Saturday, July 23, 2011


[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 Jonathan Hastings, son of Josiah Hastings, son of Thomas Hastings, son of John Hastings, son of Margaret Cheney (Hastings), daughter of William Cheney.]

Lambourn Seven Barrows

William Cheney Headstone
January 2011, Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts
Credit and thanks to findagrave and Ms. Haley C. From for this photo.
Headstone Details
Cemetery name: Eliot Burying Ground
Name on headstone: William Cheney

"WILLEAM CHENEYAGED 63 YEARS DYED IN 1667"died Roxbury, Massachusetts, 30 June 1667, age 63, buried there 2 July 1667.

William Cheney, 17 May 2010, Elliot Burying Ground Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
William Cheney Birth: 1604, Derbyshire, England Death: Jun. 30, 1667, Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Burial: Eliot Burying Ground, Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Inscription: WILLEAM CHENEY AGED 63 YEARS DYED IN 1667 William was from Maynall Longley, probably came with the fleet in 1630, was in Boston in 1635, at Newbury, then Roxbury as early as 1635. He was always a resident of Roxbury from then on but a proprietor of Medfield and Medway, owned a large tract in what was later Sherborn, and a house in Boston. He called himself a planter. He was admitted to the church in 1664/65, freeman 1666, selectman 1656-57, assessor, town officer, one of the founders and directors of the Roxbury Latin School. His will is in the handwriting of "the Apostle to the Indians" John Eliot. Spouse: Margaret Cheney (____ - 1686) Family links: Children: Margaret Cheney Hastings Eleanor Cheney Johnson (1626 - 1678) Thomas Cheney (1633 - 1695) William Cheney (1637 - 1681) Created by: dsheindel Record added: May 17, 2010 Find A Grave Memorial# 52482669

The Cheney Connection

William Cheney was an early resident of Roxbury, in the colony of Massachusetts Bay, in New England. According to research done by Charles Henry Pope, the oldest records of that town which have been brought down to modern times are contained in a volume whose opening sentence says that the book was bought in 1639 for the purpose of recording various matters relating to the inhabitants. It's earliest entries are not dated. One of these is a list of the men who owned land and lived in the town, entitled "A note of the estates and persons of the Inhabitants of Rocksbury". Persons mentioned are Edward Parson, possessor of 3 acres of ground, to Mr. Thomas Dudley, with 356 acres. William Cheney is the fortieth name, with 24 1/2 acres, showing that he was above average in wealth. This list is on a page here the year 1640 is given as the date of a preceding entry; and 1642 is given as the date of the following page.
In the Roxbury Land Records there is a detailed description of each
settler's real estate, with the names of the owners of adjacent tracts.
William Cheney's land is described in those records. Charles Henry Pope, in his book "The Cheney Genealogy", gives a description of this land record.

The annuals of the town do not give the proceedings of town meetings in the earliest days, but there were a few movements where the citizens are noted well. One of these is the founding in 1645 of the Roxbury Free School, supported by voluntary subscriptions but managed by town officers.
The original paper with its signatures is extant. It shows William Cheney
not only a a subscriber to the fund, but as one of the few leading men who
specially guaranteed to the town the payment of yearly contributions. He was one of two constables in 1654/5 and his final account was approved February 13, 1655/6. In January of 1656/7 he was elected a member of the board of selectman, associated with men of education and rank. In May of 1666, he was made a "freeman of the Colony," which made him eligible to colonial office and capable of voting on matters relating to the general government.

William fell sick in the spring of 1666/7, as we learn from the opening
phrases of his will ; and after a few weeks he died as noted by the town
clerk in his entry of persons deceased:
"William Cheney aged 63 years died June the 30 day, 1667." His wife Margaret Cule, remarried to a Mr. Burge, but in a deed mentioned in 1679, she must have been a widow again as described in the deed record. Margaret moved to Boston and was living there when she died in 1686. Her will mentions her son Joseph Cheney and daughter Mehitabel Wight.
Children of William Cheney and Margaret Cule:

1. Elinor/Ellen Cheney born about 1626, England; d. night of Sep. 28/29,
1678, Hingham, MA. Married March 20, 1642/3 at Roxbury, MA. to Humphrey JOHNSON, son of Capt. John JOHNSON and Mary HEATH.
2. Margaret Cheney born November 20, 1628, England. Married Thomas
HASTINGS in Roxbury, April 1650.
3. Thomas Cheney- b. about 1631; died in infancy.
4. Thomas Cheney born about 1633, Roxbury, MA; d. 1693/5, Cambridge, MA.
His will was dated Oct. 23, 1693 and proved Mar. 4, 1694/5. Married
January 11, 1656 in Roxbury, MA. to Jane ATKINSON (d. Jul. 1724).
5. William Cheney born 1635, Roxbury, MA; d. September 21, 1681 (hanged),
Dorchester, MA. Married Deborah WISWALL (bap. March 30, 1641), daughter of John of Dorchester. William was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged for rape, although his wife Deborah called Experience HOLBROOK (daughter of Capt. Joseph and Elizabeth HOLBROOK) a "lying wench." Deborah married second Ebenezer WILLIAMS.
6. John Cheney born September 20, 1639; d. October 12, 1671. He drowned "as he was catching of eales."
7. Mehitable Cheney baptized June 1, 1643 in Roxbury, died 1693/4,
probably at Medfield, MA. Married by 1663 to Thomas WIGHT, Jr.
