Thomas Sheffield

Thomas Sheffield (1791 - 1860)

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Thomas Sheffield
Born in Sherington, Buckinghamshire, Englandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [uncertain] and [uncertain]
Husband of — married in St. Lauds, Sherington, Buckinghamshire, Englandmap
Husband of — married in St. Mary's, Clifton Reynes, Buckinghamshire, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Sumner, Jefferson, Wisconsin, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 22 Dec 2011
This page has been accessed 5,335 times.
This profile is part of the Sheffield Name Study.


Sheffield England
Sheffield Park Garden


Thomas Sheffield Family Genealogy


History of Sheffield England[1]
Sheffield Family Origins[2]
Daily Life in 18th Century England[3]

Sheffield Park, Sheffield, England Sheffield Park Gardens, Sheffield, England Sheffield Park, Sheffield, England
Sheffield Park Garden East Sussex (Video)

Waddesdon Castle
Waddesdon Manor (Video)

Sheffield Coat of Arms


A sheaf is a large bundle in which cereal plants are bound after reaping so they are convenient for threshing out the grain. In heraldry, a wheat sheaf is called a 'garb'.

The garb (or wheat-sheaf), signifies plenty and commendable hospitality in the bearer. It may also mean that the harvest of the bearer’s hopes is secured. One of the earliest appearances of garbs in heraldry was on the seal of Ranulph, Earl of Chester who died in 1232.

Garbs became identified thereafter with the Earldom of Chester, though they also appear in the arms of other families, some with a distant connection to the Earls and some without, as well as in armories of other countries.


The chevron represents the foot of a house, derived from the French work ‘chevron’ meaning rafter. It signifies protection.

The chevron was granted to those who had participated in some notable enterprise, had built churches or fortresses, or had accomplished some work requiring faithful service.


The color RED signifies Warrior or martyr; Military strength and magnanimity. The color BLUE (or AZURE) signifies Truth and loyalty. WHITE signifies Peace and sincerity.

Cottage in Woburn, Bedfordshire
Cottage in Woburn, Bedfordshire


Woburn Bedfordshire[4]
~ Open space by the River Sheaf ~

Wilshamstead History[5]
Wilshamstead History[6]
Wilstead Map Comparison (then & now): 1881 2014
Bedfordshire (Map 1881)[7]
History of Bedfordshire Baptist Churches: Part 1[8] and Part 2[8]
Bedfordshire Parish Records[9]
image description Cotton End Baptists[10]

"Thomas Sheffield lived in Bedfordshire County, England, when he wrote in a book on February 28, (1832), a record of his children. He didn't record his or his wives birthdates. The four children listed below are assumed to be of a first marriage. John born July ll, 1812; Rachel born July 14, 1814; Joel born November 16, 1817; and Dorcus, no record of date of birth. The other four children listed below are assumed to be of his second marriage. Elijah born October 7, 1821; Elisha born February 17, 1824; Benjamin born March 28, 1828; and Ruth born October 15, 1832."[11]


The Search for Thomas Sheffield

Thomas Sheffield and his family are known to have come from Bedfordshire per a brief mention as recounted from a book Thomas left. Beyond an incomplete description of Thomas' children and birth dates, Thomas does not record any marriage information or historical information about his family. No baptism or birth record for a Thomas Sheffield in 1791 has been located that might also identify where Thomas was born or who his parent's were.
Sheffield Family in Wilshamstead 1600 A.D. - 1700 A.D. (PDF)
Sheffield Family baptisms in Bedfordshire (1746-1875): Map List (PDF)

Thomas Sheffield's son Elisha's second wedding to Cynthia Long leaves us with the surname of Thomas' bride, Ann Stratton. We are then able to find a marriage dated 1817 which comes after the births of some of his children indicating that Thomas been married previously.

