The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1633
Robert Charles Anderson
FIRST RESIDENCE: Boston
RETURN TRIPS: Travelled to England and returned 1635 on the Abigail [Hotten 93]
OCCUPATION: Fisherman. On 14 October 1657 "Edw[ard] Rainsford" headed a list of thirteen "fishermen, humbly desiring that they may be exempted from trainings during the time of the fishing season, &c., the Court grants their request" [MBCR 4:1:312]. Merchant. The inventory of Edward Rainsford demonstrates that he had branched out from his fishing activities. He owned portions of several vessels, he owned a lighter, and he owned a warehouse "with privileges," presumably meaning dockside rights, indicating that he was trading with the ships that arrived in Boston harbor, and was reselling the merchandise which he obtained in this way.
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: "Edward Ransford" was admitted to Boston church as member #62, which would be in the winter of 1630-1 [BChR 13]. Deacon in the year 1666 and 1667 [BChR 347]. On 12 February 1668[/9] Edward Ransford and Jacob Eliot were dismissed as deacons "for setting their hands with other brethren to desire their dismission from the church because the church had chosen Mr. Davenport for their pastor" [BChR 62]. Rainsford then became ruling elder of the Third Church of Boston at its formation in May of 1669 [Worthley 63].
FREEMAN: 17 April 1637 (as "Edward Rainsfoard") [MBCR 1:373].
EDUCATION: On 12 August 1636 Edward Ransforde and other of the richer inhabitants of Boston gave 5s. for the maintenance of the free school master [BTR 1:160]. He signed his deeds, as did his second wife Elizabeth. His inventory included "books" valued at £5.
OFFICES: Petit jury, 1 December 1640 [MBCR 1:312].
Committee to lay the planting ground at Long Island, 24 February 1639[/40] [BTR 1:51]. Committee to draw instructions for the selectmen, 11 March 1660/1 [BTR 2:1]. Committee to set a rate, 17 March 1661/2 [BTR 2:6]. Selectman, 1662-70, 1672 [BTR 2:6-52, 68]. Committee to study the common and wasteland, 21 April 1673 [BTR 2:75-76, 86]. Committee to draw up instructions for the Deputies of the General Court, 14 May 1677 [BTR 2:110].
ESTATE: In the 1645 Boston Book of Possessions Edward Rainsford held one house and garden bordered by the cove on the south [BBOP 34].
On 9 April 1649 "Ed[ward] Rainsford" was one of the many men who agreed to pay 6d. an acre for their land on Long Island for the use of the school [BTR 1:95]. On 22 February 1657[/8] "Ed[ward] Rainsford" was let a piece of ground behind his garden at 2s. per year [BTR 1:142].
On 4 March 1671/2 "Edward Raynsford, fisherman," and Lt. Richard Cooke of Boston, merchant, deeded back to Peter Gee his dwelling house and lands [SLR 7:134, 9:97].
On 15 October 1674 "Elder Edward Rainsford of Boston" deeded to James Brading of Boston, ironmonger, one acre on Long Island in Massachusetts Bay called "Lug's Lot." Elizabeth released her dower [SLR 9:301].
On 4 August 1676 Edward Rainsford and Elizabeth his wife deeded for "natural love, goodwill & affection" to "our loving sons John Raynsford, David Raynsford and Solomon Raynsford" a parcel of land and beach at the southerly end of the town [SLR 9:373].
On 15 November 1675 Elder Edward Rainsford exchanged small parcels of land with the town [BTR 2:98].
