William Danforth

William DANFORTH (1641 – 1721) was Alex’s 9th Great Grandfather, one of 1,024 in this generation of the Shaw line.

William Danforth was born around 1641 probably in Ireland.   By 1660, he was living in Ipswich, Mass. in the employ of William Pritchett.  We don’t know for sure how he arrived, but his associates were also teenage Irishman servants such as Philip Welch who was known to have come on the Goodfellow, He married his first wife, Hannah Kinsman 20 Mar 1669/70 in Ipswich, MA.     After Hannah died, he married Sarah THURLOW. William died after Mar 1721 in Ipswich, MA.

Hannah Kinsman was born in 1644. William and Hannah had one child, Mary born  19 SEP 1673 in  Ipswich, MA.  Mary married George Thurlow (1670 – 1712)  in Newbury, Mass.   George was Sarah’s first cousin.  His parents were Sarah’s uncle and aunt Thomas Thurlow and Judith March.   Hannah died 18 Oct 1678.

Sarah Thurlow was born 20 Jul 1663 in Newbury MA. Her parents were Francis THURLOW and Ann MORSE. At the time, the family name was spelled Thurloe.

Children of William and Sarah

Name Born Married Departed
1. Richard Danforth 31 Jan 1679/80
Mary White (Dorcas’ Sister)
30 Jun 1702
Before 1704
Maine or NH
2. John DANFORTH 8 Dec 1681
Dorcas WHITE
(Mary’s sister)
24 Nov 1713
26 Mar 1778
3. Willliam Danforth c. 1683
4. Jonathan Danforth 18 May 1685
Mary White (Dorcas’ sister)
21 Jan 1704
Newbury, Mass
After 1733
Canterbury NH?
5. Thomas Danforth 11 Sep 1688
24 Feb 1723
Adminstration of his estated granted to his brother Joseph
6. Francis Danforth 15 MAR 1690/91
Sarah Chase
17 NOV 1714
Lived in Kennebunkport Maine
7. Joseph Danforth 12 MAY 1694
Bethia Noyes
13 DEC 1717
2 May 1753

William was commonly called Danford

William was most likely an Irish servant to William Pritchett. Irish servants were shipped to the colonies during the English civil war when Cromwell was depopulating Ireland. His known friends and associates can be found from court records and they are from Ireland. An Irishman William Dorton left them some money and called the group of them including William “my countrymen”.

William Pritchard born about 1617 in England. There was a William before the court in Salem on 9 July 1645, Timothy Tomlins deposed of William Prichett that “my wife and I were out of the house, and he drew more wine himself and drank to much”.

William Pritchett/Pritchard/Prichard removed from Lynn to Ipswich, Mass. He was one of the founders of Brookfield, Mass. , along with Daniel Hovey, Judah Trumble, Samuel Kent, & John Younglove, all of these families and/or their children ended up in Suffield.

On Aug 2, 1675 William was killed at the ambush in New Braintree, known as “Wheeler’s Surprise”. Later that day his son Samuel also died at Brookfield at the very beginning of the King Philip’s War. After this all the families of Brookfield left, most never to return.’ Brookfield was not occupied again until 12 years later.

Capture of Brookfield

John Ayre, sister of our our ancestor Sarah Ayre LAMSON was also killed in this ambush.  70 villagers took refuge in John Ayre’s tavern.  See my post Siege of Brookfield for details.

The constable’s writ in 1660 (see below) called him “Irish”.  Mr. Symonds and other Ipswich people had Irish servants and any young workman not connected with town families might naturally be associated with them.  Danford (Danforth) is definitely an English name.  William’s parents might have gone across the channel in a former generation, or he might have spent a few years in Northern Ireland.  Danford was a common spelling of the Danforth in Framlingham, the birthplace of  Nicholas, the Cambridge pioneer.  William too was a name well known in that clan, so it is possible unlikely that this youth was a kinsman of Nicholas Danforth of Cambridge.

30 Jun 1660 – (Age 19) William accompanied another young man, Daniel Black, to the neighboring town of Rowley and carrying a message from Black to the daughter of Edmund Bridges.  The girl came to a neighbor’s house where Black tried to persuade her to become his wife, or, as the father phrased it, “made love to her.”  The General Court had passed stringent laws to cover such cases; so Mr. Bridges prosecuted the bold suitor for seeking his daughter’s hand without his permission; and the magistrates compelled Black to pay a fine of five pounds for his conduct.  William had to pay a fine of ten shillings for helping his friend.

ca. 1675 Removed to village of Byfield, where Newbury, Rowley and Bradford meet.  While many of his descendants moved to New Hampshire and Maine, our ancestors, his son John and grandson Samuel lived in Newbury for the next 125 years.

