Percival Lowell

Percival LOWELL (1571 – 1665)  determined at the age of 68 that the future was in the New World. and the Lowell clan settled on the North Shore at Newbury after they arrived in Boston 23 June 1639.(See wikipedia article)Percivial was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation of the Miller line.

The Lowells were exceptional among our ancestors having a coat of arms at the time of their immigration

Percival Lowell was born in 1571 in Kingston, Seymour, Somerset, England.  His parents were Richard LOWLE and Ann PERCEVAL.  He married Rebecca [__?__] about 1600 in Bristol, Somerset, England.

Percival Lowell – Memorial

With his wife and sons, John and Richard, and daughters, Joan and Anne, sailed in the “Jonathan” to Newbury, Mass. in 1639.  Joan’s husband, John Oliver, his partner William Gerrish, his clerk Anthony Somerby, Anthony’s brother Henry, and Richard Pole who was apprenticed to son John, all came over with the family.

Percival Lowell’s name is included on the Newbury Settlers Monument

Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop needed solid dependable people to settle the North Shore area as a buffer against the French from Canada and he urged that the Lowells relocate to Newburyport on the Merrimack River, at the border of the failing Province of Maine.  Percival died 8 Jan 1664/65 in Newbury, Mass aged 94.

Alternatively, he was born in Portbury, Somerset, England.

Rebecca [__?__] died 28 Dec 1645 in Newbury, Mass

Children of Percival and Rebecca:

Name Born Married Departed
1. John LOWELL 16 Feb 1605 in Kinston, Seymour, Somerset, England Mary Gooch

Elizabeth GOODALE

Newbury, Mass
10 Jul 1647 in Newbury, Mass.
2. Richard Lowell 1602, Kingston Seymour, England Margaret [__?__] 5 Aug 1682
Newbury, Mass
3. Benjamin Lowell ca. 1604
4. Joanna Lowell 1609
Bristol, Somerset,
John Oliver
Capt. William Gerrish
7 Apr 1645
Newbury, Mass
14 Jun 1677
Newbury, Mass
5. Anne Lowell 1612
Thomas Millard
Daniel Peirce
26 Dec 1654 Newbury, Mass.
27 Nov 1690
Newbury, Mass

In England Percival resided at Kingston-Seymour, Clevedon, Portbury, Weston-in-Gardano, all in Somersetshire, also Bristol of Gloucestershire.
Click to view Google Map of the five locations

Spelling for the Lowell family name was standardized after 1721 by the Rev. John Lowell.  Before that it could be spelled  Lowle, Lowel, Lowle, Lowell, Lowl, Louell, or Louel.

In 1591 the heralds visited Somerset and among those asked to prove their right to a coat of arms and enter their pedigree was John Lowle of the parish of Walton.  He made good on his claims and and his coat and pedigree were duly registered over his signature.  In the 1591 visitation pedigree,  Percival Lowell’s name appears as son and heir of Richard Lowle.  While his parents and grandparents are undoubtedly correct, the geneologist Walter Goodwin Davis has his doubts about the more ancient ancestors this pedigree claims.  According to Davis “The Elizabethan herald were, many of them, excessively obliging.”

They had their well authenticated coat of arms with other evidence of their high position.  See Edward I for the full lineage.   They had a large mercantile establishment in Bristol under the firm name of “Percival Lowle and Co.” This firm was composed of the father Percival, his son John, and perhaps his son Richard, and possibly William Gerrish.

Oct 1576 – In a general survey of Henry Lord Berkeley’s commissioners sitting in Berkeley in  the records of the manor of Portbury show that Crispiana (or Christiana) Lowle widow wife of Richard Lowle was admitted (with Andrew Lowle) tenant tenant of a messuge and land in Portbury for a fine of Ð20 at an annual rent of 32/4 on April 10, 1570. At the same commission Percival Lowle and Margaret Lowle are shown to have been admitted tenants of 8 acres of land in Portbury for a fine of Ð40 on April 14, 1573. (Margaret was dead in 1576)

1597 – Percival was assessor in Kingston-Seymour, England.

