Richard Holden, England to Massachusetts, 1634

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.

Richard Holden and his wife, Martha Fosdick, are two of my 10X great grandparents. In addition to the updated research compilation found in the Great Migration Study, there is a 2-volume genealogy of Holden descendants. Volume 1 was published in 1923 and and Volume 2, in which Richard Holden’s English origins were discovered, came out in 1926, so it is not yet quite out of copyright.

Internet Archive has three digitized versions of the first volume: The Holden Genealogy: Ancestry and Descendants of Richard and Justinian Holden and of Randall Holden, Volume I by Eben Putnam and Roberta Holden Bole, Boston, Massachusetts, 1923.

Richard Holden was born c1609, although no birth or baptismal record has been found for him. He lived in Lindsey, Suffolk, England before emigration to Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was about 25 years old at the time and no marriages have been proposed for him in England.

He married Martha Fosdick by 1642, when their first child was born. First marriage at the age of 32 years is a bit older than is typical for colonial era men. If he came as  an indentured servant, he would have had to wait for his service term to be fulfilled before being allowed to marry.

The Holden family lived first at Watertown, then Woburn, followed by Groton, Watertown and back to Groton. The town of Groton suffered several Indian attacks, which may account for some of these moves.

He was a husbandman – a farmer – who owned several tracts of land through the years. No death record has been found for him, but witnesses verified a land deed on 16 March 1693/94 for a transaction dated 23 March 16901/91 and it is thought that Richard died within that intervening time period.

His wife, Martha, was about 12 years younger than him, born c1621, likely in Suffolk, England.

Notes in the Great Migration Study comment on the difficulty assigning birth order to most of Richard’s children, citing conflicting evidence.


  1. Stephen, born 19 July 1642, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts; died 12 January 1658/59, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts. He was helping to chop down a tree, which fell in an unexpected direction, striking Stephen in the head and killing him.
  2. Justinian, born c1644; died between 1697-1700; married (1) Mary (MNU), by 1680 (2) Susannah Dutton, 6 December 1693, Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
  3. Martha, born 15 January 1645/46, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts; died after 7 July 1685, possibly in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, when the court intervened to order Thomas to pay support to his wife and children and not to interfere with children who had been placed outside the home; married Thomas Boyden, by 1667.
  4. Mary, born c1648; died before 10 August 1722, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, when administration of her estate began; married Thomas Williams, 11 August 1666, Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
  5. John, born 17 March 1650/51, Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married (1) Abigail (MNU), before 21 May 1685 (2) Sarah Pierce, 19 June 1690, Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts (3) Abigail Morse, c1719.
  6. Samuel, born c1655; married Anna (MNU), before 1682.
  7. Sarah, born c1657; married Gershom Swan, 20 December 1677, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
  8. Stephen, born c1660; died 1715; married Hannah Lawrence, before 1685.
  9. Elizabeth, born c1662; married John Reed, 21 March 1681/82, Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
  10. Thomas, born c1664; died after 25 July 1679.

My line of descent:

  1. Richard Holden & Martha Fosdick
  2. Thomas Boyden & Martha Holden
  3. Josiah Lakin & Lucy Boyden
  4. Jonathan Green & Sarah Lakin
  5. Samuel Scripture & Mary Green
  6. James Scripture & Sibbel Shepley
  7. Oliver Scripture & Mary Goddard Bucknam
  8. George Rogers Tarbox & Mary Elizabeth Scripture
  9. Calvin Segee Adams & Nellie F. Tarbox
  10. Charles Edwin Adams & Annie Maude Stuart
  11. Vernon Tarbox Adams & Hazel Ethel Coleman
  12. George Michael Sabo & Doris Priscilla Adams
  13. 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.