Ezekiel Rogers

Ezekiel Rogers (1588-1661) (wiki) was an English nonconformist clergyman, and Puritan settler of Massachusetts. Of the 20 Yorkshire families that accompanied him from Rowley, Yorkshire and Rowley, Massachusetts, almost half were our direct ancestors.    We’re here in part because he didn’t like the Book of Sports.  What would he have thought of 10am start times for NFL football on the West Coast?

Ezekiel Rogers, St. Peter's Church Rowley, England -- The village of Rowley Yorkshire and town of Rowley Massachusetts enjoy close relations today. In 1994 the people of Rowley, Mass. gave to the church of St. Peter’s in Rowley Yorkshire. this stained glass window to honor the memory of their founder.

Ezekiel Rogers was born 5 Feb 1588 in Wethersfield, Essex, England .  His parents were Richard Rogers, who held the living of Wethersfield in Essex, and Barbara [__?__].  He was three times married: first, 1620 in Wethersfield to Joan Hartrop ; secondly, 1650 in Mass to Elizabeth Wilson, thirdly, 16 Jul 1651 to Mary, widow of Thomas Barker.  “That very night,” says Cotton Mather, “a fire burnt his dwelling house to the ground, with all the goods that he had under his roof.” His right arm was soon afterwards rendered useless by a fall from a horse; so that he was obliged to learn to write with his left hand. After a lingering illness, he died Jan. 23, 1660/61 in Rowley, Essex, Mass., aged 70 years. He gave the greater part of his lands and his house to the town and church of Rowley.

Wikipedia says he first married Sarah, widow of John Everard, but I can’t find confirmation elsewhere.

Sarah [__?__] was born xx.  She first married John Everard.

Joan Hartopp was born 1590 in Wethersfield, Essex, England. Joan died 8 May 1649 in Rowley, Essex, Mass.

Elizabeth Wilson was born 1623 in Windsor, Berkshire, England.  Her parents were  Rev. John Wilson, minister at First Church, Boston, and Elizabeth Mansfield, daughter of Sir John Mansfield.  Elizabeth died in Feb 1651 in Rowley, Essex, Mass. in child birth.

Mary [__?__] was born xx.  She first married Thomas Barker.

Ezekiel left no children

Ezekiel’s Father

Richard Rogers (1550-1618) was an English clergyman, a nonconformist under both Elizabeth I and James I.

Richard Rogers Unknown artist,print,1650

Richard  was born in 1551, son or grandson of Richard Rogers, steward to the earls of Warwick. He matriculated as a sizar of Christ’s College, Cambridge, in November 1565, and graduated B.A. 1571, M.A. 1574 He was appointed lecturer at Wethersfield, Essex, about 1577.

In 1583 he, with twenty-six others, petitioned the privy council against Archbishop John Whitgift‘s three articles, and against Bishop Aylmer‘s proceedings on them at his visitation. Whitgift suspended all the petitioners. After a suspension of eight months Rogers resumed his preaching, and was restored to his ministry through the intervention of Sir Robert Wroth.

Rogers espoused the presbyterian movement under Thomas Cartwright, and signed the Book of Discipline. He is mentioned by Richard Bancroft as one of a classis round Braintree side, together with Culverwell, Gifford, and others. In 1598 and 1603 he was accordingly again in trouble; on the former occasion before the ecclesiastical commission, and on the latter for refusing the oath ex officio. He owed his restoration to the influence of William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury. Under the episcopate of Richard Vaughan, bishop of London between 1604 and 1607, he enjoyed considerable freedom; but under Vaughan’s successor, Thomas Ravis, he was again in trouble.

Rogers died at Wethersfield on 21 April 1618, and was buried in the churchyard. Rogers was the father of Daniel Rogers and Ezekiel Rogers. He was succeeded at Wethersfield by Stephen Marshall.