1621 –   The manor of Portbury was a Berkeley manor and is near Bristol. Among the rents collected  it is stated that Percival Lowle succeeds John Thring deceased as bailiff of the manor (Portbury) at an annual fee of 43s-4d.

1626  – His fee is reduced to 33s-4d paid from the issues of wood sales of 1 acre of woodland within the manor.

1642 – Newbury, MA was organized 1642 with 90 proprietors, of whom were Percival and John Lowle.

17 Mar 1742 –  Freeholder.

1648 – In a deed to Mrs. Gerrish he is called “Gent,” meaning a person of high station. Percival and sons had means when they arrived in America and purchased real estate quite extensively in old Newbury, MA and vicinity.

1649 – His signature appears with that of Thomas Parker and James Noyes on a petition to the General Court begging that Plum Island might be used as a common and exclusive pasturage for Newbury.

1653  – Percival Lowle was appraiser of the estate of Thomas Millard of Newbury, MA.

1688 – On the Town Rate of Newbury , “Mr. Per. Lowle” was placed for: “2 Heads, 1 horse, 5 plowlands, 10 meadows, 1 house, 4 oxen, 4 cows , 1 3 yr old, 1 2 yr old, 1 1 yr old, 10 sheep, 2 hogs.” On the same rate Mrs Lowle (probably widow of John, oldest son of Percival) and Thomas Lowle were also for a little less than Percival.

(D. R. Lowell.1899. The historic genealogy of the Lowells of Ameri ca from 1639-1899, p xlviii-xlix)

(D. R. Percival’s ancestors were recorded to live in County Somerset, England for more than four centuries prior to his birth . At the age of 26 Percival held the office of Assessor of Kingston-Seymour. The causes that led to the abandonment of his nativity, and to exile himself from the associations of a lifetime – the island home of a long line of distinguished ancestry – is a study of interest. He was then sixty-eight years of age. He had been successful even to opulence, and his age and circumstances would seem to have invited him to ease and retirement befitting his surroundings at Bristol. Surely the change had no mercenary incentive. The rude conditions of the new world would clothe him in new habits, new modes and methods in an arena alive with vicissit udes and dangers. The cause is not hard of solution that impelled him to thus forego the seductions of aclosing career in quietude, and to seek an asylum in old age amid the infant settlements in America. Percival was a contemporary of Charles I, then on the throne. This tyrannical monarch hedged around the cival (sic) and religious liberties of the people of England such odious limitations and oppressive exactions, constantly increasing in their repulsiveness , that in the year 1629 there was chartered what is known as the “Massachusets Bay Colony.” This corporation afforded an avenue of escape for the Puritans from these illegal impositions – especially in the matter of religious freedom and church procedure; and within twelve years after the charter, more than 20,000 English Puritans left the mother country for the New England wilderness.

31 Jan 1670/71 –  in the Town of Newbury Records, when, with others, he was accorded permission to build, at his own charge, a pew in the southeast corner of the Meetinghouse for the use of his wife and daughters . The House herereferred to was the First Church of Newbury, which was succeeded in 1699 by what is described “as a large and commodious edifice.”

Lowell Family Tree Ancestors from 1591 pedigree

William Lowle
b.bef.1288 Yardley, Worcestershire, England; parents ukn

d.Yardley, Worcestershire, England
m.dau. of the family Lyttleton

CHILDREN included:

  1. James
  2. Andrew
  3. Samuel

…Within a few miles of Yardley, lived a noble Norman family, the Lyttletons. With the family, William became connected by marriage. The Lyttletons held large domains spreading out around Frankley and extending toward Yardley, whereon today’s Hagley Hall, seat of its present head, Earl Cobham, Lord of Lyttleton.

