Project: Nantucket Founders and Descendants

Categories: New England History | Nantucket County, Massachusetts | Massachusetts | Nantucket, Massachusetts | Province of Massachusetts Bay | Massachusetts History | Wampanoag | Massachusetts Bay Colony | Massachusetts Projects | Nantucket Founders and Descendants

Nantucket harbor


Welcome to the Nantucket Project!

This project deals with the founders of Nantucket Island and their descendants. This is a sub-project of the Massachusetts project, which is a sub-project of the United States project. No separate member badge is available for the Nantucket (or Massachusetts) project.

Project Contact and Participants

Are you interested in the Project?

We use the G2G forum for our discussions on project matters. Please don't hesitate to ask for help with tracing your family history back to the founding fathers of Nantucket. All posts to the G2G forum need to be tagged with Nantucket in order for them to be brought to the attention of the project members. for communication.

Project Members

If you would like to join the Nantucket project, please add your name and list your current focus on this page: Nantucket Project Members

Please keep track of what you're currently working on for this project by changing the information shown and showing the current date. This is both for your own reference and to aid collaboration amongst the project participants. If you are going to be temporarily inactive in the project (e.g. on vacation), please note that there. Thanks!


From the bluff at Sankaty Head in Siasconset, looking eastward straight across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain, it is not difficult to imagine a late summer’s day in the year 1602 and in the mind’s eyesight the bark Concord, under the command of Bartholomew Gosnold, tacking alongshore. The vessel had embarked from Falmouth, England, and having passed around Cape Cod was bound for the Virginia colony; Gosnold did not go ashore, but was the first to chart the location of Nantucket Island, a remote remnant of “the glacier’s gift.”[1]

For the next several decades Nantucket would continue to be populated solely by some 3000 natives of the Wampanoag tribe whose subsistence depended on what they could grow, hunt down, or take from the ponds and shorelines. There would be no incursion of Englishmen until 1641, when the island was deeded by the authorities then in control of all lands between Cape Cod and the Hudson River to Thomas Mayhew and his son, also Thomas, merchants of Watertown and Martha’s Vineyard. From their base on Martha’s Vineyard, the Mayhews not only grazed sheep on Nantucket but had zealously Christianized much of the native population, who would come to be known as praying Indians. Now the Mayhews owned the island and would hold onto it until 1659 when they sold it to nine solid citizens from the Merrimack Valley who were seeking to improve their circumstances. Mayhew reserved one-tenth of an interest for himself “for the sum of thirty pounds…and also two beaver hats, one for myself, and one for my wife.”[2]

Each of the ten original owners was allowed to invite one partner. There is some confusion about the identity of the first twenty owners, partly because William Pile didn’t choose a partner, and sold his interest to Richard Swain, which was eventually divided between John Bishop and the children of George Bunker.

Purchaser Partner
Thomas Mayhew John Smith
Tristram Coffin Sr. (son of Peter) Nathaniel Starbuck (son of Edward)
Thomas Macy Edward Starbuck
Richard Swain Thomas Look
Thomas Barnard Robert Barnard
Peter Coffin (grandson of Peter) James Coffin
Stephen Greenleaf Tristram Coffin Jr. (grandson of Peter)
John Swain Thomas Coleman
Christopher Hussey Major Robert Pike
William Pile (sold his interest to Richard Swain) Didn't choose a partner

You can read a brief history of Nantucket here.

Timeline of Nantucket: here

Wikipedia article on Nantucket is located here

  2. ibid.

Project Box

This template is not used on your own profile to indicate that you are a project member or Nantucket descendant. See stickers below for use on your own profile.

If you come across a profile of, or currently are the profile manager for, anyone that descends from one of the founders of Nantucket, and you feel that the profile should be managed by the project, contact Darlene with the profile ID and explain why you think the project should be a profile manager.

This code {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants|descendant}} will add the project box to a Nantucket descendant's project managed profile:
Nantucket Founders and Descendants
... ... ... descends from a Nantucket founder.
Join: Nantucket Founders and Descendants Project
Discuss: nantucket

Please don't add the project box without first contacting Darlene, as the project must be set as a profile manager if a project box is placed on the profile.

Project Stickers

If you want to add a Nantucket sticker on a descendant, add the code below depending on which of the founders is the ancestor. Many people are descendants of multiple founders. Please choose only one sticker per profile. The code is to be place immediately after the ==Biography== header.

  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Robert Barnard}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Thomas Barnard}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|James Coffin}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Peter Coffin}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Tristram Coffin Jr}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Tristram Coffin Sr}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Thomas Coleman}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Stephen Greenleaf}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Christopher Hussey}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Thomas Look}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Thomas Macy}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Thomas Mayhew}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Major Robert Pike}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|John Smith}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Edward Starbuck}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Nathaniel Starbuck}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|John Swain}}
  • {{Nantucket Founders and Descendants Sticker|descendant|Richard Swain}}

You can view the full list of stickers here

What You Can Do to Help

We need the assistance of people that will help add profiles and reliable sources for the descendants of the Nantucket founders.

Recommended Sources

Recommended online sources to use include:

Descendants Added to Project Listed by Founder

This page was last modified 17:05, 12 September 2022. This page has been accessed 4,188 times.