8. Joseph Cheney born June 6, 1647 in Roxbury, MA; died September 16,
1704, Medfield, MA. Married first March 12, 1667/8 at Medfield, MA., Hannah THURSTON (b. April 28, 1650, Dedham, MA; d. December 29, 1690, Medfield, MA), daughter of John and Margaret THURSTON. Joseph married second July 21, 1691 at Medfield, MA, Mehitable (PLIMPTON) HINSDALE, daughter of John PLIMPTON and Jane DAMON, and widow of Ephraim HINSDALE.

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The Cheney family in America
The Cheney family in America
Additional information on the immigrant family is found in The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton 1878-1908: Part I The Ancestry of Warren Francis Kempton 1817-1879, by Dean Crawford Smith and edited by Melinde Lutz Sanborn (Boston, 1996), pages 224-233.
William and Margaret Cheney
William CHENEY - b. about 1604, England; d. Jun. 30, 1667, Roxbury, MA. His will was dated Apr. 30, 1667 and proved Jul. 30, 1667. Although some suggestions have been made, there has been no evidence found for the CHENEY ancestry in England. Resided at Roxbury before 1640, owning 24 1/5 acres of land; freeman 1666; militia member 1647; constable; selectman 1656-7. He was a founder of the Roxbury Free School in 1664. Married about 1625, England.
Note: Although it has been stated that William CHENEY was an Ensign in the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Society, no supporting evidence has been found in The Cheney Genealogy, by Charles H. Pope (1897) and his name does not appear during his lifetime in the Roll of Members of the Military Company of the Massachusetts, Now Called the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts (1895). Both of these titles are available in PDF format at Google Books.
Margaret - b. England; d. Jul. 3, 1686. In his will of 1667, William CHENEY called Margaret his 'deare and Afflicted wife," and Rev. John ELIOT wrote in 1674 that she had been released from being "under a melancholick distemper, (above 10 or 11 years) wch made her wholly neglect her Calling & live mopishly." As Widow CHENEY, she married second in late 1676 Mr. BURGE (d. before Mar. 15, 1679/80). Her will, dated May 15, 1686 and proved Sep. 23, 1686, names son Joseph, daughter Mehitable, and three grandsons, the sons of William.

Children of William and Margaret Cheney
Elinor (or Ellen) - b. about 1626, England; d. night of Sep. 28/29, 1678, Hingham, MA. Resided at Roxbury and Scituate, MA. Married Mar. 20, 1642/3 at Roxbury, MA, Sgt. Humphrey JOHNSON, son of Capt. John JOHNSON and Mary HEATH. Refer to JOHNSON line for children and additional information.
Margaret - b. Nov. 20, 1628, England. Married Thomas HASTINGS.
Thomas - b. about 1631; died in infancy.
Thomas - b. about 1633, Roxbury, MA; d. 1693/5, Cambridge, MA. His will was dated Oct. 23, 1693 and proved Mar. 4, 1694/5. Constable 1659, freeman, 1666. Served in Capt. JOHNSON's company in 1675. Married Jan. 11, 1656, Roxbury, MA Jane ATKINSON (d. Jul. 1724), and lived at Brighton and Cambridge. Children of Thomas and Jane CHENEY: Margaret; Thomas; Mehitable; John; William; Mary; Jane; Joseph; Hannah; Benjamin married his first cousin Mary CHENEY (daughter of Joseph CHENEY and Hannah THURSTON); and Ebenezer.
William - b. 1635, Roxbury, MA; d. Sep. 21, 1681 (hanged), Dorchester, MA. Married Deborah WISWALL (bap. Mar. 30, 1641), daughter of John of Dorchester. While married to Deborah, William became father of son William (b. Aug. 3, 1666 and probably surnamed DANIELS) by Sarah DANIELS, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth DANIELS. William was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged for rape, although his wife Deborah called Experience HOLBROOK (daughter of Capt. Joseph and Elizabeth HOLBROOK) a "lying wench." Deborah married second Ebenezer WILLIAMS. Son of William CHENEY and Sarah DANIELS: William. Children of William and Deborah CHENEY: an infant; Deborah died as infant; William died as infant; Deborah; William; John; Benjamin; and a child born after William's execution.
John - b. Sep. 20, 1639; d. Oct. 12, 1671. He drowned "as he was catching of eales."
Mehitable - b. Jun. 1, 1643; d. 1693/4, probably at Medfield, MA. Married by 1663 Thomas WIGHT, Jr. (b. 1635; inv. Sep. 25, 1690), son of Thomas and Alice. The WIGHTs were burned out of their home by Indians in 1676. Children of Mehitable and Thomas WIGHT: Mehitable; Thomas; Mary (or Marie) married Joseph CLARK; Eleazer; and Joshua.
