John Cogswell

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John Cogswell, son of Edward Cogswell and Alice (…), was born probably shortly before his baptism at Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England, 2 April 1592.1,2 He died at Ipswich, Essex Co., Massachusetts, 29 November 1669,2,3,1,4 and was buried in the Old North Graveyard of First Church of Ipswich, Ipswich, Essex Co., Massachusetts.3

John married Elizabeth Thompson, daughter of Rev. William Thompson and Phyllis (…), at Westbury Leigh, Essex, England, 10 September 1615.2,3,1,5

John Cogswell inherited his father's business and settled in the old family estate. He became known as a manufacturer of woolen fabrics such as broadcloth and Kerseymeres. His mills had a very favorable reputation. He was also known as a London merchant and may have had a commission house in the city.

In 1635, he and his family joined the Great Migration from England to America. He sold his "mylls" and other real estate early that year. He, his wife, and the eight youngest children, with all their personal effects, embarked at Bristol 23 May 1635 on the Angel Gabriel.

The ship (240 tons) was built by Sir Charles Snell for Sir Walter Raleigh, who made his second and last voyage 1616-1617 to Guiana. It was commanded by Capt Andrews who also had on board two nephews, John and Thomas Burnham. There was also Samuel Haines, William Furber and others. It was described as "a strong ship & well furnished with fourteene or sixteene pieces of ordnance . . . but she is slow in sailing."

They were detained due to a lack of wind until 4 June 1635 when they finally set sail. They accompanied the James, a smaller vessel but which nonetheless carried Rev. Richard Mather (father of Rev. Increase Mather, later president of Harvard; and grandfather of Rev. Dr. Cotton Mather, later the famous Boston minister). They were bound for New England, and also went with three other ships bound for Newfoundland. They put in at Lundy 5-9 June due to adverse seas and winds.

Due to rough seas or lack of wind, they stopped at Milford Haven, Pembroke Co., Wales and remained there until 22 June 1635. The next day, they lost the ships going to Newfoundland. On 4 July, they lost sight of the James, sailing on ahead. However, the two ships arrived in New England at about the same time. The James was anchored off the Isles of Shoals, and the Angel Gabriel off Pemaquid, Maine, when on 14-16 August, a "sudden dismal storm of wind and rains came as had never been known before by white man or Indian." Traces of this storm remained for years. The Angel Gabriel went aground at Pemaquid, Maine, and was a total wreck. Three or four passengers and one crewman died, and there was a great loss of cattle and property.

The Cogswells escaped with their lives, having lost about 5000 pounds in goods and property. They salvaged a large tent for shelter and waited out the storm. They were able to salvage some other goods, including a chair which was in Salem, Massachusetts in 1910. John Cogswell left for Boston and arranged for Capt Gallup and his barque to go to Pemaquid and transport the family to Ipswich. They arrived there at the last of August.

In later years, a lawsuit between William Cogswell and his nephew John would attest to the many articles salvaged from the wreck. Included were "several feather beds, several dozen pewter platters and several brass pans besides other pieces of pewter, iron work, pieces of plate, and a good quantity of household goods including bedding and a Turkey worked carpet, all aboard . . . which came safe ashore, together with provisions, and furniture which was saved from the wreck . . . A quaint mirror and a clock, and the Cogswell coat of arms wrought most exquisitely with silk on heavy satin."

The family was welcomed heartily in their new home. Ipswich granted them liberal grants of land and the municipal records in Ipswich provide a detailed account of these grants. John Cogswell was the third original settler in Chebacco, now a part of Essex. He was very prominent in the town and church. Only 30 of 335 original settlers were distinguished by the honorary title of "Mr." and Cogswell was one of them. Less than a year after his arrival, 3 March 1636, he was admitted a freeman and given the right to vote and hold office.

The first grant for about 12 acres in the center of Ipswich reads, "Upon part which of ye sd John Cogswell hath built an house." The second, "Granted to Mr. John Cogswell 300 acres of land at the further Chebokoe, having the river on the southeast, land of William White on the northwest, and the creek coming out of the river toward William White's farm on the northeast."

On 30 November 1651, "John Cogswell and Elizabeth Cogswell his wife, gave to William Cogswell, their son, a deed of land on the southeast side of the Chebacco River." On the same date he gave a dwelling house to his son-in-law, Cornelius Waldo. He distributed most of his property to his children while he was still alive.

On 16 February 1657, "I John Cogswell (Sr.) having been granted by the Town 300 acres, whereas I have granted part of said farme to John who sold to William, in consideration of 230 pounds of current money of New England, have sold my whole farm to said William Cogswell."

The inventory at his death included a house, a barn, and 10 acres of upland and a small amount of household goods.

His grave is unmarked.3


Elizabeth Thompson b. say 1595, d. 2 Jun 1676
  • Elizabeth Cogswell1,3 b. 15 Sep 1615
  • Mary Cogswell1,3 b. 24 Jul 1618
  • William Cogswell+1,3 b. Mar 1619, d. 15 Dec 1700
  • John Cogswell3,1 b. 25 Jul 1622, d. 27 Sep 1653
  • Phyllis Cogswell1 b. 2 Jul 1624
  • Hannah Cogswell1,3 b. 6 Apr 1626
  • Esther Cogswell1 b. 2 May 1628, d. 7 Jun 1655
  • Edward Cogswell1,3 b. 16 Apr 1630
  • Alice Cogswell1 b. 24 Sep 1631
  • Ruth Cogswell1 b. 28 Nov 1633
  • Abigail Cogswell1,3 b. abt. 1641
  • Sarah Cogswell1,3 b. abt. 1645, d. 1692
This person was last edited on21 Nov 2015


  1. [S2053] Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn Jr. and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Great Migration: Immigrants To New England, 1634-1635, 7 volumes (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999-2011), 2:137-140, further cited as Anderson, et al., The Great Migration.
  2. [S934] Richard K. Evans, The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales: For Twelve Generations(Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2007), 330, further cited as Evans, The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales.
  3. [S296] Ephraim Orcutt Jameson, The Cogswells in America(n.p.: p.p., 1884), 1-7, further cited as Jameson, Cogswell Family.
  4. [S665] , Vital Records of Ipswich Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849: Volume II - Marriages and Deaths(Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Institute, 1910), 527-530, further cited as Vital Records of Ipswich - Vol II.
  5. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 344, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).