Rogers wrote:

  • Seaven treatises containing such directions as is gathered out of the Holie Scriptures, 1603; 2nd edit. London, 1605, dedicated to King James; 4th edit. 1627, 2 parts; 5th edit. 1630. An abbreviated version, called The Practice of Christianity, is dated 1618, and was often reissued.
  • A garden of spirituall flowers, planted by R[ichard] R[ogers], W[ill] P[erkins], R[ichard] G[reenham], M. M., and G[eorge] W[ebbe], London, 1612, 1622, 1632, 1643 (2 parts), 1687 (2 parts).
  • Certaine Sermons, directly tending to these three ends, First, to bring any bad person (that hath not committed the same that is unpardonable) to true conversion; secondly, to establish and settle all such as are converted in faith and repentance; thirdly, to leade them forward (that are so settled) in the Christian life . . . whereunto are annexed divers . . . sermons of Samuel Wright, B.D., London, 1612.
  • A Commentary upon the whole book of Judges, preached first and delivered in sundrie lectures, London, 1615, dedicated to Sir Edward Coke.
  • Samuel’s encounter with Saul, 1 Sam. chap. xv, London, 1620.

Ezekiel’s Career

Ezekiel graduated M.A. from Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1604, and became chaplain in the family of Sir Francis Barrington in Essex. He was preferred by his patron to the living of Rowley in Yorkshire.

St. Peter's Church, Rowley, East Yorkshire

Rowley is a small village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It is situated 1 mile south of Little Weighton and approximately 6 miles south-west of Beverley town centre.  The civil parish is formed by the villages of Rowley and Little Weighton together with the hamlets of BentleyHigh HunsleyLow HunsleyRisby and part of the hamlet of Riplingham.  According to the 2001 UK census, Rowley parish had a population of 1,030.  The village of Rowley is now mostly depopulated, leaving only a few houses, and most of the population is now in Little Weighton.

In December 1638, after seventeen years of service, Rogers was discharged from his post as rector of Rowley, after he had refused to read The Book of Sports. Believing the future of Puritanism was at stake, he left for the New World with the members of twenty families of his congregation, including lots of our ancestors.

The “Book of Sports,” reprinted under Archbishop William Laud‘s direction, was conceived as a well-intentioned guide to permissible after-church leisure activities that people could engage in without violating rules of the Sabbath, it was seen by Puritans as a blasphemy. To them, the Sabbath was a day of worship, not of frivolities.

James I had first published the “Book of Sports” in the 1620’s, and now Charles I reissued it in 1633. The point of contention was that King Charles insisted that every pastor read it aloud to his congregation. Another of our Puritan ancestors Rev. Henry WHITFIELD, flatly refused to do so and was called before the Archbishop Laud’s Commission and censured.

Ezekiel’s brother Daniel Rogers was also a strict Calvinist minister and lecturer.   Daniel was especially morose. Firmin’s Real Christian was mainly written to counteract his gloom. Rogers’s stepbrother, John Ward, said of him that, although he “had grace enough for two men, he had not enough for himself..

Among the congregation were John BOYNTON, and his brother William.  Their cousin Sir Matthew Boynton (26 Jan 1591 – 12 Mar 1647), (Wikipedia)  helped finance the Rowley expedition.

They left Rowley in the summer of 1638 and travelled down into Hull where
they joined the ship John of London, lying in the Old Harbour on the River Hull. After
sailing out of the Humber, their ship called into London en route and there picked up
the Reverend Joseph Glover, a wealthy nonconformist minister, who brought with
him Stephen Daye, a printer, and also what is believed to be North America’s first
printing press.

Glover is thought to have first visited New England earlier in the 1630s and supported the foundation of Harvard College – which eventually became Harvard University, the oldest institute of higher education in the United States. Unfortunately, on the long and tortuous journey across the Atlantic, the Reverend Glover died before the vessel reached Salem Bay, Massachusetts in the December of 1638.  His widow later married the Rev. Henry Dunster first President of Harvard College.