Joseph - b. Jun. 6, 1647, Roxbury, MA; d. Sep. 16, 1704, Medfield, MA. Married first Mar. 12, 1667/8 at Medfield, MA, Hannah THURSTON (b. Apr. 28, 1650, Dedham, MA; d. Dec. 29, 1690, Medfield, MA), daughter of John and Margaret THURSTON. Joseph married second Jul. 21, 1691 at Medfield, MA, Mehitable (PLIMPTON) HINSDALE, daughter of John PLIMPTON and Jane DAMON, and widow of Ephraim HINSDALE. Mehitable married third Dec. 12, 1717 Jonathan ADAMS. Children of Joseph and Hannah CHENEY: Hannah; Margaret married Joseph BULLARD; Prudence died young; Joseph died young; Susannah died young; Mehitable married Jeremiah MORSE; Mary married first Benjamin CHENEY (her first cousin and son of Thomas CHENEY and Jane ATKINSON), and second Michael FELSHAW; Josiah married first Hannah, and second Hannah MASON, widow of Samuel SMITH who was great grandson of Rev. Henry SMITH (Josiah, by his second wife, became ancestor of Pres. William TAFT); Prudence married Gershom LAKE; and Melatiah married Henry AMIDOWN. Children of Joseph and Mehitable CHENEY: Hannah died as infant; Joseph died unmarried; Ephraim married Ann CLARK; and Hannah died young.

Top of Page Freeman Family Lines Index Chart Index Surnames
Thomas and Margaret (Cheney) Hastings
For additional details concerning Thomas HASTINGS and family, refer to The Great Migration 1634-1635, by Robert Charles Anderson (Boston 2003), Vol. III, pp. 235-40. Some other publications include an ancestry for the HASTINGS family in England. For some research and comments, refer to the web site of Scott Billigmeier.
Thomas HASTINGS - b. 1605, England; d. 1685, Watertown, MA. His will was written Mar. 12, 1682/3 and proved Sep. 7, 1685. Thomas and his first wife Susanna (b. about 1609; d. Feb. 2, 1650/1, Watertown, MA) embarked at Ipswich, England Apr. 10, 1634 in the 'Elizabeth', William Andrews, master. Thomas was a signer of The Covenant of Dedham, MA in 1636 and "laid down" a home lot, but probably never resided there. At Watertown, MA 1635; freeman May 6, 1635; selectman at times 1639-1680; town clerk 1670-1671; representative; and Deacon. Will dated Mar. 12, 1682/3, proved Sep. 7, 1685, and estate inventoried Sep. 9, 1685 at £421. Married second about Apr. 1651, Watertown, MA.
Margaret CHENEY - b. Nov. 20, 1628, England. Daughter of William CHENEY and Margaret.

Children of Thomas and Margaret Hastings
See Notable Cousins for line to: Thomas HASTINGS, Anne MORROW LINDBERGH, and Carole LOMBARD
Thomas - b. Jul., 1, 1652, Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA; d. Jul. 23, 1712, Hatfield, Hampshire Co., MA. A physician whose father stated in his will: "I have been to great expense to bring him up a scholor.... I have given him above threescore pounds to begin the world with." Freeman at Hatfield Feb. 8, 1678. Married first Nov.. 10, 1672 Anna HAWKES (bap. Oct. 1, 1648; d. Oct. 25, 1705), daughter of John HAWKES and Elizabeth of Hadley; and second Feb. 14, 1705/6 Mary BURT, daughter of David BURT of Northampton. As Thomas' widow, Mary married May 7, 1713 Samuel BELDEN, Jr. of Hatfield, Hampshire Co., MA. Children of Thomas and Anna HASTINGS: Margaret married Nathaniel EVARTS (or EVERTS, son of John EVARTS and Submit STONE); Hannah married Samuel GILLETT; Thomas married Mary FIELD; Hepzibah married Jonathan CURTIS; Mehitable married John BURKE; and John married first Lydia, and second Hannah WHITE. Children of Thomas and Mary HASTINGS: Silence married Josiah HADLOCK; Thankful died in infancy; and Sylvanus died in infancy.
John - b. Mar. 1, 1653/4, Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA; d. Mar. 28, 1717/8, MA. Married Jun. 18, 1679 Abigail HAMMOND (b. Jun. 21, 1656; d. Apr. 7, 1717/8), daughter of Lt. John and Abigail (SALTER) HAMMOND. Children of John and Abigail HASTINGS: Abigail married John WARREN; John married first Susanna BEMIS, and second Sarah FISKE; Elizabeth married Hopestill MEAD; Hepzibah married first Nathaniel SHATTUCK, and second Benjamin STEARNS; William married Abigail SIMONDS; Samuel died in infancy; Samuel married Bethia HOLLOWAY; Thomas married Sarah WHITE; and Joseph married first Lydia BROWN, and second Mrs. Martha STEARNS (per Hudson's Lexington).
William - b. Aug. 8, 1655, Watertown, MA; d. there Aug. 1669. Drowned.
Joseph - b. Sep. 12, 1657, Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA; d. Oct. 7, 1695. Estate inventoried Oct. 22, 1695 at £87.12. Married first Nov. 21, 1682 Ruth RICE (b. Apr. 2, 1662; d. Jan. 28, 1682/3), daughter of Matthew and Martha RICE; and second Jan. 8, 1684 Martha SHEPHERD (d. Oct. 7, 1695). Children of Joseph and Martha HASTINGS: Joseph married Lydia BROWN (per Bond's Watertown); Martha married Joseph HARRINGTON; Thomas; and Ebenezer married Ruth PHILIPS.
