Edward Sanderson of Watertown, Massachusetts

Immigrant pioneer ancestor of many Sanderson families and their descendants

By Kevin Sanderson
Farmington Hills, Michigan USA

Edward Sanderson, was a farmer/proprietor and early settler of Watertown, Massachusetts. I'm a descendant of his by way of Sanderson family members from Massachusetts, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana to Michigan.

Edward was the younger brother of silversmith/goldsmith Robert Sanderson. They emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, from England. Robert eventually ended up in Boston and together with his friend John Hull, started the first mint in the Bay Colony. There is more information on Robert Sanderson because of his years in Boston as a Deacon besides being a noted silversmith and working at the mint.

I seriously question many of the assumptions and so called "facts" many researchers, respected and otherwise, have spouted about the Sandersons for years. We now have access to records earlier researchers did not have access to. Also, many researchers did not have a vested interest in making sure things were worked out properly when trying to make sense of what they were finding. Thus we get some pretty screwy ideas and wrong information, especially about Edward Sanderson, that don't hold up. We also have to deal with the confusion about Sanders versus Sanderson and when to know who they are talking about, and what really makes sense based on knowledge of the times they lived in, which many researchers neglect. Some researchers are very lazy, parroting the old mistakes and erroneous theories, and others would make terrible detectives, ignoring the obvious. There is much misinformation on ancestry.com! Tread carefully there, as I've learned one of the more notorious fictions sprouted among members there. Hopefully I can counter some of the bogus ideas. Our ancestors deserve better treatment, We wouldn't be here without them.

Some solid facts to go over, and just the beginning of more factual information, to debunk the nuttiness on the net, even from those who should know better:


Based on research I have been doing, it's most likely Robert and Edward came originally from Higham Ferrers in Northamptonshire, England, not East Anglia (Norwich, Norfolk area) as many of the early settlers did. Many researchers wrongly assume the same origination of Norfolk for the Sanderson brothers (I explain how I came to this conclusion, as others have, below). Even though there are Sanderson families in that area today, you will have a hard time finding proof of many at all during the brothers' era. According to Dr. Roger Thompson, who has studied the migration for many years and wrote about it in his highly regarded book on Watertown then, Divided We Stand, later emigrants left other parts of England for Watertown, compared to the first settlers through 1635 who mainly came from East Anglia. Those other emigrants had different customs, relating to marriage and other things, that were different from the people who came from East Anglia. For instance, compared to the earlier settlers of Watertown, whose children married early, others from England in that era married later, if they married at all (due mainly to class restrictions). One source says the idea of early marriage has been disproven by a study of marriage and birth records and from them it has been determined the mean age of marriage was older at 29.6 years between 1647 - 1719, unlike the young offspring of the earlier settlers of Watertown who married early. It's important to note that as many genealogists, amateur and sadly professional, have mistaken assumptions based on the idea everyone married young and it's discussed below.

Contrary to what others claim, when you read about Edward Sanders in Divided We Stand keep in mind that Thompson was not writing about Edward Sanderson and he has said so. In fact, he never mentions Edward Sanderson when talking about the residents of Watertown, never mentions Mary Eggleston, and never mentions Jonathan Sanderson. Thompson was writing about the poor criminal named Edward Sanders. He has said, according to comments he read of the editors of the print editions of the Watertown records, that there were two separate men. He consulted many of the original handwritten documents held in the state archives at Columbia Point. He mentions a son of Edward Sanders named William Sanders, with a wife named Mary, but he deserted her and left for London where he married another woman. William Sanderson, who was married to Sarah/Sary was still in Watertown having children during that time and he later moved to Groton where he died in a battle with the Abenaqui Indians. His son Joseph was bequeathed money and a musket in Robert Sanderson's will. William Sanderson was either Robert Sanderson's son with his first wife Lydia, or possibly a distant cousin of Robert Sanderson and Edward Sanderson (more on that below), but he definitely knew Robert Sanderson with his son Joseph in Robert's will and later 2 daughters in Robert's third wife's will. So we are talking about two different families - the Sanderson family and the Sanders family. One of the "rules" of genealogy is there's always the possibility of more than one person with the same or similar name.

There's also the question of town clerk errors and whether the editors made some errors when they put the records into type (though I don't believe the General Court Records of the trial had it wrong - they would have the name spelled correctly). There are differences between the editions of the Watertown Records. If the original handwritten records say Sanders instead of Sanderson for some of the issues reported from 1669 to 1671, then everything makes more sense regarding all the children and the poverty, and that would probably be why Dr. Thompson basically combined the stories of Edward Sanders and the problems Edward Sanderson was reportedly having into just Edward Sanders, who Thompson says was the poor man and criminal not related to Robert Sanderson (there is a later set of much neater handwritten records of marriages, births and deaths from someone duplicating the information and that is what is on microfiche at familysearch.org, but their actual deeds you can view online are the original records).

We know Edward Sanderson was Robert's brother, and there was only one officially recorded child, Jonathan. Respected Waltham historian, genealogist and a founding member of the Waltham Historical Society, Edmund L. Sanderson, who grew up in one of the old Sanderson family homes in Waltham in the late 1800s, thought there were more children, but he said Jonathan, as far as he knew, was the only son to survive to maturity, and he could not find any other children recorded in the records (Waltham Historical Society/The Edward Sanderson Descendants by Peter Durbin). To this day, the society honors Edmund's memory with a lecture series named after him. But I believe there is no real reason why he thought there were more children other than the confusion in the records of the alleged daughters (which I go into in detail below) since there are no family records of their existence. There's lots of hedging of bets in genealogy when there's a lack of documentation. But some things can be considered and deduced to point one in the right direction.

One very important thing to remember, and something I always come back to in the Edward Sanderson vs. Edward Sanders debate and research - William Shattuck, Sr. said in his will that he was living in the house and on the land he had bought from Edward Sanderson (the purchase was in 1664, 8 years before Shattuck died around age 50 - 52 in 1672). The family story for Shattuck is he lived on Common Hill (originally Pequosette Hill, later Payson Hill and sometimes called Common Street Hill today) near present day Washington Street in his last years. Edmund Sanderson believed Edward and Robert probably lived near each other in eastern Watertown in an area that is today part of Belmont. We know Robert Sanderson lived on Hill Street/present day School Street on Pequosette Hill/Common Hill. See more below on the will and the likely location of the property listed in the Shattuck will.

William Shattuck had owned land in the areas north and downhill from Robert Sanderson, a very nice house and garden from what Lemuel Shattuck had written about north of Robert Sanderson on a location north of Washington Street, and also land west toward King's Common. Why would he want to buy a new place where he already had property? The move, spending what he did plus what the Selectmen told him to add on (in Indian corn that could be sold or traded), had to be for a good reason. Possibly it was a better property with a better view than what he already owned. Robert Sanderson also owned most the rest of the land near the top and on the south side of the hill, from his property, the old Linton property, and down to the old Godfrey property. Robert held on to those lands from the latest deeds I've located for the sales to Samuel Livermore by Robert, Jr. and James and Mary Penniman. Maybe the lack of available land at the edge of the Great Swamp made whatever land Edward Sanderson may have owned more desirable. And if it's where I now think it was located, the nice view of Fresh Pond, Cambridge and Boston in the distance was something Shattuck couldn't see from his nice house north of Washington Street and could help explain the high value of the property.

I don't think it's possible that a wealthy businessman like William Shattuck would buy and live in a house that had been owned by a poor man, Edward Sanders, on King's Common (where a crime had been committed) that would probably be in sad shape, and give that house and land to his wife Susanna and a son. Nor would it be likely for him to want to live in an area with poor people like the Parsons family, who had lived in a shanty for a few years (more on them below. And the future sale of Edward Sanderson's former house and land would not have been a concern of his heirs for them to go to court over it if it was in a poor area. Its assessed value, including half a dividend, was 180 pounds, almost half the value of Shattuck's total estate, worth more than any other property he owned even his old house and garden, and a high value for Watertown.

Edward Sanderson may have spent much of his time working on his first farm that I believe was near Fresh Pond, and looking after his brother's lands after Robert Sanderson moved to Boston, at least for several years. So there was no time to get in trouble with a crime some want to put on him, and he definitely lived far enough from the scene to not be involved (more on that below). There is no reason for Edward Sanderson to be living on a small lot on King's Common when Robert Sanderson had plenty of land and another house for him to live in. The people saying Edward Sanderson committed Edward Sanders' crime conveniently ignore the fact that he was Robert Sanderson's brother, they ignore geography, the time period when the people lived, and the details of the testimony in court.

Robert Sanderson of Hampton, Watertown and Boston

No passenger lists with Edward and Robert's names have been turned up yet, and they did not come over on the ship Increase in 1635 as you will often see on the Internet - they are not on its passenger list. But due to records of Robert Sanderson arriving in New Hampshire and a supposed Robert Sanderson descendant's family records given to Rev. Henry Isham Longden of Northamptonshire, England (1849 - 1942 - a very well respected Northamptonshire antiquarian and genealogist) for a pedigree search, Robert came over in 1638, and it is assumed to be as correct as can be determined at this time. It's doubtful the brothers came to North America any sooner as Robert was married to his first wife Lydia while still in England in 1636. Their first daughter, also named Lydia, was born in 1637 in England. They had a second daughter named Mary in New Hampshire baptized on October 29, 1639 according to Joseph Dow on page 961 in his History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire: From Its Settlement in 1638, to the Autumn of 1892, Volume 1. It's doubtful Robert and Lydia came over while she was pregnant so 1638 makes more sense for their arrival on this side of the Atlantic, besides Hampton wasn't settled until 1638, and most serious researchers list him arriving in Hampton in 1638, found on page 181 of Charles Henry Pope's, The Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire, 1623 to 1660: A Descriptive List. Not long after he arrived in New Hampshire, Robert became a freeman in 1639, and was granted 80 acres of land on December 24, 1639 according to Dow. Pope also says Robert was a town officer in 1639, and had land grants in 1639 and 1640. It's always been assumed he had some money since he had been a goldsmith and silversmith in London and perhaps that helped him gain admission as the settlers at the time were very picky about who could live there. Robert's first wife, Lydia, died in New Hampshire, the date is not in the Hampton records but her grave is there. The supposed family records I've mentioned say Lydia died about 1641. Robert later married the widow Mary Cross and had more children after they moved to Watertown, Massachusetts - Joseph in 1642/3, John in 1644, Anna in 1647, Benjamin in 1649, Sarah in 1651 and Robert in 1652 (a daughter named Abigail has no birth recorded - she was mentioned in a later marriage contract/deed between Robert and Elizabeth Kingsmill arranging for Abigail's care). You will often find a Mary Cross listed as a daughter and she was Mary's daughter from her previous marriage to John Cross. Their daughter Mary was born after John Cross passed. Robert moved his family to neighboring Boston in 1653 where he lived until his death. He married the widow Elizabeth Kingsmill of Boston after Mary died. More on Elizabeth and that interesting part of the story on Jeff Hause's informative website. (Jeff is descended from William Sanderson - likely a son of Robert Sanderson or possibly a distant cousin of the brothers - more below.)

There was a William Saunders in Hampton, New Hampshire, an early settler who did some carpentry work, but it's the only mention of him.

It is assumed by many researchers that Edward came over with Robert in 1638 (he is not mentioned in Dow's two volumes on Hampton, but since he was Robert's younger brother, he could have been included as family with Lydia), though he could have come over later. Also keep in mind Edward Sanderson married Mary Eggleston in Watertown on October 16, 1645, so he had to have been in Massachusetts before the marriage.

