Rev. Thomas Stoughton

Rev. Thomas STOUGHTON (1557 -1622 ) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather; one of  2,048 in this generation of the Miller line.

Thomas Stoughton Coat of Arms

Rev. Thomas Stoughton was born between 1551 and 1557 in Sandwich, Kent, England. His parents were Francis STOUGHTON and Agnes TRIGNALL. He married Katherine MONTPESSON in 1585 in Naughton, Suffolk, England.  After Katherine died, he married Elizabeth [__?__].  Thomas died in 1622 in Sandwich, Kent, England

Katherine Montpesson was born 1564 in England. Katherine died 18 Apr 1603 two months after Israel’s birth in Coggeshall,, Suffolk, England.  Alternatively, Katherine’s maiden name was Evelyn and her parents were George EVELYN (1530 – 1603) and Joan STINT (1550 – 1613).

According to information in Genealogies and Biographies of Ancient Windsor, his second wife, Elizabeth who he married after the death of his first wife, Katherine, in 1603, remarried in 1610 to William Knight of Lincoln. If this is correct, Rev.Thomas Stoughton must have died before 1610. Thomas’ son Israel assumed the place of an elder half brother to his stepmother’s five Knight children, Elizabeth, William, John, Mary , and Ursula. William Knight died in 1630, leaving a will dated 21 Mar 1629/30 in which he appointed as the executor, Israel Stoughton, his son-in-law. By that time, Israel Stoughton had married William Knight’s daughter, Elizabeth.

Children of Thomas and Katherine:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Mary Stoughton 1586
 John Manfield
Jul 1605 in Coggeshall, Essex, England
Naughton, Suffolk, England
2. Thomas Stoughton 9 Jul 1588
Elizabeth Montpesan
Margaret Barrett
1635 Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut
25 Mar 1661
Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut,
3. Anne Stoughton bapt.
10 Nov 1591
Naughton, Suffolk, England
17 Dec 1591
Naughton, Suffolk, England
4. Judith Stoughton 1591 Naughton, Suffolk, England John Denman
Naughton, Suffolk, England
William Smead
Naughton, Suffolk, England
Mar 1639
Dorchester, Suffolk, Mass.
5. Rev. John Stoughton (Wikipedia) 23 Jan 1593
Noughton Parish, Suffolk, England
Mary Machell 1625
London, England
Jane Brown 1635
Aldermanbury London, England
 4 May 1639
Alderman, London, England
6. Anne Stoughton c. 1596
Burstead Magna, Essex, England
Hingham, Plymouth, Mass.
7. Elizabeth STOUGHTON 1600
Coggeshall, Essex, England
Maldon, Essex, England
Robert Chamberlain 30 Apr 1627
bef. 30 Mar 1647 when inventory of her estate was filed
Ipswich, Mass
8. Israel Stoughton
18 Feb 1603
Coggeshell, Essex, England
Elizabeth Knight
27 Mar 1627
Rotherhithe, Surrey, England
17 Jul 1644
Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England

For a time, it was uncertain whether the ancestry of the Rev. Thomas Stoughton traces back through Francis Stoughton. In TAG 294, p. 193, Ralph M.Stoughton, Esq. suggested that the father of the Rev. Thomas Stoughton who married Katherine was probably a John Stoughton and not Francis Stoughton. However, new evidence found by Genevieve Tylee Kiepura, published in TAG 33 105112, proves that Francis Stoughton is the correct father.

In the will of the Uncle of the Rev. Thomas Stoughton, Thomas Stoughton of New Canterbury, Kent, 1591, there is mention of nephew Thomas Stoughton of Suffolk and the two daughters of Thomas Stoughton the minister. (See TAG 33 10 5)

Thomas’ father Francis Stoughton was born 1531 in St Peters, Kent, England.  His parents were Edward STOUGHTON and Mary EXHURST.  Francis died 30 Sep 1557 in Sandwich, Kent, England.

