William PHELPS, Sr
(Abt 1565-1613)
Richard PHELPS


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Richard PHELPS 1

  • Born: 12 Dec 1609, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England
  • Christened: 26 Dec 1609, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England

   Ancestral File Number: 1LV3-GR.

   General Notes:

The Mary and John The Story of the Founding of Dorchester Massachusetts 1630, Maude Pinney Kuhns, Charles E Tuttle Co, Rutland VT, 1943, (CT Historical Society) p1:
"On the twentieth of March, 1630, a group of men and women, one hundred and forty in number, set sail from Plymouth, England, in the good ship, the 'Mary and John'. The company had been selected and assembled largely through the efforts of the Reverend John White, of Dorchester, England; with whom they spent the day before sailing, 'fasting, preaching, and praying.' These people had come from the western counties of England, mostly from Devonshire, Dorsetshire, and Somerset. They had chosen two ministers to accompany them: 'men who were interested in the idea of bringing the Indians to the knowledge of the gospel.' The Reverend John Maverick was an elderly man from Devon, a minister of the Established church. Reverend John Warham was also an ordained minister of the Church of England, in Exeter, eminent as a preacher. There is some evidence that both of these men were in some difficulties with the church on account of their sympathies with the Puritans.
"Edward Rossiter and Roger Ludlow, two men who were members of the government in England, were also chosen; and several gentlemen,middleaged, with adult families were next joined to the association. Among these were Henry Wolcott, Thomas Ford, George Dyer, William Gaylord, William Rockwell, and William Phelps. But a large portion of the company were young men, eager for adventure, such as Israel Stoughton, Roger Clapp, George Minot, Richard Collicott, and Nathaniel Duncan.
"So we came, writes Roger Clapp in his Memoirs, by the good hand of the Lord, through the deep comfortably; having preaching or expounding of the word of God every day for ten weeks together by our ministers. When we came to Nantasket, Capt. Squeb, who was Captain of that great ship of four hundred tons, put us on shore and our goods on Nantasket Point, and left us to shift for ourselves in a forelorn place in this wilderness.
"It had been their original intent to land in the Charles River, but a dispute with Captain Squeb, the commander of the vessel, caused the whole company, on May 30, 1630, to be put ashore at Nantasket. The 'Mary and John' was the first of the Fleet of 1630 to arrive in the bay. At that time there could not have been pilots, or charts of the channel, and it does not seem unreasonable that the captain refused to undertake the passage, but Roger Clap has sent Captain Squeb down to posterity as a merciless man.
"According to tradition they landed upon the south side of Dorchester Neck, or South Boston, in Old Harbor. Ten of the men, under the command of Captain Southcote, found a small boat, and went up the river to Charlestown Neck, where they found an old planter, probably Thomas Walfourd, who fed them 'a dinner of fish without bread.' Later they continued their journey up the Charles River, as far aswhat is now Watertown, returning several days later to the company who had found pasture for their cattle at Mattapan. The settlement was later called Dorchester, in honor of the Reverend John White, of Dorchester, England.
"Roger Clap tells of the hardships that followed. They had little food, and were forced to live on clams and fish. The men built small boats, and the Indians came later with baskets of corn. 'The place was a wilderness,' writes Roger Clap. 'Fish was a good help to me and to others. Bread was so scarce that I thought the very crusts from my father's table would have been sweet; and when I could have meal and salt and water boiled together, I asked, 'who could ask for better?'
"Here they lived for five or six years. Other boats arrived and other towns were settled. But the life at Dorchester was not entirely congenial to the lovers of liberty of the 'Mary and John'. The group of settlements around Massachusetts Bay was dominated by clergymen and officials of aristocratic tendencies. Their Governor, John Winthrop, had little sympathy with the common people. 'The best part (of the people),' he declared, 'is always the least, and of that best part, the wiser is always is always the lesser.' And the Reverend John Cotton put it more bluntly when he said, 'Never did God ordain democracy for the government of the church or the people.'
"These principles were repugnant to the people of the 'Mary and John', who had come to America to escape such restraint. They had no wish to interfere with the methods of worship of others, and they did not wish others to interfere with them. Too, they were land-hungry, after centuries of vassalage to the lords of the manors, leading hopeless lives without chance of independence. Perhaps they were influenced also, by the fact that a great smallpox epidemic had raged among the Indians, killing off so many that they wre not the menace that they had been at first.The settlers turned their attention toward the fertile meadows of the Connecticut Valley.
