John Cheney

 John CHENEY (1605 -1666 ) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather, one of 2,048  in this generation of the Shaw line.

The Cheneys were exceptional among our ancestors having a coat of arms at the time of their immigration. See John’s father’s page for the lineage of knights

John Cheney was born 30 Jun 1605 in Roxburgh, Scotland.  His family are English coming from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, so maybe they were visiting Scotland. His parents were John CHENEY Sr. and Elizabeth [__?__].  He married Martha PARRATT on 3 Mar 1630/32 in Lawford, Essex, England.   He emigrated to Roxbury, Mass. in 1635.  John drowned at 28 Jul 1666 in Roxbury, Mass.

Martha Parratt was born about. 1608 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England.  Martha died 1684 in Newbury, Mass.

Children of John and Martha:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Mary Cheney Jul 1627
Lincolnshire England
William Lawes
3 Sep 1645
Newbury, Mass
30 Mar 1668
Rowley, Mass.
2. Martha Cheney c. 1629 England Anthony Sadlerca
Newbury, Mass
Thomas Berkby
14 Jun 1653 in Mass
24 Jan 1658
3. John Cheney c. 1631 England Mary Plummer
20 Apr 1660
Newbury, Mass
7 Jan 1670/71
4. Daniel Cheney c. 1633 England Sarah Bailey
8 Oct 1665
Newburyport, Mass.
10 Sep 1694
5. Sarah Cheney Feb 1635/36
Roxbury, Mass.
Joseph Plummer
23 Dec 1652 Newbury
26 May 1676
6. Peter Cheney c. 1638 Newbury Hannah Noyes
c. 1638
Jan 1693/94 Newbury
7. Lydia Cheney 1640 Newbury John Kendrick (Kenrick)
12 Nov 1657 Newbury
1708 Rowley
8. Hannah Cheney 16 Nov 1642
Richard Smith
16 Nov 1659 Newbury
9 May 1722
Ipswich, Essex, Mass
9. Nathaniel Cheney 12 Jan 1643/44 Newbury Bachler 4 Apr 1684 Newbury, Mass
10. Elizabeth CHENEY 12 Jan 1646/47
Newbury, Mass
Stephen CROSS
Newbury, Mass.

Cheney is derived from the French word chene, meaning oak, and it came into use originally in Normandy or England to signify the residence, probably, of the progenitor. It belongs to the same class of surnames as Wood, Lake, etc.

John was a shoemaker.

1635 – Rev. John Eliot, was the noble man who earned the title “Apostle to the Indians.” His first parish was Roxbury; and in his record of the church he gives the following report about a couple who were associated with him in fellowship for a short time.

“John Cheny he came into the Land in the yeare 1635. be brought 4 children, Mary, Martha, John, Daniel. Sarah his 5th child was borne in the last month of the same year 1635, cald February. he removed from or church to Newbery the end of the next year 1636. Martha Cheny the wife of John Cheny.”

There is no record of John Cheny’s buying property or having land assigned to him in Roxbury. A natural question rises, where did he live during that year? One explanation is that he may have had a temporary home with that pioneer who bore the same surname, William Cheney.   If John and William were near relatives,–father and son or brothers,– the Roxbury man would gladly share all his “housings and lands” with the other; or, if the one was lodged in the other’s home, we may infer that they were closely related. . The name John is repeated in both families down to the present day; the name, William, was of rare occurrence in the line of John for several generations.

John Cheney’s name is included on the Newbury Settlers Monument

1636 – Settled at Newbury.  The Newbury Plantation was in its infancy when John and Martha Cheney entered into it. An excellent group of people were at the fore, moulding its social and ecclesiastical shape after the most approved methods of the (then) new way. Regulations and agreements, conveniences and schemes, worship and study, business, morals and religion, — they gave to all the best dictates of “established” English thought, quickened and improved by those fresh Bible studies and free Christian practices which characterized the Puritan movement. Newbury had certain erratic and dissonant elements, which engraved some unworthy lines on its record; but it was, on the whole, a very upright, manly set of people who wrought and fellowshipped there. And this Cheney family took good rank from the first in that community of intelligent, earnest people. They intermarried with the leading households, and were respected and beloved at large. As Rev. John Eliot shows, they were members of the Roxbury church and were received at once to the communion of the Newbury church on arriving there; and their children joined in the same fellowship in due time. Mr. Cheney took no part in the conflicts of citizens about local organization, and his name does not appear on either of the partisan and factious petitions.

