Ralph GORHAM (1575 -1643) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line.
Ralph Gorham was born in 1575 in Benefield, Northamptonshire, England. His parents were James GORHAM and Agnes BERNINGTON. He married Margaret STEVENSON on 23 May 1610 in Benefield, Northamptonshire, England. He came to America in 1635. Ralph died in 1643 in Plymouth, Mass
Margaret Stevenson was born in 1579 in Benefield, Northamptonshire, England. Margaret died in 1637 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Children of Ralph and Margaret:
|1.||Ralph Gorham||1619 in Benefield, Northants, England||1643
|2.||Capt. John GORHAM||28 Jan 1621 in Benefield, England||Desire HOWLAND
|5 Feb 1675/76
Swansea, Mass after being wounded 15 Nov 1675 in the Great Swamp Fight in King Phillip’s War.
|3.||Thomas Gorham||29 Jun 1626 in Benefield, England|
The Gorham family were originally French. The French spelling was DeGorran and they came from La Tanniere near he Brittany border. Several of the family went to England in the Eleventh Century following William the Conqueror and the Norman Invasion of the British Isles. The Northamptonshire branch of the Gorhams are supposed to have descended from Sir High de Gorham and his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir William l’Angevin. Sir Hugh de Gorham, in 1281, possessed the manor of Churchfield in the parish of Oundle, and land in Benefield which had belonged to his wife’s father.
Ralph Gorman was in Plymouth (or the Plymouth Colony at least) in 1637 when he was granted land on which to build a house on October 2, 1637.
5 Mar 1638/39 – Ralph Gorham the elder was presented for beating Webb Adey. Webb Adey is probably the best-recorded antisocial pauper in Plymouth Colony. Although he seems to have done his best at all times to live by his own rules and not those of the Colony, he did receive grants of land, and at his death had not one house but two.
In 1638 he was referred to as elder’ his birth recorded and John was the only one mentioned in the records of the Plymouth Colony. Ralph Gorham is mentioned in 1642 but he was not on any later records. As he was sixty seven years old he probably died in about 1643. His son John inherited his plantation.
John and his descendants are the only ones listed in the Plymouth colony throughout the Seventeenth century, so even if there were other brothers, only he survived. John was raised in the Puritan faith and was a leather tanner by trade.
Notes from John Howland of the Mayflower, Vol. 1:
A Ralph Gorham was granted land in Plymouth October 2, 1637 for a house and garden. On March 5, 1637/8, he complained against Frances Sprague. A year later, “Ralph Gorham the older” was presented for breaking the peace. On September 1, 1640 he sued Tristam Clark and John Crab for debt [Gorham MS 1:3-4: N.B. Shurtleff, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Court Orders 1:66, 118; Judicial Acts 7:8]. He then disappeared from the Plymouth records.