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Christopher Wadsworth (abt. 1609 - aft. 1677)

Christopher Wadsworth
Born about in Heptonstall, Yorks, Englandmap [uncertain]
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married about 1630 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died after in Duxbury, Plymouth Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 25 May 2011
This page has been accessed 3,993 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
Christopher Wadsworth migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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Contents

Biography

"Christopher Wadsworth led a long, blameless and uneventful life." So Robert Charles Anderson sums up the three and a half pages he devotes to Christopher Wadsworth in The Pilgrim Migration. His origin is unknown. He arrived in Plymouth in 1632[1] and then moved to Duxbury. He may have returned to England to bring back Ralph Patridge as a minister for Duxbury, which may give a hint of his English connections. He married Grace Cole July 1, 1630 in Duxbury, Massachusetts (Plymouth)[2][3] He was a delegate to the Plymouth Colony committee to revise the laws in 1636, served many times on juries, was a constable in Duxbury, and surveyor of highways. His will dated July 31, 1677[4] left land to his "eldest son Joseph", to his wife Grace and to his son John. Other bequests were to his daughter Mary Andrews, to the children of his son Samuel Wadsworth, deceased, to his grandson John Wadsworth and granddaughters Mary and Abigail Wadsworth. Anderson estimates these dates: birth about 1609 based on date of marriage; death after July 31, 1677 (the will) and before October 27, 1680 (probate)[4]. He says the date sometimes seen of 18 April 1676 as actually the date of the death of Wadsworth's son Samuel. He estimates marriage by about 1634 to Grace, who is often identified as Grace Cole, but for which there is no evidence. Some say Christopher Wadsworth came on the ship Lyon, supposing he came with another Wadsworth who was on that ship, but there is no evidence for this either.

Disputed arrival and disproved kinship with William Wadsworth

Several sources suggest that Christopher arrived in Boston aboard the Lyon on 16 September 1632.[5][6][7] However, Christopher's name does not appear on the Oath of Allegience signed by heads of families about to embark on the Lyon, nor does his name appear in the list of passengers of that voyage given by Banks.[5]

The only documentation for Christopher's claimed arrival on this voyage is a family bible currently in the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library. It still remains for some researcher to examine the bible and report its precise contents online. Some information was reported about it in an article entitled "An Old Bible" that appeared in the Hartford Courant on 1 March 1883. The bible had apparently left the Wadsworth family and had been in the possession of the Rev. John Pierce of Brookline, Mass. and his son John T. Pierce of Geneseo, Illinois. It is reported that the bible contains the names of "Christopher and Thomas Wadsworth, with a record that they landed in Boston by ye ship Lion, 16 September, 1632, 'together in ye ship'." It reports additionally that the name William Wadsworth is written in the margin.

The information reported here perhaps smacks of revisionist history. It has long been suggested that Christopher was brother to William Wadsworth, both men having first appeared in New England records at about the same time. William did arrive in Boston on the Lyon in 1632, so the arrival of Christopher on the same voyage would provide considerable support for the kinship of the two men, a kinship which is otherwise unsupported by any other early New England documents, nor by family names appearing in the early generations.

However, Y-DNA testing has confirmed that Christopher and William were not related -- see below. It is unlikely then that Christopher came on the Lyon as head of his own household without appearing in the lists. This doubt cast on the bible record is amplified by the apparent naming of "Thomas Wadsworth" as arriving in Boston with Christopher. No Thomas Wadsworth appears in the colony records in the 1630's, and Christopher had no son named Thomas.

Unless further evidence arises, this profile should follow Robert Charles Anderson in placing Christopher's arrival in 1632, but the exact date, ship, and place of origin remain unknown.

DNA

The Wadsworth surname project at FTDNA records data that indicates William and Christopher were unrelated. [8] As of the writing of this section, there are five kits grouped as confirmed or expected descendants of William and three kits as confirmed or expected descendants of Christopher. While none of the latter has tested SNPs, the inferred haplotype for all three is R1b. A confirmed descendant of William on the other hand has haplogroup GHIJK. Comparison of STR markers confirms that it is almost certain these two groups of men share no common paternal ancestor in this time-frame. This proof is contingent on the validity of the family lines traced by these DNA testers.

Sources

  1. Anderson, Pilgrim Migration p. 473.
  2. IGI - International Genealogical Index
  3. Ancestral File (R) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ancestral File (R) (Copyright (c) 1987, June 1998, data as of 5 January 1998)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Anderson, Pilgrim Migration, page 475.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Passengers On The Lion From England To Boston 1632: part 1, page 545
  6. Gocher, page 56
  7. Bacchus, page 198
  8. FTDNA, Wadsworth Surname Project, DNA results; accessed 1/8/2019


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Anderson states that Christopher's origins are unknown. None of the sources listed have anything confirming Christopher's parents. Of the over 400 profiles for "Christopher Wadsworth" on Family Search, there are several different parents listed. None of these have any sources. Because of these disputes origins I recommend removing Wadsworth-169 and Hogan-833 as parents. If there is proof of parentage, it needs sourced. The same can be said about the location of his birth. Is there any verified source that lists 1 Dec 1609 as his birth date? The potential source for this that I have found is actually a christening date; that source also lists others as parents.
posted by Tim Bittner

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Categories: Puritan Great Migration