Undoubtedly, Rev. Rogers kept records and a log during the voyage, but these, along with most of his belongings, were lost in the fire that destroyed his dwelling in Rowley, Mass. a few years after he and many of the group settled there.

Theophilus Eaton and John Davenport were then setting up their colony at New Haven; they tried to enlist Rogers, but without success.

George Lamberton took the settlers over to Boston where I believe he already had a house. There was some sort of dispute between him and the Rev. Ezekial Rogers. Lamberton, a seafarer trading down the eastern seaboard, wanted to join Davenport and go to New Haven (group of rich merchants, from London) He is listed on one of the best plots on the map of nine squares of New Haven. Just looking at the map, Rowley is slightly inland and would not have suited a sea captain. Edward Atwater in his History of the Colony of New Haven, mentions a minister of high standing in Yorkshire named Ezekiel Rogers who, having embarked at Hull on the Humber, with a company that personally knew him and desired to enjoy his ministry arrived in Boston late in the summer (in 1638). Rogers originally planned to join the colonists at Quinnipiac (New Haven) but something was not to his satisfaction (I don’t know what) and he remained in Massachusetts Bay Colony.   Rogers frequently corresponded with Winthrop, the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony. In one of his letters, he speaks of the New Haven planters as follows:

“Sir: Mr. Lamberton did us much wrong. I expected his coming to the Bay: but it seems he sits down at Quinnipiac : yet he hath a house in Boston: I would humbly crave your advice to Mr. Will Bellingham about it, whether we might not enter an action against him and upon proof get help by that house.”

Atwater says, “This evidently refers to Rogers’ disappointment in not receiving back those of his flock who staid in New Haven, and reads as if Lamberton were to be counted among them.”

The migrants probably spent a long first winter in Salem but in spring 1639 Ezekiel Rogers and his followers moved on to land some six miles outside of Ipswich, Massachusetts. House lots and properties were laid out along the township’s brook, allowing each family access to fresh water. Here the new arrivals built many houses and, bringing spinning and weaving skills with them from the East Riding of Yorkshire, they were amongst the first to establish a clothing industry in New England. They called their little township, Rowley after their East Riding village

Early in the spring of 1639 he and most of these twenty families settled in the town of Rowley, Massachusetts. Rowley was incorporated on September 4, 1639. Rogers was the pastor at Rowley until his death on 23 January 1661,

Rogers published The Chief Grounds of the Christian Religion set down by way of catechising, gathered long since for the use of an honourable Family, London, 1642. Several of his letters to John Winthrop are published in the Massachusetts Historical Collection(4th ser. vii.)

Ezekiel  was an eloquent speaker, and preached the election sermon before the General Court, in 1643, in which he maintained that the same person should not hold the office of governor for two successive years.

Rowley Pioneers

Rowley was incorporated, Sept. 4, 1639, and then embraced what is now extended from the sea to the Merrimac River: Bradford, Groveland, Georgetown, and part of Boxford, which was for some time known as “Rowley Village.” It received its named from Rowley, a parish of East Riding, York, Eng., whence its first minister, Ezekiel Rogers, had come. The boundaries of the town are Newbury on the north, from which it is, in part, separated by Parker River and Mud Creek, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Ipswich on the south, Boxford on the south-west, and Georgetown on the north-west.

The English, under the guidance of the Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, commenced a settlement here as early as 1638. The Act of incorporation is thus briefly expressed: “4th day of 7th month 1639, ordered that Mr. Ezekiel Rogers plantation be called Rowley.”

On the 13th of May, 1640, it was declared by the General Court “that Rowley bounds is to be eight miles from their meeting house in a straight line; and then a cross line diameter from Ipswich Ryver to Merrimack Ryver when it doth not prejudice any former grant.” In October of the same year the Court ordered “that the neck of land on Merrimack, near Corchitawick be added to Rowley.”