Google Maps[12]

A search conducted by the Bedford Borough Council attempted to locate Thomas Sheffield (b. 1791) in England and his missing family members which yielded several possible Thomas Sheffield candidates to have been born or baptized in Bedfordshire:

Thomas Sheffield[13]

  • The second prospect, a Thomas Sheffield baptized in 1791 to a Robert & Ann Sheffield in St. Leonard's Anglican church in London 90 miles away. It seems this Thomas Sheffield lives and dies in London.

Baptist Church Minutes[14]

  • A Thomas Sheffield accompanied by an Elizabeth Daniels of Wilstead registered at the Cotton End Baptist Hall in Cotton End on July 1, 1828 (after son Benjamin's baptism at Cotton End).


Buckinghamshire 1806

Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey (Video)

EBook General View of the Agriculture of Buckinghamshire[16]
EBook The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham: Vol 4[17]
Olney Lace Making History[18]
Buckinghamshire Vocabulary[19]
Olney Baptist Church Missionary History[20]
Buckinghamshire Parish Records[21]


St. Laud's Sherington, Buckinghamshire
St. Laud's Sherington, Buckinghamshire

Sherington St. Laud's Church (Google Streetview)[12]

Though it was never confirmed by Thomas, it has been evidenced that he had two wives and produced two families after the connection to his second wife Ann Stratton was made.

Elizabeth Pilgrim

Searching nearby Buckinghamshire where Thomas' 2nd wedding occurred in Clifton-Reynes is where we find COE baptism records listing a John Sheffield (b. 1812) and Rachel Sheffield (b. 1814). We also find a marriage between a Thomas Sheffield & Elizabeth Pilgrim in 1811 in Sherington very near to Clifton-Reynes.

Marriage Registration[22]Marriage Registration[22]
Thomas Sheffield & Elizabeth Pilgrim 14 Oct 1811

Marriage Registration[23]Marriage Registration[23]

Sister Elizabeth Sheffield

From Thomas' first marriage registration in Sherington, we find what appears to be a sister Elizabeth Sheffield (b. 1796) who marries a John Tandy this same year (1811) and relocates to Newport Pagnell. A search of her and her life hasn't yielded any new information about possible siblings or parents who were not recorded as witnesses to their respective weddings.

Marriage Registration[23]

Elizabeth Sheffield Tandy indicates that she is from Sherington on later census data, and on her wedding register. On Thomas and Elizabeth Pilgrims wedding registry, it is noted that both are listed as having been from the parish of Sherington also. No other records were located for the Sheffield or Pilgrim surname in Sherington during this time period.


St. Lawrence Church, Chicheley, Buckinghamshire, England[24]
St. Lawrence Church Chicheley, Buckinghamshire, England[25]


Of Thos' first children were born to Elizabeth Pilgrim (b. 1791). John (b. 1812), and Rachel (b. 1814) were baptized in Chicheley[12] along with Thomas (1813). Elizabeth Pilgrim Sheffield dies in 1815 and is buried in Sherington[27] where they had been married in 1811.

St. Mary's Clifton Reynes, Buckinghamshire
St. Mary's Church Clifton Reynes, Buckinghamshire

Ann Stratton

On 28 Feb 1817, Thomas marries Ann Stratton in Clifton Reynes[12]. To them were born son Joel (b. 1817), Benjamin (b. 1820), Elijah (b. 1821) & Elisha (b. 1824) and daughter Ruth (b. 1832). Though Thomas lists a daughter Dorcas, no record of her has been located.

Marriage Registration[28]

Marriage Registration[28]

A witness by the name of Samuel Robinson is listed. Is this the same Samuel Robinson on family record from the Olney Baptist Church?

