, who died at 14 months old and was buried on February 27 1590/1; Elizabeth on November 15, 1591, who married Edward Marston; son Francis on October 29, 1593, who is mentioned in his mother’s will of 1630; Anne on. June 2, 1596; ancestor Alice; another Mary on December 8, 1599, who married Maurice Dixe; and John on January 26, 1601/02, who was living in 1622, but not mentioned in his mother’s will in 1630.

Widow Margaret Fish wrote her will on March 1, 1629/30. Apparently she could not write, as was written by someone else and it is signed by her mark. The will was sealed with an image of a goat, and it reads, as printed in John Dean Fish’s January, 1922 article The Fish Family of Great Bowden in Leicestershire, England as follows:

I, Margaret Fish, widow, late wife of John Fish late of Bowdon Magna, yeoman, deceased, being sick in body, do make and ordain this my last will, etc. :—To be buried in the church of Great Bowdon, near unto my husband. To Augustine Fish my eldest son and his children £12, which he oweth me for sheep. To William Fish my second son, one silver beaker now in the use of Mr. John Warde of Little Bowdon, being lent unto him by my husband. To Thomas Fish my third son one acre of peas and one acre of barley. To my son Francis Fish 12 d., and to his eldest daughter a trunk. To my daughter Katherine Garvoise 40 s. to buy her a gown. To my daughter Sarah Johnson 40 s. To my daughter Alice Fish 40 s. To my daughter Mary Dix 40 s. To my son Ambrose, his wife, one brown cow, being the best of my kine, and to her son John, being with me at this time, a ewe and a lamb. To my son John Fish's son John the bed I lie in. To my son John's youngest son Joseph my greatest brass pot. To Robert Fish's children an aker of barley and an aker of peas. To my son Ambrose, his children, 40 s. which Thomas Fletcher late of Bilsdon oweth me. To my son John Fish my whole team with carts and gears, ploughs, etc. To Lawrence Willmore an old short legged cow. Poor of Bowden 40 s. Rest to my son John Fish, whom executor, and my son John Johnson and my son Maurice Dixe to see my will performed.

Margaret Cradock Fish/Fyshe died and was buried on April 28, 1630, probably as she wished, near her husband, in the Great Bowden churchyard. The will was proved by her son John, the executor on July 23 1630. It is recorded in the Leicestershire Wills and Administrations, 1495—1649, filed in the 1630-31 register, no. 106.

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