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John Crandall (bef. 1618 - 1676)

Elder John Crandall aka Crandal, Crandell
Born before in Westerleigh, Gloucestershire, Englandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of [half]
Husband of — married Mar 1649 (to 1670) in Newport, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantationsmap
Husband of — married about 1671 (to after 1676) in Windsor, Hartford, Connecticutmap
Descendants descendants
Died after age 58 in Newport, Rhode Islandmap
Profile last modified | Created 28 Dec 2008
This page has been accessed 19,214 times.
There are disproven, disputed, or competing theories about this person's parents. See the text for details.
John Crandall is currently protected by the Puritan Great Migration Project for reasons described in the narrative.
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Flag of Gloucestershire (adopted 2008)
John Crandall was born in Gloucestershire, England.


John was probably born in 1618 at the parish of Westerleigh, Gloucestershire, England and was baptized there on 15 February 1617/8.[1] There is good circumstantial evidence that John was the son of James Crandall and his first wife, Eleanor (Unknown) Crandall.[1] John had a half-sister named Anne, daughter of James and his second wife, Joan, who was baptized 30 December 1621.[1]

By 1603, the Crundall family, which included generations of priests, had been displaced from their home, the Winterbourne church, by a powerful parishioner, Robert Bradston.[1] As a result, not all the children's births were recorded in the usual manner and some of the family's relationships had to be deduced indirectly.[1]

There is some Welsh connection in the family's past, although it seems John was born in England. Family tradition, as evidenced by the book by A.P. Crandall, contends that the family had Welsh origins.[1]

Marriages and Children

John married, as his first wife, to (Unknown) Crandall, who died 2 August 1670 (NOTE: his first wife is NOT Mary Opp, as stated by John Cortland Crandall).[1]

Children of John and his first wife, born before 1670:[1]
  1. John, d. betw. 25 January and 14 August 1704, mar. 18 June 1672 to Elizabeth Gorton;
  2. Jane, mar. bef. 1693 Job Babcock;
  3. James;
  4. Peter, d. bef. 29 July 1734; mar. Mary Unknown;
  5. Sarah, mar. 1) bef. 1677, as his second wife, Josiah Witter, mar. 2) Peter Button;
  6. Joseph, b. c 1661, d. 12 September 1737, mar. 1) Deborah Burdick, mar. 2) by 1717 Elizabeth (Witter) Langworthy;
  7. Samuel, b. 1663, d. 19 May 1736, mar. 1685 Sarah Celly.

John married, as his second wife, to Hannah Gaylord, daughter of William and Anna (Porter) Gaylord of Windsor, Connecticut.[1] She married, as her second husband, to John Cottrell of Westerly.[1]

Children of John and Hannah Gaylord:[1]
  1. Jeremiah, b. aft. 1670, d. August 1718, mar. Priscilla Warner; she mar. 2) Abraham Lockwood of Providence;
  2. Eber, b. 1675, d. betw. 22 August and 15 September 1727, mar. 1) Unknown, mar. 2) Patience Lampear, mar. 3) Mary Cottrell.

Immigration and Life in Newport

The date and place of John's arrival in New England and the ship on which he sailed are unknown, but he is first found in New England in Newport, Rhode Island in 1643. He is listed in Newport records as a grand juror on 8 September 1643 and is found again named in a case against Thomas Gennings in December 1643.[2]

He was on a list of freeman at Newport in 1655 and was named as a commissioner there on 2 November 1658, 17 May 1659, 22 May 1662, 17 June 1662 and 12 May 1663.[3]

Founder of Westerly

In a deed dated 29 June 1660, five Newport investors purchased the tract known as Misquamicuck or Misquamicut from Sosoa, an Indian Captain of Narragensett.[1][4] Some of those original investors sold their portions and never settled there. John Crandall, together with six others and two of the original purchasers (William Vaughan and Hugh Mosher), on 27 August 1661, petitioned the Rhode Island General Assembly for permission to settle on the newly purchased Misquamicut[1] (aka Askomicutt).[3]

Gifford, author of The Probable Origins and Ancestry of John Crandall ..., called John Crandall "one of the settlement's leaders"; in fact, Gifford believes that John may have been influential in the naming of Westerly, because his birth place was probably the parish of Westerleigh, Gloucestershire, England.[1]

In May 1669, after many years of boundary and jurisdiction disputes, the town of Westerly was incorporated by the colony's assembly. John Crandall's is the first name on the list of freeholders in the town of Westerly on 18 May 1669,[4][5]

On 21 May 1669, the Governor and Council of Rhode Island appointed six men as Conservators of the Peace for the Colony. The men were assigned to geographic areas in pairs, the first of the pair to also act as coroner for their area. John Crandal and Tobias Saunders were appointed as justices at Misquamicut, with John likely acting as coroner.[6] John is also listed as a deputy representative of Westerly in the General Assembly in both 1670 and 1671.[4][5]

