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Edward Wigglesworth (abt. 1603 - 1653)

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Edward Wigglesworth
Born about in Scotton, Lincolnshire, Englandmap [uncertain]
Son of [uncertain] and [mother unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in New Haven, New Haven Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 3 Oct 2012 | Last significant change: 8 Jan 2019
19:02: Anne B edited the Biography for Edward Wigglesworth (abt.1603-1653). (fixed the ref error) [Thank Anne for this | 1 thank-you received]
This page has been accessed 826 times.

Categories: Signers of the New Haven Fundamental Agreement | New Haven, New Haven Colony | Center Church on the Green Churchyard, New Haven, Connecticut | Puritan Great Migration.

The Puritan Great Migration.
Edward Wigglesworth migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm
This profile is part of the New Haven Colony One Place Study.



Early Life

"Esther Middlebrook m. Wrawby, Lincolnshire, 29 October 1629, Edward Wigglesworth, presumably the child of that name baptized at Scotton, Lincolnshire, 6 [sic] August 1603, son of William"[1]

According to the records indexes at Family Search this baptism was 3 Aug 1603 not the 6th.[2]

There is a lot of logic and sense to this identification of Edward, but it is not 100% certain and has been marked as uncertain.

New England

Edward Wigglesworth arrived in New England in the summer of 1638,[3] His son, Michael, in his memoirs says:

These Godly parents of mine meeting with opposition & persecution for Religion ... remove themselves to New England, ... Leaving dear Relations friends & acquaintace, their native land, a new built house, a flourishing Trade, to expose themselves to ye hazzard of ye seas, and to ye Distressing difficulties of a howling wilderness, that they might enjoy Liberty of Conscience & Christ in his ordinances. And the Lord ... Landed them at Charlstown, after many difficulties and hazzards, ... After about 7 weeks stay at Charls Town, my parents removed again by sea to New-Haven in ye month of October. In or passage thither we were in great Danger by a storm which drove us upon a Beach of sand ... but God carried us to or port in safety.[4]

There in New Haven they spent the first winter in a cellar covered with earth.[4]

New Haven was then a new plantation first settled in the spring of 1638. Edward signed the Fundamental Agreement 4 June 1639,[5] was on an early list of freemen,[6] and took the Oath of Allegiance 1 July 1644, when it was first administered.[7]

Goodman and Goodwife Wigglesworth were members of the church. In 1646 he was assigned a place in the 4th row middle seats, and she was assigned a place in the 8th row of middle women's seats.[8]

Edward was granted land to farm by New Haven Plantation.[9] An early rate list, before his daughter was born, about Dec 1640, listed Edward as three persons, with an estate valued at £300, 109.5 acres, and a rate of £1:05:06.[10] In 1646, he sold his house and home lot to Samuel Wilson.[11] He sold to Adam Nichols 24 acres in 1647, and to Christopher Todd 46.5 acres in 1648.[12]

As early as 1640, Edward developed a problem with his back, that eventually caused him to be immobile. He wrote of the problem to John Winthrop Jr. in a letter found at the end of this profile.

14 Feb 1647. "Mr. Newman, the ruleing elder, propounded to the courte that they would grant brother Wiggelsworth a small pec of ground neare the meeting-house, to sett hime a litle house vpon and make hime a garden, because he is so lame that he is not able to come to the meeting, and so is many times deprived of the ordinances, when if he was neare he might inioye them. The courte considering and pittying his case, inclined to doe it & left it to the dispose of them whoe are intrusted to dispose of lotts in the towne."[13]

In 1649, he and others were found without ladders "& must answer it."[14]

Feb 1652, the court asked Goodman Wigglesworth to write to Mr. Pell (whom he had dealings with) to tell him to show up for court or lose.[15]

Edward, although not well to do, had enough ready cash to loan the town four pounds, when they needed some to send commissioners to Boston in 1653.[16] And after his death 9 June 1654, the colony court borrowed "5 punds silver from widdow Wigglesworth," promising to repay in three months, so she and her children would not suffer from having made the loan.[17]

Death, Probate, Burial

Edward died in New Haven, 1 Oct 1653[1] His son said: "And after he had lived under great & sore affliction for ye spce of 13 yeers a pattern of faith, patience, humility & heavenlymindedness, having done his work in my education and receivd an answer to his prayers God took him to his Heavenly Rest, where he is now reaping ye fruit of his Labors."[4]

