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Benjamin Hammond (abt. 1621 - 1703)

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Benjamin Hammond
Born about [location unknown]
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Rochester, Plymouth, Massachusettsmap
Profile last modified | Created 7 Feb 2011
This page has been accessed 2,370 times.

Categories: Puritan Great Migration.

The Puritan Great Migration.
Benjamin Hammond migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm


Disputed Origins

The widely-reported origin of Benjamin Hammond is problematic for several reasons, enumerated below, and is unlikely to be accurate as published.

First Problem: Two Hammond Families

There is no known relationship between Benjamin and the family of William Hammond and Elizabeth Paine, who migrated from Lavenham, Suffolk, England, and settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. Benjamin was not a child of this family, and did not sail on the Francis with Elizabeth and her children in 1634.[1] There is no evidence that Benjamin came from Lavenham, or Suffolk.

The two Hammond families are frequently confused because Benjamin's parents are given as William Hammond and Elizabeth Penn (see below for additional problems with this claim). The major Hammond genealogies refer to Benjamin's father as "William of London" to differentiate him from "William of Watertown."[2][3]

Second Problem: Elnathan Hammond's Journal

All of the published biographical and genealogical works on the birth, parentage, and migration of Benjamin Hammond so far rely on a single source: the private Memorandum Book kept by his grandson, Captain Elnathan Hammond, written roughly between 1755-1781.[4]

Errors and Questionable Claims in Elnathan's Journal

Unfortunately, in his book, Elnathan reports at least two things as fact (enthusiastically, in great detail) that we now know to be wrong:

  1. That Elizabeth was a sister/aunt of the famous Penn family. Disproved 1900 in NEHGR 54.[5]
  2. That Rev. John Lothrop was talking about Benjamin's mother when he wrote, "Elizabeth Hammon, my sister" in church records in Scituate in 1636. Disproved 1995 by Anderson.[1]

At least one additional claim is therefore unlikely to be accurate:

  1. That Elizabeth, Benjamin, and his three sisters sailed on the Griffin: "in the same ship or vessel with that worthy Minister Mr. John Lothrop". Anderson proved in 1995 that Lothrop was not their minister.[1]

Elnathan, born 1703, would not have known either one of his paternal grandparents, as Benjamin died 1703 and Mary died 1705, so he could not have heard their origins first-hand. Battell reports that Elnathan also copied (probably after John's death in 1749) information from a journal kept by his father, Benjamin's son John Hammond.

These Errors Widely Reproduced

The original account of Elnathan's journal was published by Philip Battell in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 30, in 1876.[4]

The article in NEHGR 30, in turn, is the sole source for Benjamin's origin story in Roland Hammond's A history and genealogy of the descendants of William Hammond of London, England and his wife Elizabeth Penn: through their son Benjamin of Sandwich and Rochester, Mass., 1600-1894, written 1894. He reports Elnathan's errors as fact.[2]

Frederick Stam Hammond's History and Genealogies of the Hammond Families in America: with an Account of the Early History of the Family in Normandy and Great Britain, 1000-1902 was written in 1902, after the publication of detailed Penn records in NEHGR 54 in 1900 disproved the claim that Benjamin's mother Elizabeth was a child of that family.[5] F.S. Hammond acknowledges the famous-Penns error but goes on to say, "It is probable that her name was Elizabeth Penn, however, as there exists no satisfactory reason for doubting the general accuracy of the record kept by Capt. Elnathan Hammond and his father." The Memo Book was his sole source for this information.[3]

Banks in 1937 listed Benjamin, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Martha, and Rachel as passengers on the Griffin, citing two sources: "Hammond Gen. p. 565," and "Drakes 'Boston'."[6] The records of the Griffin are reconstructed from secondary records, not original passenger manifests; like the others, the claims in Banks trace back to grandson Elnathan's Memo Book.

Remaining Unsourced, Unverified Claims

Thus far, no additional sources have been found to corroborate any of the following claims, which originate solely from Elnathan's Memo Book:

  • That Benjamin's parents were named William and Elizabeth
  • That Elizabeth's maiden name was Penn
  • That they were from London (and "left a good estate" there)
  • That Benjamin had sisters Elizabeth, Martha and Rachel
  • That Elizabeth and the sisters came to New England at all
  • That Elizabeth died in Boston and was buried there in 1640



Benjamin's birth is given as 1621 (in London) by both Hammond genealogies, and his age at death in 1703 as 82, but neither cites a source.[2][3] No record of birth or baptism/christening has been found. The transcribed death record from Rochester does not mention his age.[7][8]

A Benjamin Hammon, servant of John Hardy, was twice sentenced by the courts in Salem for disobedient behavior. In 1640 he was bound to his master for an additional year, and in 1641/2 he was fined £5, whipped, and "bound to good behavior for one year".[9] There is no evidence that this Benjamin became the Benjamin of Yarmouth and Rochester.