Chronology (pre-1841)

1811 Thomas marries Elizabeth Pilgrim in Sherington at St. Lauds (Oct 14)
1811 An Elizabeth Sheffield marries John Tandy in Sherington at St. Lauds (Dec 10)
1812 Son John is born (July 11) Obit states John was born in Beds
1812 Son John is baptized in Chicheley at St. Lawrence (Aug 6)
1813 A John Sheffield is baptized in Chicheley at St. Lawrence (Mar 31)
1813 A Thomas is baptized in Chicheley at St. Lawrence (Mar 31)
Christening Chicheley[29]
1814 Daughter Rachel baptized in Chicheley at St. Lawrence (Aug 29)
1815 Elizabeth Pilgrim buried in Sherington at St. Lauds (Nov 17)
1817 Thomas marries Ann Stratton in Clifton Reynes at St. Mary's (Feb 28)
1817 Son Joel is born (Nov 16)
1817 Son Joel is baptized in Clifton Reynes at St. Mary's (Dec 4)
1820 Son Joel is buried at All Saints in Wilstead (Aug 9)
1821 Son Elijah is born (Oct 7)
1821 Son Elijah is baptized at All Saints in Wilstead (Oct 9)
1824 Son Elisha is born (Feb 17)
1824 Son Elisha is baptized at All Saints in Wilstead (Aug 29)
1827 A Sheffield joins Cotton End Baptist Congregation in Cardington (Apr 20)
1828 Son Benjamin is born (Mar 28)
1828 Son Benjamin is baptized at Cotton End Baptist Church in Cardington (Mar 28)
1828 A Thomas Sheffield & Elizabeth Daniels of Wilstead register at Cotton End in Cardington (Jun 21)
1832 Daughter Ruth is born (Oct 15)
1832 Daughter Ruth is baptized at Cotton End Baptist Church in Cardington (May 15)
1835 A John Sheffield of Wilstead registers at Cotton End in Cardington (Jun 21)
1839 John proceeds family and emigrates to Michigan perhaps through Canada
1841 We find a marriage between a Joseph Jones and Rachel Sheffield in 1841 in Cardington, Bedfordshire. Death registers for both individuals indicate that they were non-conformists (presumed Baptist)
1841 Thomas and presumed surviving family emigrate and arrive in the US (Jun 22)


Ship Ontario


n 18th of May, 1841, we see a Thomas Sheffield accompanied by his wife Ann(e) along with their three children, Elisha, Elijah & Ruth making their way from Bedfordshire bound for the New York. From London, they boarded a small sailing vessel named the ship Ontario and said goodbye to their native England.

It was presumed that John Sheffield preceeded the family as he was not listed on the 1841 manifest. As we see later, John rejoins the family sometime between 1860-1863 in Jefferson, WI having resided in Houghton, MI prior and married in Detroit before that. We find in his obituary that he came to the US in 1839. We see also on an 1896 voter registration, that brother Elijah curiously claims that he came to the US in 1839 (though he gives different years for his US naturalization 1840, 1846 and 1848). Elisha's obituary confirms the family came to the US in 1841.

Ship Ontario Manifest[30][31]

Note that the birth year for Thomas & Ann is listed as 1792, not 1791. His wife's name is recorded as 'Anne' instead of 'Ann'. The birth years for the children match. We do not find other Sheffield families with similar names in Bedfordshire at this time.

The Sheffield family members manage to dock safely in New York on June 22nd 1841 as the ship Ontario's 151 passenger manifest records (Elisha states that he arrived on the 21st). Transatlantic crossings in the day were often arduous and long, as in this case in which the travel time was 35/34 days at sea per Elisha's entry.

Elisha (and the family presumably) make their way from New York to Detroit arriving on the 3rd of July, 1841.

We know that Elisha's half brother John Sheffield (b. 1812) came ahead of the family per his obituary in 1939 and find he'd settled in Detroit, Michigan by 1841 per his marriage to Margaret Anderson. Elisha indicates that (he) traveled by train from Detroit to Dexter, Michigan 60 miles further north arriving on July 5th two days later. (Though Elisha doesn't specify, we might presume the entire family made this journey together).

In 1844, (Elisha) leaves Michigan headed for Wisconsin and indicates the travel time to arrive at their destination takes 35 days (by road?). John and his family will remain in Michigan until after the death of his 1st wife Margaret in 1862.

