Theophilus Shatswell

Theophilus SHATSWELL (1612 – 1663) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line. He also was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation of the Miller line.

Theophilus Shatswell was born about 1612 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England.  His parents were John SHATSWELL and Judith DILLINGHAM.  He immigrated about 1633.  He married Susanna BOSWORTH about 1640 in Haverhill, Mass. Theophilus died on 17 Aug 1663 in Haverhill, Mass

Susanna Bosworth was born about 1609 in Boston, Lincoln,  England.   Her parents were Joseph  BOSWORTH and Alice [__?__].   Some genealogies say that Hanniel was Susannah’s father and not her brother and he was born in 1589 in Boston, Lincolnshire, England instead of 1615.  These genealogies move his marriage to Abigail Scott up to  17 Mar 1614 in England instead of 17 Mar 1654.  They also change Abigail’s birth to 5 Mar 1591 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, England.   In both versions Hanniel died 25 Sep 1683 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. and Abigail died 1684 in Ipswich, Essex County, Mass.  Susanna died in 1672.

In his will of 20 June 1663 Theophilus Shatswell of Haverhill named “my brother Wilyam Sargent & my kinsman Lieutenant Philip Challis” his overseers; Philip Watson-Challis had married Mary, the eldest child of William Sargent. Recent research has shown that no sibling of Theophilus Shatswell married [our ancestor] William SARGENT, and the two wives of William Sargent have been identified. The most likely remaining solution is that Theophilus Shatswell married a sister of William Sargent.  Perhaps Theophilus married William’s sister Susanna SARGENT in 1639 in Ipswich, Mass instead of Susanna Bosworth.

Susanna Sargent may have been born in 1618 in England and died in Oct 1672 in Ipswich, Mass., but I can find no mention of her in the Sargent records.

Children of Theophilus and Susanna:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Lydia (Lidea) SHATSWELL c. 1645 Haverhill, Mass.
c. 1642
17 Sep 1663
21 Dec 1729 Bradford, Mass.
2. Hannah Shatswell 5 AUG 1651
or 6 Jul  1651
Richard Mercer
18 MAR 1668/69 Haverhill
27 DEC 1670 Haverhill
3. Mary Shatswell c. 1652 Haverhill
or c. 1640
William Dell
30 JUN 1662 in Haverhill, Mass
Nicholas Smith
Charles Rundlett
10 Jan 1675
Exeter, NH

The year of Theophilus’ birth is not certain. Macdonald (TAG, 150:185) estimates 1599. Davis (p. 285) states he was born about 1614. From Davis, p. 285:

Theophilus’ name first appears upon the Ipswich records in 1639, and in 1642 he was one of the young soldiers sent by the town to disarm the Indian chief Passaconoway.

Mar 1646 – With Edward Chapman and Thomas Perkins he sued Roger Cheston.

1648 – He was a subscirber to Major General Denison’s salary.

By 1650 he had moved to Haverhill where he took the Oath of Fidelity and served on a Norfolk county trial jury, as he did in 1652 (dismissed) and 1653. A partner in a Haverhill sawmill as early as 1651, he and Daniel Ladd erected a mill at Spiggot river in 1659.

1653 –  He was possibly not a man of average good health, for in 1653, when he would have been only thirty-nine years old, the town of Haverhill gave him’liberty to train or not according as he is able, provided he pay 12d. aday to the Haverhill company.’

1653 – He also sold his dwelling house in Ipswich, near the north end of the town, to William Marchent who had been his tenant. He was not often in the courts.

1653 – He was sued by Job Clement for mowing and carrying away Clement’s hay in the Hawkes meadow.

1654 – He sued Tristram Coffin for not insuring him three acres of accommodation according to promise. He lost both cases.

1659 – He was appointed Edward Clarke’s attorney.

In 1659 –  Aged forty-five, he testified that he had made an agreement for the sale of a house between merchant Joseph Jewett of Rowley and his kinsman Richard Shatswell.

