William Cogswell

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ChartsAncestors of Harriet Hanson Robinson
Diana, Princess of Wales, and Edward Warrington Robinson
John Adams & John Quncy Adams - Harriet Hanson (Robinson) Pierce
William Cogswell, son of John Cogswell and Elizabeth Thompson, was born probably shortly before his baptism at Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England, March 1619.1,2,3 He died at Ipswich, Essex Co., Massachusetts, 15 December 1700.1,4

William married Susannah Hawkes, daughter of Adam Hawkes and Anne (…), at Lynn, Essex Co., Massachusetts, about 1649.1,5,6

In 1648, William Cogswell was a subscriber to "Dennison's Compensation."

His parents deeded 60 acres to him on 20 Nov 1651. The land was bounded on the southeast by the Chebacco River, and one corner was "upon son William's barn." A few days later, they deeded to his brother John 60 acres "In consideration that he hath yielded to me all his right unto the house and lands at the falls." This was later given to Cornelius Waldo, their son-in-law. John Jr. later sold his 60 acres to William.

In 1653, on the death of his brother John, William and his father became legal guardians of his son, John III, and two daughters. Later, John III would sue William for and accounting of his father's estate. In the court records, William reports:

"In 1653 and 1654 we kept a school dame in my Father's house to teach my brother Cogswell's children, and after 1654 to Sept. 1659 we endeavoured to teach these children in reading. In Sep. 1659 my Father and the rest of his family came and lived in the house with me until . . . 1660, and the rest of their employment was to teach the children to read and write. From 1660 to 1663 I had a man lived with me which I gave 12 pounds a year unto that could write and read, and I added to his wages 8 or 10 shillings and allowed him time to perfect John in his writing."

In 1656 Ipswich arranged for the main road to Gloucester to pass over the Cogswell property: "Granted to William Cogswell in full satisfaction for the highway through his father's and his farm, three acres and a half of land joining Thomas Bishop's land on the back side of his fence. Also agree with William Cogswell to keep a ferry on Chebacco River, for which he is to have two pence a person for everyone he carries over." The ferry was replaced by a bridge in 1666 and the road was rerouted in 1698.

His father sold him the rest of the farm on 16 Feb 1657, as noted above.

He became a "commoner in 1664 and surveyed public ways in 1665.

In 1668 he received a "felling grant" to have "liberty to fell timber for the end of a barn, and for 200 rayles and posts for a yard by his house, and a tree for stakes for hedging."

He was granted liberty in 1670 to "fell trees for 4,000 foot of boards." Later however, "Wm Story informed the Selectmen that William Cogswell hath felled seven white oaks without leave, the constable is ordered to distrain him of 10 shillings for every tree, according to town order."

He was declared a tithingman in 1677. In Feb of that year a meeting was held in the Cogswell home to make plans to build a church for the Chebacco Parish. A petition was drawn up to ask "the liberty to call a minister to preach among" themselves and presented at the Ipswich Town meeting. Never expecting a refusal, the foundation was laid in a corner of the Cogswell field, and timbers for the building were brought to the site. For some unknown reason, "The men of Chebacco Parish are forbidden to build a chruch." William was chosen chairman of a committee of three to confer with the selectmen. After two years and several appeals to the General Court, in the spring of 1679, the women of Chebacco held a secret meeting to plan the building of the church anyway. A few days later, men from the neighboring towns and parishes arrived to build the church. Not one Chebacco man was to be seen. The Chebacco women were there with well-filled lunch baskets and by nightfall, the main part of the church was completed.

A few days later, three of the women and two of the men were arrested for contempt of the General Court. However, when they appeared before the court, they were dismissed after promising never to build another church without permission. The church flourished, and the Cogswells, considered the highest tax-payers, occupied the center seats of honor. The horse hitching racks were arranged so that, "the horses might not damnify Mr. Cogswell's fence."

In 1679, he voted in town affairs.

In 1687, William executed four deeds, dividing his property among his sons. Possession would not pass until the death of both William and his wife, Susanna. Jonathan received the biggest share including 80 acres, and "all housing, out-housing, barns and malt house."

A parish meeting in Aug 1693 voted to William Cogswell and his heirs two seats in the meeting house in consideration of his giving the land the church was built on, and the deed to it.

He made his will on 5 Aug 1696. It gave some small parcels of land to William Jr., Adam, and John, but, "to my son Jonathan, no share of said land, because he had a bigger share of my other lands than the rest of his brothers." To his daughters he left all of his household goods, except some small items to the sons: a crane, andirons, iron spit, iron of the cart wheel, fouling piece, sword and belt, timber chain, cart and wheels, iron kettle, a pair of iron cart wheels and chain, iron crane, long ladder, malt screen, and bushel, half bushel, and peck measures.

When he died in 1700, the town meeting on 17 Dec was adjourned "to give opportunity for citizens to attend Mr. Cogswell's funeral."

On 19 Dec 1700, his will was proved and the inventory of his estate included three parcels of land but no houses or buildings of any kind. However, articles from his house are mentioned by location: "Ye parlor, parlor chamber, west chamber, and the seler." The house he lived in was already deeded to his son Jonathan and was not part of the estate.7,8


Susannah Hawkes b. 13 Aug 1633, d. bef. 5 Aug 1696
  • Edmund Cogswell4 d. 15 May 1680
  • Elizabeth Cogswell b. say 1655, d. 28 Dec 1728
  • Hester Cogswell b. abt. 1656, d. aft. 17 Jan 1703/4
  • Susannah Cogswell b. 5 Jan 1657
  • Anna Cogswell9 b. 5 Jan 1657, d. bef. 1696
  • William Cogswell+9 b. 4 Dec 1659, d. 14 Apr 1708
  • Jonathan Cogswell9 b. 26 Apr 1661
  • John Cogswell9 b. 12 May 1665, d. 1710
  • Adam Cogswell9 b. 12 Jan 1667, d. 8 Feb 1749
  • Sarah Cogswell9 b. 3 Feb 1668
This person was last edited on26 Dec 2012


  1. [S934] Richard K. Evans, The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales: For Twelve Generations (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2007), 216, further cited as Evans, The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales.
  2. [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), 2:137-140, further cited as Anderson, et al., The Great Migration.
  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. [S2053] Anderson, et al., The Great Migration, 3:253-257.
  6. [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).
  7. [S296] Jameson, Cogswell Family, 9-12.
  8. [S293] Helen Cogswell Trostel, Cogswell-Haldeman: The Ancestors and the Descendants of Asa Ferris Cogswell and Arobine Haldeman Cogswell (with allied lines) (Denver, Colorado: Big Mountain Press, [c1966]), 54, further cited as Trostel, Cogswell-Haldeman.
  9. [S664] , Vital Records of Ipswich, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849: Volume I - Births (Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Institute, 1910), 95-99, further cited as Vital Records of Ipswich - Vol I.