Why do I think they are probably from Higham Ferrers in Northamptonshire? Robert Sanderson said he was the son "of Saundersonne of Higham" when he registered as Robert Sanderson at the Goldsmith's Guild in London October 17, 1623. Higham Ferrers to this day is referred to by the locals as just Higham and it's the location of one of the few men in England at the time, with a family, using the rare old spelling of Saundersonne for a short time. It is the only Higham with a large,  concentrated Sanderson/Saunderson population in England in that time period that I have been able to find. Northamptonshire with Little Addington, Higham Ferrers, Rushden and Wadenhoe had Sanderson families living there for hundreds of years. One of the buildings of old Sanderson Manor in Little Addington exists to this day - the Manor Farmhouse - someone put a swimming pool behind it! (Read The Saunderson Family of Little Addington.) Yorkshire, well to the north, was the only other region to then have a large, concentrated population of Sanderson family members.  I have yet to find records of a Saundersonne family in any Higham other than Higham Ferrers for that period in the early 1600s. Higham Ferrers is only 73 miles from London by freeway today. The village Heigham (said Higham) near Norwich, Norfolk, England, that some people like to think is their home, is farther away from London, about 119 miles, with no records of Sanderson families from that time that I've turned up yet. As a young lad, I would think Robert Sanderson would have had an easier time going from Higham Ferrers to London for his apprenticeship. Northamptonshire also had more historical and people connections to London. Keep in mind that many people are stuck on Norwich, Norfolk as their home because for many years it's thought they came over in the migration by 1635 when many of the settlers of Watertown were from that region (sometimes researchers put that down without really knowing where they were from). But many settlers who arrived later, like Edward and Robert, came from other parts of England. Alison Games writes in her book Migration and the Origins of the English Atlantic World, page 184, nearly one third of the settlers of Boston in 1635 were from the greater London area. Higham Ferrers is 73 miles north of London. Not everyone was coming to Massachusetts from Norfolk. And Boston is Watertown's neighbor then and now.

I heard several years ago from Pete Durbin, when I first started working on our family tree, that Edmund Sanderson also was investigating the possibility that the brothers were from Higham Ferrers shortly before he passed a few decades ago. We do not know what he might have learned, though, if he got that far into digging for information.

I believe from my research, including checking the copies of the scratch Sanderson pedigrees of Rev. Longden that I purchased from the Northamptonshire Records Office, that Edward Sanderson was born in 1611, the son of Edward Saundersonne of Higham Ferrers. Rushden Research has him listed as Edmond, baptized May 5, 1611, but Rev. Longden, who was the person who gathered together and cataloged all the Northamptonshire records in the late 1800s, and had complete access to them, copied Edward down from the original records while doing two different Sanderson pedigrees many years ago. Edward could look like Edmond in the stylized handwriting of the period (that is a strong possibility if, like me, you've ever tried to make out the cursive handwriting of the 1600s). Longden had done many pedigrees over the years and looked at many wills, so he was no stranger to the old fancy handwriting. There's also a long line of people named Edward and Robert generation after generation on that side of the family. The two different pedigrees were separated by a few years as evidenced by the shakier handwriting of an older person on the second pedigree (it also had some resorted thinking on the families - all the same names used over and over from the sparse older records could throw anyone off). I believe Robert was the eldest son in the Saundersonne family but the records of his birth and Edward and Robert's father's marriage are on the 2 pages covering almost 4 years that are missing, from after early 1607 to early 1611. Robert is usually noted as being born around 1608. The Massachusetts Historical Society says Robert was born in 1609. I will go into more on that research later below. And when the original handwritten Northamptonshire records go online at familysearch.org, we'll be able to look for ourselves. They are to be released, but no date has been posted.

Robert Sanderson and Edward Sanderson Were Brothers

There have been some who say there is no proof that Edward Sanderson and Robert Sanderson were brothers, ignoring Robert's will written in 1693 and many older Sanderson family pedigrees (there's an older handwritten Sanderson family tree mentioned in this article about David Sanderson's ancestors saying Robert and Edward were brothers). Many researchers are lazy and just quote Dr. Henry Bond who couldn't find an affinity for the brothers, though he had information pointing to that being the case which he published right under his nose in the very same book. Judge James Savage knew they were brothers and quoted Robert's will. Other older researchers also knew this. Some people think Edward died well before Robert and that stops them from believing, but where they get that proof of death dates from actual records is not something I've turned up in Watertown's published records, and further inquiries of record holders in the Watertown of today. There is evidence that Edward lived well past many of the accepted dates from mentions of his land in other records and I write about that below. And apparently nobody ever told Robert if Edward had passed earlier, which would be very unlikely, in my opinion, as Watertown and Boston are only about 6 miles apart.

Robert Sanderson did name his brother Edward Sanderson in his will of 1693, excellent proof right there, and you can see part of it for yourself below.


Let's start with the main proof of Edward and Robert Sanderson's relationship as brothers, which some amazingly deny. Wills are considered a gold standard of proof. Here is part of Robert Sanderson's handwritten will from the Edward Sanderson 1614 - 1992 Archives. Used with permission. Edward is mentioned on the second page in the bottom half.
Robert kept the possibility open in his will that Edward might be dead by the time of his death saying "if then living" and gave him 3 pounds for the purchase of a cow. It's on page 2 of the will below. 3 pounds then is worth about $600US today. Cows were not cheap! Many people are recorded to have mortgaged their properties to get a cow or two. Many of the settlers raised livestock.

Robert Sanderson's handwritten will - page 1 of 6

Robert Sanderson's handwritten will - part of page 2 of 6


  • Other long standing reports on the will on pages not here, that I haven't seen yet in the original handwritten version, say that Robert also gave Edward some of his clothes.

  •  
  • William Hagar of Watertown mentioned one of his properties in his will from 1683 "Twelve acres of upland lying near Edward Sanders's." (Micah Hagar history)
     
  • Dr. Henry Bond noted Edward Sanderson in a will of John Flagg of western Watertown from 1696 mentioning 12 acres next to Edward's land. So Edward was possibly still alive even then.


  • There is no official record of Edward Sanderson or Mary Eggleston Sanderson dying in Watertown Vital Records (which is why some researchers thought they moved back to England), and no proof of where other researchers got their death dates, or for many years their birth/baptism dates.  They could have lived a long time as their son Jonathan lived until he was 89, and genetics can be factored into longevity. Robert Sanderson was around 85 when he passed.

    It's possible they were buried in the Old Burying Ground in Watertown as most from their generation were, but where has not been determined as no records can be found of their burial by the Watertown DPW and the Watertown Historical Society has not found them yet, but that doesn't mean they aren't there as many graves from the 1600s and 1700s are no longer marked and there are no records for some of those earlier burials. The Sandersons later on were said to have erected a tomb, one of several different families' tombs near the gate at Arlington Street, but apparently no Sanderson family members used it and it eventually passed into the possession of Abijah Stone. He's recorded there, located on the western edge of the cemetery. Perhaps Edward and Mary are buried nearby with stones no longer readable or wood markers long missing (see page 64 for information on the Sanderson family tomb, Epitaphs from the Old Burying Ground in Watertown - Abijah Stone was alive in the mid-1700s to early-1800s, was a Private in the Revolutionary War and married in Watertown in 1782 - he was noted receiving a pension for his service at age 81 in 1833 - Massachusetts Pension Roll, page 203). When genealogists started going through recording the epitaphs in the mid-1800s, the cemetery was reportedly in bad shape and many grave stones could no longer be read. Slate stones survived the best. Granite did not. Most wooden markers were long gone. You can not find the graves of some prominent early citizens such as Deacon Thomas Hastings who is recorded as being buried there.

    Most of the Sandersons from Deacon Jonathan and Abiah on were buried in Waltham (at a cemetery that was not around until 1703), or where family members had moved. Since the Sanderson tomb was built by the descendants from western Watertown/Waltham, that would only make sense to me to build it there in eastern Watertown because Edward and Mary were buried there, otherwise I would think they would have built it in Waltham since they are all descended from Deacon Jonathan and Abiah anyway and they are buried there. But some people have thought Cambridge is a possibility as well, since Jonathan and Abiah lived there many years, unfortunately no graves for Edward and Mary have been found - many grave markers missing there as well from that era. The graves in the Farmer's Burial Ground in Weston are dated from well after Edward and Mary's time, too.

    Some people think Edward Sanderson of Watertown was poor later in life, partially from the confusion with a poor man and convicted criminal named Edward Sanders as I mentioned above. Part of this thinking stems from the printed town records saying Edward Sanders had 6 children living in poverty in 1661 and him needing help in 1664. Later another clerk wrote it was Edward Sanderson who was facing hard times with a few children, two young daughters of whom the town decided to apprentice to help with their education, the eldest being 8 years old in 1671 (Dr. Thompson went with it all being poor Edward Sanders). Edward and Mary would have been having children for 20 years or so if that was the case which is a very long time for people their age. It's a long time for younger people, too. If you believe all the records, whoever the parents were, they were having children for nearly 30 years. It doesn't make sense.

    That illustrates a major problem I have with much of the research done over the years, Mary and Edward officially only had one child, Jonathan, born 1646 in the Watertown Vital Records. There are no others officially noted in the town records, and the other children researchers think are theirs (about 4, one of whom may have have been "borrowed" from Robert's records and one from William's records) all have last names of Sanders or Saunders and are found in other records, with no mention of both Edward and Mary. If there were more children, you would think they would have been remembered by members of Jonathan's family (and even on Robert's side of the family) and the information would have been passed down but it wasn't.

    Hester (or Esther by some later researchers), who does not show up in any family histories from the 1700s, and has been considered not to be a daughter of Edward Sanderson by many researchers (but some have included her), was recorded as a possible child by Dr. Bond: from Rev. John Bailey's church pastors' records (Watertown Records, Vol. 6, print version page 121): March 20, 1686/7 "... baptized Hester Sanders, ye daughter of Edward Sanders." Note that it does not say Sanderson. Pastor Bailey did use Sanderson for children of William Sanderson in 1688, so he knew the difference, and the poor criminal Edward Sanders was a regular churchgoer after he was spared execution according to Thompson. The date is rather late, so she was probably an adult. On some websites they have Hester born March 12, 1651 and died October 1, 1693. I don't know what records the dates are from and I have yet to find the original records with those dates. And thanks to Dr. Bond's assumptions with no proof the following children: an Ann Sanders of Watertown who was baptized in Boston at First Church of Boston, October 29, 1654 (possibly a date error or name error with one of Robert's children - possibly Abigail who needed care later? Or possibly a real Sanders child not related to the Sanderson family); Abigail Saunders, who married Shubael Child, was baptized as an adult along with other adults and some children, with no mention of her parents in the church record on July 10, 1687 (page123); and Hannah Sanders wife of Richard Norcross, Jr. On a page about former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's ancestors, Richard Norcross, Jr. and Hannah are listed. It says Hannah Sanders was born in Watertown, May 8, 1674 - much, much too late to be Edward and Mary Sanderson's daughter, or even Edward Sanders' daughter - and died May 14, 1743 in Weston, Massachusetts. If that's all correct, Dr. Bond made more mistakes or wrong assumptions that people continue to quote without thinking and checking. While doing some research on William Sanderson, I found a daughter named Hannah was born March 8, 1674 as a daughter of Wm. Sanders in the Groton records (Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 - Holbrook Research Institute), and she was baptized  in 1688 as a daughter of William Sanderson. William Sanderson was the one Sanderson often recorded with various versions of Sanders. Maybe he mumbled. William Sanderson moved his family for a short time in the 1670s to Groton and then back to Watertown (after Groton was burned to the ground by a Native American war party), later returning to Groton where he was killed on Friday, July 27, 1694, when Groton was attacked again by Abenaqui warriors.

    There were a few actual Sanders families in the area at the time (not Sanderson relation) which many people don't bother to check because they assume Sanders means Sanderson, which doesn't always apply. One "rule" of genealogy: there's the possibility of more than one person with the same or similar name. That possibility usually increases with a town's population. And Watertown was seeing more and more settlers along with more transients by 1650, when neighboring Boston already had grown to 3,000 settlers. Watertown started twenty years earlier with about 500 settlers and had to have increased by at least a few hundred more by the time Edward Sanders was in trouble from 1654 onward. Dr. Thompson says there were around 20,000 people in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during that time period.