On the “tenth of the eleventh Anno Dni 1643, Thomas Nelson, Edward Carlton, Humphrey Reynon & Francis PARROT, made a survey of the town and a register of the several house lots of from 1 1/2 to 6 acres then laid out to the settlers. They were as follows: On Bradford Street, Thomas Ellethrop, John Dresser, Hugh CHAPLIN, Peter Cooper, Thomas Sumner, John Burbank, Thomas Palmer, William Wilde, William Jackson, Hugh Smith, Michael Hopkinson, John BOYNTON, William Boynton [John’s brother], Thomas Dickinson,  Maximilian JEWETT, Joseph Jewett, [Maximilian’s brother]  Jane GRANT, John Spofford, George Kilborne & Margaret Stanton whose lot contained only one acre. On Wethersfield street, John Remington, James Barker, William Stickney, William Scales, Matthew Boyes, Jane Brocklebank, Thomas Mighill, Margery Shove, Humphrey Reynor, & Ezekiel Rogers who had six acres. On Holmes street John Miller, John Jarrat, Francis PARROT, Edward Carleton, Henry Sands, Thomas Leaver, John Trumble, John Haseltine, Thomas Tenney, Robert Haseltine, Richard Swan, Thomas Lilforth, Richard Thorlay [Richard THURLOW], Frances Lambert, Robert Hunter, William Acy, Thomas Miller, William Harris, John Harris, Thomas Harris, John Newmarch, William Bellingham, Thomas Nelson, Thomas Barker, Sebastian Briggam, George Abbot, Edward Bridges, Robert CROSBY & Richard Nalam. Sixteen other lots were soon afterwards laid out to the following persons, viz.: John Smith, Mark Prime, William Tenney, Nicholas JACKSON, Richard Leighton, John PEARSON, Edward Sawer, James Bailey, Richard Holmes, Thomas Burkley, John Tillison, Samuel Bellingham, Thomas Sawer, Daniel Harris, William Law & John Hill.

In addition to the settlers above mentioned,

  • John PICKARD Jr. (1622 – 1683) married married Jane CROSBY on 29 Oct 1644 in Rowley, Mass.
  • Leonard HARRIMAN being sixteen years of age and his brother John came to America  under the guidance of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers. did not yet have property in the 1643 inventory. Leonard was admitted freeman of Rowley in 1647. In the same year he bought of John Todd the house lot laid out to John Spofford on Bradford street, now corner of Bradford and Common streets. He was a farmer and mechanic, being a maker of looms. His shop is supposed to have been on the nearby brook and to have been operated by water power.
  • Edward HAZEN Sr. (1614 – 1683)   emigrated between 1643 and 1647.  He married Hannah GRANT in Feb 1649/50 in Rowley, Mass.

Map of Rowley Ancestor Plots - 10 of our ancestor families underlined in red had plots in Rowley in this 1642 map.


The common lands of the town were assigned to the settlers in proportion to the extent of their respective house-lots. A military company was soon formed of which Sebastian Brigham was appointed captain. It was to be drilled eight days during the year, and the fine for absence was five shillings per day. The people early distinguished themselves for the manufacture of cotton, hemp and flax cloth. “Our supplies from England,” says Winthrop, in 1643, “failing much, men began to look about them and fell to a manufacture of cotton, whereof we had store from Barbadoes, and of hemp & flax wherein Rowley, to their great commendation, exceeded all other towns.”

Of the early settlers here, Edward Johnson, in his “Wonder-working Providence,” says: “They consisted of about three score families. Their people, being very industrious every way, soon built as many houses, and were the first people that set upon making cloth in this western world; for which end they built a fulling-mill, and caused their little ones to be very diligent in spinning cotton-wool, many of them having been clothiers in England.”

This fulling-mill was built in 1643 by John PEARSON, in the parish of Byfield, which then belonged to Rowley.

The first-recorded marriage in town was that of Robert and Anna Haseltine, in 1639; and the first-recorded birth was that of Robert Carleton, in the same year.