"The last will and testamt of Edward Wigglesworth, late of New haven, deceased, was presented to the Court: made the 12th of 5th moneth, 1653, confirmed by his owne hand and seale, witnessed by Mr John Dauenport, Mr William Hooke, and Mathew Gilbert : and Mr Gilbert now tooke oath that the wrighting now presented was in his hearing, by Edward Wigglesworth, declared to be his last will and Testamt, the said Edward being of sound vnderstanding and memory fitt for such a worke, so farr as he could judg.[18]

"Also an Inuentory of the Estate of ye said Edward Wigglesworth was prsentd, taken ye first day of ye first moneth, 1654, by Mathew Gilbert and Richard Miles, amountg to £401: 14s: 02d: and Hester Wigglesworth, the widdow of the deceased, vpon oath affirmed this is a full Inventory of ye estate left by her husband, according to her best light & knowledg, unless her sonn in ye baye haue spent any of that hundered pound owing there : and Mathew Gilbert and Richard Miles, the two apprissers, tooke oath that the Apprizemt is just, according to their best light"[18][19][20]

Edward no doubt was buried on the New Haven Green. There were a rough cut headstone and footstone (pictured here) on the green with the letters E.W. and a date that might be 1653, 1658, or 1678. Some believe that this stone belonged to the regicide Edward Whalley,[21] but many now believe that it's Wigglesworth's.[4][22]


  1. Michael Wigglesworth b. 18 Oct 1631; m. his cousin Mary Reyner[1]
  2. Abigail Wigglesworth bp. at New Haven 1 Dec 1640; d. by 22 May 1722 (husband's remarriage); m. (1) Benjamin Sweetser; m. (2) Ellis Callender[1]

Letter to John Winthrop

Edward Wigglesworth to John Winthrop, Jr.
To the much honoured, Mr John Winthrop at his house in Pequot, these present --
Much honoured Sir
The great incouragement which I found from my Sons being with you, declaring your willingnes to have come visited mee, had not occasions prevented doth embolden mee to present to your godly and wise consideration a description of my weak and feeble state of my body. Winter was 12 years being very hot upon a cold day, I tooke a lift and strain'd my selfe, as I thought in the small of my back, and tooke cold upon it: but felt no paine; but weaknes presently appeard there and ever since. The effect of this appeared betimes in the spring in my head; when I looked upwards being ready to fall backward, and when I looked downward, to fall forward. And in my legs and feet benummednes, as if they were asleep by lying double under mee. My body was much as it had been by the scurvy a yeare or two before, and therefore thinking it had been the scurvy, I neglected the use of any meanes that spring: But finding that Summer I grew worse, I applyed myselfe in the Autumne to what meanes God presented; as namely hot artificial bathes, I think 16. At the spring following oiles, ointments, plaisters, but all effected nothing, but I grew worse upon them. By this time I was scarce able to goe without a staffe, my weaknes holding mee most in my lower parts first; which hath gathered upward by little and little, that now it is come up to the head, in so much that I have not ability to move one joint in my body, save only my neck a little, but tho' all motion is quite gone yet sense remaineth quick in every part: And thorough the goodnes of God, my understanding, memory, with my eyesight and hearing, remaine untouched; neither is my stomach apt to be offended with food, bat a small quantity suitable to my weaknes it can close with. I do not find any sicknes within save onely the paine of wearines thorough setting and lying. I am not sensible of any obstruction in my inward parts. My flesh is much fallen which began first in my lower parts and now is in my upper parts; but my complexion remaineth pretty ruddy in my face. My age is about 49 yeares.
Now Honoured Sir, my request to you is that you would seriously consider this my condition, and if it shall please God to discover to you any cranny of hope of any degree of cure; that you would be pleased to send me your thoughts in a few lines; whether you would advise mee two come To your plantation; and if so; at what time may bee most seasonable; and whether I may have a suitable room for one in my condition, for myselfe, wife and daughter to sojourn in, and whether your plantation be provided with supplies of provision for pay, or whether I must bring with mee for the supply of my family. If the bearer hereof, my trusty and beloved friend Mr Benjamin Ling, shall abide with you any time, so as you can issue your thoughts, then I should leave it to your godly wisedome whether two write by him, though by the Bay or any other way that may be probably more speedy. Thus having used great libertie and boldnes with you, I commend you, and the guidance of you in this and all other your affaires to the good spirit of God.
and Rest
your poor afflicted Brother in Cht
Edward Wigglesworth
New-haven. July 18. [no year given][23]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Stansell, Maxine. “The Middlebrook sisters: Mother and Mother-in-law of Michael Wigglesworth." New England Historical and Genealogical Register 156:309-321. Boston: NEHGS, 2002. at AmericanAncestors ($) Sometimes cities the Diary of Michael Wigglesworth, a recent publication
  2. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 30 December 2014), Edwardus Wigglesworth, 03 Aug 1603; citing Scotton, Lincoln, England, reference item 3; FHL microfilm 1,450,419.
  3. Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692. Vol. I-IV. Boston, MA, USA: 1860-1862.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Dean, John Ward . Memoir of Rev. Michael Wigglesworth: Author of The Day of Doom J. Munsell, 1871 beginning on p. 136
  5. Source: #Hoadley1 17
  6. Source: #Hoadley1 p.9
  7. Source: #Hoadley1 p. 139
  8. Source: #Hoadley1 pp. 302/3
  9. Source: #Hoadley1 pp 49, 196
  10. Source: #Hoadley1 p. 93
  11. Source: #Hoadley1 p. 267
  12. Source: #Hoadley1 p. 370, 430
  13. Source: #Hoadley1 p. 368
  14. Source: #Hoadley1 p. 453
  15. Source: #Dexter1 p. 161
  16. Source: #Hoadley2 p. 23
  17. Source: #Hoadley2 p. 102
  18. 18.0 18.1 Source: #Dexter1 p. 208
  19. The will and inventory are also mentioned in the colony records Source: #Hoadley2 p. 90
  20. "Abstracts of the Early Probate Records of New Haven, Book I, Part I, 1647-1687." New England Historical and Genealogical Register 81:121. Boston: NEHGS, 1927. p 121-135, Also found here.
  21. Barber, John Warner. Connecticut historical collections, containing a general collection of interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, anecdotes, &c. relating to the history and antiquities of every town in Connecticut, with geographical descriptions. New Haven: Durrie & Peck and J. W. Barber, 1836 p. 154.
  22. New England Magazine; an Illustrated Monthly, Volume 9. J. N. McClintock., 1894[ p. 199
  23. Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. ... Vol. IX of the Third Series. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown. 1846. pp 296/7 link at Hathi