James Lowle
b.s/o William Lowle and d/o Lyttleton family

m.dau. of the family Baskerville

CHILDREN included:

  1. Raffe
  2. George
  3. Edmund
  4. Andrew

Raffe Lowle
b.s/o James Lowle and d/o Baskerville family

m.dau. of the family Haselrigg

CHILDREN included:

  1. Walter b.abt.1430
  2. Thomas
  3. Anthony
  4. Sabity

Walter Lowle
b.abt.1430 s/o Raffe Lowle and dau. of Haselrigg

m.Joane Russel

CHILDREN included:

  1. Richard Lowle b.abt.1460

Richard Lowle
b.abt.1460 Yardley, Worcestershire, England; s/o Walter Lowle and Joane Russel

d.Yardley, Worcestershire, England
m.dau. of the family Turner

CHILDREN included:

  1. Thomas
  2. Richard d.slain at Birmingham, County Warwick

Thomas Lowle
b.s/o Richard Lowle and d/o Turner family – The furthest back Lowell that Walter Goodwin Davis could verify.

m.dau. of the family Layhouse

CHILDREN included:

  1. John
  2. William Lowle
  3. Thomas Lowle
  4. Roger Lowle

John Lowle Northampton, England; s/o Thomas Lowle and dau. of Layhouse.  He left the Midlands and settled in Somerset. The visitation pedigree states that he married a daughter of the Wake family and this is highly probable as that Northampton family acquired the manor in Clevedon in 1432. The name derives from the Old English, ‘Cleve’ meaning cleave or cleft and ‘don’ meaning hill,

d.March 8, 1552/53 Clevedon [Clyudon], Somerset, England
m.dau. of family Wake
b.1507 Clevedon, Somerset, England

CHILDREN included:

  1. John Lowle b.about 1510
  2. Roger b. about 1515
  3. Mary m. [__?__] Collins; she left a legacy as “my sister” in the will of John Lowle in 1552/53.  She may of course been a half-sister or a sister-in-law.
  4. A Daughter ,. [__?__ Beny] and mentioned as a sister in the will of Roger Lowle.

John Lowle Walton, Somersetshire, England, son of John Lowle and d/o Wake family

d.March 8, 1552/3 (will proved) Portbury, Somersetshire, England
m. Apolyn Leversedge; d/o Richard Leversedge
b.1529 in Walton, Somersetshire, England

CHILDREN included:

  1. Richard Lowle d.aft.1591 Clyvadons, Somersetshire, England
  2. Edmond Lowle b.abt.1543 Poniberge, England Not named in his father’s will in 1552/53
  3. John Lowle b.abt.1546 Poniberge, England. Not named in his father’s will.

Richard Lowle

b.abt.1535/1547 Somersetshire, England; s/o John and Apolyn (Leversedge) Lowle
d.aft.1591 Clyvadons, Somersetshire, England
m.bef.1573 Bristol, Somersetshire, England; Anne Percival.  The Lowell “Historic Genealogy” leaps to the happy conclusion that this ‘daughter of Perceval’ was one of the daughters of the contemporary head of that Somersetshire household Edmund Percival of Weston-in-Gordano who died in 1551. Weston-in-Gordano is very close to Portbury and Clevedon and a match is possible, but there is no direct evidence.
b.abt.1549 d/o Edmund Perceval and Elizabeth Panthuit of Weston-in-Gardanc.

CHILDREN included:

  1. Percival b.1570/71 Kingston, Seymour, Somersetshire, England d.Jan. 8, 1664 Newbury, MA


1. John LOWELL (See his page)

2. Richard Lowell

Richard’s wife Margaret [__?__]

4. Joanna Lowell

Joanna’s first husband John Oliver was born 1613 in Bristol, Somerset, England. His parents were James Oliver and Frances Cary. John died 1642 in Newbury, Essex, Mass.

Joanna’s second husband Capt. William Gerrish was born 20 Aug 1617 in Bristol, Somerset, England. His parents were William Gerrish and Anne [__?__]. William died 9 Aug 1687 in Salem, Essex, Mass.