17 May 1637 – Admitted Freeman.  John Cheney, senior, we learn from the historian, Coffin, took great interest in Governor Winthrop’s campaign for the governorship against Sir Harry Vane, as the close of the latter’s term drew near. So Mr. Cheney, with nine others including  Thomas COLEMAN, Henry Sewall Jr, Nicholas Noyes [son-in-law of Capt. John CUTTING and Cheney’s future father-in-law], Robert Pike [future founder of Nantucket, liberal dissenter, witch trial critic and son-in-law of Joseph MOYCE], Archelaus Woodman [Edward WOODMAN‘s half-brother], Thomas Smith, James BROWNE, Nicholas Holt [future son-in-law of Humphrey BRADSTREET, and John Bartlett, walked forty miles from Newbury to Cambridge to take the “freeman’s oath” and qualify themselves to vote in the election which was soon to take place.  The other eight were  It was by such prompt movements that Winthrop was elected and the conservative party triumphed.

Vane lost his position to the elder John Winthrop  in the 1637 election.  The contentious election was marked by a sharp disagreement over the treatment of John Wheelwright, a supporter of Anne Hutchinson [daughter of our ancestor Francis MARBURY  (1555–1611) (wikipedia)] Winthrop won in part because the location of the vote was moved to Cambridge, reducing the power of Vane’s Boston support.  In the aftermath of the election Anne Hutchinson was put on trial, and eventually banished from the colony.

Many of her followers seriously considered leaving after the election. At the urging of  Roger Williams, some of these people, including Hutchinson, founded the settlement of Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island in the Narragansett Bay (later named Rhode Island and joined to Providence to form the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations).

Vane decided to return to England, apparently with the notion that he would acquire a royal governorship to trump the colonial administration.  Before his departure, he published A Brief Answer to a Certain Declaration, a response to Winthrop’s defense of the Act of Exclusion; this act was passed after the election to restrict the immigration of people with views not conforming to the colony’s religious orthodoxy.

21 Apr 1638 – John was very industrious in attention to his own affairs, so that he failed to show his face among the citizens at the annual town meeting a judgment condemned him with other absentees and voted that he should pay a fine of two shillings and sixpence, which the constable was ordered to collect before the next Tuesday night.   But the record states later that his fine was “remitted on account of his having a sufficient excuse”

John’s allotments of land were large. He had a good stand in the “old town” and on shore and stream elsewhere.

19 Jun 1638 – John had 3 acres of meadow at the westerly end of the great swamp behind the great hill.

25 Aug 1638 – Six acres of salt “marish.” “A parcel of marsh with little islands of upland in it”, about 20 acres in all.

5 Jul 1639 – “Little River on the northwest; formerly part of the calf common”, was assigned to him.

10 Jan 1643 – Lot No. 50 in the “New Towne”, “on the ffield street” was granted him.

The following extract from the town records gives us some data for a plan of the new town of Newbury.

“January 11th, 1643/44. Itt is hereby ordered and determined by the orderers of the towne affaires that the plan of the new towne is and shall be laid out by the lott layers as the house lotts were determined by their choice, beginning from the farthermost house lott in the South streete thence running through the Pine swampe, thence up the High streete numbering the lotts in the East streete to John Bartlett’s lott, the twenty-ninth, then through the west side of the High streete to Mr. Lowell’s, the twenty-eighth, and so to the end of that streete, then …… the Field streete to Mr. Woodman’s, the forty-first, thence to the end of that streete to John Cheney’s, the fiftieth, then turning to the first cross streete to John Emery’s, the fifty-first, thence coming up from the river side on the east side of the same streete to the other streete, the west side to Daniel Pierce’s, the fifty-seventh, and so to the river side the side the streete to Mr. Clarke and others to Francis Plumer, the sixty-sixth, as hereinunder by names and figures appeare.”

