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.
Edwardwas 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 being a noted silversmith and working at the mint, and also serving as a Deacon in Boston.
Keep in mind while doing your research that the new books and even the old books carry disclaimers about the accuracy of their information. Dr. Henry Bond in his huge gathering of material on Watertown said on page v of the introduction of his Genealogies... "It is likely that further research will discover many errors and deficiencies," with him also stating that some sources were "not always reliable for accuracy." Bond employed persons to copy records and documents, so there is room for error there, too. He also did his work long before the Watertown records were published as a book in 1894. That book also may not have totally accurate extracts, and the original source material has errors and is very hard to read. Joseph Craft must have worked overtime to figure out what the old records said when he transcribed them in 1853. His penmanship was much nicer. The older, hard to read, ink splotched records are the originals. And also keep in mind that Robert Charles Anderson in his vast Migration Series also has a disclaimer that there may be errors, in his Acknowledgements section in Vol. 1, which many ignore.
for real facts, the proper sorting out of information, and looking for conflicts
in the existing records are very important. Common sense and logical deductions
are also important, and allowing for other explanations especially in the
absence of good records. Be wary of researchers who are always looking for the
negative or trying to put a negative spin on things. It's important to include
the gory details along with the good, but not to exclude the good and what makes
sense. Researchers who want to make it look like there was something bad going
on because they misconstrue what was meant in the records should be taken with a
grain of salt (for instance when a record says someone was "removed" from town,
that means they moved or left town, they were not kicked out - we no longer say
removed when someone moves). Our
ancestors deserve better treatment, We wouldn't be here without them.
In the National Genealogical Society Quarterly 87:3 (September, 1999) an article by Elizabeth Shown Mills, "Working with Historical Evidence; Genealogical Principles and Standards," says the Genealogical Proof Standard has five criteria: research should be reasonably exhaustive; evidence should be drawn from reliable records, correctly interpreted; contradictory evidence should be soundly rebutted; all statements of fact should be scrupulously documented; and all deductions should be carefully reasoned and explained in writing. Mills goes on to say that achieving the Genealogical Proof Standard rests upon one of four types of evidence: direct evidence, conflicting direct evidence, an accumulation of indirect evidence, or an accumulation of indirect evidence that contradicts direct evidence.
I hope I have fallen into the Genealogical Proof Standard with all I have accumulated and documented here on this page, which is still being added to. Lord knows there is much detailed below. Of course, a lack of historical documentation from the 1600s has been a big problem to overcome.
Please excuse some repetition as many parts of this
have been added to over time as I come across information, and sometimes just to
hammer home a point or two.
The basics in a nutshell: Edward Sanderson and Robert Sanderson were brothers; in 1654 Edward Sanderson lived near Fresh Pond, the poor criminal Edward Sanders/Saunders lived a mile away on King's Common close to his victim Ruth Parsons; there were many Sanders/Saunders, not related to the Sanderson family, in the area so Sanders does not always mean Sanderson, especially Edward Sanderson!
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 (more details and links to more info down below):
A sample of Edward Rawson's writing in one of the entries for the Edward Sanders/Saunders trial, MA: Vol. 38b page 188a
I am always amazed by this.
There have been some who say there is no proof that Edward Sanderson and Robert
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 one
of his books - an article on William Shattuck giving proof to the fact that
Robert and Edward lived near each other since Shattuck was a neighbor and Edward
sold him his land (you will find as
you dig through other genealogies of other people that there are many errors and
omissions made by Dr. Bond - some the fault of bad records and some the fault of
wrong assumptions - for example, the Flagg family descendants say Bond missed
and combined people in their line and that's just one of many instances).
Whenever you see a hesitation to say Edward and Robert were brothers, it's most
likely because the people writing do not know they were brothers, and don't know
the history, and saw Bond had not found an affinity. 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 death 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 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 in genealogy. 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 obviously knew Edward was still alive but kept the possibility open in his will that Edward might be dead by the time of his own death saying "if then living" (they were both pretty old) 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! Dr. Thompson in his book Divided We Stand says people are recorded to have mortgaged their properties to get a cow or two. Many of the settlers raised livestock. It also kind of indicates to me that Robert maybe knew Edward didn't need any money later on - the town hadn't recorded any help to Edward since 1676. Edward's son Jonathan's property buying was between 1681 and 1695, or so. Also, if there had been any drama between the brothers that some think was the case, I don't think Edward would have been in the will at all.
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.
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."
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 indicated 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 of his lands in Watertown from William Paine. It was originally dividend land for Paine, which is another possible reason the title to the land was called into question. Now we have proof in the form of a deed from 1708!
September 1, 2014 Update - The deed has been located!
***Part or all of Edward Sanderson's land that he sold to William Shattuck, Sr. in 1664, was sold by William Shattuck, Jr. in 1708 to Abigail and Lydia Livermore. This land was never on Dr. Bond's map since the land deals were years after the 1642 records where Bond got his information and the deed for the purchase by Shattuck from Edward Sanderson was lost. The younger Samuel and Daniel Livermore also owned land east of it. Apparently the estate was being sold off in pieces and the Livermores were buying their grandfather's previous holdings back along with more. William Shattuck's original land to the north on present day Washington Street is listed as bordering it northerly, the lands westerly belong to the heirs of Deacon Robert Sanderson, and southerly by the lands of the heirs of Joseph Mason. Susanna Shattuck, the widow of William Shattuck, Sr. whom he gave the property to in his will of 1672 is also memorialized in the deed. This is the land that fits, the land William Shattuck, Sr. was living on when he died that he had bought from Edward Sanderson.
"Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986", images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-36174-1096-85?cc=2106411&wc=MC1M-83D:361613501,364522001 : accessed 01 Sep 2014), Middlesex > Deeds 1706-1716 vol 14-15 > image 264 of 720.
Hay was the crop grown on the meadow as a deal was in the deed for the Mason
heirs to harvest it.
