Tuesday, January 3, 2012


[Ancestral Link: Marguerite Anderson (Miller), daughter of Hannah Anderson (Anderson), daughter of Mary Margaret Edmiston (Anderson), daughter of Martha Jane Snow (Edmiston), daughter of Sarah Sawyer Hastings (Snow), daughter of Salome Burt (Hastings), daughter of Sarah Sawyer (Burt), daughter of Caleb Sawyer, son of Elizabeth Wheelock (Sawyer), daughter of Joseph Wheelock, son of Gershom Wheelock, son of Ralph Wheelock.]
[Ancestral Link: Marguerite Anderson (Miller), daughter of Hannah Anderson (Anderson), daughter of Mary Margaret Edmiston (Anderson), daughter of Martha Jane Snow (Edmiston), daughter of Gardner Snow, son of James Snow, son of Zerrubbable Snow, son of Abigail Brigham (Snow), daughter of Mehitable Warren (Brigham), daughter of Experience Wheelock (Warren), daughter of Ralph Wheelock.]


Ralph Wheelock first public school teacher in America


The link is for the town of Medfield, Massachusetts. The town touts Ralph Wheelock as a founder of the town. There is an Elementary School named for him and historical sites.
from ancestry.com

Birth 14 May 1600 Donington, Shropshire, England

Cambridge University Alumni, Matriculated Easter 1623 Easter, 1623. B.A. 1626-7; M.A. 1631. Ordained deacon (Peterb.) September 20, 1629. Went to New England, 1637. Settled at Dedham, Massachusetts. Deputy to the Massachusetts General Court for Dedham, 1639 and 1640; for Medfield, 1653, 1663, 1664, 1666 and 1667. Town clerk and local justice in Dedham, 1642. Became the leading founder of the new town of Medifield, Massachusetts, 1651. Died there January 11, 1683-4. Perhaps brother of Abraham (1611). (J. G. Bartlett; Felt, 374.)
Marriage 17 May 1630 Age: 30 to Lady Rebecca Clark
Wramplingham, Norfolk, England

Arrival 1637 Age: 37
Watertown, Massachusetts
Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s

Death 11 January1684 Age: 83

Dedham, Suffolk, Massachusetts Colony

Rev. Ralph Wheelock
1637, Dedham
Rev. Ralph Wheelock, the WHEELOCK immigrant ancestor, was born in Shropshire, England, in 1600. He was educated at Clare Hall, Cambridge University, England, where he received his B.A. in 1626 and his M.A. in 1631. He became an eminent preacher in England, but because of his nonconformist views he was prosecuted, and finally in 1637 sought refuge with his Puritan fellows in New England. He was at Watertown for a short time, but located permanently at Dedham, Massachusetts. He brought with him from England his wife Rebecca and his daughter Rebecca. In his biography by his great grandson, Rev. Ebenezer Wheelock, who founded Dartmouth College, we are told that the ship was driven back once by storms and that the voyage was long and distressing. He was one of the founders of the town and church of Dedham, learned, devout, unselfish, practical and indefatigable. In 1638 he made his home in that part of Dedham which was set off as Medfield. He was admitted a freeman March 13, 1638-39; was selectman, schoolmaster, deputy to the general court, commissioner to end small causes, appointed magistrate to perform marriages while at Dedham, and was equally prominent in the new town of Medfield. He built his house at Medfield in 1651-52. He was made clerk of writs in 1642, was selectman of Medfield, 1651-55; school teacher and justice of the peace. He made his will May 3, 1681; the inventory was dated January 31, 1683, and the will proved May i, 1684. He bequeathed to his eldest son Gershom, and other sons—Benjamin, Eleazer, and Samuel; sons-in-law Increase Ward and Joseph Warren; grandchild Rebecca Craft; refers in his will to his deceased wife, and appoints George Barbour one of the overseers of his will. His wife died in 1680. Two of his sons, Benjamin and Eleazer, settled in Mendon, Massachusetts. Rev. Mr. Wheelock declined to take charge of any particular parish, but preached occasionally in Medfield and adjacent parishes. His last years were spent in teaching and farming. Rev. Louis Hicks, of New Haven, wrote in 1899: "It is highly probable that he was a descendant of Hugh de Wheelock, who in the reign of Henry II. received from Roger Maine Warring a title to all the latter's claims to the village of Wheelock, Cheshire, England, which he had previously held. It is also probable that he was a relative of Abraham Wheelock, a native of Shropshire, who took the degree of A. M. at Cambridge University in 1618, and was admitted to Clare Hall as a Fellow about the same time as Ralph Wheelock, entered the same college and who later became the first professor of Arabic and Saxon tongues in the University and became librarian." Children of Ralph Wheelock; Rebecca, born in England, about 1632; Peregrina, about 1636, on the voyage; Gershom, mentioned below; Mary, 1638; Benjamin, January 8, 1639-40; Samuel, September 22, 1642; Record, December 15, 1643; Eleazer, father of Ralph, who settled at Windham, Connecticut, and whose son, Rev. Dr. Eleazer Wheelock, was the founder and first president of Dartmouth College; Experience, 1648. from ancestry.com

