John Wood Mariner Ancestry
Ancestry of John Wood “Mariner”

By Larry Crandall-Wood
9 July 2003

I. Background

John Wood "Mariner", Hereafter referred to as John1 Wood is well defined in the two sources listed as footnotes [1] and [2]. He is known to have been born in England about 1590, he first married Margaret Carter, second married Elizabeth "unknown" and died in Portsmouth, RI, in 1655. His life and descendents are well documented but his ancestry is in great dispute. This paper addresses research and new genealogical information with the intent of providing logical and reasonable evidence to support additional conclusions about this ancestor and his ancestry.

Within the inexact science of genealogy there are very few complete proofs and most conclusions are drawn from much less exact evidence than is presented here. Nevertheless, there are still unknowns and areas I have drawn conclusions on which I expect other genealogists to question, this is the natural result of any field of research. I remain convinced that the following conclusions are logical, valid and accurate but remain open to review, conclusive proof provided to the contrary.

II. Direct Ancestry theories on John Wood of Southwark "Mariner" and Margaret Carter.

1. According to James Sergent: John1 Wood’s Father was Henry Wood born about 1560, of St. James Clerkenwell and his mother was Margaret Dynnes. Sergent also accepts that John1 married  28 Jan 1610  in Saint Saviour's, Southwark, London, England to Margaret Carter who was born about 1592 in England.

    James Sergent, therefore, believes that John1 Wood was the son of Henry Wood and Margaret Dynnes.[3]

Note: St. James is just across the Thames from Southwark. Take either the Southwark or the London Bridge across the Thames, and the St. James Cathedral is only about 1 Km from the Southwark Cathedral.

2. Ryan Wood also believes essentially the same as James Sergent, as he has stated in several published letters on the subject. Ryan states (letter edited for brevity):

"John1 Wood, christened in Mitcham, Surrey, England, 12 Apr 1590, son of Henry Wood and Margaret Dynnes (married in Mitcham, 16 Jul 1587. Margaret Carter, christened in Mitcham, Surrey, England, 21 Jan 1587/8, daughter of Richard Carter (perhaps the Richard Carter who married Margaret Batte in Mitcham, (an IGI record)."

Ryan is a recognized professional genealogist in Vermont and well respected in the field. I hope I can reduce his theory to essential elements without compromising his intent.A theory synopsis is: John1 Wood and Margaret Carter both were born/christened in Mitcham, Surrey, England. This is close to the Southwark Cathedral where they were married.The above IGI records are not contradictory with any known information and appear consistent. Henry Wood as father of John1 agrees with a wide family use of the Christian name "Henry" and Richard Carter’s wife Margaret would also be consistent with them having a daughter named Margaret.[4]

3. Bertha Clark also thought that the Carter name held special significance and possibly Margaret and William Carter were children of Richard Carter of Mitcham. "Probably only someone who has access to English records can determine whether there was any kinship between Susan Downing’s Carter husband and John1 Wood’s Carter wife". Bertha shows in a chart that the Downing, Kirby and Carter families were all closely related by marriage. I will not reprint all of Bertha’s detailed analysis here, but it should be read in its entirety to understand the weight of her conclusive evidence on page 2 of 2 .

4. Anita Jensen believes somewhat similarly, although her sources and conclusions are obscure. Ms Jensen says: Capt. John1 Wood (William); baptized 1 Jan 1583 in Clerkwell, London, England; married Margaret Carter, daughter of William Carter and Elizabeth Woodward, 28 Jan 1610 in St. Savior's Church, London, England.[5]

Somehow Anita Jensen places John1 as the son of William, which conflicts with many other known sources, but yet can not be proven to be incorrect. As a minimum, we now know the listed William Wood had a son named John, and it remains a distinct possibility that the listed William Wood may have been a brother of the Henry Wood of Mitcham, thus making the ancestry of John1 Wood essentially the same line. I discount the parentage suggested by Anita Jensen in favor of the much more credible evidence indicating Henry Wood as his father.