    Since Robert and William Sanderson officially recorded their children born in Watertown, there is no logical reason to me why Edward and Mary wouldn't continue having more children recorded officially if they had any that survived. There of course is the possibility they had more, but the names were not in any actual family records from that time. The Selectmen would have been after Robert Sanderson to help if Edward Sanders had indeed been his brother Edward Sanderson. But that wasn't the case. More on that later in a separate section below - Edward Sanderson versus Edward Sanders. People seemed to ignore the possibility of another man actually named Edward Sanders until the late 1800s when the editors of the print version of the Watertown Vital Records decided there were two separate men, according to Dr. Thompson.

    However, this mixup with Edward Sanders has caused some confusing issues for what should be a rather simple family history. There is bad information that will possibly last forever on the Internet. Hopefully some of what I have found will help researchers get to the real truth.

    I don't think Edward Sanderson was poor all the time from what I've been discovering, but if he was poor in his later years, as many were then (and are now) when they got older, it was probably because he was helping Jonathan acquire what amounted to 160 acres of land in western Watertown, mostly for family members. He also could have been ill, had a run of bad luck farming (very common then as the weather wasn't good for many years with cool summers, droughts, and harsh winters) or Mary may have been ill or passed early on, leaving all the work for him. It doesn't mean he was a poor provider as one amateur researcher has on her site. Farmers do have bad years along with the good. Edward Sanderson left no will that has been found yet (which is why some people think he died poor). Edward may have also died suddenly leaving no will (intestate), one of the reasons for people not having wills then as today (it could also be one reason why his son Jonathan wrote his own will several years before he died, maybe not wanting to repeat that, and having more heirs to care for). The wealthy John Hull, Robert Sanderson's partner at the mint, died leaving no will. Many wills were written then when people were in failing health, as that is mentioned many times. And often, property was disposed of then by deed, many not formally recorded, so Edward could have disposed of his property that way. Jonathan gave his children land by deed. Dr. Roger Thompson said in his book on Watertown that some wealthy men left no cash at all as it was hoarded at the time "until rate and tax discounts for specie were introduced." Edward could have been one of them. It could also be why Robert didn't give him a little more money. Maybe he knew he didn't need it and thought a cow might be a nice parting present for a practical livestock farmer. I don't see all the imagined drama others think they see between the brothers. But there are many possibilities that some researchers ignore leading to poor assumptions.

    The eldest son often inherited the estate if a wife was dead and Jonathan being the only child, he probably inherited everything that was left that he didn't already own. Note all the silver Jonathan had in his last will below. You have to ask where would a Deacon and farmer get all that silver. There was more silver distributed in that will compared to wealthy Robert Sanderson's will. Keep in mind, most of Jonathan's land was for family members and he had a large family. Those family members worked each of those farms for their own respective family. Jonathan himself did not have a huge farm. He did alright, though, but not as well as all that silver would indicate!

    You will often see the quoted fact that Sanderson was sometimes written as Sanders/Saunders. That is true. Clerical record keeping did have errors as today (even with computers now I've been a victim of Identity Confusion 2 times because of clerks tying me to another person with a similar name). But it doesn't completely apply as meaning it was always the same person as some people think. And Edward Sanderson was written Sanderson in the record of his marriage and the birth of Jonathan in the Watertown Vital Records and also in William Shattuck's will. There are only 4 places so far where I've seen it written as Edward Sanders specifically for Edward Sanderson, a deed mention of his woodlands, a mention of land of his in 2 different men's wills 13 years apart, and one town meeting record (the sale of his land to William Shattuck, Sr.). I hate to be nit-picky, but some people like to say he was almost always called Sanders, but he wasn't. Sanderson if used often in parts of the Watertown Records (whether it's always for him, we won't know until we can see the handwritten records). Saunderson is an acceptable alternate spelling from England during that time period and Robert and Elizabeth used it for Edward in his will, and is also used in other places for Robert as well, though Robert himself seemed to usually use Sanderson without the "u" in the records I've seen, including the birth of his children in Watertown. Keep in mind that many people could not write. There are many instances of people putting their mark next to their name that a clerk filled in for them. It's obvious on many deeds I've been looking at from Watertown. Jonathan Sanderson signed a deposition just with his mark. He couldn't write his name apparently. Robert Sanderson's son Robert, Jr. signed with his mark when he sold his father's original homestall in 1713. So no wonder the names were often recorded wrong. If people couldn't write and probably couldn't read, they wouldn't know if a hard of hearing clerk put their name down wrong. Also, you're dealing with a similar sounding name. For many years I've been called Sanders by people not hearing the "on" part of the name. Since I've been in radio for many years here in Detroit, I've often been confused with a local club DJ and producer named Kevin Saunderson who came on the scene in the 1980s with some success working with singer Samantha Fox and then getting involved in the electronic/dance music scene. If you knew both of us, you'd easily see we are two completely different people.

    If the Sanderson family did indeed come from Higham Ferrers as I believe, no doubt that area has a different accent or dialect from the settlers who arrived from East Anglia, so it could be a problem understanding them and what they were saying when giving their name. People from different parts of England have different ways of speaking today as do people in different parts of the United States.



    Edward Sanderson and Mary Eggleston Marriage Record 1645 from the Watertown Vital Records
    Edward Sanderson and Mary Eggleston's marriage record - old Julian calendar date when March was the first month of the year -
    from the handwritten original Watertown Vital Records (Eggleston is spelled Egellston)

    Mary Eggleston - Mary Egellston of Watertown, Massachusetts


    Dr. Rosalie Eggleston, who personally checked the original records there in England when working with Linda Eggleston McBroom on a book about Bygod Eggleston, is quoted as saying Mary Eggleston (recorded as Mary Egellston in the Watertown Vital Records on her marriage to Edward Sanderson in 1645) was baptized on February 4, 1613 at St. Margaret's Church, Norwich, England. Other "popular" dates are January 6 and January 19, 1613 that have been floating around for years from other researchers. According to the passenger list some accept for the journey of her father Bygod Eggleston, she did not come over with his sons in 1630. But there are two passenger lists for the voyage of the ship Mary & John, and it is said there is no official list according to some sources (for more info check out "Search for the Passengers of the Mary & John 1630" Vols. 1 - 26, printed by The Mary & John Clearing House that can be found in many library genealogy collections). If she didn't come over with Bygod and his sons (and nobody has written of her in the early stories of Bygod and his sons in this country), she may have done what Bygod did early on and worked as a servant. She may have come over later with another family. Judge James Savage looked for any other Eggleston families in the Bay Colony and could only find Bygod's family. Bygod Eggleston was among the founders of Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1630 and of Windsor, Connecticut, in 1635. There are those who assume Mary lived in Dorchester, south of Boston, but there are no records that I have found yet. There was an Iggleden family (a variation of Eggleston) that came over in that time period to the western Boston area, to Roxbury, headed by widow Elizabeth Iggleden, who came over on the Castle in 1638 from Tenterden, but her daughter Mary died in England. The Mary Eggleston recorded as buried in Norwich in 1634 was a cousin of Mary's. There is no death record for our Mary Eggleston in England.

    Robert Charles Anderson did a good job gathering records together in his Migration Series, but as he admits in his Acknowledgements section in Vol. 1, there may be errors, and I believe he made some regarding Mary, or just did not think through the possibilities. He felt she was not Bygod's daughter. But he is the only available choice of a father if she came from Norwich. The Eggleston women writing the book on Bygod did not find other alternates.

    Anderson had a problem with her marrying at "30" (he got the age wrong, it was 32), she or any of her children were not mentioned in Bygod's will (even though there are no grand children named in the will anyway, and remember, there was only Jonathan officially), and there was no connection between Bygod and Watertown, along with other reasons he did not detail and I wish he had put them out there. As it stands, many people just accept he's correct with no question and ignore his disclaimer. He may be correct, but there are other possibilities to consider.

    Since there is no record that has turned up of Mary Eggleston being here before marrying Edward, she may have been in England all that time from 1630, when Bygod and his sons left England, until the early 1640s, where she would have had limited opportunities to marry due to class divisions, especially if she was a servant. She would probably escape the normal treatment in the colonies of a woman who hadn't been married by age 30 and instead, I would think people would go easier on her knowing where she came from and the class warfare they had escaped. Getting married at 32 wouldn't be unheard of for someone in her situation.

    And the Sanderson family members tended to get married later, some never marrying at all in Northamptonshire. So Edward getting married at 34 wouldn't be that big a deal. Robert was around 28 when he married Lydia and he had more opportunity to meet someone in his position and living in London instead of Higham Ferrers. Remember the study above I mentioned where the average median age of marriage in England at the time was 29.6 years. The average age for young men in Watertown according to Thompson was 28 with the women a little younger. But I say if you were a woman just arriving from England, it could have been and probably was a different matter. It also wasn't stipulated in Thompson's research about whether the young men and women he was referring to were the children raised in Watertown or later arrivals. Thompson also stated there were much older men married for the first time in Watertown.

    Mary also could have had a falling out with Bygod (he was not that nice of a guy, trying to sell or bequeath a wife which he got in trouble over and was fined) or was not able to get in touch with him, or didn't know where he was. She also could have died before Bygod and that would also explain her "missing" from his will. Some of the town clerks were not the greatest in Watertown and errors and omissions were common later on past 1660 or so as other researchers have found. There is a Mary in the will, but many often say that's Bygod's younger daughter born in Connecticut May 29, 1641 - but she was recorded as Marcy or Mercy (depending where you look) and called Mary according to some. The assumption is that Bygod included the younger daughter, not the older daughter Mary, in the will, some people believing Mary was dead years before and Marcy/Mercy was called Mary (maybe he just considered her dead after a falling out - what's often crazy is some people have the younger girl marrying Edward at age 4! And then they have Edward dead soon after the marriage so she could marry John Denslow in 1655! Researchers, please check your years!! Marcy/Mercy Eggleston did marry John Denslow June 7, 1655 in Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, where she was born and lived).
     
    Update 7/7/2014: Familysearch.org has Bygod's younger daughter as Marcy Egelston (sic) born May 29, 1641, in Windsor Twp, Hartford, Connecticut, daughter of Begat Egelston (using one of the variations), from the "Connecticut, Births and Christenings, 1649-1906." It is important to note they do not call her Mary at all. But one site maintains "Marcy died 8 December 1657 in Windsor, Hartford, CT, at 16 years of age." If that's true, then she is not the Mary in the will, which would disappoint some researchers. But, that is also the date many list for the death of Mary Wall Eggleston, said to be Bygod's second wife. Another site lists Marcy's death date as August 24, 1684, Windsor, Hartford, CT, a date some apply to Mary Sanderson. Another Mary was born in 1636 according to another site with Marcy's 1684 death date used, they give her Marcy's husband and children, married to John Denslow June 7, 1655, and Mercy/Marcy's death date again as the 1657 date - they are referencing Robert Charles Anderson's books for some of their information. Anderson noted a change in the birth year for the younger Mary as a researcher was making an adjustment for Bygod's will, an adjustment I question. Confusion still reigns thanks to not so good researchers! A younger Mary Eggleston (Egelston) is not listed in results of children of Bygod/Begat in Connecticut at familysearch.org. The only date I really trust so far in this update is Marcy's birth, as that appears to be accepted all around.

    In "Births, Marriages, and Deaths Returned from Hartford, Windsor, and Fairfield, and Entered in the Early Land Records of the Colony of Connecticut: Volumes I and II of Land Records and No. D of Colonial Deeds" (free Google eBook) by Edwin Stanley Welles, page 82, it says John Denslow married Mary Eggleston on January 7, 1653, two years earlier than the 1655 date I usually see.