From the time Rhode Island was founded, disputes over jurisdictions arose and continued with Massachusetts and, particularly with Connecticut. These disputes sometimes resulted a property seizures, arrests and imprisonments. John Crandall was the subject of a complaint dated 30 October 1667, in which he was accused of "intrusions" into Stonington, Connecticut, for laying out a square mile of land for his son within the town limits.[7] A copy of a letter to the Governor, dated 11 Mar 1669, from John Crandall and Tobias Sanders regarding such a dispute, can be seen in John Cortland Crandall's 1949 book.[8] John was sent to present a letter dated 15 Oct 1670 from the General Assembly to the Connecticut court.[6] In 1671, John Crandall was arrested and imprisoned at the Hartford, Connecticut jail[4] and tried in New Haven on 2 May 1671.[7] The Rhode Island General Court addressed this matter on 3 May 1671, advising that John should not to post bond and stating that the colony would bear John's charges.[6]

It is thought that John temporarily removed to Newport in 1676 as Westerly had become too dangerous during King Philips War.[citation needed]


John was a Baptist and then later, a Seventh Day Baptist. It is unknown whether he was a baptist in England or if he converted in Rhode Island. Gifford contends there was baptist activity in Bristol, England in the 1630's, and that Seventh-Day Baptists were in Gloucestershire by 1620.[1] John Crandall was to become the first Elder of the Baptist Society of Westerly.[1]

In July 1651, John, with Rev. John Clarke and Obadiah Holmes, were arrested for preaching in Lynn, Massachusetts and jailed in Boston until their trail, the following week. At the trail they were charged with being anabaptists and fined, Clark £20, Holmes £30 and John £5 and were "to be well whipped" if they did not pay their fines. They refused to pay the fines and were imprisoned. Rev. Clarke and John were later sent home on bail, but Holmes was severely whipped.[9]

John Crandall was persecuted for his religious beliefs. John was called "Grendall of Narragansett" after participating in a 14 April 1668 religious debate in Boston.[7]

Death and Legacy

Possibly injured in Great Swamp Fight of 19 Dec 1675 at Westerly.

John died in 1676 at Newport, Rhode Island,[1] as evidenced in a letter from Samuel Hubbard dated Nov 1676.[10] John is buried in a family cemetery located west of the Crandall homestead. He is buried with both of his wives, his son John Jr. and his wife,[4] in Rhode Island Historical Cemetery #15, where a monument to the family was erected in 1994.[11]

No will has been found for Elder John Crandall but, in a document dated 3 Oct 1670, he signed over all his goods, chattels, debts., etc. to his son, John Crandall Jr.[7]

In a document dated 13 May 1678, John Crandall's house and 200 acres of land in Westerly were turned over by John Crandall Jr. to his brothers Jeremiah and Hebe of Newport who were "in the tuition of their mother Hannah Crandall".[7]

In The Early History of Narragansett ..., among the listing of Indian and Other Names of Places: "Quequatnck or Qneqiiathanic or Queqvatage - About twenty miles up Pawcatuc river, near where Crandal's mill stood on said river in 1681." This property was named in a 1699 lawsuit.[6]

Research Notes

Disputed origins and other disputed claims: There is a false lineage for John Crandall, claiming that he was the son of another John Crandall and Elizabeth Drake, an imaginary woman with an imaginary medieval pedigree.

Two early works on John Crandal and his descendants contain a number of errors and include undocumented English lineages.[7] The 1888 work by A.P. Crandall, Genealogy of Elder John Crandall and his Descendants, contains an introductory section (among others) which is now proved to be unfounded, and the second is the 1949 work by John Cortland Crandall, Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants, which seems largely to have been based on the mistakes of the first.[7] These works make many statements without citing sources, and when later researchers sought documentation, they found either no evidence or suggestion that our John Crandall was confused with a John Cranwell/Craniwell of Boston[7] (see Cranwell's profile in R.C. Anderson's Great Migration Begins.1995 Vol 1 (A-F) pages 492-493. AmericanAncestors (subscription) or (subscription): Image

One of the fictitious claims is that John arrived in Boston in 1634/5. Actually, there is no evidence of his presence in British America prior to 8 September 1643, when he was a member of the Newport, Rhode Island Grand Jury. Many researchers have searched for any evidence of his presence in Boston or Salem and have found none.[7] John Cortland Crandall contends that John was in Providence by 1637 and explains the lack of records with, "Many of the early Providence records were early destroyed." According to researcher, Jerry Huggins, "This is just simply not true - the early Providence records are very complete."[7] Another unsupported claim is that John went to England in 1663 with a group of men to to obtain the Rhode Island Charter.