Francis was a gentleman of St. Peter’s Church, Sandwich, Kent, England.  He left a will on 28 July 1551 at Sandwich, Kent, England; He provided for his wife, his only son, Thomas, and his sister Alice. He bequeathed to his son, Thomas, £3 6s 8d yearly to keep him in school. He left his brother, Thomas Stoughton of St. Martin’s Canterbury, his lands, tenements, etc., until his son reached 21. He asked to be buried in the Chancel of St. Johns in the Church of St. Peter, Sandwich. He died between 28 July 1551 and 30 September 1557 at Sandwich, Kent, England. His estate was probated on 30 September 1557 at Sandwich, Kent, England.

Thomas’ mother Agnes Tringall was born in 1535 in Naughton, Suffolk, England. Agnes died 1557 in Naughton, Suffolk, England

Thomas’ grandfather Edward Stoughton was born in 1495 at England.  He was the son of Thomas STOUGHTON and Margaret [__?__]. He lived as a country gentleman at his Moat Farm in Ash, Kent. He married Mary EXHURST, daughter of Richard EXHURST and Alicia  [__?__], before 1531 at Kent, England. Edward Stoughton married Ellen Sherborn before 1550 at Kent, England.

Edward Stoughton left a will on 27 March 1573 at Kent, England; He asked that he be buried in the chancel of St. Mary’s Church in Ash, Kent, “against my pew there”.  He died between 27 March 1573 and 16 February 1574 at Ash, Kent, England. His will was proved on 16 February 1574 at Kent, England.

Back to Rev. Thomas Stoughton

Thomas graduated from Queen’s College, Cambridge, England in 1577, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was made a Fellow of Queen’s College in 1579, and got his MA there in 1580.

Thomas  was ordained deacon and priest on February 13 1582 in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. In March 1583, Thomas is recorded as living in Barford, Suffolk, England.   Between July 1586 and July 1594, they lived in Naughton, Suffolk, England, where Thomas served as Rector.

Between 1594 and 1600 they resided in Burstead Magna, Essex, Egnland, and between December 12, 1600 and 1606 they lived in Coggeshall, Essex, England, where Thomas served as the Parish Priest.  In 1602 he is mentioned in the will of one of his parishioners, Roger Markant, a clothier of Coggeshall.  Mr. Markant wrote that he wanted “Mr. Thomas Stoughton, vicar and preacher of Coggeshall, to be supervisor to aid my exor, with his advice, and for his pains 40 shillings.”

Thomas Stoughton was Vicar at St. Peter-ad-Vincula church, Coggeshall, Essex from 1600 to 1606 when he was removed, perhaps due to his dissenting views

St Peter ad Vincula Church (St. Peter in chains) in CoggeshallEssex, is one of a group of over-sized “Wool” churches built following the success of the early wool-trade in the East Anglia area. It is Grade I listed

The building now standing was completed in the first quarter of the 15th Century, and sits on a site where both Saxon and Norman churches stood previously. It is one of the largest churches in Essex (internal dimensions of 134 ft 6 in by 62 ft 9 in, the tower reaches a height of 72 ft) and was considered as a possible choice for Cathedral, with Chelmsford Cathedral eventually being chosen.  The present church was built in the perpendicular style with ‘wool money’ during the first quarter of the 15th century, its unusual size is testament to the affluence of the town at the time. Restoration work

4 Apr 1606 Thomas was removed from his new vicarage.  It is speculated that this was for non-conformity.

On  September 3, 1616, Thomas was living in St. Bartholomew’s, Sandwich, Kent, England, where he wrote a treatise from his chamber in the Hospital of St. Bartholomew’s.

Sandwich St Bartholomew’s Hospital was an extra parochial place. St. Barts Hospital, as it is known locally, is one of the oldest established hostels for travellers and pilgrims, dating back possibly, to 1190. The chapel for the “accommodation of pilgrims and travellers where they might be furnished with lodgings, provisions and other necessaries for their journey” on the site which it still occupies in Dover Road on the outskirts of the town, but it fairly soon became a Hospital providing a permanent home to sixteen brothers or sisters.To begin with, the brethren lived in common, though they had separate rooms; now of course they have individual houses. The Hospital chapel, built in 1217 as part of the original foundation, is still used for its original purpose by today’s hospitalians.