    Right now, the only recorded confirmation of Mary Eggleston (Egellston as written by the town clerk) in North America is Edward and Mary's wedding and the birth of their son Jonathan.

    Bygod's will (his name's spelling changed over the years, probably due to people not being comfortable with his name - it's Begat on the cemetery marker, and the spelling of names often changed then since most were written based on the sound to the person doing the writing):

    "I Bigat Egllstone of Windsor, in ye county of Hartford, being aged and weake, doe make this my last will and testament as followeth; I comit my sould in the hands of God, and my body to be buried in seemly manner by my friends. My Estate, which is but Small, this is my will; My house and land after my decease I give to my son Benjamin, he being the staff of my age, on this condition, that he shall maintaine his Mother during her life and pay my Debts. And in case yt my son Joseph should come and demand a portion, his brother shall pay him forty shillings as he is able with conveniency. Also to my son James and my son Samuel & my son Thomas, And Daughters Mary, Sarah & Abagail, to eyther of these three shillings apiece. All ye rest of my estate I give to my son Benjamin, and doo make him my exsequitor.

    Begat Egleston

    Witness; Nath.Sslyer
    Abraham Randall, John Hosford."


    Not much to give to anyone anyway! There would be less to go around if everyone was included, so he probably kept it to those nearby.

    Since Bygod had made the journey with his sons and maybe didn't leave money for Mary to make the costly trip to North America (if she didn't come over with them), she may have had to wait for someone in the family to provide the means to come over, or if she was a servant, which I think is possible, she had to wait for the family she worked for to come over and then release her, which was a common practice then. It's interesting to note that Jonathan was a servant as well in his teen years (taken from a deposition you can find in The Sanderson Homes at Piety Corner, Waltham). Dr. Eggleston has speculated on the internet that Mary may have stayed behind because she was in love with someone. But that doesn't explain how she got over to this country. It's important to note that a single, young woman would not be coming over alone, or to live alone, in that time period. Coming over as a servant to another family may be what happened if she didn't come over with Bygod or another family.

    Robert Sanderson and Edward Sanderson: Early lands in Watertown, Massachusetts


    Robert got his first land in eastern Watertown through Mary Cross, the widow of John Cross. According to the Watertown Records he had two lots on Common Street Hill/Common Hill, originally known as Pequosette Hill - it was named after the Indians who lived on the hill - and later known as Payson Hill, split by Hill Street, now called School Street in present day Belmont, Massachusetts. Belmont Hill is north of there.

    You can find the location west of the Fresh Pond from the link to this map Dr. Bond put together based on the town property records in 1642:

    http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mainegenie/WatertownMap.jpg

  • His house was on the first homestall of 6 acres listed in the records and that was west of Hill Street. Dr. Bond said the land owner's house was on the first lot listed in the town records. The lot east of Hill Street was 4 acres of swamp land. There is no swamp there today, just a few blocks of nice homes, between Shaw Road and Livermore Road.
  • That land apparently had been drained as it was a meadow according to the deed when Robert, Jr. sold it in 1713.

    Robert Sanderson also purchased more land on his own:

  • From a Linton family genealogy web page: "...on Dec. 6, 1646 Lawrence Waters testified that Richard Linton of Watertown granted unto Robert Sanderson of same for a valuable consideration his dwelling house and lot in Watertown in a deed dated September 1645. It was about that time that Richard Linton, Lawrence Waters, and John Ball, all three ancestors, moved to Nashaway Plantation, now Lancaster."

    That property was 8 acres and is immediately south of Robert Sanderson's land on Dr. Bond's map. Interestingly, the purchase date was a month before Edward Sanderson and Mary Eggleston were married.
  • Perhaps it was meant as a place to stay for the newlyweds.

  • Below that land was William Godfrey's land and house, about 6 1/2 acres or so, which Robert purchased on September 3, 1653 according to the Deed index book, elsewhere noted on October 17, 1653.
    In that deed, Robert's property bordered the north of Godfrey's property, so Robert still had ownership of the old Richard Linton property when he moved to Boston. "Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-36172-8487-85?cc=2106411&wc=M9QJ-LQR:1366736303 : accessed 15 Jan 2014), Middlesex > Deeds 1649-1670 vol 1-3 > image 107 of 645.

    In his will, Robert gave 1/2 of his Watertown properties to his son Robert, Jr. who with his wife Esther sold 11 acres, the original homestall east of Jonas Bond's property March 20, 1713 to Samuel Livermore, who by then owned most of the land around the original homestall, for 57 pounds. That was more than most properties went for back in that time, but the location probably had a lot to do with it along with it probably being a nicer house since Robert had money when it was built. "Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-36174-2518-65?cc=2106411&wc=M9QJ-L7T:236529699 : accessed 15 Jan 2014), Middlesex > Deeds 1712-1714 vol 16 > image 268 of 679.

    And "Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-36174-2280-92?cc=2106411&wc=M9QJ-L7T:236529699 : accessed 15 Jan 2014), Middlesex > Deeds 1712-1714 vol 16 > image 269 of 679.

    The other half was split with James and Mary Penniman (Mary Cross' daughter Mary from her first marriage to her first husband John Cross who died before Mary was born and before Robert married Mary Cross - the younger Mary Cross married James Penniman on May 10, 1659 in Boston) and their children when Robert died and they sold 8 acres of the old Linton land and the 2 acres across the road to Sam Livermore, April 23, 1708.  The land descriptions conflict a little with Bond's map - which is an estimation based on town records from 1642 so things could change - and the deed of the sale from Robert, Jr. to Sam Livermore. Interestingly, the Penniman deed listed Shattuck's land to the north and east of their almost 2 acres of land (described as a meadow, no longer described as swamp land) on the east side of what was Hill Street now School Street. Perhaps that eastern portion is what Edward Sanderson may have owned and sold to Shattuck, as it does not show up anywhere else at this time. Edward Sanderson may have bought a few acres of the swamp land from John Livermore, drained it and built a farm there, still on the hill with a nice view of Fresh Pond, Cambridge and Boston in the distance. I have not been able to find the 13 acres John Livermore owned there in Livermore's will of 1684, a good sign that the land was owned by someone else then - the family of William Shattuck. A 1720 partial sketch map of Watertown has houses along what was Hill Street with two houses on the east side of the road between the road and Fresh Pond, so the Great Swamp had been conquered. (There are maps from the 1800s (see links below) showing a lone house close to the northeastern edge of what may have been the property we are concerned with. I believe that was the "The Stone Cottage," a 160 year old former guest house for the old Stone family estate up the road. That old house at 245 Washington Street in Belmont was torn down in December, 2012 by its present owner and replaced with a new home.) It's also interesting to note that John Livermore and John Coolidge were witnesses to Shattuck's will written on his sick bed. They obviously were close enough to be there (neighbors down the hill on Bond's map) and later catalogue his belongings along with Thomas Hastings who lived down the hill toward the south. Samuel Livermore (the elder) was also mentioned so we have most of the neighbors common to William Shattuck and Robert Sanderson. That and the new information in the Penniman/Livermore deed really indicates to me that Edward Sanderson's former land that he sold to William Shattuck was east of Robert's land and south of William Shattuck's land south of Washington Street, probably purchased by Edward from John Livermore's original holdings. The original settlers, like Livermore, often split up their land and sold it to newcomers. John Livermore bought some his lands in eastern Watertown from William Paine.

    Penniman to Livermore deed "Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986", images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-36174-1235-2?cc=2106411&wc=MC1M-83D:361613501,364522001 : accessed 01 Jun 2014), Middlesex > Deeds 1706-1716 vol 14-15 > image 274 of 720.

    I used to think Edward got part of the Linton land from Robert, but that idea went out the window when I found the Penniman/Livermore deed as they owned all of it since Robert, Jr. had split up the lands in Robert Sanderson's will. But Edward and Mary probably lived there for a time as the purchase was around when they were married and Edward wouldn't have been able to own land until 1653 when he finally took the oath.

    Edward Sanderson may have looked after Robert Sanderson's land until he moved from eastern Watertown to western Watertown.

    William Sanderson could have looked over the lands as well. He was either Robert's possible eldest son people speculate about from his first marriage with Lydia (speculate only because there are no birth records), or another man who I believe to possibly be a younger distant cousin of the brothers, born about 1630 in Higham Ferrers, with no recorded death there, also named William Sanderson, may have been our William. He would have been old enough to take the oath of allegiance in 1652 to own land, but a younger WIlliam born in 1640 would have been old enough to just take the oath of allegiance at 12 (according to information on Legal Definition of Age at familysearch.org). Whoever William Sanderson was, he married Sarah/Sary in 1665 and had several children in Watertown before moving to Groton. He and his son Joseph are mentioned in Robert's will. William Sanderson testified about the drowning death of Deacon Thomas Hastings' son and Hastings owned and lived on property just south of the land Robert had bought from William Godfrey. That possibly puts William Sanderson on the Robert Sanderson lands as well, possibly later living on the land Robert bought from William Godfrey. Relatives of settlers were brought over to help with the work in Watertown then, and to help them escape the English Civil War. Perhaps Robert bought the Godfrey property as a place for William to live if he was the older distant cousin. There is a possibility of him being a nephew (if Robert and Edward had a father named Robert Saunderson who died in 1620 in Higham Ferrers), and if so the possible nephew's father was named John so that could be why he and Sary named their first son John, or more likely their first son born in 1667 was named after Robert's son John who died suddenly from fever several years earlier in 1658 while apprenticing at the mint, which would make a lot of sense if William was Robert's son. He would've been keeping the memory of his brother alive. If William was Robert's son he could have stayed with Edward and Mary if he was too young to live on his own at the time, and maybe he wanted to be a farmer instead of a goldsmith, so he stayed in Watertown. Maybe Lydia died while giving birth to William and some drama or distance followed between Robert and William. I'm starting to sound like a movie screenwriter. But it's possible. Also, if William was Robert's son, his mother was probably Lydia and his step-mother would have been Mary, so we have their possible remembrance for the names of two of his girls.

    Several sites say William Sanderson was born in 1641, about the same time Lydia died. Those sites reference as their source "A Genealogy of the Mortons, with Related Genealogies." by William Markham Morton, published 1930. But all in all, it couldn't have been too bad as Robert did buy a house and property (the Godfrey homestead) which was probably for William when he was old enough to not have to live with Edward and Mary. The return to Groton may have been the possible problem, if there was any, as it was considered a dangerous place with all the trouble between the British and Native Americans in the area. Maybe Robert advised against the move back to Groton, where William was killed in an attack in 1694 by Abenaqui warriors.

    Edward Sanderson did own land. Edward took the oath of allegiance in Watertown in 1653, something you had to do to own land. He may have had his own money, or got help from Robert, or perhaps he drained the swamp land and bought that, but eventually Edward owned a homestall with a house, a barn and a meadow.  Edward Sanderson sold his property to neighbor William Shattuck, Sr. in 1664 as you know, but a question having arisen as to his title to some parts of it, the town voted, December 27, 1664; that "William Shattuck shall enjoy the land he bought of Sandors; provided he pay to Sandors twenty bushels of good merchantable Indian corn to spend in his house."  A bushel of Indian corn, which Shattuck had a barn full, was worth 3 shillings, so 60 shillings or 3 pounds ($600US today) was the additional charge the Selectmen added on to the property's selling price - a property, including half a dividend, later assessed at 180 pounds in Shattuck's will. William Shattuck mentioned the house and land he had bought from Edward Sanderson in his will (and using Edward's full name, not the too often clerical error of just Sanders or Sandors as we just saw - of course a mistake could have been made in editing the printed version of the books from the handwritten originals - when you see the original handwriting, it varies from Sanders to Sandors depending on how the "e" was written.):

    From William Shattuck, Sr.'s will dated August 3rd, 1672 - taken from Lemuel Shattuck's family history book published in 1855 (Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck) on page 62:

    "All the rest of my moveable goods I give to my dear wife, Susanna, for her owne maintenance &
    bringing up my younger children ; and also the use of my hous and land which I now dwell upon
    with that I bought of Edward Sanderson, til my two younger sons , Benniman & Samuel, arrive to
    twenty on years of age . If my sd wife marry, my will is that she receive four pound per year out
    of my said house & lands ; if she marry not, I give them to her during her life.
    Item.
    I give to my sd Benniman & Sanuel my house and land I now dwell upon, with that I
    bought of Ed Sanderson, and my half dividend, to them and their heyers forever."