III. Historical Ancestry of John1 Wood "Mariner"

1. Bertha Clark believed that two of John1 Wood’s sons both married Sherman daughters:

Possible Connection between George2 Wood, and the Sherman family "There has been a most persistent tradition that William Rogers of Hempstead, L.I., married a Sherman. This has been proven untrue. He married a Hall". [6]

In the above article, reasons were given for the persistent (but wrong) thinking this William Roger's daughter Anna was the second wife of John2 Wood, perhaps a common-law wife. John2 Wood was a brother of George2 Wood, both being sons of John1 Wood. Bertha continues:

"Now if the first wife of John2 Wood, was a Sherman, this may have been the cause of the confusion in the descendant’s minds".

Miss Clark then states, "my guess is that George and John Wood married sisters, Ann Sherman and Judith Sherman, each a first wife."

Miss Clark then goes on with her reasons for the above deduction:

    "A. The Shermans were an Essex County, England, family. Some of them migrated from there to London. Huge numbers of them migrated to the American colonies. One branch settled in Portsmouth, R. I. (where the Wood family lived); other branches settled in CT-Milford, New Haven and Stratford. John2 Wood lived in Milford his first several years in the colonies and before that was in London.

    B. John2 Wood, in his Milford days was leading a very dissolute life, as I showed in my Long Island study. (In his later years he was very respectable, elected a Deputy five times.)Evidence given in court at the trial of Hannah Hawley (Records of the Jurisdiction of New Haven, (Hoadly) 2:210), in which her frivolous conduct with a seaman, whose name the speaker (Rev. John Sherman) desires to conceal...but whose carriage is a grief to his relations.

    I feel sure this refers to our wayward John2 Wood; and if he had a Sherman wife, it would be easy to see why the speaker was reluctant to call his name; for Rev. John Sherman had been the greatly loved pastor in Milford. Perhaps he was still in New Haven with other Shermans. At nearby Stratford, Samuel Sherman was one of the most important town officers, these men were held in highest respect, and John2 Wood, would indeed be a grief to all his relations.

    C. John2Wood, had four wives. His descendents by his first wife (and only those descendents) used the name Judith.

    D. Sherman genealogy, by T.T. Sherman, lists an Edmund Sherman of Colchester who married Judith Angier of Dedham, both of county Essex, England, and had two daughters, Judith and Ann.Their birthdates are not given. The only mention of them is in the will of their uncle, John Angier, dated 19 Jan 1623/4. Then they and their parents seem to disappear entirely.They may have gone to London. The parents may have died and the girls come to a relative in the colonies."

If true, this places this Wood family in a direct relationship with the ancient Sherman family of Dedham. From this and other research we know that the Shermans were also in the London area the same time (1610-20) and both the Woods and many Shermans can be found migrating to the Massachusetts Bay colony at the same time. A little research into the descendents of John2 shows his son Henry3 had a daughter named Judith4. This is NOT a family name and presumably came from Henry’s mother Judith (Sherman). Looking at George2 we find he had a daughter Ann who is known to have married John Tooker. A logical conclusion is that this Ann was carrying her mothers’ name Ann (Sherman). These facts all fit the pattern Bertha set out.

2. Dorothy Ewers also followed this Sherman Connection:

"Bertha L. Stratton in New Light on Henry Sherman, 1954, p. 6 states: "……. no Sherman genealogy to date has mentioned John Wood, clothier, who 8 Moh.19 Elizab. (year 19 of Queen Elizabeth’s reign = 1577) named "my cousin Henry Sherman the younger of Dedham" an executor of his will (proved on 2 April 1577). Among the witnesses was Henry Sherman the elder.Besides property in Dedham, Wood had houses and lands in Lawford and Harwich, Essex, and Carsey, Lynseye, and Stratford, Suffolk, Starthford, Hartford. Besides his wife, Mary, a brother Thos. survived Wood as well as the following children: Richard, Geo., Frances, Mary, Henry, Jn. and Robert. The latter three names also occur in the Henry Sherman family.