Benjamin - b. Aug. 9, 1659, Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA; d. Dec. 18, 1711, Hatfield, Hampshire Co., MA. Married first1683 Elizabeth GRAVES (b. Mar. 6, 1661/2; d. Nov. 1692), daughter of Isaac GRAVES and Mary of Hartford, Hartford Co., CT; and second about 1697 Mary (CLARK) PARSONS, daughter of Nathaniel CLARK, and widow of Jonathan PARSONS of Northampton. Children of Benjamin and Elizabeth HASTINGS: Samuel; and Elizabeth. Children of Benjamin and Mary HASTINGS: Hannah; Benjamin; Zeruiah; Joseph; a daughter died in infancy; and Submit married John WAIT.
Nathaniel - b. Sep. 25, 1661, Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA; d. Dec. 25, 1694. Married by 1690 Mary NEVISON (b. 1668; d. Oct. 14, 1732), daughter of John NEVISON and Elizabeth. Children of Nathaniel and Mary HASTINGS: Nathaniel; and John.
Hepzibah - b. Jan. 31, 1663/4, Watertown, MA. Married William BOND.
Samuel - b. Mar. 12, 1665/6, Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA; d. 1723. His home was sold for £450 in 1727/8 to the church for use as a parsonage, first occupied by Rev. Seth STORER. Married first Jan. 4, 1686/7 Lydia CHURCH (b. Jul. 4, 1671, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA; d. Feb. 9, 1690/1), daughter of Caleb CHURCH and Joanna SPRAGUE; second Apr. 24, 1695 Elizabeth NEVISON (b. Oct. 27, 1675), daughter of John NEVISON and Elizabeth; and third Jul. 10, 1701 Sarah COOLIDGE (d. Jan. 1724), daughter of Simon COOLIDGE. Child Samuel and Lydia HASTINGS: Lydia died in infancy. Children of Samuel and Sarah HASTINGS: Elizabeth married Mr. HENRYS; Samuel; Benjamin died young; Daniel married Sarah BALL; Benjamin married Mary TAINTER; and Nathaniel.
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William Cheney family and story
Husband: William CheneyBorn: 31 JUL 1603 in EnglandMarried: about 1624 in England (9)Died: 30 JUN 1667 in Roxbury, Suffolk Co., Ma., USABuried: in Roxbury, Suffolk County, MassachusettsFather: Lawrence CheneyMother: Julian WaldronSpouses: Wife: Margaret CuleBorn: 1604 in EnglandDied: JUL 1686 in Boston, Suffolk, MassachusettsBuried: 03 JUL 1686 in Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts (1)Father: Mother: Spouses: John Burdge
Children01 (F): Eleanor "Ellen" CheneyBorn: 1625 in England (2)Died: 26 SEP 1678 in Higham, Plymouth, MassachusettsSpouses: Humphrey Johnson02 (F): Margaret CheneyBorn: 1626 in Massachusetts (3)Died: after 1685 in Watertown, MassachusettsSpouses: Thomas Hastings03 (M): Thomas CheneyBorn: 1633 in England (4)Died: 1694 in Cambridge, Middlesex, MassachusettsSpouses: Jane Atkinson04 (M): William CheneyBorn: 1636 in England (5)Died: 21 SEP 1681 in Dorchester, Massachusetts (6)Spouses: Deborah Wiswall05 (M): John CheneyBorn: 20 SEP 1639 in Roxbury, MassachusettsDied: about DEC 1639 in MassachusettsSpouses: 06 (M): John CheneyBorn: 25 SEP 1640 in Roxbury, Suffolk, MassachusettsDied: 10 DEC 1671 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts (7)Spouses: Education: Harvard University-He did not graduate (8)07 (F): Mehitabel CheneyBorn: 01 JUN 1643 in Roxbury, Suffolk, MassachusettsDied: 1693 in Medfield, Suffolk, MassachusettsSpouses: Thomas Wight,Jr08 (M): Joseph CheneyBorn: 06 JUN 1647 in Roxbury, Suffolk, MassachusettsDied: 16 SEP 1704 in Dedham, Norfold, MassachusettsSpouses: Hannah Thurston; Mehitable Plimpton
Additional InformationWilliam Cheney:Notes:It is still a mystery on how or when William arrived in Massachusetts. He was definitely living in Roxbury in 1640 because he was listed in the "estates and persons of the Inhabitants of Rocksbury". At that time, William owned 24 1/2 acres.William was a successful farmer. At the time of his death, he owned over 100 acres of land, his home and a house in Boston. The Cheney homestead was located on Dudley Street near Warren Street in Roxbury. Judging from the estate inventory, the main house was large. Probably, there was an entry area which opened on one side to the hall, and on the other side to the parlor. Behind both the hall and the parlor were bed chambers. The hall was the main living area of the Cheneys. The fireplace was located in the hall, and here was where the meals were prepared and eaten. The parlor was more of a state bedroom. Here the best bed with feather bolsters, pillows and fine linen was displayed. The room also boasted a great cupboard, a little cupboard and three chairs. Chairs were not common in New England households, and showed William to be above average in wealth.Also included in the estate inventory were 36 bushels of Indian corn, 12 bushels of Rye, 5 1/2 bushels of mault, 5 cows and 3 swine. This list gives a good indication of the Cheney diet. Indian corn was the staple of the Puritan diet. They learned how to plant, harvest and grind the corn from the Indians. The corn was then used in puddings, cakes, hominy, succotash, etc, etc. "Rye-n-Injun" bread, made from ground corn mixed with rye, was a moist bread which did not dry out quickly. The drink of the Cheneys was beer. It was drunk at all meals by the entire family. Mr Cheney obviously brewed his own beer since he had 5 1/2 bushels of mault.William was active in the community. On February 21, 1648, William was elected to the board of assessors. He was also a constable of Roxbury in 1654-1656. Constables in those days did more than keep the peace, they also collected the tax money. On January 19, 1656, William was elected a member of the board of selectman, an office associated with men of education and rank. In 1663, William Cheney guaranteed yearly contributions to the Roxbury Free School. The school, a first for Roxbury, was built