Family of Mary Shatswell of Ipswich, MA in 1634

A couple of days ago, I shared a sketch about the family of John Webster, who died in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts in 1646.

John Webster married Mary Shatswell, probably about 1630-1631, in England.

Online Shatswell family trees might be even more of a mess than those for John Webster and it doesn’t look like many people have any clue as to how the family was pieced together. Mary’s sister, Sibyl, is also often missing from those trees.

Where did I get my information about the Shatswell family? From the New England Historic Genealogical Society, of course! This time, though, my source is from the Register, their journal publication. In Volume 150: 180-189, published in April 1996, there is an article by David A. Macdonald titled “A New Look at the Corwin and Shatswell Families.”

This article discusses, in detail, a chancery court case involving the estate of Mrs. Judith Shatswell, mother of the Shatswells who show up early in Massachusetts.

Based on information in Macdonald’s article, the following family can be recreated.

Mr. Shatswell, father and husband, has no given name as yet. Judith (MNU) Shatswell died about 1616.  She resided in Sibbertoft, Northamptonshire, England.

Four of the Shatswell children – John, Margaret, Theophilus and Mary – are found in Massachusetts records.


  1. John, born c1597; probably Northampton, England; died before 30 March 1647, when his estate was probated, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; married (1) Unknown (2) Joanna (MNU), who died in 1673.
  2. Margaret, born c1598; married Matthew Curwen/Corwin
  3. Theophilus, born c1599; died after 29 November 1627, when the court case was active.
  4. Sybil, born c1601; died after 29 November 1627, when the court case was active.
  5. Mary, born c1605; died 28 April 1694, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts; married (1) John Webster, c1630, England (2) John Emery, 29 October 1647, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts

Data on Theophilus is a bit murky because one Theophilus Shatswell married Susannah (Bosworth) in Haverhill about 1642. However, the estimated year of birth for that man is 1617. Is Theophilus who married Susannah a son of John Shatswell? Or did Theophilus born c1599 have an earlier wife or wives or just marry very late in life.

I can’t seem to find a satisfactory answer to that question, so if you are descended from Theophilus and Susannah, take note and do your due diligence in researching. Theophilus who married Susannah did leave a will dated 1663 and died on 17 August 1663 in Haverhill, but that doesn’t solve the mystery of one or two men here named Theophilus. No age at death is given for Theophilus who died in 1663. (Essex County Probate, File 25121, Page 9
Source: AmericanAncestors)

What became of Sibyl, who apparently lived the rest of her life in England, is unknown at this time.

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