In the minds of the people, the church was the leading institution; the minister the chief guide in things temporal as well as spiritual. Hence a plain meeting-house was erected some time during the first year of the settlement; a church was organized Dec. 3, and the Rev. Ezekiel Rogers installed as pastor.

Samuel Mather (Harvard College, 1643) was some time an assistant of Mr. Rogers in Rowley “where the Zeal of the People to have him settled, was the Cause of his not settling there at all.”‘

The closing days of Mr. Rogers were far from tranquil. Late in life he married a third wife, but “that very night,” says Cotton Mather, “a fire burnt his dwelling house to the ground, with all the goods that he had under his roof.” His right arm was soon afterwards rendered useless by a fall from a horse; so that he was obliged to learn to write with his left hand. After a lingering illness, he died Jan. 23, 1661, aged 70 years. He gave the greater part of his lands and his house to the town and church of Rowley.

Our ancestor Maximilian JEWETT was chosen Deacon of the church, Dec. 13, 1639, in which place he served forty-five years and for two hundred and twenty years a descendant of him or his younger brother, a fellow passenger has been in that office or minister, the whole time except eight years.”  Maximilian was overseer of the will of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, signed April 17, 1660, and ” In the year 1665, five years after the death of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, his relative Ezekiel Rogers, son of the Rev. Nathaniel Rogers, of Ipswich, brought an action against the widow of his uncle which occasioned the following: The testimony of Maximilian Jewett saith that I heard our Mr. Rogers express himself very much dissatisfied with the carriage of Ezekiel Rogers, in particularly his familiarity with John Smith, his servent, the Scotchman, & that in some times going behind the meeting house, which bred fears & jealousies in his mind. He also objected to him because he wore long haire.” He was a clothier and with his brother Joseph was about the first, if not the first, to manufacture woolen cloth in America..

Ezekiel’s property subsequently reverted to the use of Harvard College.

The Rev. Samuel Phillips (Harvard College, 1650) was settled in June, 1651, as teacher of Mr. Rogers’ church, on a a salary varying from £50 to £90 per annum. During the sickness of the pastor, Mr. Phillips performed the whole duties of the ministry, for which service the selectmen ordered that £5 should be paid to him. After the decease of Mr. Rogers, his widow, and those in sympathy with her, continued to annoy Mr. Phillips for the space of eighteen years, on account of his reception of this money, to which they persistently claimed he had no legal right. The case was decided in favor of the widow by the Ipswich court; but the decision was overruled by the General Court, and by a church council held on the 19th of Nov., 1679, and the course of Mr. Phillips justified.

On the 15th of Nov., 1665, Samuel Shepard (Harvard College, 1658) was ordained pastor of the church, Mr. Phillips still acting as teacher. Mr. Shepard dying, April 7, 1668, Mr. Phillips was then ordained as pastor, in which office he continued until his death, which occurred, April 26, 1696, after a ministry, either as teacher or pastor, of forty-five years. During the last thirty years of his life, fifty-four were added to the church, and at his death the office of teacher in that church is supposed to have ceased.






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26 Responses to Ezekiel Rogers

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  16. Delighted to find your blog. I am a descendant of one of the Puritan families that followed Ezekiel Rogers in 1638 and have been researching the history that drove them out of England and what they did when they arrived in the colonies. My blog is http://backwardho.blogspot.com.

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  25. Carol Freedman says:

    Thomas Ellethrop is supposedly a relative of my family. We have that same map. I have finished my maternal grandfather’s side to their arrival in 1723 from Switzerland. We found several Revolutionary War people and I have just been accepted into the DAR. Now I want to got up through my maternal grandmother to see if they had any. The Ellethrop/Ellithorpe was done by John Insley Coddington, FASG. I am hoping he is correct. I have a coat of Arms and a line from Rowley Ellehrop to me. I hope it is correct and am starting to follow it and get it documented. Sadly the Ellithorpe’s ended with my grandmother. Her brother died in WWI of the flu and is a gold star in Nevada. That ended the name for us. Melvin had no children. I have bookmarked this and will be searching other leads.

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