Thomas spent his last years at St Bartholomew's Hospital Sandwich, Kent

On August 20, 1622 Thomas wrote another treatise from his “poor lodging” in the Hospital of St. Bartholomew’s.  He may have been the Chaplin there, but he was also being cared for, having spent his inheritance for the good of others.


The Stoughtons, a Kentish minor gentry family whose descendants include over 100 major figures in American or Britsh history .

1. Mary Stoughton

Mary’s husband John Manfield was born in 1582 in England.

2. Thomas Stoughton

Thomas; first wife Elizabeth Montpesan was born 1591 in Wiltshire, England. Elizabeth died 29 Dec 1627 in England.

Thomas’ second wife Margaret Barrett was born 29 Sep 1595 in Norwich, Norfolk, England. Her parents were Christopher Barrett and Elizabeth Clarke. She first married 11 May 1623 in St Andrews, Norwich, England to Simon Huntington. Simon was born 7 Aug 1583 in London, London, England and 11 May 1633 on the voyage to America. Margaret died 25 Mar 1661 in Connecticut.

It is thought that Thomas Stoughton came to America on the ship, the Mary and John, arriving 30 May 1630 accompanied by his three youngest children, Sarah, Katherine , and Thomas. If his first wife accompanied him , she must have died fairly soon, for he married again in 1635.

He became a freeman in Dorchester on 18 May 1631 and he served in the General Court until 1634. The same year he was one of ten persons chosen to “order the affairs of the plantation.”

His first service began on 23 Sept. 1630, when he was chosen Constable of Dorchester. Soon after, he was fined 5 pounds and sentenced to be jailed until his fine was paid, for marrying Clement Briggs & Joane Allen [daughter of our ancestor George ALLEN The Elder]. He did not pay the fine, nor was he jailed, and in 1638 the fine was rescinded. Never the less, he was regarded as a man of “Prominence, property & social distinction,” and was referred to as “ancient, which signified Ensign or standard bearer in a military company.

When the religious dissention began in Dorchester, Thomas, along with Henry Wolcott, Mr. Newberry, Roger Ludlow and [our ancestor] Maj. John MASON, were appointed to establish a new settlement on the Connecticut River, near the Plymouth Trading Post. These men defrayed most of the expenses of the migration, and the new plantation. This settlement became known as Windsor, Conn. Some of the people moved in 1635 and the others followed in 1636. In that year Thomas was chosen to establish the boundaries of Windsor. He was elected to the court in 1638 and served until 1648, during which tie he was elected 11 times.

Thomas and his new wife were among those who established the settlement of Windsor in Connecticut, and must have removed there as early as 1636, since a Court held at New town Hartford on 21 Feb 1637 mentions him by name.

On 26 Jul 1651, the son of the Rev. Thomas Stoughton wrote to Winthrop a lengthy theological treatise, signing himself as Thomas Stoughton, son and heir of Thomas Stoughton, deceased. Anderson says the reference here is to his father, Rev. Thomas Stoughton, a leading light of Elizabethan Puritanism who was silenced early in the reign of King James I, and who spent the rest of his life producing theological pamphlets. (The Great Migration Begins, by Robert Charles Anderson, p 1777.)

4. Judith Stoughton

Judith’s first husband John Denman was born in 1591 in Retford, Nottinghamshire, England. His parents were Nicholas Denman and Lady Anne Hercy. John died 1624 in Retford, Surrey, England.

Judith’s second husband William Smead was born 1601 in England. William died 1636 in Essex, England.

Judith was one of the signers of the Dorchester Church Covenant in 1636, and at the time of her death in 1639 was a widow. The General Court confirmed Israel Stoughton as executor of the will of his sister, Judith Smead, and the disposal of her effects is on record, though no copy of her will has been preserved. Though not proved, it is possible that Judith was a widow before leaving England and that she journeyed to America in 1633 with Israel Stoughton and his wife, Elizabeth.

Judith’s young son was apprenticed rather than taken into the home of his Uncle Israel

5. Rev. John Stoughton (Wikipedia)

Reverend John Stoughton, was a graduate of Emmanuel College Cambridge, a London vicar, and a stepfather of noted philospher Ralph Cudworth and of the immigrant James Cudworth of Scituate, Mass .