27 Apr 1648 – Member of the Grand Jury

1652 – John Cheney was elected to the board of selectmen more than once. The following document, on file at Salem, would naturally lead us to think he had been on the board before 1652, or at the time when Mr. Kent gave up his lot; the paper is wholly in his hand, except the clerk’s note.

“Ther being Certain loots Resigned unto the townes hand by way of Exchang for lands elsewhear. amongst the which Richard Kent’s lot 10 acres in contente was one, the which lot Richard Kent resigned, on the same Condicions the latter end of the order specifies to my best knowledg this I Testifie

Sworne in the court at Ipswich the 28th of (7) 1652.

Robert Lord cleric.”

29 Nov 1654 – John  was a member of a committee to “lay out the way to the neck and through the neck to the marshes on the east side of the old Towne”

Mar 1657 – Some charges were brought in the Ipswich Court against a very worthy citizen of Newbury; and John signed his name, with nineteen others, to a petition, addressed to the Court, protesting that, having had long acquaintance with the accused, they felt certain he was innocent.

A number of residents of Dover, Newbury, etc. petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts Bay for a grant of land at Pennacook (now Concord, N. H.) which was granted May 18, 1659. ” John Cheney is one of the names, but the signature differs from the accredited autographs of John Cheney, Senior. It may have been put down on verbal permission by some misspelling friend, or forged; or the good man may, possibly, have varied his own spelling. Nothing was done about a settlement at Concord until after our man had gone to “a better country.”

1661 and 1664 – The town records show that he was one of the selectmen


1. Mary Cheney

Mary’s husband William Lawes was born 1620 in England. His parents were William Lawes and Lewys Wale. William died 3 Mar 1668 in Rowley, Essex, Mass.

2. Martha Cheney

Martha’s first husband Anthony Sadler was born 1629 in England. Anthony died in 1650 in Newbury, Essex, Mass, a little before the birth of a boy. Mr. Cheney was appointed guardian of the child 5 Oct 1652, and remembered him in his will.

Martha’s second husband Thomas Berkby was born 3 Sep 1639 in Rowley, Essex, Mass. His parents were Thomas Burpee (Burkby) and [_?__]. After Martha died, he married 15 Apr 1659 in Rowley, Essex, Mass. to Sarah Kelley (b. 12 Feb 1641 in Newbury – d. 25 Dec 1713 in Rowley). Thomas died 1 Jun 1701 in Rowley, Essex, Mass

3. John Cheney

John’s wife Mary Plummer was born 1634 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Francis Plummer and Ruth Palmer. After John died, she married 29 Apr 1672 in Rowley, Essex, Mass. to David Bennett (b. 1615 in England – d. 4 Feb 1718 in Rowley). Mary died 27 Sep 1682 in Rowley, Essex, Mass

4. Daniel Cheney

Daniel’s wife Sarah Bailey was born 17 Aug 1644 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were John Bailey and Eleanor Emery. Sarah died 26 Oct 1714 in Newbury, Essex, Mass

From Phoebe Tilton 1947 by Walter Goodwin Davis 1947

5. Sarah Cheney

Sarah’s husband Joseph Plummer was born 1630 in England. His parents were Francis Plummer and Ruth Palmer. Joseph died 11 Dec 1683 in Newbury, Essex, Mass

6. Peter Cheney

Peter’s wife Hannah Noyes was born 30 Oct 1643 in Newbury, Mass. Her parents were Nicholas Noyes and Mary Cutting. After Peter died, she married 3 Jun 1700 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. to John Atkinson (b. 1636 in Concord, Middlesex, Mass. – d. 1714 in Newbury). Hannah died 5 Jan 1705 in Newbury, Mass.