with care and furnished with "convenient benches with forms, with tables for the scholars, and a conveniente seate for the schoolmaster, a deske to put the dictionary on and shelves to lay up bookes". On February 15, 1663 Cheney was chosen one of the Feofese of the school. The closest modern word for a feofee would be a director, and in Roxbury there were seven feofese. They made decisions on hiring of teachers, administrative matters and finances. William Cheney did not join the Puritan Church until January 5, 1664 - at least 24 years after he arrived in Roxbury. This is an interesting fact because in those days Massachusetts was a Puritan Colony. The Church leaders were also the Colony leaders, and they dictated all aspects of life from what holidays could be celebrated (not Christmas) to what books could be printed and sold (mostly sermons). In 1631, it was enacted that "no one should be admitted a freeman, and so have the right to vote, unless he was a member of one of the churches within the limits of the colony". How did William prosper in such a climate? Why did he wait so many years to join the Church. Possibly his wife joining the Church circa 1643, helped William maneuver around the Puritans. Whatever the case may have been, William was not made a "freeman of the Colony" until May 23, 1666. Unfortunately, he never got to use his new found right to vote because he fell ill in 1666, and died June 30th 1667.Sources:"The Cheney Genealogy" by Charles Henry Pope, 1897."Customs and Fashions in Old New England" by Alice Morse Earle, 1893."A Short History of the English Colonies in America" by Henry Cabot Lodge, 1881.
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Notes on William
1603-1667 , Roxbury, Massachusetts
William Cheney, the immigrant an- cestor, probably born in England in 1604, was a very early resident of Roxbury, Massachusetts Bay Colony (now in- cluded in the city of Boston). One rec- ord fixes the date of his death as Tune 30, 1667. and the church record gives it: Died, "1667. month 5 day 2, William Cheany Sen." The records show that he was a landholder and resident at Rox- bury before 1640. In that year or the year before he owned twenty-four and a half acres of land there, and there are land deeds which show that he possessed other tracts. His homestead lay in a 183 ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY bend of the old highway, now Dudley street, near its junction with Warren street. In 1645 the Roxbury Free School was founded, and the name of William Cheney is found on the list of subscribers to the school fund, also among the few who specially guaranteed the town the payment of their yearly contributions. Late in 1664, he was chosen a member of the board of directors, or "feofees," of this school. In 1648 he was elected a member of the board of assessors, and February 23, 1653, as one of a committee to raise a certain sum for the maintenance of the minister. In 1654-55 he was one of the two constables, and January 19, r 6s6-57, was a member of the board of selectmen. May 23, 1666, he was made a freeman of the colony. He was admitted to full communion of the church, March 5, 1664-65, and his wife, Margaret, April 22, 1644. After his death she married (second) a Mr. Burge or Burges, and was again a widow before 1679. She spent her last years in Boston, and was buried in Roxbury, July 3, 1686. Chil- dren: Ellen, born in England about 1626; Margaret, married, April. 1650, in Rox- bury, Deacon Thomas Hastings ; Thom- as ; William, mentioned below; John, born September 29, 1639, in Roxbury; Mehitabel, June i, 1643, in Roxbury;
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Last Will and Testament
April 30 1667 , Massachusetts
William Cheney - April 30, 1667
[Suffolk Probate #458, proved July 30, 1667]Being sick in body, & of perfect understanding & memory according to mymeasure, I make this my last will & testament. My will is, that my deare &afflicted wife, Margaret Cheiney, be carfully & sufficiently provided forduring the time of her life, & to that end my will is, that she have all therents & proffitts yearely, & every years, during the afresayd tearms, of allmy houses, lands, & orchards, that I die possessed of, wither in Roxbury,Boston, or els where, except such part of my lands or estate which I shallhere after in this my will dispose of to my children or otherwise, whichestate bequeathed by me unto my sayad wife, it is my will, that she enterupon & be possessed of immediately after my decease (to witt) the presentcropp upon all the land & the use of all my household stuffe & goods, mydebtts & funerall expenses being in the first place with all convenientspeed fully discharged; & for my wifes more comfortable being, my desire is,that one of my executors may live in my house in Roxbury, with her, to injoythe housing & lands by the yeare which I have as is aforesayd given unto mywife, upon such equall termes as my other executor & overseers shall agreewith him for, but in case both my executors see cause to refuse to accept ofthis motion in answer to my desire herein, then my will is, that it be letoutt by my executors & overseers to the best advantage for my wifecomfortable maintenance. When all my debts & Legacies are discharged out ofmy stock & husbandry utensills, as cartts, plows & such like, what remainesof my stock afterwards, my will is, it be let out or disposed of for mywifes use by my executors, with the advice of my overseers; And my will is,that all my moveables be for my wifes use during her life, except what isbefore disposed. And in case what is above expressed be not sufficient forthe comfortable