John’s first wife Mary Machell was born 1574 in Aller, Somerset, England. Her parents were John Machell and Jane Woodroofe.  She was  formerly nurse to Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales).  Mary first married 18 June 1611 at Southwark  to Ralph Cudworth.  Ralph was Stoughton’s predecessor at Aller and when he died Aug 1624 in Aller Langport, Stoughton married his widow.  This made Stoughton step-father to Ralph Cudworth, whom he educated, as well as the New England colonist James Cudworth.  Mary died Dec 1634 in England.

File:Henry Prince of Wales after Isaac Oliver.jpg

Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales

Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales (19 February 1594 – 6 November 1612) was the elder son of King James I & VI and Anne of Denmark. His name derives from his grandfathers: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Frederick II of Denmark. Prince Henry was widely seen as a bright and promising heir to his father’s thrones. However, at the age of 18, he predeceased his father when he died of typhoid fever. The heirship to the English and Scottish thrones passed to his younger brother Charles.

File:Ralph Cudworth.jpg

Ralph Cudworth

Ralph Cudworth (1617 – 26 June 1688) was an English philosopher, the leader of the Cambridge Platonists. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, gaining his MA and becoming a Fellow of Emmanuel in 1639. In 1645, he became master of Clare Hall and professor of Hebrew. In 1654, he transferred to Christ’s College, Cambridge, and was master there until his death.    Cudworth’s chief philosophical work was The True Intellectual System of the Universe  (1678) and the Treatise concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality, which appeared posthumously in 1731. He was a leading opponent of Thomas Hobbes.

In 1642 he published A Discourse concerning the true Notion of the Lord’s Supper and a tract entitled The Union of Christ and the Church. In 1645 he was appointed master of Clare Hall and the same year was elected Regius professor of Hebrew. He was now recognized as a leader among the  Cambridge Platonists. The whole party was more or less in sympathy with the Commonwealth, and Cudworth was consulted by John Thurloe, Cromwell’s secretary to the council of state, in regard to university and government appointments.

In 1650 he was presented to the college living of North Cadbury, Somerset. From the diary of his friend John Worthington we learn that Cudworth was nearly compelled, through poverty, to leave the university, but in 1654 he was elected master of Christ’s College, whereupon he married. In 1662 he was presented to the rectory of Ashwell, Herts.   Cudworth was installed prebendary of Gloucester in 1678. He died on the 26th of June 1688, and was buried in the chapel of Christ’s. His only surviving child, Damaris, a devout and talented woman, became the second wife of Sir Francis Masham. The Lady Masham was distinguished as the friend of John Locke and exchanged letters with Gottfried Leibniz.

Cudworth’s sermons, such as that preached before the House of Commons, on 31 March 1647, advocate principles of religious toleration and charity. In 1678 he published The True Intellectual System of the Universe: the first part, wherein all the reason and philosophy of atheism is confuted and its impossibility demonstrated (imprimatur dated 1671). No more was published, perhaps because of the theological clamour raised against this first part. Much of Cudworth’s work still remains in manuscript; A Treatise concerning eternal and immutable Morality was published in 1731; and A Treatise of Freewill, edited by John Allen, in 1838; both are connected with the design of his magnum opus, the Intellectual System.

The Cambridge Platonists were reacting to two pressures. On the one hand, the dogmatism of the Puritan divines, with their anti-rationalist demands, were, they felt, immoral and incorrect. They also felt that the Puritan/Calvinist insistence upon individual revelation left God uninvolved with the majority of mankind. At the same time, they were reacting against the reductive materialist writings of Thomas Hobbes. They felt that the latter, while properly rationalist, were denying the idealistic part of the universe. To the Cambridge Platonists, religion and reason were in harmony, and reality was known not by physical sensation alone, but by intuition of the “intelligible forms” that exist behind the material world of everyday perception. Universal, ideal forms (à la Plato) inform matter, and the physical senses are unreliable guides to their reality.