History Quote from Ralph Wheelocks geneology page wheelockgeneology.com
Reverend Ralph Wheelock, Puritan, educator, and founder was born in Shropshire, England in 1600. The origins of his surname can be traced back to the tenth century in Wheelock Village, near Sandbach, in the County of Cheshire. Ralph was educated at Cambridge University, Clare Hall. He matriculated in 1623, obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1626, and a Master of Arts in 1631.
At that time, Cambridge was the center of the dissenting religious movement that gave rise to Puritanism. His contemporaries at Cambridge University included John Milton and John Eliot, whose liberal views he seemed to share. The persecution of those with Puritan beliefs ran high during this period, which undoubtedly motivated Rev. Wheelock to participate in "The Great Migration" which brought many new immigrants to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. By one account, 20,000 came to New England during the peak years of the migration between 1630 and 1640 [1].

On 6 May 1630, in England, Rev. Wheelock was ordained priest by Francis White, Bishop of the Norfolk Diocese [12]. Shortly thereafter, on 17 May 1630, he married Rebecca Clarke. At least three children were born to the family in England (Mary Wheelock, baptised in Banham, County of Norfolk, 2 Sep 1631; Gershom Wheelock, baptised in the village of Eccles, County of Norfolk, 3 Jan 1632/33 [2]; and Rebecca Wheelock, baptised in the village of Eccles, County of Norfolk, 24 Aug 1634 [10]). Rev. Wheelock served clerical duties at the parish in Eccles, where Gershom and Rebecca were baptised, indicated by his signature as "local curate" on the register pages that record his children's baptisms [11].

Rev. Wheelock, his wife Rebecca, and at least three children sailed for the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637, just 7 years after Boston was first settled, and during the peak of the "Great Migration" [3]. Some Wheelock historians have suggested that Rebecca gave birth to a daughter aboard ship, but no definitive proof is available [4].

Upon arrival, Rebecca and Ralph Wheelock settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. There Rev. Wheelock participated in a plan to create a new settlement further up the Charles River, to be called Contentment (later renamed Dedham). In 1638 Rev. Wheelock became one of the earliest settlers and a founder of Dedham. He lived there with his wife for more than a decade, and played a leading role in the affairs of the town. The records at Dedham show that Ralph and Rebecca had four children there: Benjamin, Samuel, Record, and Experience.

In July 1637, Rev. Ralph Wheelock signed the 'Dedham Covenant' which was in effect the founding constitution of the settlers of Dedham. In 1639 he and seven others were chosen for "ye ordering of towne affayers according unto Courte Order in that behalf." The powers that these eight men had were probably similar to the town selectmen of modern times. He was also appointed to assist the surveyor ("measurer") in laying out the boundaries of the town.

On 13 Mar 1638/9, Rev. Wheelock was declared a freeman [5], which allowed him to exercise the full right of suffrage and to hold public office. To become a freeman, it was necessary to be a member in good standing of a local church, and to appear before the General Court and take an oath whose essential elements swore to good citizenship and good religious character.

In 1642, Ralph Wheelock was appointed the General Court clerk of writs. The General Court was the central court of the Bay Colony, with powers granted by the British Crown to decide legal matters, to dispense lands, and to establish laws. At this point in time (1643), the population of the Bay Colony was about 18,000 [6].

In 1645 he was appointed one of the commissioners authorized to "solemnize" marriages, which at the time was a civil rather than religious duty.

Although Rev. Wheelock was an ordained minister, his greater inclinations were toward teaching, which he did with great fervor and in various capacities throughout his life. Rev. Wheelock was probably the first public school teacher in America. On 1 Feb 1644 a Dedham town meeting voted for the first free school in Massachusetts, to be supported by town taxes. Rev. Ralph Wheelock was the first teacher at this school. Three years later, in 1647, the General Court decreed that every town with 50 families or more must build a school supported by public taxes. [9]

By the late 1640's Dedham was becoming quite populous, and it was decided to establish a new township further up the Charles River, out of a tract of land that was then part of Dedham. Rev. Wheelock was appointed leader of this effort, and in 1649 he and six others were given the duties of erecting and governing a new village, to be called New Dedham, later renamed Medfield.
In May, 1651, the town of Medfield was granted the full powers of an independent town by the General Court of Massachusetts. In this year Rev. Ralph Wheelock and his family removed to Medfield, where he lived the remaining 32 years of his life. The records at Medfield show that Ralph and Rebecca had one child there - Eleazar Wheelock whose grandson would become the founder and first president of Dartmouth College.

