(1584-1664) - Great Wenham, Suffolk, England; Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA

(First Generation - Fosdick Family)


BIRTH Stephen was born in 1584 in Great Wenham, Suffolk, England[1,2]; a date estimated from a 13 April 1637 deposition in which he was "fifty and two years or thereabouts"[3]. Stephen also deposed in 1653 aged 70 years[4]. Torrey says he was born in 1583, but Anderson, et. al. has better proof for 1584.
DEATH "Stephen Fosdick of Charlestowne, carpenter" died in Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA on 21 May 1664; he was 80[2,5,6].
MIGRATION Although the details have been lost to the ages, Stephen Fosdick, his second wife, Sarah and their 6 children migrated to New England in 1635. Stephen returned to England in 1636 and had come back to New England in 1637[7].
EDUCATION He was an educated man, who signed his will[8],
OCCUPATION Stephen was a carpenter by trade his entire life[5,6,7]. His inventory included a long list of carpenter's tools[7].
ENGLISH LEGAL MENTION His return to England might have been to participate in the 1636-1637 case of Edward Cardinall which took place in his home village of Great Wenham, Suffolk, England. On 18 August 1636, Cardinall deposed in a case in Great Wenham that Stephen Fosdick, "who is now gone into New England," had told him things about the building of a house. Stephen Fosdick himself appeared on 13 April 1637 to depose about the same case, calling himself "of Great Wenham in the county of Suffolk, carpenter, aged fifty and two years or thereabouts"[4,14].
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP Stephen was admitted to the Church at Charlestown on 6d:2m(April):1638[5,7,30] and made Freeman on 7 September 1638[8,9]. He sat on the Massachusetts Bay petit jury on 3 December 1639[8,28].

However, Stephen was excommunicated on 7 May 1643 and reinstated on 28 February 1663/4. To whit:

"1663/4 February 28. The acknowledgement and confession of Stephen Fosdick (who had been formerly excommunicated) (anno 1643. Mary the 7th) in order to his acceptance into our Communion, by absolution, was as followeth, viz: 'The Covenant of the church being (for the sum of it) a solemn promise or engagement to walk with god, & with his people according to the word of God, I do now heartily approve of it, & close with it, & am sorry that I have at any time spoken against it; Having neglected likewise to hear the church in their dealings with me for my offense, I do unfeignedly repent thereoh, & desire God & his people to forgive me.' This was read to the church, accepted of by all as satisfactory, [and] he was (the bretheren consenting) received to that state of Communion which he had before his excommunication, & by the sentence of the Eldership declared to be so restored"[31,32].

Wyman lists the following "references" for Stephen Fosdick: "...S. Austin, Beadle, Joseph Breed, S. Dowse, J. Edminster, R. Holden, R. Long, T. Mardlen..."[5]. I can only assume that they were references in regard to his excommunication.

FREEMAN, TOWN SERVICE, MILITARY SERVICE I find it interesting that excommunication did not impinge upon his status as a Freeman. He was appointed Charlestown Highway surveyor on both 15 February 1640/1 and 2 January 1654/5[8,29]. He was still under excommunication on both these dates. In addition, his inventory included "a fowling piece & musket" valued at £1 10s.[8], indicating that he probably served in the local militia. Town offices & militia service were both perks available only to Freemen.
RESIDENCE & REAL ESTATE Immediately after landing, Fosdick settled in Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA[7]. On 11 July 1635, "Stephen Fosdick was yielded [sic] to have the houseplot next Goodman Converse his new house upon condition to build a good house upon it & to pay Goodman Richeson a day's work"[5,8,17]. The revised list for that year added 1.5 cow commons to his holdings there[8,18]. By 1637, that had grown to 2 cow commons[8,19]. In the 23 April 1638 Mystic Side division, "Stephen Forsditch" received allotments of 20, 40, and 0 [sic] acres, respectively [20]. On 17 May 1638, "Stephen Forsdick is granted to have the meadow between his planting ground & the river[21]. He also held 2 cow commons in the "stinted common" in a list of 30 December 1638[8,22].

In the 1638 Charlestown Book Of Posessions, "Steeven Forsdick" was listed as having seven lots of real estate: his "...dwelling house with a garden plot, situate at Sconce Point", right on the harbor; 2 acres of meadow in the High Field Marsh; "commons for two milch cows"; 7 acres of arable land in Line Field, bounded by the Mystic River, bridgeway & highway -- with a highway at the end "betwixt the upland and meadow."; either one-half or 1 acres of meadow "situate in Mistick Marshes", next to the North River; 20 acres of woodland, in the "Mistick Field", bordering the common on the north; and 40 acres of land in "West Rock Field"[5,8,16].

According to Wyman, he "hired Fish weare" in 1642[5]. In 18 April 1646, "Michall Bastowe, of Watertown, " sold to "Steeven Fosdick of Charlestowne ..., five acres of land ... lying on Mystic Side"[5,8,23,24].