As divines and in matters of polity, the Cambridge Platonists argued for moderation. They believed that reason is the proper judge of all disagreements, and so they advocated dialogue between the Puritans and the High Churchmen. They had a mystical understanding of reason, believing that reason is not merely the sense-making facility of the mind, but, instead, “the candle of the Lord” – an echo of the divine within the human soul and an imprint of God within man. Thus, they believed that reason could lead beyond the sensory, because it is semi-divine. Reason was, for them, of God, and thus capable of nearing God. Therefore, they believed that reason could allow for judging the private revelations of Puritan theology and the proper investigation of the rituals and liturgy of the Established Church. For this reason, they were called latitudinarians

After Hobbes and Locke, the Cambridge Platonists deserve to be considered an important third strand in English seventeenth-century philosophy. Their critique of Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza has ensured that they are never ignored in philosophical history but they have yet to receive full recognition in their own right. Evidence from publication and citation suggests that their philosophical influence was more far-reaching than is normally recognised in modern histories of philosophy.

The impact of Cudworth on Locke has yet to be fully investigated. Richard Price, and Thomas Reid were both indebted to Cudworth, whose theory of Plastic Nature was taken up in vitalist debates in the French enlightenment. Leibniz certainly read Cudworth and More. The intellectual legacy, the Cambridge Platonists extends not just to philosophical debate in seventeenth-century England but into European and Scottish Enlightenment thought and beyond.

John Staughton’s second wife Jane Brown was born 1615 in Frampton, Dorset, England. Her parents were John Browne of Frampton, Dorset and [__?__]. She was the widow of Rev. Walter Newborough (Newburgh), record of Symonsbury, Dorset. Jane died 4 May 1639 in England.

John Stoughton served as a minister in Aller, Somerset, England. He also served as a minister at Aldermanbury in London, as that is where he married his second wife.

He was a student at Emmanuel College, Cambridge from 1607, graduating B.A. in 1611, M.A. 1614, B.D. 1621, and D.D. 1626. A Fellow from 1616, he became rector of Aller in Somerset in 1624, and then succeeding Thomas Taylor he preached at St Mary, Aldermanbury in London from 1632.

During the 1630s Stoughton came under suspicion from the authorities, and his mail was watched; his numerous correspondents included John ForbesJohn WinthropStephen MarshallSamuel Ward and William Sandcroft (his old tutor).  In 1635 he was before William Juxon, the Bishop of London for supposed nonconformity, with John Goodwin and Sidrach Simpson. In 1636 he was caught up in the investigation of John White of Dorchester, that involved also Henry Whitefield. With the support of Sir Robert Harley and other patrons Stoughton managed to avoid serious problems.

At the end of his life Stoughton came into contact with Samuel Hartlib. His millennial pamphlet Felicitas ultimi saeculi was taken to Hungary in 1638 by John Tolnai, a contact of Comenius. It was intended for György Rákóczi. Two years later, after Stoughton’s death, Hartlib published the pamphlet with Stoughton’s covering letter.  Hugh Trevor-Roper comments on the language of inauguration of international Protestantism in this work, centred on Comenius, Francis Bacon and John Dury.

There is a conflict in Ancestral File regarding John’s birth date, one having 1593, and the other 1597. It is very unlikely that John was born in 1593 because that is when his brother, Thomas, was born. A birth for John in 1597 would appear unlikely too, judging from other information known about him. It is unfortunate that John’s christening record was not found in the Naughton Parish record for then we would know for sure. The best clue to his birth can be inferred from the reference in TAG 29 4, 194 , where it says that John Stoughton was admitted sizer at Emmanuel College on 23 Apr 1607. A sizer is a student who received an allowance toward college expenses and who originally acted as a servant to other students in return for this allowance. Being a sizer at age 18 is probably reasonable, so that would give an estimate of birth for John in the year 1589.

In Dec 1634, James Cudworth,  step-son of the Rev. John Stoughton, who had immigrated to America along with Thomas and Israel Stoughton, wrote his stepfather a long letter in which he mentions Thomas and Israel Stoughton as follows as concerining my unkells, blessed be God, they are both in good health, & my unkell Thomas is to bee maried shortly to a widow that has good meanes & has 5 children. See TAG 29, p.197.