    Presumably Wood’s son is the Jn. Wood, Stratford, Suff., who 10 Jan. 1615, proved 2 Feb. 1615 wills property in Dedham. Named are children, Jn. and Thos., da. Elizabeth, ??, grandchildren, Rob’t, Jn. Alefounder; cousins Nat. and Sam. Ward (preacher at Ipswich) Mrs. Dowe, Stratford widow. (Wood wills are in H.F. Waters, genealogical Gleanings in England v. 1, p. 583; v. 2, p. 1162).

    As Henry Sherman also mentions Mrs. Dowe in his will of 1610, the Sherman-Wood connection may be through Stratford. (B.L. Stratton, Sherman and Allied Families, p. 27).

    On p.35 of "New Light…..". Mrs. Stratton says: "The Shermans – Henry Sherman the elder and Henry Sherman the younger with Edmond Sherman his brother, Wm. Butter and Piers Butter his son, John Wood and Richard Wood – were among the original Governors as named by Littlebury and their heirs to succeed them forever. The governors were incorporated by Qu. Elizabeth’s Crown grant by Letters Patent of the Dedham Grammar School dated 1575. (Rev. T. A. Jones’ "History of Dedham" – item sent me (Mrs. Stratton) by F. G. Emmison, County Archivist, Essex Res. Off., Chalmsford………………)"

    The Wilbores and Shermans of Dedham came over, why not the Woods? John who died 1655 might be the Jn. son of Jn. Wood whose will was proved 2 Feb. 1615!"[7]

This theory is important because it connects all of the Dedham "Clothiers" into a close group. We know from many will transcriptions of the Alefounder, Sherman and Wood families of 1550-1620 Dedham that these 3 local families were closely intermarried and also closely linked by the Clothworkers (aka Clothier) Guild. Histories of Guilds such as this one tell of a largely hereditary structure and closely held working relationships. The Clothworkers (Clothiers) were a very wealthy and powerful guild because the weaving and distribution of cloth was so very important to the English economy. In many ways the Guilds were similar to a 16th century mafia family, where the family business was closely held and passed down through either bloodlines or marriage.Very few outsiders ever found employment in one of these family held Guilds. It stands to reason then that the influence of this Guild would extend well into London with close family connections.

One other item of note in the 1615 will of John Wood of Stratford is that he names his "Cousins Samuel and Nathaniel Ward, preacher(s) at Ipswich". Looking into the Ward genealogy we find Geoffrey Ward born 1526 in Homersfield, Suffolk Eng. Married Elizabeth Wood born 1528 in Homersfield.This Elizabeth would have been about the same age as the John Wood who died in 1577, and her grandchildren were the above named Samuel and Nathaniel Ward, making the above named John of Stratford a second cousin to them. This fits well and places Elizabeth as a very probably sister to John "Clothier". Making a most likely sibling group of John, Thomas and Elizabeth all born about 1520-30.I hope future research can place these 3 into another family unit already published. A distant possibility is the theory proposed by Elizabeth Hoople on pages 23-30 [8], where she links our Wood family with the very famous Sir Andrew Wood "of Largo" Scotland. I have not found any evidence to support this idea, but place it here to illustrate the proposed theory.

Next, note that the names Henry, George and Robert Wood appear in the 1577 John Wood "Clothier" will as brothers of the Elizabeth Wood who married Robert Alefounder (will proved 1639). The 1577 will relates brothers Henry, George and Robert as being less than age 25 in 1577, suggesting a birth date between 1552-76, and although a rather wide range we know that eldest son Richard and his brother John were both over 25.Thus placing the younger 3 sons most likely not as babies, or more probably born about 1560-70.This is exactly the birth date (1560) that James Sergent and Ryan Wood use for their Henry Wood, as previously reported.I will later tie in a Robert Wood as brother-in-law to Capt. William Rainborow. Both Henry and Robert Wood from this line are the correct ages and correct social standing to be later connected to the Anthony Wood of Redrith (will proved 1625) and his brother-in-law, the aforementioned Capt. William Rainborow of Southwark (will proved 1642).[9]