  • William Shattuck is said to have lived on Common Hill/Pequosette Hill in the years before he died, and that means Edward Sanderson's property was there (Lemuel Shattuck didn't know where the house was precisely as most of the Shattuck family had moved away by the time he was around and visited the area, and without access to the deeds and the index we have now, it would have been hard to locate - Lemuel thought it was possibly more northerly closer to Shattuck's other properties, like those around the Clay Pit, where other Shattuck family members had their own properties - but Common Hill is more than a half mile south of the Clay Pit - .7 mile. The whole area is not Common Hill. The area near what is now the Clay Pit Pond is now called Belmont Hill). So there's proof that Edward lived near his brother just being on Common Hill/Pequosette Hill.

  • William Shattuck was wealthy and already had a nice estate for many years north of what is now Washington Street that he had purchased from John Clough in 1654, property later bought by the Chenery family, and Stone family. So Edward Sanderson's house, barn and meadow and the view of the area on the hill must've been nicer for Shattuck to want to pay as much as he did to live there instead and to give it to his wife in his will.
  • Or maybe he paid more because Robert Sanderson held most of the land on the south side of the hill and it was his only chance to get something decent that was high enough on the hill as Robert and the Chenery family owned most of the rest of the upland on Common Hill/Pequosette Hill.



  • The property Shattuck had purchased from Edward Sanderson, including half a dividend, was assessed to be worth 180 pounds. That's a lot of money for a house and small piece of land at that time (not a large farm as others have assumed from the property's value) and property values did not make big jumps. As a point of reference, Robert's homestall on top of the hill was sold for 57 pounds in 1713. Those are high property values for that era in Watertown. So Edward was not poor at the time as some think and definitely not after that sale, though he could have had hard times later like other farmers of that harsh era.
  • Houses in that area now are not cheap. It's always been considered a nice area because of its view.

  • The question arisen as to the title of some parts of the land may have been the common ones associated with land transferred by deed, as happened when Robert Sanderson took over Richard Linton's land. Or it could be because some of the land was originally swamp land and the Selectmen were curious about that.  No matter, the deal was approved.

  • Robert also did not refer to the Watertown properties as rental properties as he did some of them in Boston. So I'm thinking he had family members living there and looking after the properties until they moved away - Edward, Mary and Jonathan for a time on the former Linton land and William Sanderson on the former Godfrey land.


  • Upon the sale of the land to Shattuck, Edward Sanderson seems to have moved to western Watertown (it became Waltham in the 1700s) where he had purchased or rented 12 acres. John Flagg owned land in western Watertown and gave it to his wife in his will from 1696, positioning 12 acres next to Edward Sanderson's property. William Hagar also mentioned a 12 acre property near "Edward Sanders's" property in his will of 1683. Edmund L. Sanderson believed Edward Sanderson's 12 acres were in the area of the north campus of what is today Brandeis University in Waltham. That would place it about 2 miles or so to the southwest from Jonathan's future residence at Piety Corner. Rental is a possibility as that is what Jonathan did with his first farm. I have not found Edward listed as receiving any land grants or any of the divisions listed in this more complete Watertown Records, Volume 1 at Google Books. When you think about it, there was no need as he probably lived on Robert's properties until he built his own place and we know Robert had money, so he could have helped out if Edward needed help (especially working at the mint), but he didn't have to in those early years. Edward may have gotten money from Robert for helping take care of his lands when Robert moved to Boston. That's probably what Edward, and Robert's possible son or their possible cousin William Sanderson did. Edward may have moved to western Watertown for better conditions for a livestock farmer and a larger farm. Or maybe Shattuck made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Shattuck was reportedly a good business man.

    In the late 1800s, Jacob Hittinger and the Hittinger Brothers farm, Caroline Homer Chenery, and Harriet L. Stone owned all the former Sanderson land, plus more, most of it for their farms, orchards and greenhouses supplying fruit and vegetables to the Boston area. From the History of Belmont, Middlesex, Mass, by Samuel Adams Drake, published in 1880, the Chenery family bought much of the old William Shattuck land. David Chenery, Caroline's husband, had bought additional land and built a house that their daughters lived in later on the western edge of the property. Harriet Stone owned the land south of Washington Street and east of Hill Street that was owned by William Shattuck, Sr. and Robert Sanderson and probably the land that was Edward Sanderson's that I believe had been part of John Livermore's original lands. The Bright family may have owned a bit of it as well as they farmed just east of there and it looks like the original property lines were not kept.

    A picture of Jacob Hittinger's house which was located approximately on or near what would have been the property line of the old Linton and Godfrey land definitely shows then a slope of a hill. You can find the picture in this book on Belmont (directly linked to the picture).

    Belmont map from 1900 showing the Chenery and Hittinger lands plus the Payson Park Reservoir for landmark reference along with Washington Street and the Fresh Pond.
    Here's an earlier Belmont map from 1875 showing the Chenery, Hittinger, Stone and Bright lands. Belmont map from 1889 Land of the Hittinger Bros. Map. Refer back to Dr. Bond's map of the land from 1642 here.


    Deacon Jonathan Sanderson

    Jonathan Sanderson was fairly well off as we will find reading his will. This doesn't even address the land he owned as he handed that off to his sons Jonathan and John (my ancestor) to handle, probably by deed, as most of the land was purchased for family members in the first place. It's also another indication that Edward Sanderson was not poor (maybe he had a hard run of luck at one point like many farmers depending on good weather - and the weather wasn't very good most years from 1645 to 1715 during the Maunder Minimum). I think Edward helped Jonathan out and Robert may have had a hand in it as well early on and is probably why Jonathan wasn't in Robert's will - he didn't need money (note all the silver money mentioned in Jonathan's will below). I have no hard proof yet, but there's an old Sanderson family story saying Edward helped Jonathan acquire the land and it's been related elsewhere including a book by Diana Muir, Reflections in Bullough's Pond: Economy and Ecosystem in New England. Also, Jonathan acquired most of his 160 acres from 1681 through 1695. Edmund L. Sanderson figured Edward Sanderson died around 1694/95 (maybe a guess basing it on Robert's will and how long people lived then), and the will of John Flagg citing Edward's property location in western Watertown next to his land could place Edward's death to around 1696 or a bit later as terms were not used indicating he was dead. So Edward not being active to help Jonathan acquire land past 1695 could be one reason Jonathan stopped buying land along with Jonathan's new involvement in Watertown as constable.

    Deacon Jonathan Sanderson's grave in Waltham on Find-A-Grave

    Abiah Bartlett Sanderson's grave in Waltham on Find-A-Grave

    His will found on Randy Seaver's website http://www.geneamusings.com/2011/09/amanuensis-monday-will-of-jonathan.html

    "The probate records for Jonathan Sanderson of Waltham are in Middlesex County Probate Packet 19,801 (original papers, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,421,512). His will reads:

    "In the name of God Amen. The Second Day of Aprill Anno Domini one Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty Eight.


    "I Jonathan Sanderson Senr of Watertown in the County of Middx in New England yeo: Being ligod and deeply Expecting my Change, But of perfect mind and Memory, Thanks be given unto God Therefore Calling to minde the Mortallity of my Body, And knowing that it is Appointed for men once to dye, Do make and ordaine this my last Will and Testament (That is to Say) Principally and first of all, I Give and Recommend my Soule into the hands of God that gave it, Hoping that throw the Merrit and Sattisfaction of my Savior Jesus Christ to have full and pure pardon of all my sins and to Inherit Eternal Life: And my Body I Commit to the Earth to be Decently buried at the Discretion of my Executors hereafter named Nothing doubting But at the Generall Resurrection I shall Receive the same agen... by the mighty power of God. And as touching such Worldly ... wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I Give Devise and dispose of the same in the following manor and forme vizt:


    "First I Will that all those Debts and duties that I do owe in Right or Continue to any manor of person or person, whatsoever shall be well and truly Contented & paid or ordained to be paid in Convenient Time after my decease by my Executors hereafter named.


    "2 Item. I Give unto my son Thomas Sanderson Thirty pounds in good Bills of Creddet or Lawfull Silver money, To be paid by my Executors within Two years next after my decease, Which Sum together with what I have gave for him otherwayes to his full share out of my Estate.


    "3 Item. I Give unto my Son Samuel Sanderson Thirty pounds in good Bills of Creddet or Lawfull Silver money to be paid by my Executors within Two years next after my Decease, Which Sum Together with what I have allready Bestowed on him is all I designs him out of my Estate.


    "4 Item I Give unto my Son Edward Sanderson Thirty pounds in good Bills of Creddit or Lawfull Silver money to be paid by my Executors Within two years next after my decease, Which sum Together with what I have done for him before this Time, is all his portion out of my Estate.


    "5 Item. I give unto my Daughter Abia Sanderson all my Household Stuff within Doors, and all my Stock of Cattle and Horse, Sheep and barne and house, and all my Husbandry Utencills, and all my hay Stows and Corne; and if my sd Daughter Abia long to stand in need of more than I have given Her, for her Comfortable Support, then my Will is that my Executors Shall pay her ten pounds more, Which they Shall Reserve out of my Estate for that purpose, and if it shall so happen that she leaves any Estate at her death, then my will is that her sister Hannah Sternes shall have a double share thereof, and all her own Brothers to have Singel shares of the same.


    "6 Item. I give unto my Daughter Hannah Stearns and to her heirs and assigns for Ever, That part of a dividend lott Which I bought of Sarah Hager Called Coolledges Dividend, Which with what I gave her at Marriage is her full Portion.


    "7 Item. I Give unto my Son Jonathan Sanderson Sixty pounds in good Bills of Creddit or Lawfull Silver money.


    "8 Item. I give unto my Son John Sanderson Thirty pounds in good Bills of Creddit or Lawfull silver money to be Rec'd by them within two years next after my decease, Likewise I give to my sd Son John Sanderson all my Weareing Apperral.


    "9 Item. That Whatsoever Estate I Leave at my decease after my Funerall Charges, Debts and Legacies are paid and Satisfied as before mentioned, then my Will is that sd Estate left or atime sd if any there be, shall be Disposed of in the following manor and forme Vizt That my son Jonathan Sanderson shall have a double share thereof and each of my other Naturall Children shall have a Single Share of the same.


    "10 Furthermore If It Shall so happen that I do not Sell and Allienate my Reall Estate Vizt. Houseing and Lands, before my Decease, That then my Will is that my Two Sons Jonathan Sanderson and John Sanderson Shall Sell and dispose of the same and the Effects thereof to be improved as before directed and prescribe, and I do hereby Give and grant unto my sd Two Sons full power and authority to give and Pass good and Lawfull Deed or Deeds of Sale of my sd Reall Estate, Which two sons of mine Vizt. Jonathan Sanderson and John Sanderson I Do likewise Constitute make and ordaine my Executors of this my Last Will and Testament. And I Do utterly disalow Revoke & Disannull all and Every other former Wills, Testaments and Legacies, Bequests and Executors, by me in my Life before this time named, willed and bequeathed, Ratifying this and no other to be my last Will and Testament. In Witness Whereof I have hereunto sett my hand & seale this day and yeare first above written."


