Origins and Family of Mary Butterworth, Wife of Sampson Mason of Rehoboth, Massachusetts

The identity of Sampson Mason’s wife, Mary Butterworth, has been known for decades. John Butterworth was identified in Alvarado Hayward Mason’s 1902 book, Genealogy of the Sampson Mason Family as a likely brother of Mary; John was also identified as a potential father of Mary Butterworth. The Butterworth surname was almost non-existent in the early days of Massachusetts.

Much more recently an article by Clifford L. Stott, “Henry Butterworth of Halifax, Yorkshire, and Weymouth, Massachusetts,” was published in the January 2014 issue of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, pages 58-61.

From Mr. Stott’s research, Mary Butterworth’s parents and siblings have been identified:

Henry Butterworth, son of Henry and Ephan Hileley, was baptized on 28 February 1601/1602 in Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire, England. Henry married Mary Longbotham on 1 February 1627/1628, also in Halifax. He died between 18 January 1641 and 31 December 1646, in Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts.

Mary was born c1600 in England and died on 26 January 1686/1687 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island. She married (2) Thomas Clifton not long after 28 January 1640/1641. The Cliftons lived in Rehoboth and later Newport, Rhode Island.

Henry and Mary were the parents of five children:

  1. John, baptized 16 September 1627, Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire, England; died 1708, Bristol, Bristol, Massachusetts. He married (1) Sarah, c1650 (2) Hannah Bowerman, c1697-1700. Hannah was the widow of Anthony Fry.
  2. Abraham, baptized 9 August 1629, Heptonstall, Yorkshire, England; died after 13 October 1684. Abraham married, but the name of his wife is not known. He had a daughter, Ann.
  3. Mary, baptized 9 August 1629, Heptonstall, Yorkshire, England; married Sampson Mason, about 9 March 1650/1651. She died 20 August 1714, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts.
  4. Samuel, baptized 6 January 1631/1632, Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire, England; no further record.
  5. Henry, baptized 26 May 1634, Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire, England; no further record.

Before emigrating to Massachusetts, the Butterworth children were baptized in two different parishes within ten miles of each other. Abraham and Mary were twins. Perhaps that pregnancy was more difficult and expectant mother Mary sought help with the birth. It’s also possible that the family actually moved between the two villages.

Given that the Butterworth family arrived in Massachusetts Bay Colony about 1635 or early 1636 and that Henry died about 1636, leaving but a small family, it is easy to see why the origins of John and Mary Butterworth remained unknown for so long.

American Ancestors is a subscription site; the full article by Clifford Stott can be found there.

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