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Ancestors Who Settled Rowley


With the expansion of the colonies in Massachusetts in the 1630’s, there became a need for additional land to accommodate new settlers. During this period of the Great Migration, 20,000 individuals migrated from England to the Massachusetts colony. Ezekiel Rogers arrived in 1633 with 20 families. The earlier colonies (Salem, Boston, Newbury, and Weymouth, and several others) were full. This group spent the winter in Salem and considered where they might settle. They were offered first to go to New Haven, but found that not to their liking. There was a period of negotiation to determine a location and obtain permissions. Rogers and his group finally settled on a tract of land between Newbury and Ipswich which was purchased for £800. This land was called “Mr. Rogers’s plantation” and they were settled there by April of 1639. The town was incorporated and named Rowley on September 4, 1639. The town was named after Rowley, Yorkshire, England from which many members of the group had come. Although Rogers had initially come with 20 families, by the time the group settled in Rowley there were 60 families that had joined his group. Seven of these families are my direct ancestors: John and Dorcas Pickard Pearson; William and Elizabeth Dawson Stickney, Joseph and Mary Mallinson Jewett, Thomas and Lydia Ann Parrat Mighill, William and Elizabeth Jackson Boynton, Thomas and Jane Grant, and James and Lydia Emery Bailey. A map of the early settlement showing the home locations of the first residents is on the following page.


William Boynton (1605-1686) and his wife Elizabeth Jackson (1618-1687) traveled with Reverend Ezekiel Rogers on the ship John out of London. This ship also carried the first printing press for the New England colonies which was brought to Boston. William and Elizabeth had seven children all born in Rowley. William served as the schoolmaster, and it is thought he may have been the first teacher in the town.


Deacon Thomas Mighill (1606-1654) was a leading citizen of Rowley. He and his first wife Ellen had five children; Ellen died in 1640. Thomas remarried to Lydia “Ann” Parrat (1620-1694) and had six more children. One of those children, Mary Mighill Bailey (1649-1694), married John Bailey (1642-1690), the son of James and Lydia Bailey. John Bailey served as a soldier under General Phipps in the expedition against Canada in 1690 and he perished on the return trip in 1690.


The map below depicts the house lot locations of my ancestors in Rowley.





Bailey, Hollis, Bailey, Gertrude, & Ellsworth, Abbie. (1899). Bailey genealogy: Part I James Bailey of Rowley. Bailey/Bayley Family Association. (available at

Gage, Thomas. (1840). The history of Rowley: Anciently including Bradford, Boxford, and Georgetown 1639 to the present time. Boston: Ferdinand Andrews. (available at


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