It may be worth noting that we see in several instances starting with Dexter, MI that Elisha and some of his siblings lived in cities that were sympathetic to the abolitionist movement. It was also noted that the Seventh Day Baptists were involved with these efforts, as were the Methodists.

Pioneer Life

Map Iowa & Wisconsin 1844
Michigan Territory (inc. part Wisconsin Terr.) ca. 1844

Although major Indian conflicts (see "bad axe massacre") had largely ended by the early 1830's, it seems there were still lingering problems in subsequent years as recounted by Franklin Southwick in his vivid memoir.

Drawing from notes he left, Elisha spends his youth (though an adult by 1842) in (Ft.) Madison, WI with the family. We find several land grants for Elijah in Milwaukee first in 1846 and thru subsequent years until 1852. Elisha follows Elijah garnering a land grant in 1849 for himself.

Between 1846-1852 is when Thomas' children acquire land grants in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and leave Iowa. An 1855 census, records a 'Thoams Sheffield' living in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, and Elisha as well.

Map Jefferson, Wisconsin 1870 Map Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin 1870

By 1850, we see son Elijah (b. 1821) has married and is living in Albion, Dane County, WI. Elisha (b. 1824) and his new bride relocate to Koshkonong, Jefferson County, WI located in south central Wisconsin territory.

Map Wisconsin 1859
Map showing newly constructed train tracks in Wisconsin by 1859
History of Jefferson, Wisconsin

Thomas, Ann & daughter Ruth move before 1860 to Sumner, Jefferson, WI. as evidenced in the Sumner plat map of 1862 shown below:

Koshkonong 1862[32]

1860 was likely a particularly bitter year for the family. Father Thomas dies suddenly along with Elijah's wife Ann Chapman and their young daughter Martha. John Sheffield's first wife Margaret Anderson dies too. Cornelia, Elijah's only surviving issue at the time, is sent to live with the Brown family nearby.


Cotton End Baptist Hall Cardington, Bedfordshire, England[33]
Cotton End Baptist Hall Cardington, Bedfordshire, England

John Bunyan House[34]
image description English Dissenters[35]
image description Baptist History and Heritage Society[36]

Non-Anglican parish records did not always end up in the hands of the local parish register. This may account for why we find so few records for Thomas and his ancestry, though numerous Sheffield families are shown throughout the region in Thomas' day.

From 1754 up to 1837 all marriages (with the exception of Quakers and Jews) had to take place in the parish church to be legitimate, and according to the vicar of St. Laud's in Sherington, spouses had to be baptized prior. Marriages of nonconformists during this period will normally have no indication of their nonconformity, though a marriage by license might be an indicator of nonconformity. (All early Sheffield marriages were by Banns)

England (pre-1841):

  • Thomas Sheffield (b. 1791): COE (Marriage) St. Lauds, Sherington, Bucks 1811, COE (Marriage) - Clifton Reynes, Bucks 1817 COE (Baptism) before/on St. Lawrence, Chicheley, Bucks 1813. Baptist (before son Benj) - Cotton End, Cardington, Beds 1828
  • Elizabeth Pilgrim (b. 1791 d. 1815): COE (Marriage) - St. Lauds, Sherington, Bucks 1811, COE (Burial) - St. Laud's, Sherington, Bucks 1815
  • Ann Stratton (b. 1791): COE (Marriage) - St. Mary's, Clifton Reynes, Bucks 1791, Baptist (before son Benj) - Cotton End, Cardington, Beds 1828
  • John Sheffield (b. 1813): COE (Baptism) - St. Lawrence, Chicheley, Bucks (1812 &/or 1813), Baptist - Cotton End Baptist Congregation Hall Cardington 1835
  • Rachel Sheffield (b. 1814): COE (Baptism) - St. Lawrence, Chicheley, Bucks 1814
  • Joel Sheffield (b. 1817 d. 1820): COE (Baptism) - St. Mark's, Clifton Reynes, Bucks 1817 COE (Baptism) - WIlstead, Beds, All Saints 1817?
  • Elijah Sheffield (b. 1821): COE (Baptism) - All Saints, Wilstead, Beds 1821
  • Elisha Sheffield (b. 1824): COE (Baptism) - All Saints, Wilstead, Beds 1824
  • Benjamin Sheffield (b. 1828): Baptist (Birth) - Cotton End, Cardington, Beds 1828
  • Ruth Sheffield (b. 1832): Baptist (Birth) - Cotton End, Cardington, Beds 183(2)
  • Dorcas Sheffield (N/A)