William Gerrish came with the Lowell family on the “Jonathan”  from England to Massachusetts in 1639.  William was instructed in the mercantile business by Mr. Lowle while both still lived in England.  Not long after the group arrived in the colony, William married widow Joanna Lowle Oliver.  Together they had ten children, at least eight of whom survived to adulthood.

Residing with his family in Newbury, William became a freeholder in 1649.  As he grew in the esteem of his townsmen he was appointed to such positions as Commissioner of Common Causes, Lieutenant and then Captain of their local militia (known as band), and ultimately deputy to the General Court (the lower house of representatives in Massachusetts).  He was the equivalent of a road and public works commissioner seeing to road and bridge repair and the town’s water millconstruction.

As he became more involved in his community the townspeople asked that he not be in charge of both the Horse and the Foote troops at the same time, possibly implying he was gaining too much power.  As a deputy to the General Court (ultimately the lower house of representatives in Massachusetts) he and six others listed a number of actions which had displeased the king.  They in turn were asked to defend their statement.  Apparently this was done to the satisfaction of his peers, for in 1686, after he had moved to Boston and remarried, he was asked to give the opening and closing prayers at the semi-centennial celebration of the city of Boston.

In his final years William Gerrish was the owner of Number Three Long Wharf.  He died on August 9, 1687 at the house of his son Benjamin in Salem, where he wrote and signed a detailed will, regrettably more generous to his sons than to his daughters.

He married, 2d, Ann Sandy, widow of John Sandy, and daughter of Richard Parker of Boston, and moved to Boston in 1678. He was taken sick in the Summer of 1687, and
on the 3d of August he was carried from his home in Cornhill in a sedan chair to a boat and taken to Salem, where he died Aug. 9. His friends thought that taking him to Salem
by water might help him. He was buried In Capt. Prince’s [Price’s] tomb.

5. Anne Lowell

Anne’s first husband Thomas Millard was born 1600 in Eaton, Derbyshire, England. His parents were Thomas Milward and [__?__] Alsop. Thomas died 29 Sep 1653 in Newbury, Essex, Mass.

Anne’s second husband Daniel Peirce was born 1611 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. Daniel died 27 Nov 1677 in Newbury, Essex, Mass.

Estate of Daniel Peirce Sr. of Newbury

Bee it knowne unto all [men by these copy] prsent that I Daniel Peirce Senr. of newbury beeing sencible of my weekenes and mortality beeing of perfect memory doe hereby male my last will and testament Comending my Soule into the hands of my blessed Redemer the Lord Jesus Christ and my body to the dust inan assurred hope of a blessed Resurection.

And for my worldly goods which god of his mercy hathlent vnto meI dispose of as followeth Nouember 12st 1677 Imprs. I giue and bequeth my housesing lands goods & Chattells vnto my Son Daniell Peirce that is to say all my housing & lands that are vndisposed of & appoint him my true & lawfull heire of all & also my sole Executor of this my last will & testament Desireing him to Doe for his brother Joshua Peirces children as he shall see in his discretion meet to be done for them. And wheas vpon my marriag agreement with Anne my wife she was to haue twenty pounds a yeare dureing her naturall life I appoint my said executor that in all conditions shee shalbe in, that he prouide all such necessaryes for her that shee shall stand in need of and that she shall inioy her former libertyes in the house dureing her life And for my wiues son in Law Thomas Thorpe prouided he wil bee content & neuer trouble nor molest my son after my decease I giue him a farme at New Jarsy scituate vpon Row Riuer Joyning to John Bishops lande but if he shall forfeit the said gift And wheras I haue giuen my houseing & lands as abousaid vnto my said Son that is the farme I now Dwell vpon I giue it vnto my heire & his heirs so that it shall neuer be sold nor any part duided from the lawfull heire male of the same name & kindred but if it should fall out hereafter that my son Daniels Male posterity faile that it should come to Joshuas posterity then the said heire male of his posterity shall pay eight hundred pounds to the daughters of my son Daniels posterity. My funeral being discharged.
Daniel Perce Sener

Witnes: Anthony Sombery, Jno. Dole
Proved in Ipswich court Mar. 26, 1678 by the witnesses.