    "Signed Sealed Published pronounced
    and declared by the said ............................................... his
    Jonathan Sanderson to be .............................. Jonathan S Sanderson Sen
    his Last Will & Testament ....................................... mark
    in the Prsents of us the
    Subscribers Vizt.
    Thomas Livermore
    Abiah Sanderson
    John Coolledg"
     

    Randy Seaver also included:
    "The probate packet also included a lengthy inventory of Deacon Jonathan Sanderson Senior of Watertown deceased, taken 30 September 1735 by Allen Flagg, Thomas Livermore and Samuel Livermore. There was no real estate listed. The personal estate totaled 209 pounds, 15 shillings and 8 pence. It was exhibited to the Court on 3 September 1735.

    The account of John Sanderson of Leicester was presented to the Court on 4 June 1739. He charged himself with all the goods and chattels. He noted that the funeral charges were paid and satisfied with 32 pounds money left for that purpose, which was not included in the inventory. He paid the outstanding debts of Jonathan Sanderson to Jonathan Bond, Samuel Livermore, Samuel Sanderson, Allen Flag, Joseph Priest, Jonathan Sanderson, Abia Sanderson and several others. He then paid the legacies bequeathed in the will - 60 pounds to Deacon Jonathan Sanderson, 30 pounds to Thomas Sanderson, John Sanderson, Edward Sanderson and Samuel Sanderson. He also paid an additional 10 pounds to Jonathan Sanderson and an additional 5 pounds to the other sons. He also delivered to the attorneys of Abia Sanderson all the stock of costumes, goods and moveables both within and without that was bequeathed to her, amounting to the sum of 134 pounds, 7 shillings, 1 pence (which was not included in the inventory). He requested 13 pounds as his allowance for his trouble, journeys, time and expenses. The account was accepted by the Court."

    Edward Sanderson versus Edward Sanders

    There were and are many more Sanders in the world than Sandersons. Even in Northamptonshire, where I believe the brothers are from, there are many Sanders, in an area where Sandersons had lived for hundreds of years and were well known members of the communities. Sanders was more common in the south of England while Sanderson was more common in the north:

    Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire by Noyes, Libby, and Davis
    >>

    "SANDERS, SAUNDERS, frequent in South half of England, particularly in County
    Devon. The North has Sanderson. See Hall (10), Hodsdon (4)." 
     

    Some people think a Robert Sanders in Cambridge, Massachusetts was Robert Sanderson. Nope. There was a documented Robert Sanders in Cambridge who is a completely different person than silversmith Robert Sanderson, who lived in different areas of the Colony, including Boston, but Robert Sanders did not die in Boston, and was poor when he passed. Robert Sanderson did die in Boston a wealthy man.

    >From early researcher Charles Henry Pope's Pioneers of Massachusetts:
    --

    SANDERS, SAUNDERS, SANDEN, SANDIN, SANDYN,

    ROBERT, Cambridge, propr. 1639; town officer; freeman. May
    23, 1639. In partnership with H. Usher 10 (10) 1645. [A.]
    Will dated 1 March, prob. 3 May, 1683, beq. to Christian
    Pelton for the care of him in his old age, and to his sons
    John, Hopestill and Samuel."<<

    And Judge Savage on Robert Sanders:
    "ROBERT, Cambridge 1636, ar. co. 1638, freem. 23 May 1639, rem. it is thot. to Boston soon, and aft. to Dorchester, where, in 1680, he was a poor man."

    I've seen quoted from the Watertown Records from 1654 (48) that "the Company ordered that Robert Sanders should have 2 pounds of pouder for to make fire works at the generall Training at Cambridg..."(sic). That is probably the Robert Sanders who may have still lived in Cambridge at the time (Watertown and Cambridge shared things then as they do now), and probably not Robert Sanderson who had already moved to Boston from Watertown in 1653 and was already working full-time with John Hull at the mint since it was established September 1, 1652. It is thought by researchers that Robert Sanderson ran the daily operations at the mint. Between the mint and being a Deacon, he probably didn't have time for most activities in a neighboring town, even though he was tied to later production of gun powder in Boston. The H. Usher mentioned by Pope as partner of Robert Sanders is probably Hezekiah Usher who was a merchant and bookseller in Cambridge later becoming a publisher moving to Boston and dying a wealthy man. Usher was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, probably the connection for Robert Sanders and the powder for fire works for the general training at Cambridge. There is no known business connection between Hezekiah Usher and Robert Sanderson, though they may have known each other through church connections and both being wealthy citizens of Boston.

    William Sanderson is mixed up sometimes with William Sanders. Yes, two different men confused because Sanderson was often written Sanders (or many other variations in William's case). Roger Thompson learned of William Sanders in court records of his wife Mary's divorce in 1674 and determined he was the poor Edward Sanders' son, who had run with the wilder kids in Watertown according to records from there.  Meanwhile, William Sanderson was married in 1665 and having several children with his wife Sary through 1680, including a child named Joseph, in the Watertown records before they later moved back to Groton for a second time. Hannah was born on their first time living in Groton. This William and his son Joseph are mentioned in Robert Sanderson's will, so they were Sanderson family members.

    Dr. Thompson tells us there was a breach of the peace in Watertown in 1666 after some young people had too much to drink. According to Thompson, all were in their teens or early 20s, and quotes a document source on page 123 and 124 of Divided We Stand, "Jonathan Morse, aged twenty-three, deposed that after a fast day in Watertown about sunset he went to Roger Wellington's [house] along with Justinian Holden Jr., Jacob Onge, Ephraim Smith, William Sanders, Sarah, Mary and Jonathan Mason, Benjamin Allen and John Clary. In the space of two hours they together drank a gallon of [hard] cider and a pint of strong waters." The Sarah mentioned there is Sarah Mason not William Sanderson's wife Sarah/Sary. Dr. Bond says Sarah Mason, born September 25, 1651, married Andrew Gardner May 20, 1668 (Captain Hugh Mason Genealogy). Thompson talks about the Mason children and makes a point of saying in the notes for that section that William Sanders was the son of the poor criminal Edward Sanders. The William Sanders mentioned in the records of that incident was a younger person. So this excludes William Sanderson who took the oath of allegiance in 1652. You had to be at least 12 before you could take the oath (at least 21 to own land and make contracts), placing our William at least in his mid-20s in 1666 and possibly older in his mid-30s if he was the cousin of Edward's and Robert's from Higham Ferrers. If he was Robert Sanderson's son as many speculate since there are no official birth records, he would be at least 26 as well since Lydia died about 1641, and she had a second child in late 1639, that only leaves 1640 and 1641 available for William to possibly be born (many sites say 1641). Mary Cross, Robert's second wife had her late husband's daughter shortly before marrying Robert and had a quick succession of recorded children after, so WIlliam wouldn't easily fit there. Since the New Hampshire records are so sketchy, and because William's son Joseph made it into Robert's will, and two of William's other children, Lydia and Mary, in Robert's third wife, Elizabeth's will, it's long been assumed there was a definite family relationship there, that would rule out William Sanderson being Edward Sanderson's son.

    Poor Edward Sanders' William Sanders must have left Watertown at some point after the last recorded incident in 1666 and moved to Salem, Massachusetts. There he got in trouble with Mary Vocah (whose name changes as many do with different records). November of 1669, "William Sanders and Mary Vocah were sentenced for fornication (They were not married and she was pregnant. KS), he to be whipped or pay 4 pounds, and she to be whipped or pay 40 shillings, unless they agree to be married, when their sentence was to be abated one half. They were to remain in prison until the payment be made," from the Records and files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts. They did get married in a hurry to get out of trouble: "Willam Sanders married Mary Vokes Nov. 30, 1669; child: William, born 5 months later April ___, 1670; lived in Gloucester in 1682, servant to Benjamin Jones." (Perhaps the son became a servant. KS) page 32, A History of Salem Massachusetts By Sidney Perley Volume III 1671-1716 http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/Perley/vol3/index/Perlvol3V.html and http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/Perley/vol3/images/p3-32.html

    Mary divorced William Sanders after he moved to London and married another woman according to records Thompson found. The Court of Assistants granted her a divorce in 1674, Assistants, 3:30.

    She is believed to be the Mary Voakers of Salem who later married Thomas Clark, a tailor. They had a son, Thomas, born April 14, 1977, page 107, A History of Salem Massachusetts By Sidney Perley Volume III 1671-1716 http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/Perley/vol3/images/p3-107.html

    There was another William Sanders in Salem born in 1668, the son of Captain John Sanders.

    There were many Sanders! Some seemed to have come from Downton, Wiltshire, England, along with many founders of the Plymouth Colony as we learn from The Founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony by Sarah Sprague Saunders Smith, 1897.

    Sanders is sometimes found written as Sandys. It is German in origin which differs greatly from the Sanderson line, which is descended from Alexander de Bedic. The Sanders are originally descended from Robert, Lord of Insprunk in Germany. Some Sanders started consistently adding a "u" to their name after 1684 becoming Saunders.

    There were other Sanders and Saunders in Watertown and the area who were not Sandersons/Saundersons. Several people named John Sanders/Saunders came over to the Colony about the same time and lived in different locations that drive genealogists batty, there was a John Sanders in Salem along with several others. And yet another before him, John Sanders, Sr. arrived in 1622, beating the Sanderson family to the Bay Colony by 16 years. Plenty of time for more Sanders to be born and more relatives to come over. He lived in Cape Porpus, York County, Maine, present day Kennebunkport, not close to Watertown, but close enough for relatives and descendants to make the move.

    There was an Arthur Sanders in Marblehead (part of Salem) and a Henry Sanders.

    There was a Richard Sanders and a Martin Sanders/Saunders in the records. There is no record of a Richard Sanderson or a Martin Sanderson in Watertown.

    John Clough, tailor and freeman, married a Jane Sanders in Watertown around 1641 (they had at least 5 children). We do not have any recorded Sanderson family members named Jane in the Watertown area for that era and she was too old to be a child of Robert Sanderson or Edward Sanderson. Jane was around the age of 21 so at that age she had to be from a family in the area. More proof of an actual Sanders family, likely more than one, not related to the Sanderson family in the Watertown area.

    Likewise, there are a few Edward Sanders in the Bay Colony. There was one man in Saco, Maine who got in trouble for not keeping up with his obligations along with several other men, noted in the York County records as Edward Sanders in 1664. So people in the past go - oh, that must be Edward Sanderson. Nope. They were two different men who were pledged to two different towns 100 miles apart. And Edward Sanderson was selling his house, barn and meadow in Watertown to William Shattuck in 1664 before moving to a 12 acre lot in western Watertown. There's also an Edward Sanders in New Hampshire who got in trouble with Mrs. Sarah Lynne and was taken to court for saying he was married to her, within a week of our Edward Sanderson marrying Mary Eggleston. So that doesn't work at all time wise/place wise/travel time (something some researchers just often plain ignore).

    As I've been saying, a poor man named Edward Sanders, who had several children, was also featured in a case study in Dr. Roger Thompson's book about life in Watertown, Divided We Stand, because he was poor and a convicted rapist who was not hanged. Some people believe, because of the Sanders/Sanderson confusion that he's the same man as our Edward Sanderson. It didn't help that a town clerk had written (if he really did - it would help to see the actual handwritten version) that Edward Sanderson was indigent and needed two young daughters apprenticed out in 1671, the oldest girl being 8 years old. Dr. Thompson went with it being Edward Sanders, not Edward Sanderson though his combining the two with the poverty angle, believing of course that it's only one man out of two possible, has made it hard for some to separate the two as different men. As I said before, the idea that Edward Sanderson had young children then doesn't make sense as there's no official record of Edward and Mary having anyone but Jonathan - all the other children people tried to tie to them had the last name of Sanders or Saunders and were not in the official town records as we saw. It would also mean that Edward and Mary had children for almost 20 years which is also unusual, and more so since there are no family records that contain them officially. That confusion Dr. Bond started with his speculation about the additional children has gone on for many years and even confused Sanderson family researchers. Edward and Mary were much older than most parents in Watertown and they would've been in their fifties at the time those girls were born. Those children were found by researchers in church records of adult baptisms.