The first record of Benjamin in Massachusetts lists him as "able to bear arms" in the town of Yarmouth in 1643. "In 1652 he was chosen constable of Yarmouth, and he is on record as a resident there as late as 1655." By 1673 he is documented as a landowner in Sandwich, and in 1675 he became constable there. He removed to Rochester sometime between its founding (as Sippican) in 1679, and 1686, when his son Samuel was admitted freeman there.[3][10]


Benjamin married Mary Vincent, daughter of John Vincent, in Sandwich: "[Benjamin Hammond m[worn]aried to Mary Vincent the 8th of november 1648 p [by] me Willam Wood."[11] Benjamin and John were named overseers of the will of Joan Swift in 1662.[10]


The children of Benjamin Hammond and Mary (Vincent) Hammond were:


Benjamin Hammond, husband of "Marey", died in Rochester, Massachusetts, on 27 August 1703.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Volume 2. Boston: New England Historical and Genealogical Society, 1995, pp. 853-4. Digital image on
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hammond, Roland. A history and genealogy of the descendants of William Hammond of London, England and his wife Elizabeth Penn: through their son Benjamin of Sandwich and Rochester, Mass., 1600-1894. Boston: David Clapp & Son, Printers, 1894. Digital image on
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Hammond, Frederick Stam. History and Genealogies of the Hammond Families in America: with an Account of the Early History of the Family in Normandy and Great Britain, 1000-1902, Volume 1. Oneida, N.Y.: Ryan & Burkhart, Printers, 1902, pp. 565-7. Digital image on and
  4. 4.0 4.1 Battell, Philip. "Descendants of Benjamin Hammond", The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 30. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1876, pp. 28-32. Digital image on Google Books and
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lea, J. Henry, Esq. "Genealogical Gleanings among the English Archives", The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 54. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1900, 325-9. Digital image on Google Books.
  6. Banks, Charles Edward. Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England, 1620-1650. Philadelphia: Bertram Press, 1937, p. 109.
  7. Rochester Vital Record Transcripts. Digital image at
  8. 8.0 8.1 Vital Records of Rochester Massachusetts to the year 1850, Volume 2, p. 385. Digital image at
  9. Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634–1635, Volume 3, G-H. Boston: New England Historical and Genealogical Society, 2003, p. 221.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Sinnott, Mary Elizabeth. Annals of the Sinnott, Rogers, Coffin, Corlies, Reeves, Bodine and allied families. Philadelphia: private printing, J.B. Lippincott, 1905, p. 87-9.
  11. Vital Records of Sandwich, Massachusetts
  • "Vital Records of Sandwich, Massachusetts," Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2010). Page 4

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Benjamin by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:

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On 17 Nov 2017 at 16:08 GMT S (Hill) Willson wrote:

Removed mother Elizabeth Penn. Extensive info about Benjamin's disputed origins support her removal as his mother

On 3 Jun 2016 at 21:22 GMT Weldon Smith wrote:

Outstanding profile work. It will be a pleasure to connect my Hammonds to this one. But still trying to prove my Seth Hammond[~1713] was son of Seth Hammond[1683], who was son of Samuel.

On 9 Oct 2014 at 12:17 GMT Cheryl Hammond wrote:

Seeking original/primary sources:
  • 1648 Sandwich marriage record - transcribed or original - where can I find it?
  • 1703 Rochester death record - I have seen the transcribed copy but does anyone have a scan of the original?
  • Children's birth records


On 25 Sep 2014 at 19:34 GMT Cheryl Hammond wrote:

I also disconnected the coat of arms image; since we don't know Benjamin's accurate origins, there's no way he can be approved to use any COA.

On 25 Sep 2014 at 19:20 GMT Cheryl Hammond wrote:

Hello! As a result of the G2G discussion I think we have clarified that Benjamin was definitely not the son of William and Elizabeth of Lavenham/Watertown, so I'm disconnecting them. His parents may or may not have been named William and Elizabeth; if so, they were different ones.

On 22 Sep 2014 at 00:54 GMT S (Hill) Willson wrote:

In the interest of accuracy....From what I have been able to research, I think it is questionable as to whether Benjamin arrived on the Griffin, when his mother and siblings arrived on the Francis. Are there other sources to support this, or should a statement of "uncertain ship" be added to his bio? Thank you.

On 4 Sep 2014 at 02:45 GMT S (Hill) Willson wrote:

Is the mother you have listed in the mother field the same person as the Elizabeth Penn referenced in the bio? Both are married to Wm Hammond, and the name could be spelled differently, but I wasn't sure when I looked at the source document. I believe I also read a reference somewhere on WikiTree that Benjamin came to the USA with his father potentially in 1630. Also, given Elizabeth Paine's birthdate, it would seem odd that she was the sister of Admiral William Penn, born the same year as her son. Sorry for the confusion. Thank you for your help

On 30 Aug 2014 at 01:33 GMT S (Hill) Willson wrote:

Is there evidence of Benjamin's parentage? Also, can you provide any more specifics about Benjamin's arrival in the USA? I have found a record of the ship Francis, which appears to list 3 siblings and his mother, but don't find any record of him being on that ship. thank you.

Benjamin is 21 degrees from Sharon Caldwell, 16 degrees from Burl Ives and 16 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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