3. On p.35 of "New Light…..". Mrs. Stratton says: "The Shermans – Henry Sherman the elder and Henry Sherman the younger with Edmond Sherman his brother, Wm. Butter and Piers Butter his son, John Wood and Richard Wood – were among the original Governors as named by Littlebury and their heirs to succeed them forever. The governors were incorporated by Queen Elizabeth’s Crown grant by Letters Patent of the Dedham Grammar School dated 1575. (Rev. T. A. Jones’ "History of Dedham" – item sent me (Mrs. Stratton) by F. G. Emmison, County Archivist, Essex Res. Off., Chalmsford)" 7

Because of the close relationship noted in the 1577 John Wood "Clothier" will between the Dedham Wood and Sherman families it can safely be concluded that the Littlebury reference to John and Richard Wood must be the two sons of John Wood "Clothier". The 1577 will was witnessed and executed by the two Henry Sherman(s) listed also by Littlebury. Again this points to a family of high repute in the correct geographical area.

4. Another Clothier Connection.

John Shakespeare (father of William "The Bard") was a clothing dealer, and almost certainly a member of the Clothworkers Guild, as was Adam Winthrop (1548-1623), (father of John, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Company "MBC"). Adam Winthrop was known to be Master of Clothworkers and a very influential cotton merchant in the Greater London area during this period.In 1591 John Shakespeare was deep in debt and very much in trouble. Sadly, John died quite destitute in 1601, but by 1610 son William had his own reputation and was rather wealthy. Did his father John’s old business partners possibly remember better days and deal kindly with William? It remains possible, even likely, that clothing merchants, ship owners and merchants made private business deals, much as many well known family businesses of today, preferring to trade with family and well known friends.It is then feasible that William Shakespeare’s popularity and his father’s past clothing connections also lent influence to the Winthrop Massachusetts Bay Colony and associated funding.This expedition would need experienced and trusted ship people, who better to trust than the fellow members of the great St. Saviour’s Cathedral placed right on the London Wharf, i.e. Wood and Rainbow ship owners and merchants.[10]

Of additional interest is the fact that William Shakespeare’s brother Edmund was buried in the Southwark St. Saviour’s Cathedral in 1607 and at the time of John1 Wood and Margaret Carter’s 1610 marriage at Southwark, "Macbeth" was premiering just a few blocks away at the well documented Globe Theater. This certainly places these two families in the same neighborhood at the same time. History of Southwark says:

"St. Saviour's was undoubtedly familiar to (William) Shakespeare and he must have worshiped there many times. This much is borne out by the fact that the playwright's brother, Edmund, was buried in the church after his premature death in 1607.Since he was an actor, Edmund's passing would not normally have attracted any attention. Yet someone evidently paid to have him sent off like a gentleman. The register states: 'Edmond Shakespeare, player, buried in ye church, with a forenone knell of the great bell XXs.' Twenty shillings was a considerable sum of money in Tudor times, nevertheless Edmund was buried in an unmarked grave. A commemorative stone was eventually placed in the paving of the choir.

William Shakespeare's connection with Southwark diminished after 1613 when he started to spend more time in Stratford. (Author’s note – This is "Stratford-on-Avon" and is far removed from "Stratford, Suffolk" where the Wood family is located, LC-W). Three centuries later, a memorial to the great bard was included in the Cathedral. Reflecting the tastes of the Elizabethan era, it shows Shakespeare resting on his side, his head cupped in one hand. Behind the reclining figure is a carved frieze of the Bankside he knew, including the Globe and the Cathedral and above is a modern stained-glass window showing scenes from his plays."[11]