Though others participated in the establishment of the Town of Medfield, Rev. Ralph Wheelock is considered to be it's primary founder. As leader of the previously mentioned committee of seven, it is almost certain [7] that Rev. Wheelock wrote the document called "The Agreement" which, for a time, every new settler of Medfield had to sign. "The Agreement" stated that the signatories were to abide by the town ordinances and laws, maintain orderly conduct, and resolve differences between themselves peaceably.

Rev. Ralph Wheelock was granted the first house lot in Medfield (12 acres), and served on the first Board of Selectmen (1651). He subsequently served on the Board of Selectmen in 1652-1654, and again in 1659. In 1653 he took up a collection for Harvard College, the first college in America. Fund raising for Harvard was probably a regular event, being a primary source of revenue for the fledgling institution.

In 1655, the town voted 15 pounds to be used to establish a "schoule for the educataion of the children, to be raised by a rate according as men have taken up lands, and the rest of the maintenance to be raised upon the children that goe to schoule" [8]. Rev. Ralph Wheelock was the first schoolmaster. In his book "Mr. Ralph Wheelock, Puritan", the Rev. Lewis Hicks speculates that Rev. Wheelock remained schoolmaster for a period of 8 years.

Every year, Medfield chose a representative to the General Court in Massachusetts. Rev. Wheelock held this position in the years 1653, 1663, 1664, 1666, and 1667.

Rebecca (Clarke) Wheelock died on 1 Jan 1680/1 in Medfield. Two years later, Rev. Wheelock died, in the 84th year of his life.

Rev. Wheelock played an active and important role in the settling of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was instrumental in establishing two new towns, and held virtually every office of importance in both of them. Furthermore, he was at the forefront of establishing the educational foundations of the country.

His descendents would also prove to play an important a role in settling New England and the rest of America. His son, Benjamin, was a founder of the Town of Mendon. Among his great-grandchildren were founders of several New England towns, as well as Eleazar Wheelock, the founder of Dartmouth. Succeeding generations would push farther west, settling the frontiers in New York, Michigan, Illinois, Nova Scotia, and Texas, establishing impressive credentials as teachers, writers, soldiers, pioneers, and businessmen.

(Written by Roderick B. Sullivan, 1 March 1998, Northborough, Massachusetts, revised 28 September 1998, and February 2002)
Notes and Sources
[1] "The History of the Town of Medfield, Massachusetts, 1650 - 1886", by William S. Tilden, published by the Medfield, Massachusetts Historical Society, pg. 23.

[2] Genealogists have variously reported that Rev. Wheelock married Rebecca Barber, Rebecca Wilkinson, and Rebecca Clark. An article by Christopher Gleason Clark, in the January 1998 issue of "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register", vol 152, entitled "The English Ancestry of Joseph Clark (1613-1683) of Dedham and Medfield, Massachusetts" provides compelling evidence that Rev. Wheelock indeed married Rebecca Clarke.

The key components of this evidence are as follows. First, the parish registers of Wraplingham, County of Norfolk, England, contain a recording of the marriage between Ralph Wheelock, cleric, and Rebecca Clarke, 17 May 1630. Second, the will of Rebecca's father, Thomas Clark, refers to his granddaughter Marye Wheelock. Third, the baptism of Marye Wheelock, daughter of Ralph Wheelock, cleric, is recorded in the Banham, County of Norfolk parish registers. (Banham is near Wraplingham). Fourth, the will of William Clark, uncle to Elizabeth Clarke, is witnessed by Ralph Wheelocke "in his unmistakable hand".

Ralph Wheelock's will refers to George Barber as his "brother-in-law". This led to the speculation that the maiden name of Rebecca must have been Barber. But it is shown in the article that George Barber married Rebecca Clarke's sister, Elizabeth Clarke, thereby explaining the reference in Ralph Wheelock's will.

[3] No record of Ralph Wheelock's passage to America could be found in "The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1776" by Peter Wilson Coldham.

[4] "The Wheelock Family in America (1637-1969)", by Walter T. Wheelock, privately published, pg. 93. It is suggested here that Rebecca gave birth to a daughter while at sea. (Mr. Wheelock's original source is not known at the time this footnote was written.) Other Wheelock genealogies have reported that Rebecca was born at sea, and that Mary was born at sea. The research of Christopher Gleason Clark disproves the assertions that Mary or Rebecca were born on ship, leaving Peregrina as the only candidate, since the birth place of the remaining children is well accounted for.

[5] "List of Freeman of Massachusetts 1630-1691", also Tilden, pg. 506.
[6] Tilden, pg. 33.
[7] Tilden, pg. 37.
[8] Tilden, pg. 62.

