Abigail (Eddy) Benjamin, England to Massachusetts, 1632 on The Lyon: Her Origins

This is part of a series about my New England colonial ancestors who arrived by during the Great Migration. If you have early Massachusetts ancestry, be sure to check out AmericanAncestors, as the Great Migration Study Project can be viewed there with a membership to the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Abigail (Eddy) Benjamin was already married to John Benjamin when they made the decision to leave England and sail away to Massachusetts Bay Colony on the Lyon in 1632.

However, there are a number of Eddy descendants in America today (Nelson Eddy, for one) because she was not the only family member to come to the same decision. Her brothers John and Samuel also settled in Massachusetts.

Charles Eddy published Genealogy of the Eddy Family in 1881, but his work remains well regarded, as this book is cited in the Great Migration Project sources.

The very beginning of Charles’ work is a detailed account of Reverend William Eddy and his wife, Mary Fosten, of Cranbrook, Kent, England. Although William and Mary never left England, they are the parents of three Eddys who became part of the Great Migration.

Therefore, it’s important to share a family sketch for this couple.

It is thought that William Eddy was born c1550, in Bristol, as he himself noted in the church book, but no documents have been found providing an exact date or identifying his parents in spite of some online trees.

He studied at St. Johns and Trinity College, Cambridge and earned a Master of Arts degree.

William Eddy married Mary Fosten on 20 November 1587 in Cranbrook, Kent, England. She was the daughter of John Fosten and Ellen Munn. Mary was the mother of all his children, but the last one, Priscilla, who was born to his second wife, Sarah Taylor, who he married on 22 February 1613/14, also in Cranbrook. Priscilla was baptized on 18 December 1614, but was buried on 22 February 1616.

William Eddy and Mary Fosten are my 10X great grandparents.

Children, all baptized at Cranbrook except for Nathaniel:

  1. Nathaniel, baptized 30 March 1589, Staplehurst, Kent, England; died by 1611.
  2. Mary, baptized 19 September 1591; married Simeon Merdon.
  3. Phineas, baptized 23 September 1593; died c1641, England; married (1) Katherine Courthropp (2) Christian (MNU), before December 1639.
  4. John Eddy, baptized 27 March 1597; died 12 October 1684, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married (1) Amy Doggett, c1622, England (2) Joanne (MNU) Meade, widow of Gideon Meade, after 12 May 1666. He lived in Boxted, Essex, England before migrating and arrived on the Handmaid in 1630. He lived first at Plymouth before removing to Watertown.
  5. Eleanor, baptized 5 August 1599; died October 1610, both in Cranbrook, Kent, England.
  6. Abigail, baptized October 1601; died 20 May 1687, Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married John Benjamin, c1620, probably Kent, England. They arrived in Massachusetts in 1632 on the Lyon.
  7. Anne, baptized 15 May 1603; died 1678, Massachusetts; married Barnabas Wines, c1628, England. This family arrived in Massachusetts in 1634. They lived in St. Clement Ipswich, Suffolk, England before migrating.
  8. Elizabeth, baptized 7 December 1606; no further record.
  9. Samuel, baptized 15 May 1608; died 12 November 1688, Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts; married Elizabeth (possibly Savory), by 1637. Samuel also arrived in Massachusetts by 1630, settling first at Plymouth and later in Swansea.
  10. Zacharias, baptized march 1610; no further record.
  11. Nathaniel, baptized 18 July 1611; buried 27 July 1611.

John and Samuel Eddy were the first to arrive in Massachusetts Bay Colony, although it isn’t known whether both sailed on the Handmaid or if Samuel came on a different ship.

Abigail and John Benjamin were next to arrive in 1632.

Anne and husband Barnabas Wines were last to leave the homeland in 1634.

Their parents were long deceased by this time. Their mother Mary was buried on 18 July 1611, likely from childbirth difficulties, as her last child Nathaniel was born in July 1611.

Reverend William Eddy died on 23 November 1616, in Cranbrook, Kent, England. No gravestone has been found for him, but as he was the vicar of the church, he may be buried inside the building, as was the custom.

My line of descent:

  1. Rev. William Eddy & Mary Fosten
  2. John Benjamin & Abigail Eddy
  3. John Woodward & Abigail Benjamin
  4. John Woodward & Susannah Grout
  5. John Woodward & Saphira Moore
  6. Robert Wilson & Mary Woodward
  7. Robert Wilson & Dorothy Holmes
  8. Benjamin Parker and Maria Wilson
  9. Daniel Adams & Sarah Ann Parker
  10. Calvin Segee Adams & Nellie F. Tarbox
  11. Charles Edwin Adams & Annie Maude Stuart
  12. Vernon Tarbox Adams & Hazel Ethel Coleman
  13. George Michael Sabo & Doris Priscilla Adams
  14. Linda Anne (Sabo) Stufflebean – Me!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.