5. Alefounder Family connection." Robert Alefounder elder of Eastbergholt in ye Countie of Suffolke Clothier" [12] made his will in 1635. He was a very well respected Clothier of the Dedham and East Bergholt areas and the Alefounder family is a well documented one.In the 1635 will he names Ezekiel Sherman and "Brother" Thomas Wood.The Alefounder and Sherman family records agree that Ezekiel Sherman was married to Rachel Alefounder, Robert’s sister. Robert Alefounder was married to Elizabeth "daughter of John Wood of Stratford (Also Suffolk), Clothier". Elizabeth Wood-Alefounder was the sister of the above named Thomas Wood, also a child of John Wood of Stratford. (Note that this is a confusing second generation John-Thomas-Elizabeth set of siblings). Both Elizabeth and Thomas were therefore grandchildren of John Wood "Clothier" of Dedham whose 1577 will was witnessed by Henry Sherman "elder" and executed by Henry Sherman "younger", as previously cited. An important Sherman connection here is best explained as follows: Ezekiel Sherman and Henry "younger" had another brother Edmond (born about 1590 or nearly the same age John1 Wood, therefore their children could have been about the same ages).[13] This Edmond had married Judith Angier and were known to have had daughters Judith and Ann (Sherman) who may have married John2 Wood and his brother George2. Edmond Sherman, therefore, was a brother-in-law to Robert Alefounder and Elizabeth Wood, or again in the same family and location.One last item about the Alefounder family is that Peter Alefounder [14] has located a relatively obscure family reference to Alefounder Maritime interests in the 17th century London area. Peter is still working on a proper translation of the Latin documents, but the references to maritime connections are solid, and again place these Wood relatives in close proximity by both family and business connections.

6. Reviewing the Clothier (aka Clothworkers) Guild of London we now find the Following families all involved: Alefounder, Shakespeare, Sherman, Winthrop, Wood.And have shown at least a few connections from London back to Dedham through the Sherman and Wood families to the Alefounder, Sherman and Wood families of Dedham "Clothworkers" and merchants.Through previously outlined close working relationships of the Clothworkers Guild of the 1550-1620 era we can safely assume that all of these families were at least well acquainted with each other. In fact the surnames show many intermarriages, as would be expected in the values and customs of the era. This is a very valuable connection because I next make a logical connection to another set of relationships.

With the various will witnessing and financial relationships stated, this securely cements the relationship between the Clothiers of Dedham and some connections to the London Merchants. We certainly have the Alefounder, Sherman and Wood families well intermarried and also all in the Clothier business at Dedham.

IV. Shipping relationships of the 16th Century

We know that most freight of the 16th century went by water.Merchant shipping was the most reliable and cost effective form of transportation available. One small ship could deliver several tons of freight, greater than an entire train of wagons. Merchant ships were used in intercoastal shipping of all kinds of freight, but sadly the records of individual ships are largely lost or buried in ancient volumes. We do know the following:

1. John1 Wood was a well known merchant seaman.Bertha Clark and Dorothy Ewers write extensively on this subject and the connection between John1 Wood and the Winthrop merchant shipping requirements. Suffice it to say that this is well documented.2

2. Dedham, London and various small towns in between were all shipping ports for the English merchant marine of the 16th century. Dedham was known for its location for shipment to and from the Netherlands and large quantities of goods flowed in and out of London all over the region making it a necessity for the Clothworkers Guild to have offices and officers in London. Presumably that was how and why the Alefounders, Shermans and also the Woods migrated from Dedham to London.

3. In London of this era we have the Alefounder, Sherman and Winthrop families known to have both shipping and Clothworkers connections. We have long known the Wood family was connected in some manner to these families and next we have another Wood relationship - Anthony Wood "Mariner" of Redrith, ship-owner. Anthony died in 1625, as his will verifies. [15] He was the husband of Martha Rainborow (who was born at Whitechapel as were many of the Rainborow family) and part owner of the ships (Royal )Exchange and Rainbowe. Martha being sister to the well known Capt. William Rainborow who married Judith Hoxton. Capt. William Rainborow also owned many houses in Southwark, where our John1 Wood and Margaret Carter were married.Capt. William’s son was the very famous Col. Thomas Rainborow who is best known for his part in the 1647 "Putney Debates" as a member of the "Long Parliament". Thomas was radical (or possibly conservative, depending on your political viewpoint) and a very influential friend of the Winthrop family. Thomas was killed on 29 Oct 1648 when resisting seizure by the Royalists, see English Civil War history 1642-1649.Thomas also had two sisters who directly married Winthrops. Sister Martha 1st married Thomas Cotymore of New England 2nd married Gov. John Winthrop (his 4th wife). Sister Judith married Steven Winthrop (4th son of Gov Winthrop). So we have a very close family and shipping relationship between the Rainborow, Winthrop and Wood families of Whitechapel, and Southwark, all inner city London areas within a short carriage ride and also right at the wharves."Redrith", according to the NEHGS Index of Places, is known today as "Rotherhithe" which is located in Southwark.This makes perfect sense, because Anthony was so very closely tied to the Rainborow family of Whitechapel and Southwark. Whitechapel is only about 2 Km from Southwark, across the Thames at the London Bridge and just up Whitechapel road about 1.5 Km. St. James of Clerkenwell is approximately in between these two parishes. See James Sergent and Ryan Wood theories above regarding Clerkenwell.