In his will, dated 3 August 1680 and proved 28 August 1680, "Edward Raynsford Senior of Boston in New England, merchant, being sick and weak of body," bequeathed to "my loving and dear wife Elizabeth Raynsford" the use of all real and personal estate during her life; "my said dear wife shall have liberty" to give away by will the full sum of £100; "my dear wife may if she see cause before her decease give some part of my estate to such of my children that shall be in necessity for their present relief, which shall be deducted out of that child or children's portion"; "I hereby forgive my daughter Mary Parcyfull the debt of £10 more or less that her husband now oweth unto me, and also I give unto my said daughter Mary Parcyfull the sum of £10 to be paid unto her in goods"; to "my grandchildren, namely Jonathan, Dorothy and Mary, all children of my son Jonathan Raynsford deceased, the sum of £50 apiece to be paid unto them" at twenty-one, but if "my said grandchildren Dorothy & Mary do not carry themselves dutifully to their grandmother and take her and their Aunt Gording's advice in disposing of themselves in marriage that then such of them that so refuseth to do shall forfeit their legacy"; to "my son Solomon Raynsford ... all the land that I formerly laid out to him for an houselot"; to "my son David Raynsford ... all that piece of land which I formerly laid out to him"; "my son Edward Raynsford shall have that house that was my son Nathan Raynsford's, with all the land that belongs to it, he paying to my executrix £350"; after "my said wife's decease the full remainder of all my real and personal estate ... shall be equally divided amongst my children hereafter named, viz., John Raynsford, David Raynsford, Solomon Raynsford, Edward Raynsford, and Ramus Belchar, Elizabeth Greenough, & Anna Hough, and that if any of my children die before my said wife then my will is that their children shall enjoy the legacy hereby bequeathed to such child or children"; "if any of my said children die before my executrix childless, then the legacy hereby bequeathed unto them shall be equally divided amongst my grandchildren, that is to say the children of the children that have been born to me by my now wife"; "my said dear wife Elizabeth Raynsford the sole executrix"; "my loving friends Mr. Edward Willis and Mr. John Hayward both of said Boston" overseers [SPR 6:330-32].
The inventory of the estate of "Elder Edward Raynsford late of Boston deceased" was taken 3 September 1680 and totalled £1638 7s. 11d., including £810 in real estate: "dwelling house, barn, with the land as enclosed," £260; "house and land late belonging to Nathan Raynsford deceased," £300; "land upon Raynsford's Island," £10; "land upon Long Island," £10; and "a warehouse with privileges bought of John Phillips," £230 [SPR 9:20-21]. The warehouse shop had fish, but it also had dry goods such as thread, gloves, buttons and cloth. The inventory also showed that Rainsford owned much shipping: "three-sixteenth part of the ship [blank], Jeremy Cushen, commander," £150; "one-fourth of the ketch Mary, Jno. Gardner, commander," £100; "one-fourth of the ketch Swallow, Benj[ami]n Pickman, commander," £100; "one-sixteenth of ship Sarah, Tho[mas] Tuck, commander," £30; and a "lighter and canoe," £12. The inventory showed that Rainsford also possessed "1 negro boy Nat [and] 1 negro girl Nancee," valued at £40.
In her will, dated 13 November 1688 and proved 14 February 1688/9, "Elizabeth Raynsford relict of Edward Raynsford of Boston deceased" bequeathed to "my grandchild Atherton Haugh" 40s.; to "my grandchild Nathan Raynsford, Solomon Raynsford his son," 40s.; to "my grandchild Newman Greenough" 40s.; to "my daughter Belcher the ten pounds which formerly I lent to her" and some moveables; to "my grandchild Susanna Raynsford daughter of my son John deceased" £5; to "my grandchild Edward Raynsford son of David Raynsford" a silver cup; to "my countryman Tillee" 20s.; to "my husband's daughter Mary Persevere" 40s.; residue of £140 (after legacies are paid) to "be equally divided among my own children now living and born of my body"; "my sons David Raynsford and Solomon Raynsford" to be joint executors [SPR 10:454-56].
BIRTH: Baptized Staverton, Northamptonshire, 10 September 1609, son of Robert and Mary (Kirton) Rainsford [NEHGR 139:238, 296]. (On 29 December 1671 Edward Rainsford deposed that he was aged "about sixty years" [SPR 7:177]; at his death he was seventy-one years old [King's Chapel 37].)
DEATH: Boston 16 August 1680 ("Here lies the body of Mr. Edward Raynsford Senior, aged 71 years, departed this life Anno Domini 1682 [sic]" [King's Chapel 37]; 16 August 1680: "Elder Edward Rainsford died, being old and full of days" [Hull 247]; from the Hobart Journal we learn that on 17 August 1680 "Mr. Ransford ruling elder to the Third Church in Boston [was] buried" [NEHGR 121:206]).