After the sale of the land to Shattuck, Edward Sanderson is said to have moved to western Watertown (it became Waltham in the 1700s) where he had purchased or rented 12 acres (the deeds were lost or just not recorded which did happen), in 1676 his land was mentioned in the deed of the sale of John Ball's woodland to Richard Child. William Hagar also mentioned a 12 acre property near "Edward Sanders's" property in his will of 1683. 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 (John Flagg was reimbursed for helping a daughter of Edward's). 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 may have done with his first farm for almost 21 years ("probable that they did not own" is the thought on page 11 of the The Sanderson Homes at Piety Corner, Waltham), since there are no recorded deeds for his first farm in Cambridge as well, though it has been said that Jonathan's "Hassell Farm" property was a gift from Abiah's father, Thomas Bartlett, though no recorded proof has been found. Jonathan did lease additional land from a Mr. Danforth early on, bargaining with him to change swamp land into a meadow (Jonathan's deposition mentioned above). Jonathan and Abiah supposedly inherited land from the Bartletts in 1676 after Abiah's mother passed as Jonathan started buying land around it in 1681 beginning with 35 acres). Simon Eire of Boston's widow, Martha Eyers, "let out the farm at Watertown to John Chenery for sixteen years, but had to sue Chenery in 1674 to recover it, which farm was left to John Whittacar by Mrs. Eire the spring 73." [MCF Folio #63] greatmigration.org. So it was not uncommon to not own your farm for those who can't fathom it. George Sanderson's will in Rushden, Northamptonshire, England (neighboring town of Higham Ferrers, where I believe the Sanderson brothers were from) mentioned lands he was leasing and their tenants. Deacon Robert Sanderson rented, owned, and leased land in Boston and on the way to Roxbury.
So far, I have found no records of grants or land divisions to Edward Sanderson from the grants and divisions listed in this more complete Watertown Records, Volume 1 at Google Books. When you really think about it, there was no need as Edward probably lived on Robert's properties until he bought his own land 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 likely son, or their possible cousin, William Sanderson did. Edward may have moved to western Watertown for better conditions it offered 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. And Jonathan had moved to Justinian Holden's farm to be a servant when he was 17. The two unrecorded and unnamed daughters who were apprenticed out in 1671 were born 1663 and later determined by their ages.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 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 the younger 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. That eastern portion is what Edward Sanderson 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 on Bond's map (originally part of William
Paine's dividend grant land) in Livermore's
will of 1684. The 50 acres of dividend land bought from William Paine
mentioned in the will assessed at 40 pounds was farm land all in the area of
western Watertown that became Waltham (page
36 of the "Livermore Family of America" by Walter Eliot Thwing in a
section about an even younger Samuel Livermore born in 1702). Since it's only
logical that any eastern lands also formerly owned by William Paine would have
been mentioned as being his previously in the will, it is a very good indication
that Livermore no longer owned the land that was the 13 acres east of Hill
Street and south of present day Washington Street.
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, and sold that, but that idea went out the window when I saw Robert's will and 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 most likely lived there for a time as the purchase of the Linton house and land was around when they were married, and Edward wouldn't have been able to own land until 1653 when he finally took the oath. Even if you read Shattuck's will as saying he bought only Edward's land from the way the punctuation is, Edward could have lived in the old Linton house Robert owned until he moved to western Watertown. The houses Robert owned in Watertown most likely were kept for family members as they were not listed as rental properties in his will as others were.
Edward Sanderson may have also 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 likely eldest son people speculate about from his first marriage with Lydia (speculate only because there are no present day 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. There is a deposition from a suit on March 26, 1681, reportedly showing he was 40 years old at the time according to Bond, and another in 1683 saying he was 48 according to some sources, but perhaps the original handwriting said 43 (but Bond and/or his researchers made numerous other mistakes, so it's worth checking - another reason to look for the original handwritten records instead of extracts to printed versions). Depending on when exactly he was born, he could have been 41 because of the way the calendar was then, with March being the first month, and the way people and clerks of the time were inaccurate or rounded things.
But all in all, it couldn't have been too bad between Robert and William 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.
December 12, 2014 update: I just found an old book that says William was Robert and Lydia's son born about 1641. It's in a genealogy of Walter Whitney Sanderson, on page 668, Volume IV, Western Massachusetts: a history: 1635 - 1925, by Rev. John H. Lockwood and others. So that makes William the third child from Robert's first marriage: Lydia, Mary, then William.
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 cottage (valued in 2012
around $400,000), where Harriet Stone lived for many years, at
Washington Street in Belmont was torn down in December, 2012, by its present
owner and replaced with a new home now valued at $1.5 Million in 2014. At the
old Stone house up the street, mainly in later years the residence of Josephine
E. Stone, Harriet resided in the 1910 Federal Census with 3 Chenery family
members also listed living there, so that was probably one of the old Chenery
properties that family purchased from John Shattuck in the 1700s when he sold
off what was left of the Shattuck estate. The Chenery family also still owned
property west of the Stone families and south of Washington Street. The
properties were divided up differently and changed hands over the years.
Interestingly, the Stone property southeast of the intersection of Washington
Street and School Street was listed as 13 acres. Now an acre in the 1800s was
much larger than an acre in the 1600s, so that 13 acres could include all the
smaller acreage that had been along Hill Street.
In the late 1800s, Jacob Hittinger and the Hittinger Brothers farm, Caroline Homer Chenery, and Harriet 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 from John Shattuck as we mentioned above. 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 earlier owned by William Shattuck, Sr., Samuel Livermore and Robert Sanderson, and the land that Edward Sanderson purchased of John Livermore's 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 near 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.
When William Stone moved back to Watertown, he and his brother Jonathan Stone bought 10 1/2 acres south of Washington Street and east of School Street (the old Livermore/Sanderson/Shattuck land), from Thaddeus Mason, along with many other acres of land in Watertown from Ralph and Elizabeth Inman on March 25, 1783 in the Middlesex deeds. The smaller land purchase was positioned, "Easterly by the land of Josiah Bright, deceased, Southerly by the land of Amos Livermore, Northerly and Westerly by the town way." Tracking the deeds back Thaddeus got part of the land from a younger Joseph Mason in 1770, who bought part of it from Oliver Livermore in 1737. William and Jonathan's other land purchases were north of Washington Street where they built their house between School Street and Goden Street (near the old Goding/Goden property which is referred to in the deed for the larger land parcel), later replaced by a mansion built by the later Stone family members. So the Shattuck and Sanderson homes were long gone, another reason why Lemuel Shattuck couldn't find William Shattuck, Sr.'s house on Common Hill by the time he visited in the mid-1800s.