See also: "Elder John Crandall in Colonial America... trying to locate the immigrant Crandall ancestor in the records of colonial New England" by Earl P. Crandall, Crandall Family Association Genealogist (1994-2002), March 1998. Crandall Family Association website, archived page from 12 Feb 2009

An anonymous donor supplied the following:

John Crandall Baptism 24 Jun 1621 St Briavels, Gloucestershire Father Thomas, Mother Barbara[12]
There are no Westerleigh parish records available on ancestry's offering for Gloucestershire. St Briavels is 14-20 miles away.
The entry cited for 1618 supposedly on Bishop Transcripts, FHL Film Number 1596176 Westerleigh can be accessed in a FHC only, they say it is digital.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Gifford, Paul M., "The Probable Origins and Ancestry of John Crandall, of Westerly, Rhode Island (1618-1676)," published in Rhode Island Roots, vol. 32, no. 4, Dec 2006, pages 165-186. Online database of NEHGS - John Crandall of Rhode Island pages 165-166 (origins), 182-185 (marriage/children).
  2. Chapin, Howard. Documentary History of Rhode Island [1641-1646]. Vol. II. Providence RI: Preston & Rounds, 1919. Online at, pages 145 (juror), 149 (Gennings).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bartlett, John Russell. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England. Providence: A. C. Greene and brothers, 1856. Online at HathiTrust, pages 301 (freeman), 394, 409, 468, 480, 501 (commissioner), 449-50 (Askomicutt).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Denison, Frederic. Westerly (Rhode Island) and its Witnesses. Providence RI: J.A. and R.A. Reid, 1878. Online at, pages 47-50 (purchase of Misquamicut, jailed), 52 (1669 free inhabitants), 154 (Gen. Assembly rep.), 282 (Crandall burial grounds).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cole, J.R., History of Washington and Kent Counties, Including Their Early Settlement ... New York: W. W. Preston & Co., 1889. Online at, page 246 (freeman), 254 (rep.).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Potter, Elisha R. The Early History of Narragansett; With an Appendix of Original Documents, Many of Which are Now for the First Time Published. Providence: Marshall, Brown and Co., 1835. Online at, pages 71 (just. of peace/coroner), 183-185 (letter to CT), 188 (response to imprisonment), 65, 305 (Quequatnck).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 Huggins, Jerry, A HUGGINS line: John Crandall RootsWeb WorldConnect Database, updated 11 Dec 2017. [Temporary offline as of May 2023. See ]
  8. Crandall, John Cortland. Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants. New Woodstock, NY: J.C. Crandall, 1949. Online at, letter to governor at page viii.
  9. Arnold, Samuel Greene. History of the State of Rhode Island And Providence Plantations. 4th ed., Vol. I. Providence, RI: Preston & Rounds, 1899. Online at HathiTrust, pages 234-236.
  10. Champlin, J.D., "Early Settlers of Westerly Rhode Island." published in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Vol. 14, Jan 1860, page 25. Boston, MA: NEHGS. Online at
  11. Rootsweb - Crandall Family Burial Ground.
  12.  :Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813

See also:

  • Cutter, William Richard, "New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: a Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation." published by Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1915. Series 3, Vol. I, Page 165 at
  • J.H. Beers & Co. Representative Men And Old Families of Rhode Island: Genealogical Records And Historical Sketches of Prominent And Representative Citizens And of Many of the Old Families ... Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co., 1908. Online at HathiTrust, Vol. I., page 519.
  • FamilySearch Ancestral Files.
  • FamilySearch Tree (they copied/pasted our section on disproved parents/facts).

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with John:

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Comments: 29

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The opening paragraph of this profile is most interesting. It boastfully proclaims that two legacy sources are full of misinformation and are "now proved to be unfounded" and that these "works make many statements without citing sources." The beautiful irony of these bold statements is that the well-spring of knowledge and evidence upon which they are based refers to one and only one information source which happens to be web page that is presently an internet dead end. Activate the hot link to source number one and you will find _____________ supporting any of the bold assertions in paragraph one. That is to say, the accusation that these legacy sources are making false assertions without evidence or source information is now making its own false/true? assertions without evidence or source information. This probably ought to be corrected or deleted.
posted by Randy Beebe
The link I think you're referring to is on WorldConnect which is being migrated to a different site (or so we've been told). So at the moment we can't access that info, but hopefully at some point we will be able to. I've added this profile to a list of links for the PGM Project to check once its available.
posted by M Cole
edited by M Cole
Specifically it is this RootsWeb site A HUGGINS line: John Crandall RootsWeb post, updated 11 Dec 2017. It has been cited at least five times, but there is no information there. It appears RootsWeb has been shut down with no recourse.
posted by Randy Beebe
It's all part of the same package of changes, Randy. See: Retiring and Migrating Portions of Rootsweb. The orginal author may have posted it elsewhere, and the article may be retrieved in a different way. Much like a book that you can't access except perhaps in a specific archive, not being able to read this one doesn't make it useless. The original poster of the source might also have the content.
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
edited by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Bobbie, thanks for the heads up; in looking at the page you have pointed me to, it seems there may or may not be a future at some indeterminant date for the specific information in this discussion chain. This instance is a powerful, powerful argument for extracting data from any source with a dubious future. In the meantime the narrative needs to be edited; as it stands it just looks silly and very hypocritical.
posted by Randy Beebe
I have commented out the section. That saves the original narrative in the event the original source data is ever recovered but eliminates the objectionable material from appearing until such time as there is any support for the assertions.
posted by Randy Beebe
Hi Randy,