    Earlier in the town records poor Edward Sanders was stated to have 6 children in 1661 in need of help. If this had been Robert Sanderson's brother, the Selectmen would have made Robert Sanderson help as they always made family help instead of doling out valuable town resources, as stated in Thompson's book. They knew Robert and knew he had money running the mint, and Boston is only 6 miles away, a 20 minute drive today so it's not that far if they wanted to contact Robert! And the Edward Sanders needing help from the town in 1664 would not be needing help from the town if he was Edward Sanderson as he had to have been doing okay from selling his property to wealthy businessman William Shattuck (and possibly well off before that). The poor Edward Sanders would not have been able to purchase or rent 12 acres in western Watertown in 1664. The town did not hand out large amounts of land to poor residents at that time. The previous large allotments were in 1642. Poor people like Hugh Parsons were fortunate to get an acre or a little more in 1649. Many poor people or new arrivals rented, as did other long time residents. And I doubt the town would help out a convicted man by giving him a large grant. So far, I have found no records of grants or land divisions to Edward Sanders or Edward Sanderson.

    Amateur genealogist Jeanie Robert's blog, where I first found this story about the rapist Edward Sanders, completely ignored (before I posted critical comments) that Dr. Thompson never once stated the name of our Edward Sanderson in his book (which would be quite odd if it was our Edward since the book is well researched and referenced by a respected professor so he would mention conflicting information). She has since stated that he doesn't mention Edward Sanderson at all in a comment on her blog, but not the original and makes it seem Edward Sanderson and Edward Sanders are one and the same, though they are not. She completely thinks Sanders equals Sanderson all the time (partially based on erroneous thinking of other researchers and bad record keeping by the town clerks) but it doesn't, even though she points out another Edward Sanders who has been confused with Edward Sanderson. She also believed Robert and Edward were not brothers even with the facts pointing to them being brothers (ignoring Robert's will, a gold standard of proof to genealogists), but instead believing people with no dog in the fight, and not caring enough to dig further, saying there's no proof they were brothers. I don't know if she has changed her mind since I posted Robert's handwritten will.

    To her credit, Jeanie has let some of my comments stay up on her blog to dispute what she believes and posted one of my comments so all could better see my developing theories and proof. Jeanie Roberts also stated in 2013 that she thought it was possible there could have been two different men, and had a comment up that she had e-mailed Dr. Roger Thompson and he responded saying he thought they were two separate people based on comments he read from editors of a printed edition of the Watertown Vital Records. In his book he wrote Edward Sanders was the poor man and the rapist who had several children, including the trouble maker son William, and had the two young girls who were apprenticed out to others in 1671. Jonathan is not even mentioned as a son of Edward Sanders in the book, because of course he wasn't! Jeanie made a big deal about Thompson not finding any relation between Edward Sanders and his wild son William with Robert Sanderson. Well of course, they couldn't be related because they are not Sanderson family members - they are Sanders! But she makes the jump to say because of that Edward Sanderson and Robert Sanderson aren't brothers, sticking to her belief that Edward Sanders means Edward Sanderson. I shake my head. As of April, 2014, she has gone back to thinking full force that Edward Sanders and Edward Sanderson in Watertown are one and the same. She also thinks that all William Sanderson and Sanders in Watertown are the same (even though she thinks there were two men in a different post - that doesn't follow her theory - and now she has William Sanders as a son of Edward Sanderson) and all Robert Sanderson and Sanders then are one and the same, but they are not. We are talking about very common first names combined with the much less prevalent last name of Sanderson and the much more prevalent last name of Sanders. With all the many Sanders in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in that era, it is wrong to think Sanders always mean Sanderson. It's unfortunate if our Edward Sanderson, as many did then, indeed had a run of ill health or bad luck, but it's helped some people like Jeanie to try to tie him to the criminal Edward Sanders.

    I think the confusion with Edward Sanders may throw some researchers off. Others probably just quote Bond without a critical look.

    Dr. Thompson was directly quoting General Court documents about an Edward Sanders, who two separate times raped 9 year old Ruth Parsons in 1654, for a total of 5 acts. He confessed to the rapes and was convicted and punished but was spared hanging due to a technicality in the law. The book gives a graphic description of the rapes taken from Ruth Parsons' testimony. The first incident of 4 acts of rape in Edward Sanders' house and leanto, and the second incident, the 5th act, in her father's house. I really believe the Court records for a serious crime would get the name correct, even for that time.

    Charles Henry Pope, also mentioned a criminal Edward Sanders (again, some people before thought he was Edward Sanderson, though Pope did not - Edward Sanderson was listed separately in his book);  From Charles Henry Pope's Pioneers of Massachusetts:

    SANDERS, SAUNDERS, SANDEN, SANDIN, SANDYN, (A list of Sanders with details followed. K.S.)
    >>

    EDWARD, Watertown, sick at Piscataqua when called to appear
    before Gen. Court at Boston. 5 (1) 1638-9. Punished 19 Oct. 1654,
    (date of Ruth Parsons rape conviction. K.S.)
    Edward, Scituate, served against the Narragansetts in 1645, may
    be the same.<<

    From the Records of the Court of Assistants:

    "Edward Saunders being sick at Pascataque Nicolas Davyson had liberty till the next Court to bring him in." (sic) Page 81 Records of the Court of Assistants of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay 1630-1692

    "Mr. Nicho: Davison being bound in ten pounds for the appearing of Edward Saunders forfetted his recognisance." (sic) Page 82 Records of the Court of Assistants of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay 1630-1692

    That's a lot of money then for a bond... worth more than 3 cows! It must have been pretty serious. It's highly doubtful a brother of Robert Sanderson would be in that much trouble with no mention of Robert. The Piscataqua River is between New Hampshire and Maine. It's highly doubtful Edward Sanderson would have been that far from his brother Robert then (if he had arrived yet in the Colony) as you couldn't just live anywhere you wanted to during that earlier era. It's an area that's at least 15 miles from Hampton, New Hampshire, a long distance in those days and probably not easily traveled since it was mostly wilderness.

    Obviously, there was a criminal named Edward Sanders/Saunders who had gotten in trouble with the General Court in 1638/1639, and possibly the same man again with the rapes of young Ruth Parsons in June of 1654, which he was convicted and punished by two public whippings in October of 1654 for the rapes.

    If Edward Sanders the child abuser had been Deacon Robert Sanderson's brother, there would've been a bigger story about the incident. Edward Sanderson was Deacon Sanderson's brother, so there was no bigger story because he was not involved.

    Dr. Thompson could not make out where the first incident took place... the handwriting of the location was illegible in the handwritten court records. But because he could make out that it happened on a Common, and because poor people lived near Meeting House Common on smaller lots (Edward Sanders and Hugh Parsons, Ruth's father, were poor but I hadn't located the Parsons property yet) and at that early point of my recent research I thought Pequosette/King's Common was just grazing land (I didn't know yet that it had been divided up), I thought perhaps the court clerk had used an abbreviation for Meeting House Common that Thompson couldn't make out.

    We know that Edward Sanders, the rapist, who was poor and had a few children, lived on a Common from the undisputed testimony given by Ruth Parsons, from her saying he put two or three children out to the "____ Common" (again, Thompson couldn't read what was written) when he took her into the house before taking her to his lean-to where the first rape incident occurred involving 4 acts. The question I had was - which Common?

    I have learned since my first theory that the Selectmen started dividing up the Common used for cattle grazing into closer together small lots for the newcomers in the late 1640s. That was Pequosette Common also known as King's Common. Poor Hugh Parsons, Ruth's father, was granted 1 1/2 to 2 acres on Pequosette Common/King's Common in 1649. The town gave him money in 1653 to build a house to replace a shanty. (Watertown Records, Bond, Thompson) Ruth inherited that property along with more for a total of 4 acres that she exchanged later in life with Henry Goding (Goden) for a place to stay and for care since she was infirm (Maine Genealogies of Families/Watertown Records). That land was on the northeast end of Pequosette Common/King's Common bordered on one side by the land of John Wetherill, which was south of the Clay Pit, and bordered directly on the west by Pequosette Common/King's Common. 60 year old Grace Wetherill was involved in the Sanders/Parsons case as a witness to Sanders' remorse for what he had done and what his wife had told her about comments he had made. That puts the whole situation in that neighborhood. Since Edward Sanders had snatched her the first time and took her to his house and then his leanto to rape her and the second incident for the 5th act in Hugh Parsons' house (in the chimney nook), and Grace Wetherill's testimony, he had to be a close by neighbor. I don't think a 60 year old woman then would be hanging out near another family's place about a mile away.

    And there was no testimony of abduction to a farther away location. The Sanderson brothers lived on Pequosette Hill/Common Hill off Hill Street, about a mile away (about .7 mile, next to where the Payson Park Reservoir is now located) and about a mile away from where I believe Edward Sanderson's property was, closer to Fresh Pond, a longer distance away in those days when you had to walk or ride a horse (the roads were terrible then, too, according to Thompson's research). People would've seen and heard the commotion of Ruth struggling with him if that was the case. That would've been in the Court records if it happened but it didn't. The description of the event is very quick. And Edward Sanderson had a house, barn and large meadow - no need to put any children out to a Common, and besides he wasn't close to one! (No leanto was listed in the property Edward Sanderson sold to William Shattuck listed in Shattuck's will which was detailed.) Even if Edward Sanderson hadn't built his house and barn yet by the summer of 1654, there was no need to live on King's Common since Robert owned all that land and three houses a mile away! 

    Criminologists say most criminals operate in predictable locations, usually not too far from their home, family or their workplace. Edward Sanderson lived on Common Hill/Pequosette Hill surrounded by meadows and not at all close to King's Common. He probably spent much of his time looking after Robert's properties, especially those first few years after Robert moved to Boston in 1652/3 to work with John Hull at the mint. So poor Edward Sanders, the rapist, and father of several children, with time to get into trouble, lived on Pequosette Common/King's Common, where the smaller lots were and more of the poor citizens, probably next door or close enough to the Parsons, who also lived directly next to the Common, to easily get at little Ruth those two separate times, and not a place that agrees with the high property value of the place William Shattuck bought from Edward Sanderson.



    Placing possible locations of the Parsons, Sanders and Edward Sanderson on the map Dr. Bond made based on 1642 land records from before Edward or the Parsons owned land.
    Since the Penniman to Livermore deed of 1708 placed the small land plot with William Shattuck's lands to the north and east, sometime after the land records of 1642 Shattuck had land that
    would have been on John Livermore's acres of the former swamp land, which I think Edward Sanderson had purchased from Livermore, built the house, barn and sold to Shattuck in 1664.

    When the town started investigating the poor families in 1670 to get their children educated, William Priest's family was one they looked into. William Priest and his family lived on the old John Wetherill property, next door to the Parsons' property. We already know the Parsons and other poor families lived in that area on Pequosette Common/King's Common where the town had divided part of the common into small lots. Edward Sanders, as we have determined from the Court testimony of Ruth Parsons, lived there as well with his family. The reported attention to Edward Sanderson's (as written in the town records) family in 1671 came after an outcry of townspeople worrying about his children. Since our Edward Sanderson had moved to western Watertown in 1664, his 12 acre farm was not near many people so I doubt many would have known his business. That was a spread out area, much like farms of today. Besides, he didn't have a large recorded family. His son Jonathan had been working as a servant for Justinian Holden since he was a teenager and was married to Abiah in 1669 and living on their rented farm in Cambridge. Townspeople would know the business of families in the more closer knit area of Pequosette Common/King's Common. Edward Sanders must have still lived near the Parsons, so his large family must have, too, with the other poor families. He did not leave town as he is recorded as becoming a regular churchgoer after he was spared execution according to Dr. Thompson. I'm thinking the Edward Sanderson name in the printed version of the Watertown records might be an error in converting the handwritten records into printed text. If it really, though, was our Edward Sanderson who ran into health or farm problems from 1669 - 1671 (not Edward Sanders the child abuser), where did the extra young children come from?

