Robert Elwell

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Robert Elwell, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), was born before 1609.1 He died at Gloucester, Essex Co., Massachusetts, 18 May 1683.1,2,3

Robert married (1) Joan (…), before 1634;4,2,3,5,6 he married (2), as her 2nd husband, Alice (…), at Gloucester, 29 May 1676. The ancestry of both wives is unknown (or not traced here).4,6

31 March 1633, Robert Elwell appears on a list of "Planters carrying with them household goods, clothing and provisions for themselves, their wives, children and servants, valued at £920 and allowed to pass free of custom by his Majesty's patent, to be shipped on the Recovery of London, Mr Gabriel Cornish, from Weymouth to New England."7

Robert was a resident of Dorchester (now a part of Boston) when on 1 September 1634 a lot was transferred to him. He testified at the court held at Newtowne (Cambridge) against Thomas Wonnarton who had threatened John Holland with great bodily harm.

He was summoned to appear before the governor on 7 March 1636/7. On 2 January 1637, he and Mr. Holland were given some upland and marsh. On 8 June 1640, John Holland sold the land he had purchased from Elwell.

He became a freeman of the colony (along with 143 others) on 13 May 1640. He sold his property by 8 June 1640 and soon moved to Salem, Massachusetts. He was counted as a citizen of Salem until he actually lived at Gloucester, the children being baptized there until the close of 1641, and his name is on the list of members of the church in 1643.

He bought land in Gloucester in April 1642, but probably didn't move there until later in the decade. He was named selectman in 1649, and also for several other terms. In 1651 he was granted a part of "Stage Neck." On 27 September 1652, February 1652/3, and March 1654/5, he was named one of the "commissioners to end small causes." He owned other land that is named in his will. In 1654, he and four others were chosen to take charge of "Towne affairs." In 1658 he was chosen Magistrate and did considerable business in this judicial position. 5 March 1657/8, he was chosen Constable and served one year. About this time he became known as Goodman. As Goodman Elwell, in September 1660, he and another were sureties for John Jackson; in March 1663, he was "master of the voyage." He was a member of a committee to erect a new meeting house in 1664.

His will was dated 15 May 1683 and proved 26 June 1683. He signed it by mark the day before he died. In it, he names eldest son Samuel, sons Thomas, John, Isaac, Joseph, daughter Deliber [Dolliver], grandson Samuel Elwell, grandson Robert Elwell (son of Samuel), grandson William Elwell (son of son Josiah deceased), executors "deare and well beloved Friend" Mr. John Emerson & Jeffrey Parsons Sen.4,1 He left a will 15 May 1683. Sworn to on 26 Jun 1683.4

Family 1

Joan (…) d. 31 Mar 1675
  • Mary Elwell1,4 b. say 1634
  • Samuel Elwell1,4 b. 1635, d. 1697
  • (…) Elwell4 b. 28 Aug 1639, d. Feb 1640
  • Josiah Elwell1,4 b. 28 Aug 1639
  • John Elwell4 b. 23 Jan 1639/40
  • Isaac Elwell4 b. 27 Feb 1641/42
  • Joseph Elwell4 b. abt. 1648
  • Sarah Elwell1,4 b. 20 Apr 1651, d. 23 Apr 1651
  • Sarah Elwell1,4 b. 12 Mar 1652, d. 26 Aug 1655
  • Thomas Elwell+1,4 b. 22 Apr 1655, d. bef. 27 May 1706
  • Jacob Elwell1,4 b. 10 Jun 1657, d. 21 May 1658
  • Richard Elwell4 b. 11 Apr 1658

Family 2

Alice (…) d. 10 Apr 1691
This person was last edited on2 Jan 2021


  1. [S2053] Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn Jr. and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Great Migration: Immigrants To New England, 1634-1635 (7 vols., Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999-2011), 2:426-431, further cited as Anderson, et al., The Great Migration.
  2. [S42] Rev. Jacob T. Elwell, "The Elwell Family in America," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 53 (Jan 1899): 25-32, further cited as Elwell, "Elwell Family."
  3. [S43] Elmer Garfield Van Name, The Elwell Family: Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries, Southern New Jersey (Haddonfield, New Jersey: E. G. Van Name, 1963), further cited as Van Name, Elwell Family.
  4. [S246] Walter Goodwin Davis and Gary Boyd Roberts, Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis (1885-1966): A Reprinting, in Alphabetical Order by Surname, of the Sixteen Multi-ancestor Compendia (Plus Thomas Haley of Winter Harbor and His Descendants), 16 vols. in 3 (1916-1963; reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1996), 1:507-520, further cited as Davis and Roberts, Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis.
  5. [S44] Lora Altine Woodbury Underhill, Descendants of Edward Small and the Allied Families, With Tracings of English Ancestry (3 vols., Revised ed., Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin, 1934), further cited as Underhill, Descendants of Edward Small.
  6. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 512, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  7. [S1492] Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants: 1607-1660: A Comprehensive Listing Compiled from English Public Records of Those Who Took Ship to the Americas for Political, Religious, and Economic Reasons; of Those Who Were Deported for Vagrancy, Roguery, or Non-Conformity; and of Those Who Were Sold to Labour in the New Colonies (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1987), 107, further cited as Coldham, Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1660.