I actually think the information has value, and readers can evaluate its claims (unless you have reason to believe those claims are not true, in which case I'd be interested to know,) The Rhode Island Roots article seems to lay out the most probable source for the origins.

In any case, I've added the Disputed Parents Research Note Box and moved the section to research notes and amended the citation to note that the source is temporarily offline. Thanks, M. PGM Coordinator

posted by M Cole
I can't make an evidence based claim whether the assertions are true or false, and neither can the author; BUT the author is in fact making harsh truth claims without any evidence and that is the point. Without evidence, these assertions are just blatant hypocrisy.
posted by Randy Beebe
U.S. and International Marriage Records 1560-1900 list Mary Opp and John Crandall. Crandall b. 1612 in England. Is this the proof we're looking for or has this record been attributed to another John Crandall???
posted by Michelle Kellar
edited by Michelle Kellar
Please see the first section of his wife's profile for further information about this, and why it is refuted: Mary (UNKNOWN) Crandall (1625-bef.1670)
posted by S (Hill) Willson
Elder John Crandall is my 8th Great Grandfather, Quick question for anyone who can answer it, How do we know that Mary Opp was not Elder John Crandall's first wife? I found another reference to Mary Opp being his first wife in the book "Davis-The Settlers of Salem, West Virginia by Susie Davis Nicholson. She states that per the notes of one Mildred Small that Mary Opp was his first wife. I found this reference also detailed on RootWeb that "Mildred Small of Etna, PA states that she found in the records in Washington, D.C. that the first wife of Elder John was Mary Opp who died 20 Aug. 1669." Any help is appreciated.  :)
posted by Laurie Fenrick
Hi Laurie,

The most recent published info (Dec 2006) on Elder John Crandall says "John's first wife died 2 Aug. 1670. Her name is unknown; the name "Mary Opp", given by John Cortland Crandall is a name without any basis known to this author."

His first wife's name could have been Mary Opp, but nobody had found proof to verify her name either way. Her name might not even be Mary. We know she was buried 2 Aug 1670 (not 20 Aug 1669), but that's about it. See the Disputed Name section at the top of "Mary's" profile.

Hope this helps. Traci

posted by Traci Thiessen
Crandall-2791 and Crandall-3 appear to represent the same person because: same dod & pod. Notes on Crandall-3 indicating false parents. Everything on Crandall-3 should be kept.
this is one of mine but I have had to take a back seat with Medical issues and im raising my grandkids (ages 13,12,11) if someone wants the challenge please by all means take it on
That would be great, T. Thank you. And if a current profile manager would like to take it on, that would also be great.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Jillaine, he is an 8th ggf and Rhode Island so if no PMs take on the overhaul, I would be happy to add it to my list. It also appears this profile still contains information from the largely discredited work of A. P. Crandall.
posted by T Stanton
This profile looks like it has not had a complete post merge overhaul. There is a lot of duplicative text and several copy-pastes. Would a profile manager like to take on making a single narrative?
posted by Jillaine Smith
Donna, we don't accept FindAGrave as a reliable source. In this case, it's probably based on the 1949 Crandall history which offered no source for "Mary Opp". A later published researcher could find no evidence for her name.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Find a Grave is not a genealogy website. It is to record burials. The persons who add genealogy unfortunately are frequently incorrect. The biography here says that she was not Mary Opp.
posted by Anne B
Find A Grave 5757231 provides the maiden name of Mary Crandall (Opp). Her memorial is 38014397. This also contains an image of the history of John C. Crandall
This profile has an over-abundance of profile managers; unless you're actively researching this profile, please consider downgrading yourself to the Trusted List. You'll still receive notice of edits through your family activity feed. Thank you.
posted by Jillaine Smith
A source you might add giving Gaylord marriage: Torry, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004. Page 190. CRANDALL, John (-1676) & 2/wf Hannah (?GAYLORD) (1646-1678+), ? dau William b. 6 Dec 1677; Providence/Newport/etc. No date given.

I did add it to her.

posted by Darlene (Scott) Kerr