Placing locations of the Parsons, the poor Sanders/Saunders, and Edward Sanderson on the map Dr. Bond made based on 1642 land records from the time period before Edward or the Parsons owned land.
I think Edward Sanderson purchased the land from John Livermore in 1653 after he took the oath, and sold the property to William Shattuck, Sr. in 1664. Those early deeds were lost.
William Shattuck, Sr. gave the land and his house on it to his wife Susanna in his will. She had passed years before its sale, but she was mentioned in the 1708 deed.
William Shattuck, Jr. sold it to Abigail and Lydia Livermore... two acres and a large portion of meadow land positioned east of Robert Sanderson's lands
and south of William Shattuck's early lands bought from John Clough on present day Washington Street, bordered on the south by Joseph Mason's land not seen here
but below Thomas Hastings 6 acres on Dr. Bond's original map, and to the east by Sam and Daniel Livermore. Refer back to Dr. Bond's map of the land from 1642 here.
If for some reason you can't access the big Dr. Bond Watertown map from the link, this is a larger cropped view of the area of land I'm talking about.
It appears some other property also changed hands for it to extend down to Joseph Mason's land.
1720 map showing placement of residences in Watertown at that time. On what is present day School Street, there was one house about every 200 yards according to Thompson, page 8, Divided We Stand.
Robert Sanderson's 3 old houses appear to have been still standing then and the old Shattuck and possible Livermore house (one of which may have been Edward Sanderson's own old house) across Hill Street/School Street.
Google Maps of today
Here are towns named Higham in England:
Higham, Derbyshire, England
Higham, Kent, England
Higham, Lancashire, England
Higham, South Yorkshire, England
Higham, Babergh, Suffolk, England (also noted as in Colchester)
Higham, Forest Heath, Suffolk, England
Cold Higham, Northamptonshire, England
Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, England
Higham Gobion, Bedfordshire, England
Higham on the Hill, Leicestershire, England
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 73.7 miles from London by freeway today on a Google Maps route, 1 hour 51
minutes by car in heavy traffic (65 miles by a
more direct route). 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 freeway miles, with no records of
families from that time period that I've turned up yet, nor any records for the
family in Higham, Suffolk. As a young lad of about 14 or
15 years old, I would think
Robert Sanderson would have had an easier time going from Higham Ferrers to
London for his apprenticeship since it was much closer. 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 (many times researchers probably 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 according to Dr. Thompson. 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 closer to London. Not everyone was coming to
Massachusetts from Norfolk. And Boston is Watertown's neighbor then and now.
I heard many years ago from genealogist and family historian Pete Durbin (a descendant of Edward Sanderson), when I first started working on our family tree, that respected Waltham historian, genealogist and a founding member of the Waltham Historical Society, Edmund L. 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. Henry Isham Longden of Northamptonshire, England (1849 - 1942 - a very well respected Northamptonshire antiquarian and genealogist) 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 probably 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 and as of January 22, 2015, it has been delayed until 2017 or 2018 as they iron out some issues.
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.
Robert's family also gets touched by the genealogists who ignore the times and who forget the charity of families connected to the church. When Robert's son Benjamin didn't leave any money for the rest of the family, but left it to the poor, I would say he learned well from Deacon Robert and was doing what he felt was the proper thing to do ("the rest of his Estate might be for some honest Poor persons."). But you'll see on the Internet people deeming that there was no love lost between family members because of what was really a charitable action of a dying man, but the original researcher who posted that tidbit seemed to not know Robert was a deacon (it's not mentioned anywhere on their page). Benjamin knew the family members didn't need money but the poor could use some help. Robert was named by Benjamin as the executor of the estate. We are not watching an episode of television shows "Dallas" or "Dynasty." Robert's third wife, Elizabeth, left 10 pounds for the poor in her will.
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. It's mentioned several places that it's stated in the Hampton records that Edward Sanderson arrived in 1638, but I have not found those records. Here is a project of photos and microfilm of the Hampton records made by the Hampton Historical Society. 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. In a memorial for Massachusetts Justice George Augustus Sanderson, it states that Edward Sanderson came here in 1645 and settled in Watertown. Justice Sanderson was a descendant of Edward and was born July 1, 1863 in Littleton, Massachusetts. The home and farm he grew up on were purchased by Edward's great-grandson Moses Sanderson in 1750. So possibly there was some authoritative family history saved there that has not been available on the Internet or in old books. I believe that the people in the family who do know more of the true history never go on the Internet to share what they know because they don't have to search for it, and they maybe just don't go online.
Edward and Mary's only officially recorded child was Jonathan, born September 15, 1646. The two young daughters apprenticed out in 1671 were never officially recorded. We have no proof who they really were, just speculation which is completely wrong in at least two examples, Ann and Hannah.
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) - now on FamilySearch.org!
"Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1627-2001," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-31542-5797-93?cc=2061550&wc=MX1K-L68:353350601,353885401,1006224301 : accessed 06 Aug 2014), Middlesex > Watertown > Births, marriages, deaths 1630-1823 > image 56 of 237.
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. It's possible 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
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 (the spelling of his name 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.
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. 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 on pages 8 - 10 of The Sanderson Homes at Piety Corner, Waltham by Benjamin Worcester). Jonathan's future father-in-law, Thomas Bartlett, arrived in the Colony as a servant (page 14, Divided We Stand, Thompson). And as mentioned already, Bygod was a servant in England. On page 6 of Down and Out in Early America, author Billy G. Smith tells us, "For most of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries about two-thirds of all white immigrants arrived as indentured servants," so give up your notions that everyone was better off and welcome to reality. Many people were poor and it often wasn't always their own doing, to correct an often heard wrong assumption from less informed researchers. These were rough times.
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. Or perhaps, she and Edward met in England and came over together in 1645, if the later date for Edward's arrival is correct.