In 1648, Augustine Walker of Charlestown, mariner, sold to "Steeven Fosdik, carpenter, inhabitant in the same town, a marsh lot by estimation as it was given to Robert Cutler in the dividend, which marsh lot lies and is situate on Mystic Side at Wilson's Point[5,8,25,26]. On 2 December 1654, "Stephen Fosdicke" sold to Mr. Henry Dunster "eight acres ... of arable & meadow" in Menotomy Field[5,8,27].

COLONIAL LEGAL MENTION On 5 April 1659, Stephen Fosdick won his case against Thomas Triggs for the theft of Fosdick's carpenter's wedges[7,13]. Fosdick, himself, was fined £20 by the General Court for "some unexplained 'miscarriage'..." committed in 1647. However, he spent much time in court trying to obtain an abatement of the fine[14,15]. In 1650, he stood surety (£20 from him, matching £20 from the son) for his son John to appear in Court on charges of fornication. John neglected to appear; so, on 16 October 1650, "Stephen Forsditch" petitioned for "the remitting his forty pounds, forfeited for his son's non-appearance at Boston Court, the Court thinks meet to remit him thirty-five pounds, and that he pay only five pounds for his non-appearance, and that his son be bound to appear to answer for his fault to the next Court of Assistants"
ESTATE Stephen's will was dated 23 February 1663/4 and proved on 21d:4m(June):1664. In it "Steeven Fosdick of Charlestowne" bequeathed to his "wife the four rooms we now make use of, one over another..."; half of the upper garden, next to Mr. Shapley & Michael Long and various household "moveables". After her death, this was to return to the executor so that he could divide it equally between "my grandchildren of James Barratt and Richard Holding that are now living,". His wife was also to receive a yearly stipend of £3 and 6 cords of wood "upon the wharf" and a cow & cow common "and wintering". These were also to return to the executor for equal distribution amongst "my grandchildren of James Barratt and Richard Holding" once she died. His "daughter Hannah the wife of James Barratt" was to receive £10. Were she to die, this bequest was to go to her son, Steven Barrett. To his "daughter Martha, the wife of Richard Holding,", he left £10 and 40 acres of land at Woburn, Middlesex co., MA. If she died before her husband, this bequest was to be equally divided between "the children of Martha Holding". His "daughter Marah the wife of Thomas Web" was left £15. Were she to die without having children of her own, the money was to be divided between "the children of John Fosdicke and Thomas Fosdicke". He left £20 to his grandson Steven Fosdicke -- with the child receiving £10 at age 21 and £20 at age 22. To his "grandchild Samuel Fosdick the son of John Fosdicke, after my son John Fosdick's decease,", he left the house, barn, yard and garden, "Mr. Shapley's" maylot in Dirty Marsh, 2 cow commons and a woodlot, "entailed". This was left " him and his heirs, male or female, and so to run in the generation of the Fosdicks forever...". "7thly", he left to his "grandchild John Fosdicke, son of John Fosdicke," a house and land in Malden, Middlesex co., MA, the cow lot "on Mr. Wilson's side", half of the cow hay lot in Malden and the "wood lot I bought of Mr. Rowell, entailed". Finally, he left £20 to his "two grandchildren of my son Thomas Fosdicke that was their father's estate which was disposed to them by the court". John Fosdick was named "my sole heir and executrix" and "my friends William Dady and Solomon Phipps" were named overseers[2,10,11].

The inventory of the estate of "Steeven Fosdicke Senior deceased" was presented on 21 June 1664 and was untotalled, according to Anderson, et. al. It listed £260 in real estate: "housing, wharf & orchard," £160; "2 cow commons" £12; "2 cow haylots"£12; "2 woodlots"£6 "the farm at Misticke Side with the land £50 and "40 acres of land at Oburne [Woburn] £20[2,12]. Wyman, however, gives an estate total of £500[5].

MARRIAGE #1 On 10 June 1612 when Stephen was 28, he first married Anna HARRE, in Hadleigh, Suffolk, England[1,2,33,34,35,36,37,38,39]. She is believed to have died in England sometime after 1627, since it is generally accepted that Stephen remarried in the late 1620s.

CHILDREN 2. i. Anna or Hannah FOSDICK She was born circa 1616 in Great Wenham, Suffolk, England[43,44]. She deposed in 1662, "aged 46 years or thereabouts". In his 15 December 1622 will, Edward Vince of Great Wenham, husbandman, bequeathed 6s. 8d. to "godchild Hanna, daughter of Stephen Forsdike," to buy her a Bible[14,45]. Circa 1638 when Anna or Hannah was 22, she first married [Palmer?] TINGLEY, in Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA[43]. Circa 1644 when Anna or Hannah was 28, she second married James BARRETT, in Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA[43].
3. ii. Samuel FOSDICK Samuel was born circa 1618 in Great Wenham, Suffolk, England[43] and died at sea on 22 May 1649; he was 31[11,43]. Samuel was the Carpenter of the ship Fortune[11]. Thus, he was on the same ship as John Maverick who deposed in August 1654 that in the year 1648, going to sea on a voyage to Guinea, "Our carpenter Samuell Fosdick, which died in the time of the voyage; to my best remembrance we entered aboard the ship "Fortune" on the fifth or sixth of December '48th and he died on the 22d of May following or thereabout"[43,46].
4. iii. Martha FOSDICK Please see her own page.
5. iv. Thomas FOSDICK Thomas was born circa 1623 in Great Wenham, Suffolk, England[43] and died in Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA on 21d:4m(June):1650; he was 27[11,43,50]. Thomas was an inhabitant of Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA in 1643[11] and his estate was probated in April 1652[43,51]. Circa 1648 when Thomas was 25, he married Damaris [surname not known], in Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA[43].
6. v. Sergeant John FOSDICK John was born circa 1625 in Great Wenham, Suffolk, England[43]. He deposed on 17 June 1704, "aged 70 years" -- which must be some years off given the date of his liaison with Ann Shapleigh.