* We cannot confirm 100% that the John, Benjamin or Ruth indicated to have been baptized in Cardington are the same children of Thomas and Ann, though it is highly anticipated.

Post England (1841+):

  • Thomas Sheffield (b. 1791):
  • Elizabeth Pilgrim (b. 1791 d. 1815):
  • Ann Stratton (b. 1791) :
  • John Sheffield (b.1812) Methodist (Marriage) Detroit, MI 1841
  • Rachel Sheffield Jones (b. 1814): Denomination Unknown (Death - BMD Index) England, 1874
  • Joel Sheffield (b. 1817 d. 1820):
  • Elijah Sheffield (b.1821): Methodist (Marriage) - Jefferson, WI 1848
  • Elisha Sheffield (b.1824): Advent faith, Seventh Day Adventist (Preacher) - Albion, WI 1852-~1862, Seventh Day Church of God (Preacher) 1862-1901
  • Benjamin Sheffield (b. 1828):
  • Ruth Sheffield Southwick (b.1832): Advent faith - Milton, Rock, WI (date unknown)
  • Dorcas Sheffield (N/A)

Thomas and Ann would've had to have been confirmed as Baptists before the birth of son Benjamin in 1828. We find evidence of an unidentified 'Sheffield' being confirmed in 1827 at the Cotton End Baptist Hall in Cardington. A 'Sheffield' present during a Cotton End Congregation meeting is recorded in 1828. Cotton End Baptist Church records the confirmation of a Thomas Sheffield in 1828 accompanied by an Elizabeth Daniels(though an unlikely match).

On Friday Jun 2nd, 1835, a John Sheffield registers with the Baptist Church at Cotton End. John Sheffield (b. 1812) would've been 23 at that time. In John's obituary ca 1900, it states that he was a Baptist. We see that Ruth Sheffield husband indicates that he is an Adventist, so we can presume Ruth was also. As all early marriages we officiated by a Justice of the Peace, we can't know their faith at that time.

The remaining descendants appear to also have been primarily practicing Baptists while many contemporary descendants follow the Seventh Day Church of God in which Thomas' son Elisha Stratton Sheffield was one of the early preachers and church organizers. In later years, the Sheffield's intermarry with other families who's roots trace back to the early Baptist beginnings in England. Several among them served as active ministers, reverends & missionaries.

The Cotton End Baptist Church was first formed in 1776 upon the Strict Communion[37] plan which disallowed Baptism's at birth but made concessions after Mr. Thomas Taylor a Pedobaptist took charge as Deacon (Pedobaptists receive Baptism's) shortly afterwards which likely account for why Baptism records exist for both Benjamin and Ruth. It wasn't until 1832 (when Ruth was born) that the church formerly switched over to Open Communion.

US Census Collection

Census 1850 Koshkonong, Jefferson County, Wisconsin Census 1855 (Koshkonong?), Jefferson County, Wisconsin Census 1855 (Koshkonong?), Jefferson County, Wisconsin

After the passing of Thomas, his wife Ann unlikely able to manage the farm alone, moves to their neighbor Milton Southwick's farm where she remains until her death in 1869.


Thomas Sheffield dies February 10, 1860 and was buried at Busseyville Cemetery in Sumner, Jefferson, WI cemetery alongside many other family members and acquaintances of that time. The family name 'Bussey' is connected through the marriage of Elijah and his wife Rebecca Bussey.