6. Anne Stoughton

Anne’s husband Henry Chamberlain was born about 1595 in Wymondham, Norfolk, England. His parents were Richard Chamberlain and Christian Stoughton. Henry died in Hingham, Plymouth, Mass.

The widow Christian Chamberlain died in Hingham, Plymouth, Mass., 19 Apr 1659, at the reputed age of 81 years . TAG 29 4 198

Anne Stoughton who married Henry Chamberlain, was probably named after an older sister, also named Anne, who died in 1591. She came to America in the Diligent, with her husband. There is no record of the ir death dates, but it is believed they both died in Hingham, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

It is thought that Anne s father, Rev. Thomas Stoughton, resided in Burstead Magna after he was suceeded as Rector at Naughton in July 1594, so I have entered of Burstead Magna, Essex, England, as Anne s place of birth

7. Elizabeth STOUGHTON (See John SCUDDER‘s page)

8. Israel Stoughton

Israel’s wife Elizabeth Knight 1606 in Rotherlite, England. Elizabeth died 6 Aug 1681 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts. She was an aunt of collegiate benefactor Elihu Yale.

Israel’s mother, Katherine Montpesson, died two months after Israel’s birth in Coggeshall, Essex, England, where he was baptized 18 Feb 1602/03. Consequently, Israel was raised by his stepmother, Elizabeth, who, after the death of Israel’s father, became the wife of William Knight of Lincoln, England. Israel assumed the place of an elder half brother to his stepmother’s five Knight children, Elizabeth, William, John, Mary , and Ursula. (TAG 29 198 201)

Ursula Knight (1624–1698) married David Yale (1613–1690).  Their son Elihu Yale (April 5, 1649 – July 8, 1721) was a Welsh merchant and philanthropist, governor of the East India Company, and a benefactor of the Collegiate School of Connecticut, which in 1718 was named Yale College in his honor.

File:Elihu Yale by Enoch Seeman the younger 1717.jpeg

Elihu Yale by Enoch Seeman the younger 1717 He donated £800 to found Yale University, part of his fortune amassed largely through secret contracts with Madras merchants.

William Knight died in 1630, leaving a will dated 21 Mar 1629/30 in which he appointed as the executor, Israel Stoughton, his son-in-law. By that time, Israel Stoughton had married William Knight’s daughter, Elizabeth. After William Knight’s death, these members of the family of Elizabeth Knight, wife of Israel, also came to New England, including her mother, the widow Elizabeth Knight, her brother, Rev. William Knight, and two other sisters, Mary, wife of Thomas Clark and Ursula, wife of David Yale, accounting for all of the children mentioned in the will except John.

Israel and Elizabeth emigrated to New England in 1632. He settled at Dorchester, of which he was admitted a freeman on 5 November 1633. He was chosen representative for Dorchester in the assemblies of 1634 and 1635.  Like his brother, Thomas, he became one of the first settlers of Dorchester, Massachusetts. He had large real estate holdings in Dorchester and served in public office. He had the title of Captain, and was an aide to [our ancestor] Maj. John MASON.

 On 5 Nov 1633, “Sergeant Stoughton is chosen ensign to Captain Mason”.

When the colony was disturbed by the antinomian disputes, Israel Stoughton wrote a book which attacked the constitution of the colony and offended the general court. The author somewhat strangely petitioned that the book might be ‘forthwith burnt, as being weak and offensive.’ In spite of Stoughton’s subsequent submission, he was declared incapable of holding office for three years. This sentence, however, was remitted in 1636, and Stoughton was chosen assistant in 1637.

He was entrusted with the command of the Massachusetts force against the Pequot Indians, where he took brutal measures. Stoughton was annually chosen as assistant till 1643, and in 1639 he, together with John Endecott acted as a commissioner on behalf of Massachusetts to settle a boundary dispute with Plymouth Colony.

Israel returned to England towards the end of 1643 and brought back with him a fourteen year old kinsman named Rose Stoughton, daughter of Anthony Stoughton and a sister of Sir Nicholas Stoughton, Baronet of Stoughton, Surrey, England.