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, or followed Jonathan to Cambridge, 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. Edmund
L. Sanderson said Edward Sanderson died around 1694 or 1695 (he thought in
humble circumstances) in an article for the Waltham Historical Society, but we
haven't found Edmund's research papers and documents showing where he got the
years or the proof of his poverty other than the speculation from the lack of a
will, and Robert giving him money in his will to buy a cow, not to forget the confusion with the poor
Edward Sanders/Saunders. Edmund lived for most of his life in one of the
Sanderson homes in Waltham, so he may have had access to family records no
current Sanderson has access to presently.
Boston has the same lack of death records from that time. Well over a thousand deaths in Boston have been estimated not recorded in the late 1600s, some because of King Phillip's war in 1675. The Puritans also had different ideas about death compared to now which explains why many graveyards were not kept up to shape.
It's very possible Edward and Mary 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 researcher who works at the Watertown Free Public Library with the Watertown Historical Society has not found them yet. That does not 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 as I was told by the DPW and the Historical Society. 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. Lemuel Shattuck replaced the old marker for William Shattuck, Sr., which at almost 180 years old was in bad shape, with a new marker.
Most of the Sandersons from Deacon Jonathan and Abiah Sanderson on were buried in Waltham (at a cemetery that was not around until 1703), or where family members had since 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 only 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 in Waltham. But some people have thought Cambridge is a possibility as well, since Jonathan and Abiah lived there 21 years or so on Hassels Farm, unfortunately no graves for Edward and Mary have been found there - many grave markers are missing 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.
Birth record of Jonathan Sanderson September 15, 1646 from the original
handwritten Watertown Vital Records - old Julian calendar date,
"Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1627-2001," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-31542-6455-25?cc=2061550&wc=MX1K-L68:353350601,353885401,1006224301 : accessed 06 Aug 2014), Middlesex > Watertown > Births, marriages, deaths 1630-1823 > image 57 of 237.
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. I think Edward helped Jonathan out when he could 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 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 said Edward Sanderson died around 1694
or 1695, 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 he was not listed as deceased. 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.
Birth record of Jonathan's wife Abiah Bartlett May 28, 1651 from the original handwritten Watertown Vital Records.
"Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1627-2001," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-31542-6144-0?cc=2061550&wc=MX1K-L68:353350601,353885401,1006224301 : accessed 08 Aug 2014), Middlesex > Watertown > Births, marriages, deaths 1630-1823 > image 62 of 237.
Deacon Jonathan Sanderson's grave in
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
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."
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 and the mix up of clerks sometimes using Sanders for Sanderson. 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 (the same year Edward Sanderson sold his property to William Shattuck making it highly doubtful that he needed money or would need any for at least a few years). Later another clerk wrote it was Edward Sanderson who received a few bushels of corn in 1669, and later was facing hard times with two young daughters of whom the town decided to apprentice out to help with their education and ease the burden on the family, the eldest being 8 years old in 1671 (meaning she was born in 1663, which would have put Edward and Mary having children well into their 50s). Dr. Thompson went with it all being poor Edward Sanders. That was a mistake on Thompson's part from what I've been finding and has caused some people to combine the two separate men, though Thompson has said he believes they were separate men, but never referred to Edward Sanderson in Divided We Stand. We know Edward Sanderson was Robert's brother, and there was only one officially recorded child, Jonathan (born September 15, 1646). Edmund L. Sanderson 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.
Our Edward and Mary would have been having children for 20 years or so if
they had all those children which is a very long time for people their age. It's
a long time for younger people, too. If you believe all the supposed records,
whoever the parents were, they were having children for nearly 30 years. It
doesn't make sense (the 30 would be for including Hannah, but she's not a daughter as you
will see). There are no others officially noted
in the town records, and the other children
researchers think are theirs (about 4, including possibly one from William's records
or John Sanders of Salem, and one from John Saunders of Watertown) all have last names of Sanders or
Saunders and are found in other early records, with no mention of both
Edward and Mary. You would think the daughters 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.
In the General Court testimony of Ruth Parsons about her abuse by Edward Sanders/Saunders in 1654, she mentioned that there were two or three little children he put outdoors to the Common (King's Common) before the crime was committed. And the town records said Edward Sanders had 6 children by 1661. 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 were healthy and survived. There of course are the two young girls apprenticed out in 1671, and two older daughters who were possibly Edward and Mary's, but the names were not in any official or actual family records from that time.
Some people seemed to ignore the possibility for many years of another man actually named Edward Sanders/Saunders who lived with his family on King's Common. But now we know there was a John Saunders family in Watertown from church records of him being in Boston getting his daughter baptized the day after Edward Sanders/Saunders conviction in Boston (see the paragraph after the next for more details), and we have the proof of an Edward Sanders/Saunders family in Watertown from his trial and young Ruth's testimony as that was written down in the General Court records. Edward Rawson, respected longtime Secretary of the General Court, who wrote several of the passages in the Sanders/Saunders trial transcripts, knew Robert Sanderson. I'm confident if Edward Sanderson would have been on trial, Robert would have been there for him and we would know about it.
Hester (or Esther by some later
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
who mainly just copy other work 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... see Rev.
Bailey's painting here on page 41 of
Crossroads on the Charles by Maud deLeigh Hodges): 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, but it's possible the good reverend
messed up. The date is rather late,
so she was likely an adult. On some websites they have Hester born March 12, 1651 and
died October 1, 1693. I have
yet to find the original records with those dates. This may be another
instance of researchers lumping anybody named Sanders into the Sanderson family.
She is too old to have been one of the young girls apprenticed, but she could have
been Edward and Mary's daughter. Why she was not recorded does not make sense,
though. It's also very possible she was a daughter of Edward Sanders/Saunders,
the convicted child abuser, who did not have any of his children recorded.