Inventory of the estate of Daniell Peirce, Senr. of Newbury, deceased Nov.27, 1677 taken by Anthony Somerby and Robert Long :

  • a Farme of about two hundred & thirty acres of upland & meadow with the houseing , Barnes & orchard 1200li. ;
  • A Mault house with about twenty acres of upland and three & thirty acres of meadow & furniture to ye malthouse, 255li. ;
  • his wearing Apparrell, books Armes, 40li.;
  • horse & mare & yearling colt, 7li.;
  • about forty head of neat cattle, oxen, cowes & young Cattle, 94li.;
  • about a hundred & sixty sheep yong & old 40li.;
  • eighteen small swyne, 5li. 16s.;
  • foure feather beds with other bedings, Rugs, sheets blankets, pillows, bedsteads & 2 paire of curtaines, 30li.;
  • Anvil, vice, shop tooles with iron potts, kettles, Brass, pewter, 2 old furnaces, 2 pr. of cottrils, spits, fire shovel & tonges, 20li;
  • 2 trunks, chests, 2 tables, carpet, table linnen, chayres, cushions &c., 8li. ;
  • Barrels, tubs, keylers, bowles, & trayes with other lumber , 2li. 10s.;
  • Carts, wheels, dunpot, ploughs, chaynes and all other utensils for husbandry, 5li. corne & grayne of all sorts in the house and in the Barne, 60li;
  • Negros, 60li.;
  • Debts about 10li ;
  • total, 1837li. 10s. more a farme & stock at new Jarsye, 60li.

Attested in ispwich court Mar 26 1678 by Daniell Pearce to be a true inventory of the estate of his father Daniel Peirce.


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15 Responses to Percival Lowell

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  9. This is wonderful….a story that began in my country and ended in yours…

    • markeminer says:

      Thanks for your nice comment, a cheery way to begin my day. Did you know that one of his namesake descendants, Percival Lowell, discovered Pluto? Too bad it’s only a dwarf planet now.

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  11. Brian Lowell says:

    Richard Lowell (1602-1682) is my (21x) grandfather. Just made the discovery. This was so fun (and sometimes sad) to read. Thank You.

  12. Keith Dyas, Parker, CO Ph. 303-841-8843 says:

    I inherited the book “The Lowell Genealogy 1639-1899 from a cousin. Since I am not a descendent in the Lowell line, I would like to gift it to a Lowell descendent.

  13. joshweed says:

    Unsure if my original comment went through, so second attempt:

    Hi there. Not sure if you’re responding to people these days, but I’ve been attempting to suss out a mystery for a writing project I’m doing, and wanted to enlist your knowledge and aid if you’re up to it. It is clearly documented that John Lowell was, secondly, wed to Elizabeth Goodale, daughter of John Goodale. However, I’ve seen many secondary sources indicate that Percival’s wife Rebecca was also a Goodale. No primary documentation that I can find seems to bear this out, though. I find the absence of this progenitor disturbing–who was this woman? Together, they both had many notable descendants, particularly literary descendants (as I’m sure you know–obviously this includes the Lowell poets Amy, Robert and James Russel, as well as many others). I am deeply curious about the matriarch of this prominent American family.

    Have you encountered anything about her? I have wondered if, if indeed she were a Goodale, John’s marriage to Elizabeth made the early genealogists of the family wish to gloss over the fact that he’d so obviously married a close cousin (or possibly even a half-aunt). However, the Rebecca that is a daughter of John Goodale seems an unlikely choice.

    Anyway, was wondering if you had any insights to this mystery. Who was Rebecca Lowell?

    I have another mystery I’d love your thoughts on in another shared family line as well, which I’ll shoot over and send now.


    • markeminer says:

      Hi Josh,

      I don’t know the answers to your questions, but I appreciate being part of the Lowell’s story. I still have Percival’s wife as Rebecca [__?__]

      Let me know if you find out more. Hopefully, someone who knows will see your post here.

      We are all cousins.


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