maintenance of my wife, then my will is, that the house atBoston be sold & improved for her further & better supply. I bequeath untomy sonne, John Cheiney, all that land both Aeirable & pasture lying on theeast side of the great lotts, being with in the great lotts, being twentyaccres, more or lesse, being nowe in the possession of the sayd John. Allso,I give to my sayd sonne, a percell of meadow in the fresh meades being twoaccres, be the same more or lesse, as it lyeth on the south of a ditch madeto dreine the sayd meadow. Also I give unto him one accre of salt marsh, beit more or lesse, as it lyeth bounded with a creeke next the marsh of JohnBowles, formerly Isaack Heaths. Also I give unto him eitht accres of land,mor or lesse, lying neare the house of William Hopkinns, All & every ofthese percells of lands my will is, that my sayd sonne John, be possessed ofimmediately after my decease. I give to my sonne, William Cheiney, all myland lying in Medfield, lately in the possession of my sayd sonne, upon thiscondition or promise, that he & his wife, Deborah, be reconsiled & livetogether in Meedfield or ells where to the satisfaction of John Wiswall, ofBoston, & Deacon Parke of Roxbury, but not in Providence or thatJurisdiction; provided allso, that what either my selfe or Deacon WilliamParke have allready payd, or doe stand ingaged for unto the Court in hisbehalfe, be first repayd & fully discharged by him, his heirs, or assignes;but otherwise, if my sayd sonne neglect or refuse to accept it with theseprovisoes, then my will is, that twenty pounds be payd to John Wiswall ofBoston, out of my estate. To sonne, Joseph Cheiney, £60 (to witt) my landlying in the third devission, being thirty seaven accres, more or lesse, &twenty pounds to be payd to my sayd sonne, Joseph, out of my stock. My willis, that my three daughters (to witt) Ellin, Margret & mehitobell, have eachof them £10 payd to them out of my stock. After my wifes decease, my willis, first that all my houses & lands in Roxbury undisposed of before by thiswill, I doe give unto two sonnes of my eldest sonne, Thomas Cheiney (towitt) his sonne, Thomas, & his sonne, William to be improved for theirbeniffitt by ther father untill they are 21 years old, then to be injoyed bythem. What remaines of my estate after my wifes decease wither in stock orotherwise, in housing or lands (in any other towne) or estate in any kindundisposed of by this my will, My will is, that one halfe of it be given tomy sonne, Joseph Cheiney, & for the other halfe thereof, my will is, that itbe Devided into four equall parts, & so dispose of it to my sonne, JohnCheiney, & to my three aforesayd daughters, to each of them an equallportion thereof. I make my two sonnes, Thomas Cheiney & Thomas Hasting, theexecutors of this my will, requesting my friends Mr. John Eliot, DeaconWilliam Parke, & Edward Denison to be overseers. Aprill the last, sixtyseaven.Witnesse, William X CheineyJohn Newell, Samuell Scarborow
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william cheney
The CHENEY Family of
Roxbury, Suffolk, MA
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WILLIAM CHENEY (1604 - 1667) of Roxbury m. Margaret Unknown
ELLEN CHENEY (c. 1626 - 1678) m. Sgt. Humphrey Johnson
AGNES CHENEY m. William Heath
Generation 1
WILLIAM CHENEY (1604-1667) of Roxbury
Parents: Unknown
William Cheney was born about 1604. He died on 30 Jun 1667 in Roxbury, age 63. [Ref] He was buried there on 2 (5) 1667. [Ref cites church records] He married Margaret Unknown. She married second Unknown Burge. [Ref] He died before 1679. [Ref] Margaret was buried on 3 Jul 1686 in Roxbury. [Ref]
At the time of his death, William was a relatively wealthy man. His estate, inventoried on 10 Jul 1667, amounted to £886.11.4. [Ref] In addition to land, William owned his dwelling house and its contents, a house in Boston, five cows, two horses, a foal, a colt, two oxen and three pigs. The detailed inventory of his estate provides a glimpse at 17th century New England life. His house had two large rooms on the ground floor and two smaller rooms above. There was also an attic and a cellar. The main downstairs room was the parlor, which must have been sizable. In the parlor was a large bed and a trundle bed, along with an 'old chaffe bed'. The beds had bolsters, pillows, sheets, and blankets. There must have been two windows as there were two curtain rods, as well as curtains. On the floor were a red rug and a small carpet. There was a great cupboard, a little cupboard and two chests. Meals must have been set on the large table, but there were just three chairs, although one of them was 'great' and 'broad'. The other significant downstairs room was the hall. It appears to have been used for cooking and storage and must have had a fire place. In it were two tables, pewter and brass, irons and tongs, a grid iron, two trammels, an iron 'drypin', a pan, a spit, bellows, a chafing dish, a musket, iron tools, pails, and wooden ware and lumber. The two upstairs rooms were called the parlor chamber and the hall chamber in reference to the rooms below. [Ref] They were apparently used for sleeping as they contained beds; one had a spinning wheel and yarn. The attic was used for storing corn, rye, malt and rope; the cellar for storing barrels, old lumber, cart wheels, a part of a bed and plowing equipment. [Ref, transcript of inventory]