And thanks to Dr. Bond's assumptions with no proof *saying "there is little doubt" (sorry, but there is doubt!) the following children: an Ann Sanders of Watertown who was baptized in Boston at First Church of Boston, October 29, 1654 - the records actually say "Ann Saunders Daughter of John Saunders a member of the church of Watertowne was bapt. the 29th day of the 8th moneth 1654." - which places it in October in the old Julian calendar - The Records of the First Church in Boston 1630 - 1668 Vol. 1, page 329 (original page 266), that is the same time of Edward Sanders/Saunders trial, so perhaps John Saunders was in Boston because of the trial, and decided to have his daughter baptized the day after Edward Saunders' conviction and being spared the death penalty for the abuse of Ruth Parsons (the General Court reached its decision on October 28, 1654 - MA: Vol. 38b page 190). Perhaps John Saunders thought Edward Saunders had been spared from certain hanging by God after much praying and thought it appropriate to get his daughter baptized the very next day as a way of giving thanks. Thompson said Sanders regularly attended church after he was spared execution. Also, no confusion at the First Church in Boston as they had Deacon Robert Sanderson and Deacon Richard Sanders at that time. So it's more proof to me that there was a separate Saunders family in Watertown since there was no John Sanderson with a family recorded then. Keep in mind, Bond did not gather all the records himself, others did as he lived in Philadelphia, and whoever it was missed all of the record; 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), but Shubael Child was the son of Richard Child who lived next to Edward Sanderson in western Watertown - Child bought the woodlands from John Ball in 1676 - some Internet listings actually call her Abigail Sanderson and say she was born around 1653, so she may very well be Edward and Mary's daughter, especially with the close proximity to the Child family, but it still doesn't make sense that she wasn't recorded; 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 (unless he married twice), and died May 14, 1743 in Weston, Massachusetts. 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. Did Bond confuse March 8, 1674 with May 8, 1674? If we are dealing with common abbreviations, it's even more possible, and then there's the Julian calendar with the confusion it causes for some people. 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. Many descendants of Hannah Sanders and Richard Norcross, Jr. believe Hannah was the daughter of John Sanders and Hannah Pictman of Salem, Massachusetts who had a daughter named Hannah listed with other children in records and in John Sanders' will.
From a Sanders family genealogy page: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=jeffsadow&id=I7475
Will of CAPT. JOHN SANDERS (Probated November 26, 1694) In the name ofGod, Amen, I, JOHN SANDERS of Salem, sick and weak in body, but through God's Goodness of perfect mind and memory, and not knowing how sudden mychange may come, doe (sic) make this to be my last Will and Testament,and doe dispose of what outward estate God hath given me in this world,as to my funeral charges, and just debts be paid by my executors, hereafter named. I give unto my wife HANNAH, all my real estate, housingsand land situated and being in Salem, Mass. during her natural life, and also to my wife Hannah, all my personal property that is to say moneys, goods, household stuff and plate, also my Negro man SAMBO during hernatural life, so long as she remains my widow, and at my wife's decease I give unto my son BENJAMIN SANDERS this my new dwelling house and land, excepting ye piece of land I bought of Dr. BARTON. I also give to my son BENJAMIN SANDERS, my warehouse and wharf and the land adjourning (sic) after my wife's death. I give unto my son WILLIAM SANDERS all that myfarm all through Forest River, so called after my wife's death. I give unto my daughter HANNA, after my wife's death, that piece of land Ibought of Dr. BARTON. I give unto my daughter ELIZABETH, after my wife'sdecease, the acre of salt marsh, be it more or less of it lyeth and is situated in ye North Fields so called. I give unto my two daughters, Hannah and Elizabeth, after my wife's decease, or at the time of the marriage of my said wife, if it so happens, all my real estate that is to say, moneys, goods, household stuff, plate and Negro man Sambo, equally divided between them, Hannah and Elizabeth also my Will is in case my wife Hannah should marry again, that after her marriage, there shall beno wood or timber cut, or carried from said farm at Forest River. I appoint and constitute my wife HANNAH to God, sole exetrix of this my last Will and Testament, lastly I appoint my loving friend Capt. Stephen SEWELL, Lieut. Robert HIBELON, and Benjamin GERRISH, overseers to this my Will duly and truly performed. In testimoney where-of, I have set my hand and seal this fourth day of May 1694. JOHN SANDERS. Witness: Robert KITCHEN; Bettina KITCHEN; and Benjamin GERRISH.
NOTE: This Will was sealed with wax upon which is the impress of a seal bearing an Elephant's head, side view, which is the crest of the "Sanders Arms." The omission from his Will of his sons JOHN, WILLIAM, NATHANIEL, and JAMES, who were married and established, was because he had given them previous to his death, lands, etc.
This Capt. JOHN SANDERS, born 1640 and died after May 4, 1694 and his spouse HANNA (PICKMAN) had the following eight children: JOHN, WILLIAM, NATHANIEL, JAMES, BENJAMIN, WILLIAM, HANNAH and ELIZABETH SANDERS.
Also from the same webpage:
Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury Massachusetts vol 1
1 JOHN1 SANDERS [or SAUNDERS], of Salisbury and Newbury, b. ab. 1613,"yeoman;" m. ab. 1638, (3) HESTER2 ROLFE. He came in the "Confidence,"[p. 300];(*) was one of the twelve original grantees of S. in Sep., 1638;recd. land in the "first division" and in 1640; his name on the list of1650 is marked "disallowed for being townsman and commoner." He rem. from S. to Nb. in 1642, though the births of chil. are recorded later in S.;after 1655 returned to England, Weeks, parish of Dainton [Downton], Wiltshire; and ap. his kinsman Richard Dole of Nb. his attorney.(+)Children:
2 I HESTER,2 b. Sep. 5, 1639[S].
3 II JOHN,2 b. July 1, 1641[S]; d. Sep. 3, 1641[S].
4 III RUTH,2 b. Dec. 16, 1642[S].
5 IV JOHN,2 b. Dec. 10, 1644[S].
6 V SARAH,2 b. Aug. 20, 1646[Nb].
7 VI MARY,2 b. June 12, 1649[Nb].
8 VII ABIGAIL,2 b. April 12, 1651[Nb].
9 VIII JOSEPH,2 b. Aug. 28, 1653[Nb]; d. April 24, 1654[Nb].
10 IX ELIZABETH,2 b. Jan. 26, 1654-5[Nb].
Given how Dr. Bond's helpers gathered information all over, I think there
were mistakes made, and some of these names got dragged into the mix. Especially
since others have complained about the genealogies of other families in Bond's
The criminal Edward Sanders/Saunders children were not officially recorded in the town records.