What was evidently a family group of six, having decided to go to New England, took the Oath of Allegiance – John Woodbridge, George Brown, Nicholas Noyes, and Richard Brown – on March 24, 1633/34, Thomas Parker and James Noyes on March 26, 1634 – and all embarked on the “Mary and John” at Southampton, reaching Nantasket (now Hull) near Boston sometime in May 1634 and removed to Agwam (Ipswich) where they remained during the following winter. The Rev. Parker and friends remained in Ipswich until the following spring when they applied to the General Court for liberty to settle on the Quascacunquen in an area known as Wessacucon. May 6, 1635, the following orders were passed by the General Court:

Wessacucon is allowed by the court to be a plantation & it is refered to Mr. Humfry, Mr. Endicott, Capt. Turner and Capt. Trask or any three of them, to sett out the bounds of Ipswich & Wessacucon or so much thereof as they can & the name of the said plantation in changed & hereafter to be called Neweberry.

Tradition asserts that they landed on the north bank of the river, about one hundred rods below the spot where the bridge now stands, and that Nicholas Noyes was the first person who leaped ashore.

Most of the passengers who came to New England in the ship “Mary & John” were induced to remove to Newbury early in the year 1635. Tradition asserts that they came by water from Ipswich and landed on the north shore of the Quascacunquen (now Parker) river, about two or three hundred rods below the bridge that connects the “Lower Green” with the “Great Neck” and the town of Rowley. A monument marks the spot where the settlers disembarked in May or June, 1635. Tradition states that young Nicholas was the first person to leap ashore when their boat anchored in the Quascacumquen (now the Parker) River. (John J. Currier, “History of Newbury” p.312; Sarah Anna Emery “Reminiscences of a Nonagenarian” p.112) They joined 23 men and their families who formed a cattle-breeding company and were among the first settlers at Newbury where their children were born. Newbury’s first minister was Thomas Parker, a cousin.

Rev. Nicholas Noyes, in his account of his uncle, Rev. James Noyes, told of the coming of Mr. Parker, Mr. Noyes and his younger brother Nicholas Noyes, a single man, adding “between which three was more than ordinary endearment of affection, which was broken but by death.”

Nicholas took the Freeman’s Oath in Cambridge on May 17, 1637 when he and nine others walked from Newbury to Cambridge to vote for Gov. Winthrop. On April 21, 1638, he was one of five men fined 2s. 6d. apiece for absence from Newbury town meeting after due warning. The meeting was called to order at eight o’clock in the morning! Two of the men (not Nicholas) had their fines remitted, having sufficient excuses.

It must have been very soon after this that Noyes sailed on a voyage to England, possibly to settle family affairs and to report on conditions in Massachusetts Bay. He returned to New England on the “Jonathan” which sailed from London, probably soon after April 12, 1639, and “came to Anchor in Boston Harbor.” Also on the “Jonathan” were Anthony Somerby of Newbury and Mr. Peter Noyes of Sudbury, who, having come over on the “Confidence” in 1638, aged 47, and found New England to his liking, had gone back to his home in Penton, near Andover, co. Hants, to fetch his family. Peter was doubtless a kinsman of Nicholas. [Register, 32:411]

When it was proposed to remove the inhabitants of Newbury from their first settlement on the Parker river to a new site nearer the Merrimac, Nicholas Noyes was a freeholder and a deputy “for the managing of those things that concern the ordering of the New Town” on December 7, 1642.

In 1650 Nicholas and four other men were before the court for saying that “the elders would transgress for a morsel of bread.” He lost no prestige thereby for on September 30, 1651, at Ipswich he was sworn clerk of the Newbury market. In 1652 many were brought before the court for not observing the Sumptuary laws of 1651. The records say “Nicholas Noyes’ wife, Hugh March’s wife, and William Chandler’s wife were each presented for wearing a silk hood and scarf; but were discharged on proof that their husbands were worth £200 each. John Hutchins’ wife was also discharged upon testifying that she was brought up above the ordinary rank.”

The town voted on November 29, 1652, that a school house be built and that £20 a year be appropriated for the schoolmaster, and Mr. Woodman, Richard Kent, jun., Lieut. Pike and Nicholas Noyes were named the committee to carry it out.