"A group under Roger Ludlow set out and reached the Plymouth Trading house that had been erected by William Holmes near the junction of the Connecticut and the Farmington Rivers, early in the summer of 1635. A little later sixty men, women and children, with their 'cows, heifers and swine', came overland from Dorchester. The winter was severe and the food scarce, and many returned to Massachusetts, but in the spring they came back to Connecticut with their friends, and by April, 1636, most of the members of the Dorchester Church were settled near the Farmington River, along the brow of the hill that overlooks the 'Great Meadow'.This in spite of the fact that the Plymouth people disputed their claim to the land. They built rude shelters, dug out of the rising ground along the edge of the river bank. The rear end and the two sides were simply the earth itself, with a front and a roof of beams. The town was later named Windsor.
"In the following year, 1637, danger from the Pequot Indians forced them to abandon their dugouts and to come together around the area known as the Palisado Green. Their new homeswere at once enclosed with a strong palisado.
"In 1639 they began the construction of their first real meeting house. It stood in the center of the palisado, and was topped with a cupola and platform, where the sexton beat a drum to summonthe people to attend services or public meetings. About the same time there was built and presented to the pastor, the Reverend John Warham, a corn mill, which is supposed to have been the first grist mill built in Connecticut. For many yearsit served all the settlements in the river valley, as far south as Middletown.
"All over America today live the descendants of the fathers and mothers of the 'Mary and John.' Their sons and daughters have written their names on the pages of American History. They have filled the pulpits of famous churches; they have sat on judges' benches, and in the seats of Congress; they have occupied Governors' Mansions, and even the White House. Some fought at Lexington, and wintered with Washington at Valley Forge. They joined in the trek to the West, and one followed Brigham Young into Utah. One marched with Sherman as he burned and pillaged his way through Georgia, and perhaps one fought on the other side with Lee. One is called the 'Hero of Manila Bay,' and one was hanged! They learned strange names like Saint-Mehiel, Chateau-Thierry, the Argonne Forest and Sedan. Perhaps one lies in Flanders Field...
"An effort has been made to show through the ancestry of people living today, or through famous men of history, how this little group lived together, married and intermarried, even beyond the third and fourth generations. The names of descendants of the men and women who came to America on the 'Mary and John' are found in every state of the Union."
p5: "The Passenger List (Compiled from various sources, and not official)
...67. Mathew Grant
68. Priscilla Grant
69. Mathew
70. Priscilla...
...78. Thomas Holcomb
79. Elizabeth Ferguson...
..101. George Phelps
102. Richard Phelps
103. William Phelps
104. Elizabeth Phelps
105. William..."
p59: "Little is known of Richard Phelps, who has been called a brother of William Phelps, RP= Bapt 26 Dec 1609, also a son of William Phelps, RP= Bapt 26 Dec 1619. It is also said of him that 'he embarked for the island of Barbadoes 2 May 1635 and nothing more was heard of him.' Hotten gives his age in 1635as 17. However the part that is hard to explain is the entry in the early records of Dorchester which in 1633 refers to the 'House' of Richard Phelps. It seems strange if he were a son of William born in 1619 that as a boy of fourteen he had ahouse of his own. Also if he was born in 1619 William Phelps himself would have been but twenty, and this would not make Richard 17 years old in 1635.
"The Dorchester records read as follows:
"'Anno 3 Apr 1633. It is agreed that a doble rayle with mortesses in the posts of 10 foote distance one from the other, shall be set up in the Marish, from the corner of Richard Phelps, his pale Eastward to the Creeke, by the owners of the cows undernamed, p'portionately, 20 foote to every cowe.'"

Phelps Family Research
M David Phelps
Phelps Connections
Volume 6, No. 1, Winter 1997, Page 409
Phelps Entries in "The Great Migration Begins"
By Margaret P. Swanson
The long-awaited Volume III of "The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633", by Robert Charles Anderson (Boston NEHGS: 1995) has finally been released. Of particular interest to many PC members are the Phelps items.
The first of these is Richard PHELPS, origin and date of immigration unknown, who is mentioned in only two records. The earliest is in Dorchester, MA, 1633, and mentions his fence as a boundary. The second entry is a fine for drunkenness in 1635-36. Anderson states that no evidence exists for the hypothesis that Richard had a relationship to William PHELPS or George PHELPS who also lived in Dorchester. Indeed he states the possibility that each incident refers to a different individual.

Ancestral File Ver 4.10 1LV3-GR Born 12/26 Dec 1609, Chr 26 Dec 1609 Both Tewkesbury.


1 Ancestral File Ver 4.10, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ancestral File Ver 4.10, (Copyright (c) 1980, 1997.), 1LV3-GR.

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