There were a few actual Sanders families in the area at the time
(not Sanderson relation, some named above and below) 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
However, this mix up 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 possibly because he was helping Jonathan acquire what amounted to 160 acres of land in western Watertown, mostly for family members. He was about 60 when his problems hit, so I wouldn't rule out health related issues such as a heart attack, or a work related injury. He could have had a run of bad luck farming in 1669 and possibly a few years after (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. Farmers do have bad years along with the good. It doesn't mean he was a poor provider. Look at the respected townsmen who were his old Fresh Pond neighbors who helped him in 1669 - Thomas Hastings, John Coolidge and William Bond - each reimbursed for a bushel of corn by the town for 3 shillings 6 pence each. They were not mentioned helping Edward Sanders/Saunders earlier - only Deacon Thatcher helped that man in 1664 as Thatcher was reimbursed by the town for helping Widow Braybrooke, Thomas Philpot, and Sanders/Saunders. Those three all lived on King's Common.
From Watertown Town Proceedings - The poor Edward Sanders/Saunders getting help along with other people on King's Common from Deacon Thatcher. He was likely the "old saunders" (sic) who received help in 1663.
From Watertown Town Proceedings - Edward Sanderson's 3 Fresh Pond area neighbors reimbursed for corn they gave him in August of 1669. Perhaps then is when I figure he fell ill. Before then, he is not recorded getting help.
The more information I find it looks like he could have suffered a health setback or been injured. The Selectmen inquired about his condition at one point, meaning to me they were hoping he was recovering or not getting worse. Also, on page 101 of the records, 2nd month, 8th day, 1670, Nathaniel Basham was compensated for "a whell (well) for Sanders" and some other work at the meeting house. Edward Sanderson would've been totally capable of digging a well unless he could not work. Of course, the well could have been for Edward Sanders/Saunders. Edward Sanderson is not mentioned as receiving any more help or even needing help after 1676. He was not dead yet as he turns up in deeds and wills through 1696. There are others in the town who were consistently in need of help for much longer stretches of time, like Thomas Philpot, who had been receiving help since he returned from prison and was given a small plot of land next to the Parsons in1649. Philpot's earlier property had been sold off by the town when he went to prison.
Edward Sanderson left no will of his own 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, so lack of a will does not mean one was poor as some mistakenly think. Many wills were written then when people were in failing health, as that is mentioned many times. Property was also 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. While he lived, Deacon Simon Stone of Watertown (the younger born about 1630) divided all his property, both real and personal, among his large family (acres and acres of land, some of which later became the Mt. Auburn Cemetery), so when he died, he left no will and no administration was taken out of his estate - page 52 Simon Stone Genealogy by J. Gardner Bartlett.
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." I think Edward could have been
one of them later after he recovered because of how well off Jonathan was. It
could also be why Robert didn't give Edward a little more money. Maybe he knew he
didn't need it later on if he stepped in to help 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 (Robert also gave him some clothes - if Robert didn't like
or care about his brother, he would not have been in the will). But there are many possibilities that some researchers
ignore leading to poor or flat out wrong 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 money Jonathan distributed in his last will. You have to ask where would a Deacon and farmer get all that money. There was more money 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 big farm. He did alright, though, but not as well as all that money would indicate!
You will often see the quoted fact that Sanderson was sometimes written as Sanders/Saunders. That is true. It was also written as Sandors but the records claiming Sandurses may been transcribed incorrectly as the handwriting in the original records looks like it could be Sanderson poorly written. 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. It was written as well as Edward Sanderson or Ed Sanderson in 1669 in the handwritten records when his old Fresh Pond neighbors were repaid for some corn they gave him. There are only 4 places so far where I've seen it written as Edward Sanders or Sandors specifically for Edward Sanderson, a mention of his land north of John Ball's woodlands in a deed to Richard Child in 1676, 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. 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.
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/Saunders who abused young Ruth Parsons (page 186 - 187, Divided We Stand, Appendix A, Case Studies, Edward Sanders; Child Abuser, 1654). He has said, according to what he read in the 1894 transcribed edition of the Watertown records the editors made a distinct differentiation between the name Edward Sanders/Saunders and Edward Sanderson, so he felt they may have been 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, who had a wife named Mary, but William 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 likely 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.
Early genealogical researcher Charles Henry Pope
also wrote about Edward Sanderson and Edward Sanders separately in his book Pioneers of Massachusetts -
see below in the Edward Sanderson versus
Edward Sanders section.
There's also the question of town clerk errors and whether the editors made some errors when they put the Watertown records into type (though I don't believe the General Court Records of the trial had it wrong - the members of the General Court in Boston who were the legislators and judges of the time, would have the name spelled correctly - they used Sanders or Saunders, especially the respected Secretary of the General Court for many years, Edward Rawson, who wrote down Saunders a few times in his various entries over 5 pages covering the case over a few days - Massachusetts Archives: Vol. 38B Pg. 185 - 190 - with a name like Rawson, I'm sure he would have heard the "son" of Sanderson if it had been there as his writing of "son" in his own name is precise, and he knew Robert Sanderson since he had deposed and sworn him in to work at the mint on August 19, 1652, notating Robert as Robt Saunderson).
Dr. Thompson did get the whipping punishment correct. Here's an easier to read version of Edward Saunders' punishment by whipping extracted from the original manuscripts from the General Court. Dr. Thompson basically combined the stories of Edward Sanders/Saunders 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.
about handwritten records only because there is a later set of much neater
handwritten records of marriages, births and deaths, and town records from
Joseph Craft transcribing the records in 1853 that you find at Ancestry and
at familysearch.org, but they also do have the original birth, marriage and
death records (and town proceedings, grants and possessions at Ancestry). which are ink stained and look old. So far I have found their actual deeds
you can view online are all the original ink stained records at familysearch.org.