He returned to England again towards the end of 1644 and was given a commission in the Calvary. He quickly rose through the ranks being appointed lieutenant-colonel in the parliamentary army under Rainsboro until his death in Lincoln, England in 1645..

Israel’s son William Stoughton,(1631 – July 7, 1701) was a colonial magistrate and admininstrator in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. He was in charge of what have come to be known as the Salem Witch Trials, first as the Chief Justice of the Special Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692, and then as the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature in 1693. In these trials he controversially accepted spectral evidence (based on supposed demonic visions). Unlike other magistrates, he never admitted to the possibility that his acceptance of such evidence was in error. See my Witch Trials – Jury for details.


William Stoughton c. 1700. He was in charge of what have come to be known as the Salem Witch Trials,

After graduating Harvard College in 1650, William  continued religious studies in England, where he graduated from New College in 1653. He also preached while he was in England.   Returning to Massachusetts in 1662, he chose to enter politics instead of the ministry. An adept politician, he served in virtually every government through the period of turmoil in Massachusetts that encompassed the revocation of its first charter in 1684 and the introduction of its second charter in 1692, including the unpopular rule of Sir Edmund Andros in the late 1680s. He served as lieutenant governor of the province from 1692 until his death in 1701, acting as governor (in the absence of an appointed governor) for about six years. He was one of the province’s major landowners, partnering with Joseph Dudley and other prominent figures in land purchases, and it was for him that the town of Stoughton, Massachusetts was named.   He was a liberal benefactor to Harvard University, founding a hall, called by his name, at a cost of £1,000, and bequeathing twenty-seven acres of land.

Israel’s daughter Rebecca Stoughton, married William Tailer and was the mother of William Tailer, Jr., also a colonial governor of Massachusetts, and of Elizabeth Tailer, wife of fur trader John Nelson, an immigrant of royal descent and a nephew of Acadian governor Sir Thomas Temple, 1st Bt.


John Nelson

On April 19, 1689, Nelson, a resident of Long Island in Boston Harbor, was one of a number of prominent Bostonians leading a revolt against Governor Sir Edmund Andros. Andros, the hated governor of the Dominion of New England, had angered may colonists by vacating land titles, enforcing the Navigation Acts, and promoting the Church of England.

In 1692, John Nelson was captured by the French while on a trading or privateering voyage to Acadia, and was imprisoned in Quebec. It was common for local privateers to receive commissions in Boston but were considered pirates by the other nations of the world, especially the French and Spanish, who were the superpowers at the time.

While in prison, Nelson learned about secret French plans for attacks against the Massachusetts colonies. Nelson discreetly informed the Massachusetts authorities of this information from his prison cell. For this act, Nelson was punished by being transported across the Atlantic Ocean to the Bastille prison in France. In 1702, after ten years of imprisonment, his relative, Sir Purbeck Temple, obtained his release. Nelson immediately returned home to Nelson’s Island (Long Island) as a local hero.


Thomas Stoughton Bio 1

See TAG 29 193 Stoughton Family of Dorchester, Mass. and Windsor, Conn., Genealogies and Biographies of Ancient Windsor and Descendents of Thomas Stoughton of Dorchester, Massachusetts, by George W. Fuller for a comprehensive account of the Rev. Thomas Stoughton’s life history.

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13 Responses to Rev. Thomas Stoughton

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  9. Kristin Eriksson says:

    Thank you very much for posting this. I was able to gain a lot of information regarding my Great Great x 14 grandparents, Rev. Thomas Stoughton.

  10. sheilaasato says:

    Amazing work. Thank you for shedding light on my ancestors. Sheila McNellis Asato in MN.

  11. SFriant says:

    Rev. Thomas Stoughton is my 11th great-grandfather. Funny how I am in ministry and a bit of a dissident myself.

  12. Judith Stoughton’s will was recorded in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1639. It is thought that her husband William died enroute to the New World. What source do you have for his death? Am writing a book on this topic and your info differs from my research. Would love details.

  13. Teata Ura says:

    Merci ^^ je suis moi aussi arrière arrière fois je ne sais combien petite fille de Thomas Stoughton ! Je suis de Tahiti et quand on remonte aussi haut dans sa généalogie, c’est passionnant !

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