William was an important member of the community. In 1645 he was a voluntary contributor to the Roxbury free school and was chosen a member of the board of directors on 15 Feb 1663. [Ref] On 21 Feb 1648 and on 23 Feb 1652 he was appointed a rater. [Ref] He was one of two constables in 1654/5. [Ref] He was a selectman on 19 Jan 1656/7. [Ref] On 18 Jan 1663 he was on a committee to inspect Peter Gardner's lean-to and fence and ensure that they did not encroach upon the highway. [Ref] He was a freeman on 23 May 1666. [Ref] Despite holding offices that must have been typically held by men with some education, William appears to have been illiterate, using his mark, rather than his signature. [Ref] His interest in the town's affairs appears to have exceeded his interest in the church. He joined the Roxbury church late; being admitted to full communion on 5 (1) 1664/5. [Ref cites church records] Margaret joined before 4 (4) 1643, when her daughter Mehitable was baptised on her account. [Ref cites church records]
William may have made his money by buying and selling land. He acquired extensive and widely scattered lands in Roxbury. On 18 July 1639 William bought the dwelling house and home lot in Roxbury, along with forty acres of land and pasture, of Nicholas and Richard Parker of Boston. [Ref] On a 1634/43 Roxbury estate list; he is shown as having 24.5 acres. [Ref] On 2 (1) 1647, Humphrey Johnson of Roxbury granted William 20 acres of land in Roxbury. [Ref, transcribed deed] On 6 Jul 1658 William and Margaret sold John Pierpont a quarter share of a watermill in Roxbury and a quarter piece of the acre of marsh ground that went with it. [Ref, transcribed deed] An early description of his land says that his house, garden and lands near his house abutted William Parke's to the south and east and the highway to the north and west. He had 16 acres in the Great Lots, between John Johnson's to the west and the school lands to the east. He had 10 acres of swamp near the Great Lots, between those of Giles Pason, Ralph Hemingway and the heirs of Samuel Hagvorne. He had six acres of salt marsh on Gravelly Point and six acres of fresh meadow in the Great Meadow, between John Stowe's land to the east, Richard Sutton's land to the west and John Turner's land to the south. His land from the first land allotment in the last division was the fifth lot, lying between John Johnson's and that of the heirs of George Alcock. He had 24.5 acres in the 1000 acres near Dedham. He had about 20 acres in the Great Lots, lying between the way to the fresh meadow on the east, the land of the heirs of John Levens on the south, Richard Peacock's land to the northwest and Gile's Pason's land and the highway to the north. He had 3.5 acres of meadow in the fresh meadows, west of John Pierpont's land; an acre called Wolf Trap, lying to the north of John Gorton's land and to the west of the highway, that he bought from Humphrey Johnson; eight acres of woodland that had previously been Richard Sutton's and then John Johnson's. [Ref cites Roxbury records]
In his will, dated 30 Apr 1667, William demonstrates his devotion to his "deare & afflicted wife, Margaret". He left detailed instructions for her care and gave her the income and the residue of his estate. He left his son John about 20 acres in the Great Lots; two acres of fresh meadows and an acre of salt marsh that was formerly Isaac Heath's. He left his son William his land in Medfield on the condition that he and his wife Deborah be reconciled and live together (but not in Providence). He left his son Joseph 37 acres and £20. He left land to Thomas's sons, for Thomas to improve, and £10 each to his daughters Ellen, Margaret and Mehitable. [Ref]
Six years after William's death, his wife Margaret recovered from her affliction, which may have been depression. The church appears to have looked upon Margaret with more exasperation than her husband did; the 24 (3) 1673 church record says (my spelling and punctuation):
Margaret Cheney, widow, having been long bound by Satan under a melancholy distemper (above 10 or 11 years), which made her wholly neglect her calling and live mopishly, this day gave thanks to God for loosening her chain, and confessing and bewailing her sinful yielding to temptation. [Ref]
Margaret remarried, to an unknown man with the last name of Burge. But, in 1679 she was again referred to as a widow in a deed. [Ref] The last years of her life are mysterious. Her sons and daughters, Thomas and Margeret Hastings of Watertown, Thomas and Mehitable Wight and Joseph Cheney of Medfield sold her a parcel of land in Boston for £30. Her son Thomas Cheney consented. [Ref] She was dismissed from the church at Roxbury to the South Church in Boston on 9 Apr 1682. [Ref] Thomas agreed to become responsible if she became a burden on the town on 24 Apr 1682. [Ref] She wrote her will on 15 May 1686. The witnesses were Robert Sanderson, a wealthy goldsmith, and his third [handwritten 'third' over 'second'] wife Elizabeth. The will appears to be in Elizabeth's handwriting and is signed with Margaret's mark. She left her son Joseph £30, her daughter Mehitable all of her clothes, her grandson William five pounds and his two brothers 50 shillings each. [Ref] She died soon after and was buried next to William in Roxbury on 3 Jul. [Ref]
There was another early Cheney family in Roxbury: John, his wife Martha, and children Mary, Martha, John, Daniel and Sarah. It is not known if they are related. [Ref]
William Addams Reitwiesner [] provides an ancestry of Vice President Cheney. He is a descendant of William's son Thomas.
Children of William Cheney and Margaret Unknown: [Margaret did not mention Ellen or Margaret in her will; it seems possible that they could have been the daughters of an earlier wife.]
Ellen Cheney was born about 1626. She died on 28 Sep 1678 in Hingham. [Ref] She married Sgt. Humphrey Johnson.
