Category Archives: Mason

Robert Mason and the Bolton Massacre of 1644

Yesterday, I shared data on the family of Sampson Mason and his wife, Mary Butterworth, who lived in Rehoboth, Massachusetts in the 1600s.

It seems that the Mason and Butterworth ancestral origins weren’t far apart back in Old England as Bolton to Halifax is only about 40 miles distance.

It is unusual, at least in my family, to find ancestors who hailed from the north of England. Many of mine came from Devon, Cornwall, and some of the other southern, or at least more southern shires, of England.

However, the Masons and the Butterworths were from northern England towns about 40 miles apart – the Mason family from Bolton, Lancashire and the Butterworth clan from Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire. Both are close to Manchester.

Back in the 1600s, forty miles’ distance made it very unlikely that the families knew each other, but they may have felt some kinship with each other on arrival in Massachusetts with so many other families from the south.

Today’s story is about Robert Mason. The name of his wife isn’t known and he is credited with a houseful of children, but the only records I am able to locate name:

Mary – possibly this child, baptized 28 August 1621, Wigan, Lancashire, England, daughter of one Robert Mason, was a sister to Sampson. Wigan is only ten miles from Bolton and it is certainly possible that the family moved from one village to another.

Sampson, baptized 6 December 1624, St. Peter Bolton, Lancashire

Thomas, baptized 29 January 1638, St. Peter Bolton, Lancashire

None of these records names a mother and no likely marriage record has been found for this Robert.

However, Robert’s death has been well documented, as he was one of 78 people (76 men and 2 women) who were killed in the Storming of Bolton, or the Bolton Massacre on 28 May 1644.

This event was a brutal episode during the English Civil War. Bolton had two strikes against it – it was supportive of Parliament and Oliver Cromwell AND it was strongly non-conformist in terms of religious leanings.

On that fateful day, Prince Rupert mounted an attack on Bolton. The Parliamentarians fortified the town by setting up a defensive line of men, ready to defend their homes and families.

Fighting continued until the Parliamentarians were overcome by the Royalists. A true count of men lost doesn’t exist. Some sources claim thousands were killed, but town records only name 78 souls lost in the battle.

There are a number of undocumented lores about Sampson’s involvement in the Civil War, but I hestitate to repeat them since they are just that – lore.

Thus, the story of Robert Mason and his family is quite short. Perhaps future research will shed light on his wife and other possible children.

Next week, I will outline Mary Butterworth’s ancestors, which have already been proven.


Sampson Mason and Mary Butterworth of Rehoboth, MA: Who Were Their Parents?

Have you taken a good look at any of your ancestral lines that have been ignored for quite a few years? This is exactly what I’ve been doing and I’ve made some terrific discoveries. Many of my colonial New England lines have been extended further back in time because other researchers have worked on them.

Sampson Mason and Mary Butterworth are my 8X great grandparents.  They married by 1651 and first settled in Dorchester. Sampson was a cordwainer, a man who made shoes from new leather,  who acquired wealth over time.

Their children:

  1. Noah, born c1651, probably in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts; died 2 March 1699/1700, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts; married (1) Martha, c1674 (2) Sarah Fitch, 6 December 1677, Rehoboth, Bristol, Rhode Island
  2. Sampson, born c1654; died after 1743
  3. John, born c1656, probably Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts, as he was about four years old when John Gurnell brought him to be baptized; died 18 March 1682/83, Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married Content Wales, 15 October 1679, Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts. for whatever odd reason, John lived with John Gurnell and his wife, raised by them in Dorchester. John Mason and wife Content Wales, had no children.
  4. Samuel, born c1656, probably Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married Elizabeth Miller, 28 March 1682, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts
  5. Sarah, born 15 February 1657/58; no further record. Died young?
  6. Mary, born 7 February 1659/60, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts; died 15 November 1727, Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts; married Ephraim Wheaton, 7 January 1684/85
  7. James, born 30 October 1661, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts; died young
  8. Joseph, born 6 March 1662/63, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts; married (1) Anna Daggett, 12 March 1682/83, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts (2) Lydia Bowen, 4 September 1686, Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts
  9. Bethiah, born 15 October 1665, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts; died before 1712; married John Wood, 23 May 1688, Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts
  10. Isaac, born 15 July 1667, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts; died 25 January 1741/42, Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts; married Hannah (MNU)
  11. Pelatiah, born 1 April 1669, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts; died 29 March 1763, Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts; married Hepzibah Brooks, 22 May 1694, Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts. Hepzibah was born 1674; died 1727. Peletiah married (2) Hannah Hale, 22 November 1733, Swansea, Bristol, Masschusetts (3) Sarah Allen, 17 January 1760, Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts
  12. Benjamin, born 20 October 1670, Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts; died cAugust 1740; married Ruth Rounds
  13. Thankful, born c1672; died after 1743, probably Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts; married Thomas Bowen, 17 June 1689, Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts

I am descended from their thirteenth, and last, child, Thankful:

  1. Thankful Mason married Thomas Bowen
  2. Josiah Bowen married Mary Child
  3. Thankful Bowen married Samuel Hicks
  4. Ira Hicks married Sarah Thornton
  5. Israel Hicks married Abigail Carlisle
  6. Elida Ann Hicks married Charles Stewart/Stuart
  7. Annie Maude Stuart married Charles Edwin Adams
  8. Vernon Tarbox Adams married Hazel Ethel Coleman
  9. Doris Priscilla Adams married George Michael Sabo
  10. Linda Anne Sabo Stufflebean – me

So, back to the title of this post – who were the parents of Sampson Mason and Mary Butterworth?

There is one baptismal entry at Bolton, Lancashire, England for one Sampson Masson, baptized on 6 December 1624. Father is identified as Robert Masson. Given that the age of my Sampson Mason closely matches the age of Sampson in Bolton and Sampson is a very uncommon given name for the time, it appears that Bolton may be the ancestral home of Sampson Mason of Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

Tomorrow, I will share the story of Sampson’s father, Robert Mason. There is also unsubstantiated lore about Sampson in England, which I will review.

As for the parents of Sampson’s wife, Mary Butterworth, her origins have been proven and I will write about her family next week. Stay tuned!