Richard Ingraham and Elizabeth Wignall From England to Massachusetts

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Richard Ingraham (1600-1683) and Elizabeth Wignall (1604-1668)

Richard Ingraham begins our story in 1600

It is believed that Richard Ingraham was born in about 1600 in Fishtoft, Lincolnshire, England. He may have been the son of Arthur Ingraham and Jane Mallory. Some sources suggest that Richard was born in Massachusetts, but this is generally believed to be untrue. As is the case with many genealogical inquiries, there remains some dispute.

Richard married Elizabeth Wignall on 4 Apr 1620 in England. He was 20; she was 16. Elizabeth was born in 1604 in Frating, Essex, England. She was the daughter of Alexander Wignall. 2

Richard and Elizabeth Ingraham immigrated with their daughter, Elizabeth, to Massachusetts from England in about 1630, and settled in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, shortly after their arrival. Elizabeth was probably pregnant with her second child, William, who was born in about 1630 in Rehoboth. Richard had a brother, Edward, who it is believed came over to the colonies on The Blessing in about 1635, five years after his brother.

Richard and Elizabeth spent most of their married lives in Bristol County after they emigrated from England. 3 The land that is now Bristol County was part of the Plymouth Colony (1620-1691), which pre-dates the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It borders the state of Rhode Island.

Rehoboth, named for the Biblical place, is one of the first towns in Massachusetts, having been incorporated in 1645. Rehoboth has several meanings: “broad places“ or "the streets of the city" or "the public square of the city". When it was first granted as part of the Plymouth colony, the town of Rehoboth included parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Through the years, due to cedings of land and incorporations of the neighbouring communities, Rehoboth slowly changed shape. The town was and still is a sort of crossroads to several other towns. It was founded in 1636, just six years after Richard Ingraham arrived there, by Congregationalists from Plymouth.

The town was the scene of bloody fighting during King Philip's War (1675). Rehoboth is the site of Anawan Rock, where Captain Benjamin Church surrounded and captured Anawan, a Wampanoag sachem, and his men, effectively ending the campaigns in Southeastern Massachusetts of King Philip’s War. The Wampanoags had taken a position above Squannakonk Swamp to hide from the colonists.

Seven children and a family to feed

Richard and Elizabeth had at least seven children, all probably born in Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, except Elizabeth: 4

Richard becomes a Freeman of Massachusetts

On 19 Oct 1630, Richard Ingraham asked to become a Freeman of Massachusetts. Seven months later — on 18 May 1631 — he was granted that privilege. According to a group called the Winthrop Society, “there are no firmer grounds for establishing an early settler among the founders of the Commonwealth than the lists of the first Freemen — those who applied for that estate in Boston in October, 1630, and those so sworn thereafter.”

The Freemen were the only colonists who could vote. Before being chosen, one had to be a church-going adult male, and must have experienced a “transforming spiritual experience by God's grace, as attested by himself and confirmed by church leaders.“

Richard Ingraham had no objection to taking the oath which read as follows:

The Oath of a Freeman, or of a Man to be made free. I, ___, being, by the Almighty's most wise disposition, become a member of this body, consisting of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Assistants and a commonalty of the Mattachusets in New England, do freely and sincerely acknowledge that I am justly and lawfully subject to the government of the same, and do accordingly submit my person and estate to be protected, ordered, and governed by the laws and constitutions thereof, and do faithfully promise to be from time to time obedient and conformable thereunto, and to the authority of the said Governor and Assistants and their successors, and to all such laws, orders, sentences, and decrees as shall be lawfully made and published by them or their successors; and I will always endeavor (as in duty I am bound) to advance the peace and welfare of this body or commonwealth to my utmost skill and ability; and I will, to my best power and means, seek to divert and prevent whatsoever may tend to the ruin or damage thereof, or of any the said Governor, Deputy Governor, or Assistants, or any of them or their successors, and will give speedy notice to them, or some of them, of any sedition, violence, treachery, or other hurt or evil which I shall know, hear, or vehemently suspect to be plotted or intended against the said commonwealth, or the said government established; and I will not at any time suffer or give consent to any counsel or attempt that shall be done, given, or attempted for the impeachment of the said government, or making any change alteration of the same, contrary to the laws and ordinances thereof, but shall do my utmost endeavor to discover, oppose, and hinder all and every such counsel and attempt. So help me God.

Richard Ingraham, proprietor

In 1643, a list which described the allotment of lands among proprietors of Rehoboth, says: “Mrs. Bur...L100-00-00. Rich. Ingraham accepted in her place.” Based on this list, it would appear that Richard was a proprietor, perhaps of land. A proprietor is defined as “(1) One who has legal title to something; an owner, or (2) One who owns, or owns and manages a business or other such establishment.”

Richard is also on a town record in Rehoboth on 28 June 1653. He was surveyor of highways in 1655, and in 1668, he signed a petition against import taxes.

Later Years

Sometime after their children were born, Richard and Elizabeth moved northwest to Hampshire County. He is listed as a Freeman at Northampton on 8 Feb 1678. In 1673, Richard contributed to a fund to support Harvard College.

At the age of 63. Elizabeth died on 16 Sep 1668 in Northampton. Richard remarried, three months later, on 11 Dec 1668 in Northampton — this time to Joan Rockwell. He was 67 years old. Joan was 43 years old (b. 25 Apr 1625 in Dorchester, Dorset, England), also a widow.

Richard died in August of 1683, at the age of 83, and Joan followed one month later on 16 Sept 1683. In his will (probated 1683) Richard bequeathed to his wife Joan all of his estate but he does not specifically mention any of his children.

This page written and researched by Susan Overturf Ingraham, wife of Robert Philip Ingraham, a descendant of Richard Ingraham and Elizabeth Wignall. This page last upated on April 20, 2019.

Return to Table of Contents for Exploring My Husband's Ancestral Roots: Ingrahams, Herricks, Moshers, and Brands

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  1. These three dots behave exactly like a footnote. Click on them and you will get more information about the topic. 

  2. Her mother's name remains unknown, but it may have been Elizabeth. 

  3. Thanks to Wikipedia for the map. 

  4. Other children sometimes mentioned are Ruth and Benjamin. 

  5. For more about William's life, click on his name.