Thomas Noyes of Sudbury, son of Peter Noyes, had apparently settled in Newbury, but returned to live in Sudbury before 1656 when he appointed his friend Mr. Nicholas Noyes, gentleman, and Robert Long, both of Newbury, his attorneys to let his house and lands.

Nicholas was appointed Commissioner to End Small Causes, or local justice, in 1657 and 1658. His most important service, however, was as deputy to the General Court in 1660 and in 1678 when on September 19 he was chosen by the town “to serve at the next session of the Court until it be ended,” a special session having been called for October 2 at which the oath of allegiance to King Charles II was submitted and signed by the deputies; he served also 28 May 1679, 19 May 1680, and 4 Jan 1680-84.

In the long and bitter controversy between Rev. Mr. Parker and Edward Woodman, Nicholas was one of Parker’s chief supporters. He was chosen deacon of the First Parish of Newbury on March 20, 1683/4.

Sometime before his death his son Nicholas, the Salem parson, wrote of him as “through the mercy of God yet living, and hath of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren above one hundred.”

7 Mar 1670 + ‘ Peter Cheney proposed to the town for half an acre of land on or about the little hill this side the mill, to build a wind mill upon to grind corn for the town, when the water mill fails.’ This was granted by the town, ‘ upon condition that he do build a good mill to answer the end proposed for and so long as the mill is made and maintained for the said service and no longer.’

This mill stood on the ‘ little hill,’ near the mill bridge, or ‘ four rock,’ as it is sometimes called, and remained there till Mr. Cheney removed to Byfield, in the year 1687.

7. Lydia Cheney

Lydia’s husband John Kendrick (Kenrick) was born 1640 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. His parents were John Kendrick and Anne Smith. John died Apr 1716 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass.

8. Hannah Cheney

Hannah’s husband Richard Smith was born 1629 in England. His parents were Richard Smith and Joanna Porridge. Hannah died 24 Sep 1714 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass.

9. Nathaniel Cheney

He does not appear to have married.Before his death, which occurred April 4, 1684, he made a will, in which he bequeathed one third of his estate (including what was yet to fall to him from his father’s estate). He gave it to his brother Peter and his sisters, Lydia Kenrick and Elizabeth Cross; but devised a few things to others. His great Bible, after the death of his mother, was to go to his sister Elizabeth, or, in the event of her death, to her son Daniel Smith; his “skillet” to Sarah, eldest daughter of his brother Daniel, or to “his cousin,” her sister Hannah; he requested his friends and brothers in the Lord, George Little and Cutting Noyes, to act as executors. In his inventory we note “a parcel of meadow at haverhill” appraised at œ25, which shows how he had been looking westward. The records of Suffield in the Connecticut valley show that he had travelled much further, for he had lands assigned him there Dec. 1, 1680. He deeded this to his nephew John, son of Peter, April 1, 1684, just before making his will. His name occurs in the list of the members of the First Baptist church of Newbury, in 1681. George Little, one of those he asked to attend to his estate, was a “brother” in that particular church. .

10. Elizabeth CHENEY (See Stephen CROSS‘s page)


From Phoebe Tilton 1947 by Walter Goodwin Davis 1947


John Cheney 1 Source: Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury (1938)

John Cheney 2

John Cheney 3

John Cheney 4

Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury (1938) By Holman, Mary Lovering, 1868-1947; Pillsbury, Helen Pendleton Winston, 1878-1957

A sketch of the history of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 to 1845 (1845) By Coffin, Joshua, 1792-1864; Bartlett, Joseph, 1686-1754

This entry was posted in 12th Generation, Historical Monument, Immigrant - England, Immigrant Coat of Arms, Line - Shaw, Pioneer, Public Office and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to John Cheney

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  4. Marilyn (Cheney) Thomas says:


  5. margaret says:

    I would love to know if anyone has got the ancestors of Thomas Cheney bn 1690 Irthlingborough England and as far as i know married Ann Thomas 1715. I am a decendant of this couple and trying to get further back. there seems to be over 100 years missing of Cheney in Irthlingborough?
    marg Australia

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