See Also:

  • Charlestown: Wyman, Thomas Bellows, The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown, 2 vols. (Boston: D. Clapp and Son, 1879) p. 1029
  • Wells (#5): Cushing, Gertrude W., Genealogy of the Wells Family (Milwaukee: S. E. Tate, 1903?)p. 169
  • Shurtliff, Benjamin, Descendants of William Shurtleff of Plymouth and Marshfield, Mass. (Revere, Mass., 1912)
  • Torry, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004. at Ancestry.
  • Sanborn, Melinde Lutz. Third Supplement to Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2003.
  • Todd, John E.. The Todd family in America or the descendants of Christopher Todd, 1637-1919 : being an effort to give an account, as fully as possible of his descendants.
  • Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England, 1620-1650
  • Colonial Collegians: Biographies of Those Who Attended American Colleges before the War for Independence. CD-ROM. Boston, Mass.: Massachusetts Historical Society : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2005. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.), Michael Wigglesworth's Bio.

Research Notes

No Great Migration Featured Name
Not listed in Families of New Haven
Checked the sources used in Torrey's New England Marriages, nothing not already known.
"Katherine (Elithorpe) (Constable) Miles." The American Genealogist 31:26 Says Wigglesworth was part of the Yorkshire group with Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, who were going to New Haven, but stayed in Rowley instead, but some of the congregation went to New Haven anyway. This could use some more research, since Edward was not from Yorkshire.

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No known carriers of Edward's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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On 28 Feb 2017 at 01:51 GMT Bobbie (Madison) Hall wrote:

Please do, Anne. He's not on my 'research list' at the moment, anyway.

On 28 Feb 2017 at 01:28 GMT Anne B wrote:

Hi Bobbie, I'm working my way through the founders of New Haven profiles. If you have no objections, I'd like to source and write a bio for Edward, his wife and children.

Edward is 18 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 20 degrees from Katy Jurado 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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