9 Jan 1675 – William received 2 shilling and six pence from the town of Newbury for killing a wolf.

9 Jun  1677 – Samuel Ladd,  son-in-law of George CORLISS  “was fined for misdemeanors.”  See George’s page for more of his nefarious misadventures.

Frances Thurla, aged about forty-five years, and Ane Thurla, his wife, testified that in the evening after Mr. Longfelow’s vessel was launched, about nine or ten o’clock, and after he and his family were in bed, having shut the door and bolted it, Sameull Lad of Haverhill and Thomas Thurla’s man, Edward Baghott, came to their house. One or both of them went into the leanto where their daughter Sarah lay, and having awakened her urged her to rise and go to her aunt’s, telling her that she was very sick. Whereupon deponent arose and seeing one at the door reproved him for being there, and mistrusting that there was one with his daughter, as he went to light a candle, Samuell Lad leaped out of the house. Sworn in court.”

For this Samuel Ladd was found guilty of a misdemeanor. What was he doing at Frances Thurla’s house after all had retired to bed? Why had he tried to get Sarah to leave the house and go to her aunt’s? And if her aunt were, in fact, sick, why did he not tell Sarah’s parents, as the aunt presumably would have been sister to one of them? Was Samuel Ladd bent upon the seduction of young [age 14 at the time] Sarah Thurla ? At the time of the incident Samuel had been married for three years.  Sarah THURLOW would later William DANFORTH.

Jun 1678 – William with Edmund Dear and Philip Welch, petitioned to have possession of certain money left by William Dorton in the hands of John Ring.  They claimed that Dorton “willed that if he came not to Ipswich in the space of three years, the money should be given to the three petitioners and Ring.  The court agreed.

1678 – Took the oath of allegiance in Newbury

15 Jul 1679 – William and his wife Sarah sold land in Newbury

Mar 1681 – Called to Court with William Longfellow (ancestor of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) for slaughtering an “oxe” and some “piggs” which were claimed by Joseph Plummer and Robin Robinson,  “the Scotchman”.  The court ruled in favor of Plumer and Robinson, so William and his associates paid them the value of the animals in question.

1 Jan 1696 – Sarah and William deeded land from Sarah’s father Francis Thurlow.  They sold this tract in 1698.

15 Jul 1709 – William sold land that had been granted him by the proriators

27 Mar 1721 – Sold a wood lot, the last known mention of William in Newbury records

Savage, Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, vol 2, p 9

WILLIAM, Newbury 1667, b. only 14 yrs. bef. at London; perhpas was soldier in Dec. 1675, of Johnson’s comp.; by first w. wh. d. 18 Oct. 1678, had no ch.; by sec. w. Sarah Thurlo had William; Mary; Richard, b. 31 Jan. 1680; john, 8 Dec. 1681, d. 1 Oct. 1772; Jonathan, 18 May 1685; Thomas, 11 Sept. 1688; Francis, 15 Mar. 1691; and Joseph, 12 May 1694. Descend. says Farmer are in New Hampsh. and some of them spell their name Danford.


1. Richard Danforth

Richard’s wife Mary White was born in 1684 in Maine. She was Dorcas’ sister. Her parents were Nathaniel WHITE and [__?__] After Richard died, she married his brother Jonathan 21 Jan 1704 in Newbury, Mass.

No particulars, other than their 1702 marriage record, of this couple have been found. Richard died before 1704 which explains the entire absence of their names from the documents in which we find references to the other children of William of Newbury.

2. John DANFORTH (See his page)

4. Jonathan Danforth

Jonathan’s wife Mary White (Dorcas’ sister) was born in 1684 in Maine. She was Dorcas’ sister. Her parents were Nathaniel WHITE and [__?__] She first married Jonathan’s brother Richard.

It may be that he is the Jonathan Danford who became an early settler at Pennecook, N. H. , along with other Newbury men. “Jonathan Danford, of Pennecook, carpenter,” bought land in Canterbury, N. H., Sept. 3 1733. “Jonathan Danford, of Canterbury, carpenter,” sold land in Canterbury, formerly the home lot of William Bussell, June 2, 1738.

5. Thomas Danforth

Joseph Danford signed his bond as administrator of his brother Thomas’ estate in 1723

6. Francis Danforth

Francis’ wife Sarah Chase was born 18 Jul 1686 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Daniel Chase and Martha Kimball. Sarah died in 1758 in Arundel, York, Maine, United States

Francis removed to Arundel, otherwise called Cape Porpoise and Kennebunkport, Me.
“Lived near the present dwelling of Asaph Smith”; [Hist. Kennebunkport, 1837]. Was a resident from 1732, at least, till 1758, when his wife died. His children, Enoch, Isaac, Anna, ” and perhaps others,” are mentioned in the history. An elevation in the town bore the name of ” Danforth’s Hill ” till recent times, but the locality is not now known. Enoch is said to have ” removed to Topsham,” Of the latter part of Francis’ life and of the time of his death, nothing has been learned by us.