1659 – A partner in a Haverhill saw-mill as early as 1651, he and Daniel ladd erected a mill at Spiggot river.

He was a signatory to the petition in favor of the liberal Robert Pike (son-in-law of Joseph MOYCE)  See Moyce’s page for details.

From “Its About Time, Chronological Historic and Genealogical Research Notes on Some of the Maternal Ancestors and Descendants of America (Spilman) Mears (1846-1935),” compiled by William L. DeCoursey:

1663 – In the last will and testament of Theophilus SHATSWELL of Haverhill, dated 20 day of fourth month in the year 1763, he left portions of his estate to: eldest daughter Mary, daughter Lidea, daughter Hannah, Hannill Clark (if he should ‘stay with me or mine until he be one and twenty years of age’). His wife Susanah and Daughter Hannah were named executors. He named ‘my Brother Wilyam SARGENT and my Kinsman Lefttenent Philip CHALIS’ overseers. Witnesses were Jonathan SINGLTARY and Edward CLARKE. The will was proved in Hampton court 13: 8: 1663 by Edward CLARK. Inventory of the estate of Theophilus SHATSWELL was taken 8 Sept. 1663 by John EATON, Sr. and John EMMERRY, Sr. Essex County, Mass. Probate Files, Docket 25,121.”

Pioneers of MA by Charles  H. Pope, p.409 and Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines Vol 1 by Mary W. Ferris pp. 105, 106 & 179 have some Shatswell/Bosworth info. Both of them say Haniel CLARK (not BOSWORTH) was mentioned in the will of Theo. Haniel B. would have been 48 in 1663. Haniel Clark was the nephew of Susanna, son of her sister Dorcas and was apparently living at Theo’s home. Haniel B., Dorcas and Susanna were siblings it appears.
Dawes-Gates has quite a bit re: this relationship. Ferris, however, only mentions the first husb/o Mary Shatswell, William Deale.
Please contact him at


1. Lydia SHATSWELL (See John GRIFFIN‘s page)

2. Hannah Shatswell

Hannah’s husband Richard Mercer was born 1644 in Haverhill, Essex, Mass. His parents were Abiel Mercer and [__?__]. Richard died 29 Apr 1671 in Haverhill, Mass.

Hannah died in childbirth 27 Dec 1670, her husband Richard Mercer dying 29 Mar 1671, leaving their baby son Abial Mercer.  Edward Clark was appointed administrator of the Mercer estate and entered an inventory 10 Oct 1671.  In May 1671, Clarke drew up a petition to the Supreme Judicial Court, stating that Theophilus Shatswell had left his daughter Hannah practically nothing and that, as he had named her joint executrix with her mother, it had be supposed that she would have the homestead and other lands after her mother’s death, but that the other heirs opposed this, stating that the lands were entailed on their children.  He set forth the plight of the baby Abial, whose parents had died leaving him penniless.  He asks for advice and direction.  In 1683, Haniel Bosworth, Abial’s great uncle, who had been appointed Abial’s guardian, asked that the estate be settled on Abial and that Israel Elea be appointed guardian and administrator in his stead.  Having grown to manhood, Abial himself was appointed administrator of the Shatswell estate in 1704, his two aunts having renounced their rights and it is pleasant to learn that there remained apparently for his undisputed possession, his grandparents’ home and other property worth £190.

10 Apr 1683 – Haniell Bosworth of Ipswich petitioned the court at Ipswich,  as administrator of the estate of Theophilus SHATSWELL and guardian of Abiall Messer [MERCIER] of Haverhill. He requested that the estate be settled on the said Abiall according to the will of Theophilus SHATSWELL of Haverhill, his grandfather, and also that Isarell Ela be appointed guardian and administrator in his place. He also states that he has received but one small warming pan and three ‘smale puter platers, the rest of the moveables John GRIFIN had and hath not yet given account of.’ . . .

19 June 1704 – Abiall Mercier of Haverhill was named administrator of the estate of his late grandfather, Theophilus SATCHWELL. Essex County Probate Records, vol.308, p.230; Docket 25,121.”