[9] "Material Suggested For Use In the Schools, In Observance of the Tercentenary of Massachusetts Bay Colony and of The General Court and One Hundred Fiftieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Constitution of the Commonwealth", prepared by committee, Commonwealth of Mass, Dept. of Education, 1930, Number 1, Whole Number 212.

[10] "Mr. Wheelock's Cure", by Christopher Gleason Clark, published in the July 1998 issue of "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register", July 1998, Volume 152, pg. 311.
[11] Ibid, pg. 312. As Christopher Gleason Clark writes: "Curates were licensed by the bishop of a diocese to serve the cure, that is, to care for the souls of the parishioners and to perform the duties of an assistant to the incumbent."
from ancestry.com

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I don't know how to log in with my name (which is Lois). I just came across your blog for the first time and I'm awestruck by the sheer number of individuals you have researched. BRAVO!

    Ralph Wheelock is one of my 10th great-grandfathers via his daughter Record Wheelock.

    Record was born 15 Oct 1644 - recorded as 5 (10) 1644 - in Dedham and married Increase Ward on 3 Oct 1672 in Medford, Norfolk, MA. I would be happy to email you a copy of her birth record.

    Her husband, Increase Ward, was the son of William Ward and Elizabeth Storey (his 2nd wife). He was born 22 Feb 1624 in Sudbury, Middlesex, MA and died 25 Aug 1690 in Marlborough, Middlesex, MA.

    Increase and Record's daughter, Record Ward, was born 28 Jan 1677 in Marlborough; married Thomas Newton 17 Aug 1698; and died 4 Nov 1746 in Westborough.

    Thomas was the son of John Newton and Elizabeth Larkin. He was born 27 Dec 1674 in Marlborough and died 02 Nov 1746 in Westborough.

    Thomas and Record had 7 known children including my 7th great-grandfather Obediah Newton who was born 6 Jan 1702 in Malborough and died 11 May 1753 in Grafton, Worcester, MA.

    He wed Abigail Baxter about 1824 in Worcester. Abigail was born abt 1704 in Grafton and died abt 1750 in Worcester Co.

    Their first born, Phineas Newton, was born 5 Feb 1726 in Shrewsbury, Worcester Co., MA and died 19 Oct 1808 in Croydon, Sullivan Co., NH. He married Abigail Drury, daughter of Thomas Drury and Sarah Clark, abt 1748 in Worcester.

    Abigail was born 16 Dec 1725 in Grafton and died 1 Dec 1783 also in Croydon, Sullivan Co., NH. They had 12 children, one of whom was my 5th great-grandfather, Jonas Newton. He was born 3 Feb 1764 in Worcester and married Tryphena Pond on 15 Dec 1785 in Hubbardston.

    Tryphena, the daughter of Ezra Pond and Sarah Morse, was born 12 Aug 1769 in Wrentham, Norfolk Co., MA. I have more work to do on Jonas and "Phene" as a couple. They were residing in Hubbardston with their first two children, Abijah and Hannah, in 1790. The 1800-1810-1820- and 1830 census' MAY find them in Framingham, Middlesex County MA, in which case "Phene" died between 1800-1810 and Jonas between 1820-1830.

    Their son, Abijah Newton, my 4th great-grandfather, was born 21 Jun 1786 in Hubbardston; married Mary Edmonson abt 1806 in Ticonderoga, Essex Co., NY; moved to Ontario Canada around 1818 where he died in the mid 1840's.

    Their daughter, Leonora Newton, born 31 Dec 1808 in Ticonderoga, Essex Co., NY, is my 3rd great-grandmother. She married James MacDonald abt 1825 in Whitchurch, Ontario, Canada. She died 29 Nov 1892 in East Luther Twp., Dufferin Co., Ontario.

    Her husband, James "Peel" MacDonald, was born 11 Mar 1802 in Lochwinnoch, Renfrew Co., Scotland and died 20 Jan 1856 in Peel Twp., Wellington, Ontario, Canada. He was the son of John "The Patriach" MacDonald and Margaret Gibson.

    (Leonora married widower Silas Card on 26 Feb 1867 in Peel Twp., Wellington Co., Ontario following the death of James.)

    James and Leonora's son, James was born 03 Oct 1838 in Peel Twp., Wellington, Ontario; married Catherine Campbell on 21 Mar 1862 in Wellington County, Ontario and died 19 May 1918 in Elora, Wellington, Ontario, Canada.

    Catherine Campbell, born 24 Sep 1843 in Vankleek Hill, Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada was the daughter of Miles Campbell and Isabella Dewar. She died 1 May 1926 in Elora, Wellington, Ontario.

    Their son, Miles MacDonald, was born 31 Mar 1865 in Elora, Wellington, Ontario; married Martha Stowe abt 1886; and died 4 Jul 1912 in Collingwood, Simcoe, Ontario, living Martha with 6 children including my grandmother, Myrtle MacDonald.

    So there you have it - right down to my grandma. Thanks for reading.