Edward Sanderson may have spent much of his time working on his own first farm that 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 (most likely the former Linton house). The land at King's Common wasn't that good for farming as well. Respected people who lived near Fresh Pond and the Sanderson families helped out Edward Sanderson in 1669. The people saying Edward Sanderson committed Edward Sanders' crime conveniently ignore the fact that he was Robert Sanderson's brother, they ignore geography, placement of people who received regular help from the town and who they received it from, the time period when the people lived, and the court records and the details of the testimony. I think that two separate men have been combined, especially now that we have more proof about Edward Saunders and the John Saunders who also lived in Watertown. There is no longer any doubt that an actual Sanders/Saunders family - no relation to the Sanderson family - lived there at the time.
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 the Robert Sanders who may have still lived in Cambridge at the time (Watertown and Cambridge shared things then as they do now), and 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 of the history of the mint that Robert Sanderson ran the daily operations because one of the two men had to be on hand for some of the minting operations and John Hull was busily involved in many other endeavors as a merchant, ship builder, Selectman and more (Diary of John Hull). Between the mint and being a Deacon, Robert Sanderson 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 (lots of people made gun powder then). The H. Usher mentioned by Pope as partner of Robert Sanders is 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. Saunders is noted as a neighbor of Hezekiah Usher in a land listing. There is no known business connection that I can find between Hezekiah Usher and Robert Sanderson, though they may have known each other through church connections and both being wealthy citizens of Boston. Robert Saunders is listed as a proprietor in 1639 in Cambridge, with many land holdings, while Robert Sanderson is documented living and owning land up in New Hampshire at the same time, and wouldn't move to Watertown for another three years. See "The register book of the lands and houses in the "New Towne" and the town of Cambridge, with the records of the proprietors of the common lands, being the records generally called "the proprietors' records" [1634-1829]." Robert Saunders is mentioned on several pages.
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 (some researchers dispute what Thompson found in this
instance and his conclusions), 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 25 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 their marriage in 1642, 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, 1677, 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
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. Some tried to roll the several different John
Sanders into one man, but research over the past 100 years has shown them to be
Sanders/Saunders researcher Don E. Schaefer has written about false assumptions and the details of John Sanders in his newsletters he issued for several years, SandersSiftings. He debunks the idea that there were just a few Sanders/Saunders on these shores in the early days and has facts to prove there were many who arrived in the early to mid 1600s. There were at least 8 documented Saunders who arrived on ships just in Virginia in 1635. He has an article by researcher Robert H. Saunders who summarizes the several different John Sanders/Saunders in New England in his October, 2006 issue 47 and who with help of others isolates who could be considered the same man.
As we saw in the records of the First Church in Boston above dealing with Ann Saunders' birth, she was a daughter of John Saunders, a member of the church in Watertown, baptized the day after Edward Saunders' conviction in Boston.
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.
There was a Sanders/Saunders family in Scituate, Massachusetts, down the coast from Boston, and a John Sanders/Saunders had a son named Edward born in 1692 and there was also an Elizabeth Sanders/Saunders in the records at that later date.
Likewise, there are a few Edward Sanders in the Bay Colony in the time period we are investigating. 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, or Maine according to another posting on Ancestry, who got in trouble with Mrs. Sarah Lynne and was taken to court October 21, 1645 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 - sometimes I think they flunked geography or have no sense of distance). From the other posting which puts it in Maine (not close at all to Watertown!): On 21 October 1645 widow Sarah went to court to prove that Edward Sanders had been harassing her "almost this two years" and she was hindered "of her preferment in any match which might otherwise have been attained". Edward Sanders responded by declaring that he had taken "her as a wife which now she utterly denies," but the court found for the plaintiff and fined him [MPCR 1:85-87]. Also, a possible tie to the Edward Sanders in York County: On 1 August 1645 Edward Saunders deeded to Sarah Lynne a house and land of Mr. Champernowne's at the harbor's mouth [YLR 1:2:13]. Of all these men named Edward Sanders or Edward Saunders none were Edward Sanderson of Watertown, Massachusetts.
Amateur genealogist Jeanie Robert's blog (Jeanie's an alleged
descendant of William Sanderson), where I first found the
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 I think 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
blog 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. As of December, 2014 she has
not changed her mind since I posted Robert's handwritten will, and the
information on John Saunders' Ann and Edward Rawson.
In fact, she now believes (as of December, 2014) there were fewer than 100 men who were heads of households when Edward Sanderson and Edward Saunders were in Watertown. I guess she has never lived in a small town and doesn't think there could possibly be two men with a similar name in a population under 100. In Dr. Thompson's "Divided We Stand" on page 117 he figures conservatively there were 160 families in 1651, bringing the population to at least 720. This does not count the unrecorded people living on the fringes (we already found John Saunders, not recorded in Watertown, who had a daughter named Ann who was baptized in Boston the day after Edward Saunders was convicted but spared the death penalty - church records in Boston said John Saunders belonged to the church in Watertown, and there was no John Sanderson with children in Massachusetts at that time). Thompson says the estimate of the town population in 1680 was probably closer to 1,700 instead of his lower projection of about 800 based on the growth elsewhere in the colony, and that means his other listings, including 1651, were "a good deal greater than the listings convey." More than enough room for Edward Sanderson and Edward Sanders/Saunders in 1654. Elsewhere, I pointed out how Boston's population had grown substantially and it was only 6 miles away. You have to figure Watertown likewise had also increased in population. King's Common was a place where many "lived in the field" at one point.
Looking at the records that Rushden Research provides in Northamptonshire, England, there were plenty of similarly named Sanders/Saunders and Sanderson/Saunderson family members, born to different parents within a few years of each other in the small Higham Ferrers area. A few for example...there was a Mary Sanders and a Mary Saunderson, a Susan Sanders and a Susan Saundersonne, a William Sanders and a William Saunderson... all with different parents in the same small area. And of course, Edward Saundersonne born in 1611 and his father, and an Edward Saunders born in 1615.
Meanwhile, people came across her old blog, which contained more misinformation (she has revised it a couple times) and one copied it and several linked to that copy on Ancestry. One of the problems of posting on the Internet, some of that bad information will be there for years to come.