7. Joseph Danforth

Joseph’s wife Bethia Noyes was born 20 Oct 1691 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Thomas Noyes and Sarah Knigh. Bethiah died 16 Jul 1768 in Newbury, Essex, Mass.

Joseph and Bethiah joined with other heirs (not children) of Rev. Nicholas Noyes in a quitclaim deed 14 April, 1718. He bought land in Rowley in 1720, and removed thither. He signed his bond as administrator of his brother Thomas’ estate in 1723 “Joseph Danford.” ”

Joseph Danforth of Newbury,” cordwainer (shoemaker), with his wife, Bethiah, sold land in Rowley in 1724; Joseph and Bethiah Danforth were members of the Byfield church in 1744; Sept. 9, 1748, still residing in Rowley, he bought land in Bradford, and soon removed thither. Bethiah, widow of Joseph late of Bradford, requested the appointment of “her only son Eliphalet,” of Bradford, as administrator of the estate of her husband, 2 May, 1753 “; and “Eliphalet Danforth,” as he signed himself, gave bonds for the performance of the trust, five days later. ” Mr. John Sari [Searle] and Mrs. Bethiah Danford of Bradford” filed marriage intention in Rowley May 15, 1756. Bethiah Danforth married at Byfield 6 Nov. 1756, Joseph Flood, jr. ” Joseph Danforth wife,” died ” April, ’98.”



Danforth Genealogy – Nicholas Danforth of Framington England (1539 – 1648) and Cambrige NE  and William Danforth of Newbury Mass (1640 – 1721_ and their descendents –1902



“They Die in Youth And Their Life is Among the Unclean” The Life and Death of Elizabeth Emerson By Peg Goggin Kearney May 6, 1994 University of Southern Maine  (Story of Samuel Ladd)

This entry was posted in 11th Generation, Immigrant - Scot-Irish, Line - Shaw, Storied and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to William Danforth

  1. Pingback: John Danforth | Miner Descent

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  5. Tom Danforth says:

    William Danford (Danforth) was known as an Irish servant to Mr. Pritchett. Irish servants were shipped to the colonies during the English civil war when Cromwell was depopulating Ireland. His known friends and associates can be found from court records and they are from Ireland. An Irishman William Dorton left them some money and called the group of them including William “my countrymen”. The records show that a.) he was an “Irishman” servant b.) he was a teenager at the time c.) his associates were also teenage Irishman servants such as Philip Welch who was known to have come on the Goodfellow, and d.) he was called by an Irishman a “countrymen” therefore it is most likely that he came over from Ireland as an indentured servant along with the others on the ship Goodfellow which stopped in Virginia then eventually Boston. His family went to Ireland during one of the two prior waves of English settlers and his father may have been killed in the civil war at the time leaving William vulnerable to being picked up with the indigenous Irish by the ships Goodfellow and Providence. Being born in Ireland he probably spoke Gaelic like the other boys of the time and historical documents indicate that even English settlers in Ireland were being deported to make more money for the merchants.

    The notion that he was born in London then appeared as a servant in the colonies and then associated with what they interpreted as “lower class” people who spoke a different language and was mistakenly called their “countryman” to me is just ridiculous. All the evidence points to the fact that he came from Ireland most likely on the Goodfellow. Another book I came across came to the same conclusion – that he came from Ireland. Supposedly there is a diary of the trip across the Atlantic of the Goodfellow by its captain I am still trying to track down. Oh well.

    Just thought I would drop you a note about William since I have been researching his line for several years.

    You do have a very good timeline of his life above, a great summary really. I enjoyed reading it. Good luck with your future family research.


    • markeminer says:


      Thanks for the info, I’ve updated the page from the possibility that William was Irish to the probability that he was. As luck would have it, I was working yesterday on William’s daughter-in-laws’ family. John Danforth married Dorcas White and his brother Jonathan married Dorcas’ sister Mary. They were daughters of Nathaniel White, a pioneer in Purpooduck Maine. Nathaniel died after 1691. His ear was cut off and he was later killed in Indians. Purpooduck was abandoned, later to be resettled and is now Downtown Portland. I’ve found several 19th Century books that talk about Nathaniel and his brother Josiah, but nothing about their parents. If you learn anything, let me know,

      Thanks again, Mark

  6. Pingback: 17th Century Premarital Sex | Miner Descent

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