4. Notes on St. Mary Whitechapel. This church became a parish church about 1338.Church Records: St. Mary (Matfellon), Whitechapel High St, Baptisms 1558-1940, Marriages 1558-1940, Burials 1558-1857 [16]. "Whitechapel, originally part of Stepney, quickly developed as a suburb to the City of London because of its location on the main route in and out of the City from Essex. The chapel that gives Whitechapel its name was built in the 13th century and became the parish church of St. Mary in about 1338. Many trades, particularly in metalwork, were considered a nuisance in the congested City and moved to Whitechapel. Amongst these were the Gunmakers Company Proof House in Commercial Road and the Whitechapel Bell Foundry which made the 'Liberty Bell' and 'Big Ben'."[17]

5. Another Wood connection, although not very clear, is in the above Capt. William Rainborow’s 1638 will and 1642 codicil.15 Capt. William names his "Sister Wood", presumably Martha wife of Anthony, and then William also names his brother-in-law Robert Wood as executor. Robert Wood was also a witness to the will. We know that Robert was a very trusted person, but we are not sure exactly who he was. He was perhaps a second husband to Martha, who may have remarried after Anthony died in 1625, or Robert may have been married to another Rainborow sister, or perhaps Robert was husband to a sister of William’s wife Judith Hoxton. The terms "brother" and "brother-in-law" meant many things in that era and the use of this term in a will was not always what it might appear. Whatever the exact relationship, it remains a strong possibility that Robert was related to Anthony Wood’s family in the Southwark area. Since the known people were all rather wealthy merchants we can conclude that the intermarriage was also of families of similar social standing. At this time it seems likely that Robert Wood was either a brother or close cousin of Anthony Wood of Redrith. It also remains a possibility that this is the same Robert Wood, son of John "Clothier", at least the age and social standing would be correct.

Continued: Ancestry of John Wood “Mariner”

[1] Article "John Wood of Portsmouth and Some Clarifications About This Line" By Larry Crandall-Wood, published on the RI Rootsweb Website for Newport County, dated 2002
[2] Bertha Clark (1966) "John Wood of Rhode Island and His Early Descendants on the Mainland"
[3] Sergent.ged: Date of Import: 24 Nov 2002
[4] Ryan D. Wood, Lunenburg, VT
[5] Anita Jensen letter of 9 Aug 2000 (Internet Source)
[6] From letter to EEL, from Miss Bertha Clark, author of the Woods of Long Island, Am. Genealogist, v.39, no.3, 1963. (Contact: Kathleen Knudsen)
[7] Dorothy Ewers (1963) "Workbook of Families Allied to Wood a first revision and extension of One Hundred and Ninety-Six Grandparents"
[8] Hoople, Elizabeth (1984) "Jonas Wood U.E.L."
[9] H.F. Waters, "Genealogical Gleanings in England" vol 1 & 2
[10] Numerous Encyclopedia Sources on the Shakespeare Family.
[11] History of the Southwark Cathedral
[12] Peter Alefounder
[13] Thomas T. Sherman (1920) "Sherman Genealogy", p. 104-105
[14] Ibid
[15] Waters, Henry F. (1907) "Genealogical Gleanings in England"
[16] London Metropolitan Archives
[17] History of St. Mary Whitechapel

Copyright 2002, Larry Crandall-Wood. For further information, contact Larry Crandall-Wood

Continued: Ancestry of John Wood “Mariner”

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