3. Mary Shatswell

Mary’s first husband William Dell was born about 1633. William died 15 Apr 1665 in Haverhill, Essex, Mass

Mary’s second husband Nicholas Smith was born 1629 in Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire. He first married Judith Gilman (b. 1699 in Newmarket Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire – d. 1753 in Newmarket Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire). Nicholas died 22 Jun 1673 in Exeter, Norfolk, New Hampshire

Mary’s third husband Charles Rundlett was born about 1650. Charles died 1 Apr 1709 – Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire.

Mary married in Haverhill 30 Jun 1662 to William Dell, whose name is variously spelled – Deale, Dello, Dellow, and Dilloway – and who was an unpleasant character who had been a servant of her cousin Richard Shatswell in Ipswich.  John GRIFFIN deposed that he had heard Theophilus Shatswell say that he would never let his daughter Mary have any estate so that her husband William Delle could pay his debts with it.  This deposition mujst be out of place in the Essex County Court files as it is with the case of Shatswell v. Dellow, march 1659, three years before the marriage of Dell and Mary Shatswell.

Dell was always in difficulties and once, at least, specnt an uncomfortable hour in the pillory.  William Deale of Haverhill made his will 14 Feb 1664 leaving his estate to his wife Mary and their two children and naming his wife executrix, but she refused to have anything to do with the will and administration was granted to Edward Clarke 10 Oct 1665.  Mary married again to Nicholas Smith of Exeter and a third time 10 Jan 1675 to Charles Runlett of Exeter.

Charles Rundlet was born in 1652 and settled in Exeter, N. H. in 1672. It is thought by historians that he was not an immigrant, but rather the son of one. However, he was listed as a servant to Philip Chesley in 1667. (Libby Davis Noyes’ Genealogical Dictionary of New Hampshire and Main) It seems likely that Mr. Chesley might have paid his passage to America in the expectation of having his services for a certain length of time. Perhaps by 1672 his debt to Chesley had been paid, and he was free to take up land and become a settler in his own right.

The name Rundlet means “round cask”and it has many spellings. But whether it is Randlett, Rundlett, Randlet or Rundlet, it is believed that all persons having that name descended from a common ancestor. They have settled in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Charles was captured by four Indians in September 1675, and they left him in the custody of one of their number names James. Charles was successful in inducing him to connive at his escape. (Charles H. Bell’s History of the Town of Exeter, N. H. p. 215) That year in December Charles married Mary Smith , a widow, whose maiden name was Satchwell [Shatswell] Twins, Charles and Jane, were born to them on May 8, 1676 and according to the strict customs of those days, Charles and Mary had to confess to the sin of fornication before marriage and be forgiven by vote before they could partake of Communion and be members of the Church. They were taken to Court in Salem, Massachusettes and fined.


From Annis Spear, 1945 by Walter Goodwin Davis

This entry was posted in 12th Generation, 13th Generation, Immigrant - England, Line - Miller, Line - Shaw and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Theophilus Shatswell

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  5. Gail McLeod says:

    John Shatswell and Judith Dillingham are my tenth great grandparents. Thanks for the interesting information.

    • Terri Lynn says:

      They are also my tenth great grandparents on my paternal side, Mercer. I am trying to find when the surname Mercer changed to Messer

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  13. Michael Tuck says:

    Hi again. I noted that under Theopolis Shatswell’s page, you have his birth as abt 1612, while under his father’s page, John Shatswell, you have it as abt 1607. Is there a preference, as to accuracy?

    • markeminer says:

      Hi Michael,

      The year of Theophilus’ birth is not certain. Macdonald (TAG, 150:185) estimates 1599. Davis (p. 285) states he was born about 1614. From Davis, p. 285:, Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury (1938) states Theophilus deposed he was aged 45 in 1659 giving a birth of 1617.

      The late dates seem to fit better with his marriage and children, the earlier ones fit better with his parents and siblings.

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