    Edward Sanderson and Mary, lived on Common Hill/Pequosette Hill with only one recorded child, and he sold his home, barn and meadow to the wealthy William Shattuck, Sr. Edward Sanderson was decidedly better off then than poor rapist Edward Sanders who only had a small lot with a house and leanto, but no reported barn or meadow, or even a yard to speak of to put little children out to except the Common next to (or in front of) his house - Pequosette Common/King's Common near today's Belmont Hill! William Shattuck, Sr. would not have paid what he did for Edward Sanderson's property if it had been poor rapist Edward Sanders' property. Sanders' property, which was small and probably rented, would not have been valued at 180 pounds, or else the Parsons and all the other people living in the same neighborhood with smaller lots would not have been poor and would have had higher property values. Besides, Shattuck already owned land near them and had for many years around the Clay Pit. He probably owned some of the land that was rented out as he did have land early on their as you can see it on Bond's map. He did not own land closer to the top of Common Hill/Pequosette Hill south of his land on Washington Street until he purchased Edward Sanderson's property. That would have been a new acquisition for William Shattuck. Edward Sanderson's property had to be worth more because the Selectmen made Shattuck compensate Edward Sanderson further with extra bushels of corn he could trade or market.

    And some people believe that a Goody Sanders (Goody for Goodwife - what widows were often called then) was Edward Sanderson's wife Mary thanks again to Bond. I'm not the only person that has problems with some of the things he concluded in his research. I'm happy he gathered the information together as it is often good, but he should have been more careful and thought some things through more clearly. After all, Lemuel Shattuck shared the will of William Shattuck mentioning Edward Sanderson's home, yet Bond ignored that in the same book. He could've easily placed the location on Pequosette Hill/Common Hill showing more proof that Robert and Edward were brothers. And apparently Robert's will was available to Judge Savage because he quoted it and knew they were brothers, but obviously Bond didn't check it. A lot of the nonsense about Robert and Edward not being brothers would have ended then and there if Bond hadn't stated he couldn't find an affinity for them. The Flagg family descendants say Bond missed and combined people in their line. But back to Goody Sanders. She needed help from the town and got it in 1687. If she had been Jonathan's mother, the Selectmen would've had him help her as he was already buying land in Watertown in 1681. He had money and the Selectmen always went to relatives to help instead of giving away town resources. So I'm thinking the early death dates, like 1684, for Edward Sanderson are probably poor Edward Sanders' (Goody Sanders was more likely his widow) and people got the two confused again. Edward Sanderson had to be still alive to be in Robert Sanderson's will in 1693 and to be mentioned in John Flagg's will with 12 acres of land in western Watertown in 1696. (The Edward Sanderson in Virginia died with no children in 1684. I wonder if people throw his death date into the mix just to fill in the blanks.)

    The problems have always been stemming from errors by the town clerks and assumptions and mistakes from researchers like Dr. Bond, E. Jennifer Monaghan, and others, not doing a thorough research job and ignoring the possibility of a another actual person named Edward Sanders in Watertown at the time who they were confusing with our Edward Sanderson, and not digging deep enough to find more information.

    Edward Sanderson, brother of Robert Sanderson, and the poor criminal Edward Sanders are definitely two entirely different people.

     

    Elijah Sanderson and Paul Revere Captured by the British


    A descendant of our Edward Sanderson had a thrilling night, being captured by the British along with Paul Revere! Elijah Sanderson was living with his brother Samuel in Lexington when he volunteered for the ride of his life. Read the story about Elijah Sanderson, Patriot and his meeting the end of a British gun and Paul Revere,

    Years later, Elijah and Jacob Sanderson were cabinet makers, producing fine furniture that was shipped around the world from their Salem, Massachusetts workshop. Read an article about the cabinet makers and their success.


    James Sanderson of Woodstock, Vermont


    One of my direct ancestors, descended from Edward Sanderson, was a founder of Woodstock, Vermont. - James Sanderson. He also served in the American Revolution.  
     

    Northamptonshire Research

    A possible sister named Susanna? That could be a big clue!

    In the information someone provided to Rev. H. I. Longden to help him find Robert and Edward's parents, they included "perhaps a sister" named Susanna born about 1620, that Longden wrote down along with Robert and Edward's information in notes on the bottom of the first scratch pedigree he did trying to solve which family they belonged to, plugging their names into where they might fit (the information seems to be from someone in the Sanderson line - perhaps Robert's - in the United States, who knew Robert was born about 1608, Robert and Lydia married in England in 1636, had a child there named Lydia in 1637, and arrived in 1638 (no bad 1635 Increase info there) where they had Mary in 1639, Lydia's death about 1641 and then Robert's marriage to the widow Mary Cross in 1642 and their children, but they or Longden omitted Elizabeth, Robert's third wife (also omitting WIlliam Sanderson, Robert's possible eldest son who could've been born before Lydia died). They also included Edward and Mary's marriage and only one child, Jonathan). Edward Saundersonne had a daughter named Susan baptized in 1612, Edward's (and Robert's) younger sister. The next child in line was Elizabeth baptized in 1615. So Robert, Edward and Susan would have been closer elder siblings to their younger brothers and sisters. It's not hard to imagine they stayed in touch with Susan, as much as one could back then, if they were close, or the brothers reminisced about her. I can imagine that many people who had left family behind in England would talk about them for something to do, or in answer to children's questions. And someone in a Sanderson family must have written the name down somewhere. Susan/Susanna (both names were interchangeable then) was the only Sanderson/Saunderson/Saundersonne girl with that name in the records of Higham Ferrers for that time period.

    I don't believe whoever submitted the request to Longden for the pedigree had included that Robert had said he was the son of Saundersonne, or it would've been easier for Longden to figure out, especially with the Susanna clue (Robert used Sanderson for himself when he registered at the Guild, but had them spell his father's name with the rare spelling, so that makes it even more of an indicator of who his father was out of all of the Saunderson dads in Higham Ferrers - he was the only one who used that rare spelling of the name). I'm sure Longden would have included Saundersonne in his written notes if he had been told. So Longden tried plugging them into all the Sanderson families from that time that had children where there were years open. Eventually, in a later pedigree (as evidenced by the shakier handwriting of an older person), he resorted the family members (he had to thanks to a couple of different Robert Saunderson families at the time) and had almost boiled it down to two families. Robert Saunderson, who died in 1620 and Edward Saundersonne.

    Longden used Sanderson instead of the older family spelling of Saunderson and Saundersonne for his client in the United States, but we know it's Edward Saundersonne as the children were his in the Rushden Records (changing to Saunderson after a few years).  In the first pedigree, Longden had Robert and Edward as Robert Sanderson's and Mary Thorpe's possible children in one possible combination (the Robert he had chosen was actually married to Anne). But he changed up the order in the second pedigree. I still think he had more sorting to do as it appears he combined two Robert Sanderson families, the elder (married to Anne in 1592) with a younger Robert Sanderson in nearby Wadenhoe (Mary Thorpe's husband) who was a witness on a few wills. He tried to get the children to fit in one family because the span of years involved in the birth of the children, but I know from records I found on another site that Anne was listed as Robert Sanderson's (the one who died in 1620) widow when she passed in 1635. The one benefit of Longden not knowing about Robert saying he was the son of Saundersonne is that we now have the other families' information!

    Why do I trust Rev. Longden's judgment on the spelling of Edward over Rushden Research's and the Northamptonshire Records Office preference of Edmond (sending a printout based on what volunteers had written down from their look at the parish registers that says Edmond - but not the NRO's actual look at the handwritten records with my purchase of copies of the records). As I said before, Rev. Longden had been the person who gathered together all the records and wills of Northamptonshire. He had worked on many pedigrees and looked over many of the wills from that time so he was more familiar than someone of today, no matter how good and dedicated they are, at trying to make out the horrible cursive handwriting of the time (Edward could look like Edmond and vice versa but he had probably seen it enough times to make it out. After looking at the deeds from Watertown and the copy of the Robert Sanderson of Higham Ferrers will from 1620, it's easy to see how hard it is to make anything out!) Jeanie Roberts has told me that Kay Collins of Rushden Research insists she personally double and triple checked the spelling of the names they recorded. That indicates to me that there was a question of which spelling was actually there. Longden was also held in high esteem in his time. If you're looking for someone with good references to do this research, he had them. And we are also talking about a long line of children named Edward and Robert because of their forefathers going back to the 1400s.

    If it is indeed Edmond in the records, there's always the possibility that whoever wrote down the entry messed up and put down Edmond for Edward or couldn't understand or hear what his father was saying. Or Robert and Edward were possibly his older brothers lost in the 4 year gap of missing records. And many names, first and last, changed in spelling over the years depending on who was writing the information down. As the Mormon genealogical experts say on their site: "Be aware that with either search you may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.

  • You may not be sure of your own ancestorís name.

  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names."


  • His second of two pedigrees of the Sanderson family we are concerned with had a note saying the information was from the Higham Ferrers registers and two wills, so Longden obviously had checked the records and probably did a second time as he changed the spelling of names and had found some missing dates and children compared to the first version he had done years earlier. He listed more wills on the first scratch pedigree he had done. But both versions had Edward and thanks to pages missing from the parish registers covering about 4 years, his guess at a possible birth year of Robert and the marriage of their father. It's possible that they are one of the two different Robert Sanderson's children, but they would've been younger children if they were at all. I couldn't make them out in Robert Sanderson's will from 1620. And the silversmith Robert, to me, acted like an eldest son. If they were the elder Robert's kids, William Sanderson would have been Edward and Robert's nephew if he was the son of John who was the elder Robert's son.

    Because of the almost 4 year gap in the register from the two missing pages, from after early 1607 to early 1611, Edward Saundersonne could have been married in 1607 and he and his wife (unknown for now) could have had Robert in 1608.

    So, because of the rare spelling Edward Saundersonne used of the family name, him being the only family member with children using that spelling in Higham Ferrers, and Robert saying he was the son of Saundersonne of Higham, the possibility of Robert being born in 1608, or even 1609 as Longden thought may have been possible, as does the Massachusetts Historical Society, he did have the more common 1608 in his notes and one of his earlier tries, (though 1609 may be pushing it, I have seen a 1610 birth date for Robert in an old book about silversmiths, but 1608 or 1609 work better counting back from Robert's apprenticeship), Edward being born in 1611, and especially now with the info about a possible sister named Susanna and Edward Saundersonne having a daughter named Susan, the only one for years in Higham Ferrers, it looks to me that Edward Saundersonne of Higham Ferrers was their father.

    Sanderson/Saunderson family members in England all go back to Alexander de Bedick anyway, but this information takes our line back in Northamptonshire to about 1455 to the birth of a man named just Sanderson in the records. I'll post more soon. It's not locked down completely as there are obviously issues with the two different Robert Sanderson families in Northamptonshire and there will always be questions about the two missing pages of records, including who Edward Saundersonne's wife was, Edward and Robert's mother,

    I'd love to put up the images of the Longden pedigrees I purchased from the NRO, but they have a prohibition against publishing or sharing the images they copied and sent which I had to agree to. They are also very large images (they had to break the first pedigree into two separate scans) and would kill my website bandwidth, even if I reduced them to something hard to read. But you can order them from the NRO if you can pay in British Pound Sterling by check (you need to find a bank that has a branch in England) or run up a bill of around at least 50 pounds for them to open an account where you can then use a credit card (which is what I did). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints  is also putting scans of all the Northamptonshire parish records online soon for free like they have the deeds from Massachusetts.

    Page under construction - more to come - updated July 30, 2014




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