John owned covenant in the Church on 15 April 1677 and was admitted to the Church at Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA on 11d:8m(October):1696[11].

On 16 March 1649/50, the constable of Charlestown was "required to was Ann the wife of Henry Branson to appear at the net Court at Cambridge to answer for fornication committed by her with John Fosdick before she was married.[14,55]"

On 2 April 1650, at Middlesex Court, "John Fosdicke and An Brenson are bound over to answer for their misdemeanors unto the next Quarter Court at Boston, except the General Court take cognizance of the case before, John Fosdicke bound himself in £20 bond for his personal appearance, & his father Steeven Fosdicke bound himself in £20 bond for his performance of it"[56,57].

John apparently "skipped bail", for on 16 October 1650, "Stephen Forsditch" petitioned for "the remitting his forty pounds, forfeited for his son's non-appearance at Boston Court, the Court thinks meet to remit him thirty-five pounds, and that he pay only five pounds for his non-appearance, and that his son be bound to appear to answer for his fault to the next Court of Assistants"[53,58].

As a result of this, the birth records for the first five children (James, Marie, Ann, Samuell and John) of "John & Ann Fosdeck" "being formerly omitted to be recorded" were finally entered into the Charlestown vital records in 1667[53,59].

"...Also in the Charlestown vital records is the 26 September 1653 birth of "Mary Branson, daughter of Hannah [sic] Branson & Anna his wife"[52]. Note that the date of birth for this Mary Branson is the same as that stated in the county record for Ann, daughter of John and Ann Fosdick. Furthermore, on 15 April 1677, "Mary Branson, the daughter-in-law of John Fosdick" was admitted to Charlestown church[53,54]."

This love triangle is a genealogical nightmare. It appears that Ann had an affair with John early in 1649 and that while she was pregnant with his child, James, she married Henry Branson. Also, she was still married to Branson in 1653, but eventually married John Fosdick. Who fathered whom? We shall never know[53].

John first married Anna SHAPLEIGH, daughter of Nicholas SHAPLEIGH. She was born in 1627[1] and died in Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA on 15 October 1679; she was 52[11].

They had the following children:
i. James (1649-)
ii. Ann (1653-)
iii. Samuel (1655-)
iv. John (1658-)
v. Stephen (1660-)
vi. Thomas (1662-)
vii. Joseph (1665-1668)
viii. Sarah1 (1667-<1687)
ix. Jonathan (1669-), who married Sarah SPRAGUE, the daughter of Captain John SPRAGUE and Lydia GOFFE.

In 1685-1687 when John was 60, he second married Elizabeth [surname not known], in Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA[14]. Elizabeth was born in June 1686[11] and died in Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA on 27 September 1716; she was 30.

They had one child:
i. Sarah2 (1687-)

7. vi. Marah or Mary FOSDICK She was born circa 1627 in Great Wenham, Suffolk, England[5,14] and was aged 30 in 1660. Marah was admitted to the Church at Charlestown on 4d:10m(December):1652[5]. Before 1663 when Marah/Mary was 36, she married Thomas WEBB, in Charlestown, Suffolk co., MA[14].

MARRIAGE #2 Probably after 1627, Stephen second married Sarah [WETHERELL][1], in Great Wenham, Suffolk, England[1,36,38,40,41,34,42]. Sarah was born circa 1589 in England[5] based on the fact that she was aged 75 in 1664 at time of brother's court petition on her behalf: "John Wetherell motioned court concerning his sister , the widow Fosdick, ae. 75 yrs. old; lame -- going on crutches; near 40 years the wife of Fosdick; and upon her marriage had six of his children to take care of. 1664"[5]. The original of this has disappeared since Wyman's time. It is now thought that Witherall wrote this sometime after 1664, but before 1670. Thus placing their marriage after 1624 and most likely after the birth of Stephen's last child circa 1627.

She was admitted to the Church at Charlestown on 7 September 1638[30].

GENERATION Great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great (G9) Grandfather
SOURCES 1. Edward Carroll Death Record, 19 October 1899, Lynn, Essex co., MA, 1866, 192, p. 186, #337.

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