Margaret Cheney married Dea. Thomas Hastings as his second wife in Apr 1650 in Roxbury. [Ref] He married first Susanna Unknown. [Ref] They were of Watertown. Thomas and Margaret had eight children. [Ref]
Thomas Cheney died between 23 Oct 1693, when he wrote his will, and 6 Nov 1693, when it was proved. [Ref] He married Jane Atkinson on 11 (12) 1655 in Roxbury. [Ref][Ref 11 Jan] She died on 29 Jul 1724. [Ref] Thomas moved to Cambridge. On 26 Apr 1659 Richard Dana and his wife Ann sold their house on the south side of the Charles River, along with 13 acres and a landing place, to Thomas Cheney, husbandman of Cambridge. [Ref, transcript of deed] Thomas was a freeman on 23 May 1666 in Cambridge. [Ref] He was a soldier in Capt. Johnson's Roxbury company in King Philip's War. [Ref] He became a relatively wealthy man; his estate was valued at £1064. [Ref, transcript of inventory] He had 11 children. [Ref]
William Cheney married Deborah Unknown. [Ref] William was a freeman on 23 May 1666 in Roxbury. [Ref] A William Cheney is on a 3 Oct 1690 list of soldiers from Dorchester under the command of John Withington in the Canada Expedition. [Ref] A Benjamin Cheney was admitted an inhabitant of Ashburnham on right of his brother William who had earned it by being a soldier in the Canada expedition. [Ref] His father's will suggests that at some point he was estranged from his wife. A story that appears frequently on internet sites is that William was hanged on 22 Sep 1681 for the rape of the servant girl Experience or Elizabeth Holbrook. It is said that his wife Deborah testified in his defence. The usually exhaustively thorough Cheney genealogy [Ref] has little to say about William.
John Cheney was born on 25 (7) 1640 in Roxbury. [Ref][Ref says 20 Sep 1639; 25:7:1640 is the Court record] He is probably the John Cheney who entered Harvard in about 1655, just about the time his older brother Thomas moved to Cambridge. [Ref] It is not known if he graduated. [Ref] He accidentally drowned in the river; the jury ruled that his death was accidental, he had been trying to catch eels. [Ref]
Mehitable Cheney was born on 1 (4) 1643 in Roxbury. [Ref] She was baptised on 4 (4) 1643 in Roxbury. [Ref cites church record] She married Thomas Wight of Medfield. [Ref] She had five children. [Ref]
Joseph Cheney was born on 6 Jun 1647 in Roxbury. [Ref] He died 16 Sep 1704. [Ref] He married first Hannah, the daughter of John Thurston 1, on 12 Mar 1668. [Ref] She died on 29 Dec 1690. [Ref] He married second Mehitable (Plimpton) Hinsdale, the daughter of John Plimpton and the widow of Ephraim Hinsdale. [Ref] He was of Medfield. [Ref] He contributed a bushel of Indian corn to Harvard College in 1678. [Ref]
Generation 2
ELLEN CHENEY (c. 1626 - 1687) of Roxbury and Hingham
Parents: William Cheney and Margaret Unknown. [Ref][Ref, p. 6]
Ellen Cheney was born about 1626. [Ref, p. 6] She died on 28 Sep 1678 in Hingham. [Ref][Ref says 29 Sep] Rev. Peter Hobart of Hingham wrote on that day that, "Humphery Johnsons wife dyed in the bed in the night by him." [Ref] She married Sgt. Humphrey Johnson on 20 Mar 1641/2 in Roxbury. [Ref] Humphrey was the grandson of Agnes Cheney.
Humphrey and Ellen were ancestors of Franklin D. Roosevelt. [Ref]
Agnes Cheney married William Heath. They were of Ware, Hertfordshire [NEHGR 146:266-68, 149:173-86, these issues are not yet available online.].
Anderson, Robert Charles, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Vol. 1-3, Boston, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995.
Dean, John, trans., "Medfield's Contribution to Harvard College," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 10, 1856, 49-50.
Demos, John, A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2000.
Editors, "Soldiers from Dorchester, Mass., in the Canada Expedition of 1690, with a List of Settlers or Grantees to the Town of Ashburn," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 16, 1862, 148 - .
Egan, C. Edward, "The Hobart Journal," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 121, 1967, 3-25, 102-127.
Ellis, Charles M., trans. "Early Records of Roxbury," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 2, 1848, 52-4.
Johnson, Paul Franklin and Frank Leonard Johnson, Genealogy of Capt. John Johnson of Roxbury, Massachusetts, Commonwealth Press, Los Angeles, 1951.
Massachusetts Vital Records
Paige, Lucius, R., "List of Freemen, " New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 3, 1849, 89-96, 187-194, 239-246, 345-352.
Pope, Charles Henry, The Cheney Genealogy, Boston, Pope, 1897.
Pulsifer, David, trans., "Records of Boston," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, various issues.
Richardson, Douglas, "The Heath Connection: The English Origins of Isaac and William Heath of Roxbury, Massachusetts, John Johnson, Edward Morris, and Elizabeth (Morris) Cartwright," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 146 (1992), 261 - .
Trask, William, "Abstracts from the Earliest Wills on Record in the County of Suffolk, Mass.," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, various issues.
Vital Records of Hingham, Massachusetts, ca. 1639-1844. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2006.
Vital records of Roxbury, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849, Salem, Essex Institute, 1925-1926.
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William Cheney of Roxbury
For a good history of William Cheney see The Cheney Genealogy By Charles Henry Pope. The book is available by searching for the title on Google Books.
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