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 the 1894 printed edition of the Watertown Vital Records. He felt the editors of that edition made a distinct differentiation between Edward Sanders/Saunders and Edward Sanderson (the editors do complain about the inaccuracies they uncovered in some of the town 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. 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, which could have been the case in 1669 and shortly after, but it's helped some people like Jeanie to try to tie him to the criminal Edward Sanders/Saunders.
I think the confusion with Edward Sanders throws some researchers off. Others probably just quote Bond without a critical look.
Dr. Thompson was directly quoting the original handwritten 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 suspect's name correct, even for that time.
Charles Henry Pope, also mentioned a
criminal Edward Sanders of Watertown (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 mint master/Deacon Robert Sanderson's brother, there would've been a bigger story about the incident. It would have gotten out. Edward Sanderson was Robert's brother, so there was no bigger story because he was not involved.
From the Examination of Ruth Parsons, in the Edward Sanders/Saunders trial manuscript, MA: Vol. 38b, page 187 showing Saunders put his two or three little children out of doors to the Common according to Ruth's graphic testimony of what happened. You will also find Common spelled that way (as Comon - sic) with the line above the m in the early pages of the Watertown Records.
And there was no testimony of abduction to a farther away location in the
General Court records. The action all happened on King's Common where the
Parsons lived up near the Cambridge line. 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, farther if you are going to the site of the old
Linton homestall) 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 so it
description of the event is very quick. And Edward Sanderson lived in an area
surrounded by large meadows, 200 yards distance between houses - no need to put any children, if he had them, out to a Common, and besides he
wasn't close to one! Even if Edward
Sanderson hadn't built a house and barn yet by the summer of 1654, there was
no need to live on a small lot on King's Common since Robert owned all that land and three
houses a mile away! As I pointed out before, Edward, Mary and Jonathan
probably lived in the former Linton house that Robert Sanderson bought and owned around
the time of their wedding as that makes the most sense.
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 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.
Edward Sanderson and Mary, lived on Common Hill/Pequosette Hill with only one recorded child,
and he sold his property to the wealthy William Shattuck, Sr. Edward
Sanderson at the time 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 Wellington Hill/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 possibly
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.
And the future sale of Edward Sanderson's former property 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, at 180 pounds, was almost
half the value of Shattuck's total estate, worth more than any other property he
owned even his nice old house and garden, and a high value for Watertown). In contrast, the 4 acres of land, partly
orchard, mow and plow land owned by Henry Goddin/Goding/Goden (formerly owned
by the poor Parsons) was worth only 25 pounds consideration on September 11, 1717 when he
transferred it to the Massachusetts Commonwealth (page
16, Genealogy of the Goding Family by Frederic Webster Goding, MD, PhD.) and
was not noted for having a nice view, and obviously was not in demand. The land
on King's Common was not that great for farming. Eventually a son
of Henry Goddin years later rented
the property again and bought it later for 50 pounds. 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 in that area as you can see 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.
More facts indicating poor people including Edward Sanders lived on King's Common: Page 82 of the Watertown Records, Volume 1, 3rd of May, 1664 Deacon Thatcher was compensated for 10 shillings he had given to widow Brabrick (also spelled Braybrooke (most often), Braibrock, Braybrock, and she had a young daughter in her care, Sarah), Fillpott (Thomas Fillpott/Philpot who was in need of town help, food, and clothing for many years) and Edward Sanders (to relieve their necessities was the note for the entry). Thomas Philpot was the neighbor of Hugh Parsons as they both received land on the Common at the same time. Philpot at one point received 5 pounds from the town but it was given to his neighbor John Wetherill to handle for supplying his necessities on October 18, 1653, the same time Hugh Parsons received 5 pounds to make a comfortable home to replace his shanty. Widow Braybrooke had been rescued from distress in Woburn on order of the Selectmen in 1663. Years earlier, in 1651/52, her husband John had lost everything in a disastrous fire in Watertown. The court had appointed the Selectmen administrators of John Braybrooke's estate. I believe most of the town's poor lived on the smaller lots of the Common, or "in the field" as mentioned early in the town proceedings. Braybrook had two lots listed south of King's Common on Dr. Bond's map of Watertown. I don't believe the town's Deacons were riding all over town to help the poor. Reverend John Sherman and Deacon Bright had lots on the south end of King's Common. The poor must have been in one area where they did not have the several acres of land needed to support themselves, and they are almost always listed together in the records. The people who live in the field is mentioned early in the Watertown records.
Some people believe that a Goody Sanders (Goody for Goodwife) 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. Of course, if present day researchers would pay attention to the disclaimers about possible mistakes in these old books, we'd be better off.
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 buying 35 acres that
year, and the Selectmen
always went to relatives to help, especially relatives in town, instead of giving away town resources. So I'm
thinking the early death dates, like 1684, for Edward Sanderson are probably poor Edward
Saunders/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 possibly be the Sanders mentioned in neighbor 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, possible errors when the records were transcribed in 1853, and later in 1894 when they were put into print, and assumptions and mistakes from researchers like Dr. Bond, and others, not doing a thorough research job and ignoring the possibility of an actual person named Edward Sanders/Saunders in Watertown at the time who they were confusing with our Edward Sanderson, not digging deep enough to find more information.
Edward Sanderson, brother of Robert Sanderson, and the poor criminal Edward Saunders/Sanders are definitely two entirely different people.
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, followed by Zachary/Zechary baptized in 1619, Mary baptized in 1622 and Matthew baptized in 1624 (perhaps someone confused the birth years of Susan and Mary and we get the supposed 1620 from that mix up). 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 findmypast.co.uk 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. Edmond is a rare first name from then, Edmund was also rare
at that time, however Edward was common in the records from then on
findmypast.co.uk. If Edward and Robert are who I believe they are, they were
descended from a prominent man a couple generations before them named Edward
Sanderson of Higham Ferrers (who left a will written in Latin in 1610 and a good
estate when it was probated in 1610) who was also the brother of wealthy farmer
George Sanderson of Rushden & Higham Ferrers.
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:
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
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 planning to put scans of all the Northamptonshire parish records online for free like they have the deeds from Massachusetts. As of January 22, 2015 It has been reportedly delayed though until 2017 or 2018. I hope they get the issues ironed out before then.
Page under construction - more to come - updated February 21, 2015
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