Busseyville Cemetery List

RIP - FindAGrave Memorial #92498369[38][39]

Birth Year Conundrum


he headstone in the Busseyville cemetery confirms that when Thomas died in 1860, that he would've been born in 1791. Ann would be born in 1792 per the headstone. The 1860 census indicates that Thomas and Ann were both born in 1791, while the ship manifest claims they were born in 1792!. Thankfully a record for Ann Stratton's christening survives dated 24 Apr 1791, so we can presume both were born in 1791 despite these variances.


Bedford Borough Council Technical Information Services Report

Bedford Borough Council Technical Information Services Report[40]

  1. History of Sheffield England - Wikipedia
  2. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volumes 76-77 page 191
  3. Daily Life in 18th Century England - Kirstin Olsen 1999
  4. Photo - Woburn, Bedfordshire
  5. Wilshamstead History - Bedfordshire Borough Council
  6. Wilshamstead History - British History Online
  7. Bedfordshire (Map 1881) - Bedfordshire Borough Council
  8. 8.0 8.1 History of Bedfordshire Baptist Churches - Biblical
  9. Bedfordshire Parish Records - UKBMD
  10. Cotton End Baptists - Bedfordshire Bureau Council
  11. Sheffield Family History - Biography excerpt written by Naomi Koehn/ Alice Soller
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Google Maps - Google.Com
  13. Parish Register of Carlton Bedfordshire 1790 - Bedford Borough Council Information Services
  14. Thomas attends mass at the Cotton End congregation in 1928 with Elizabeth Daniels (unknown) - Bedford Borough Council Information Services
  15. MAP Buckinghamshire 1806 - Genuki.Org. UK and Ireland Geneaology
  16. General View of the Agriculture of Buckinghamshire - St. John Priest, Richard Parkinson
  17. The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham -George Lipscom, ESQ. M.D.
  18. Olney Lace Making History - Cowper and Newton Museum
  19. Buckinghamshire Vocabulary - Genuki.Org
  20. Olney Baptist Church Missionary History - Olney Baptist Church UK
  21. Buckinghamshire Parish Records - Buckinghamshire County Council
  22. 22.0 22.1 St. Laud's Parish Register. St. Laud's Church, Sherington, Buckinghamshire, England (Marriage)
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Pallot Marriage Index
  24. - Photograph by John Salmon, CC BY-SA 2.0,
  25. St. Lawrence Church Chicheley, Buckinghamshire, England
  26. Chicheley, Buckinghamshire, England Website
  27. Sherington Photos - Flicker.Com
  28. 28.0 28.1 St. Mary's Church Archives, Olney, Buckinghamshire (Marriage)
  29. St. Lawrence Church Registers, Chicheley, Buckinghamshire, England (Marriage)
  30. Ship Ontario Manifest Research & copy provided by Michael Sheffield. Published to Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
  31. See Ship Ontario Full Manifest Transcription: Ship Ontario Manifest Vol 6, 1841 (ITSG)
  32. Koshkonong 1862 Plat Map - courtesy Erin Proctor
  33. Cotton End Baptist Hall Drawing (facsimile) - Bedford Borough Council Information Services
  34. John Bunyan House - Wikipedia.Org
  35. English Dissenters - Wikipedia.Org
  36. Baptist History and Heritage Society
  37. Strict Communion - Theopedia.Com
  38. FindAGrave Memorial #92498369
  39. Headstone Photograph - courtesy Erin Proctor
  40. Bedford Borough Council Technical Information Services Report. Commissioned research - courtesy Michael Sheffield

Special Thanks to: Naomi Koehn and Alice Soller


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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Thomas 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: It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Thomas:

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Images: 89
Ship Ontario Manifest
Ship Ontario Manifest

Headstone - Thomas Sheffield
Headstone - Thomas Sheffield


Ship Ontario Facsimile
Ship Ontario Facsimile

Census 1850
Census 1850

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Thomas is 18 degrees from Amy Gilpin, 16 degrees from Joshua Slocum and 17 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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