MARRIAGE: (1) _____ _____. "Wife of Edward Rainsford died" Boston June 1632 (no doubt as a result of the birth of her twins) [BVR 1].
(2) By 1633 Elizabeth _____. On 15 December 1633 "Elizabeth Ransford the wife of our brother Edward Ransford" was admitted to Boston church" [BChR 17]; she died at Boston on 16 November 1688 (16 November 1688: "Mrs. Rainsford, the aged Mother, dies" [Sewall 184]; "Here lyeth buried the body of Elizabeth Raynsford aged 81 years deceased the 16 day of November 1688" [King's Chapel 38]).
ASSOCIATIONS: In his will Edward Rainsford mentions that his grandchildren Dorothy and Mary Rainsford, daughters of his son Jonathan Rainsford, should mind their "Aunt Gording"; in her will Edward Rainsford's widow makes a bequest to "my countryman Tillee." Neither of these persons has been identified.
COMMENTS: On 8 February 1635[/6] Owen Roe wrote from London to Governor John Winthrop asking him to "help forward that Mr. Ransford may be accommodated with lands for a farm to keep my cattle, that so my stock may be preserved" [WP 3:226]. In January 1637[/8] "Edward Raynsford" at Boston made out a bill of exchange to "his loving master Mr. Owen Roe at the sign of the Three Golden Keys in Cheape Syde" [WP 4:6].
"Edw[ar]d Rainsfoard" was one of the Wheelwright supporters ordered disarmed, 20 November 1637 [MBCR 1:211]. On about 22 November 1637 he acknowledged his error in signing the petition in favor of Wheelwright [WP 3:514].
John Tey bequeathed £2 to "Mr. Raynsford" and 10s. to John, Mr. Rainsford's man [Suffolk Wills 3]. Christovell Gallop named him overseer of her will 24 July 1655 [Suffolk Wills 60]. Thomas Snow of Boston called Edward Rainsford and other men his "beloved brethren" and asked them to be overseers of his will 10 November 1668 [Suffolk Wills 342].
BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: In 1985 James A. Rasmussen carefully presented the correct English ancestry of Edward Rainsford, followed by accounts of the immigrant and his sons [NEHGR 139:225-38, 296-315].
In 2000 Douglas Richardson proposed for this immigrant a line of descent from Henry III [NEHGR 154:219-26].
NEHGR Vol. 161:260
THE LONDON APPRENTICESHIP OF EDWARD¹ RAINSFORD OF BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
The English ancestry of Edward¹ Rainsford of Boston is known from a letter written in England by John Hull, a member of the Third Church in Boston, dated March 1676, which mentions "Judge Rainsford, brother to him of Boston." The parish registers of Staverton, Northamptonshire, show that Judge Richard Rainsford did indeed have a brother named Edward of the appropriate age baptized there. Based upon this, James A. Rasmussen presented several generations of Edward's ancestors, most of whom were gentry families.W More recently, Douglas Richardson presented evidence for Rainsford's apparent descent from King Henry III [²]
A note in the Winthrop Papers dated January 1 637[/8] mentions Edward's "loving master Mr. Owen Roe at the sign of the Three Golden Keys in Cheape Syde" in London.131 While reviewing records of the Haberdashers Company of London, I came across Edward Rainsford's apprenticeship to Owen Rowe in June 1626:
Edrus Raynsford fihius Robti Raynsford de Staverton in Corn Northton Armiger poss Owen Rowe civi et habersd London pro termino octo Annor a festo Penticosti ult dat ix die
Besides confirming Edward's parentage, this record also explains his emigration to New England. Owen Rowe was a Puritan interested in the colonization of Massachusetts. He never emigrated, though he owned a house in Mount Wollaston, and wrote letters to John Winthrop. He served in the Parliamentary forces in the English Civil War. He signed the death warrant for King Charles I, for which he was later convicted, and he died in prison in 1661.
Leslie Mahler, FASG, is a resident of San Jose, Calif, who has written many articles ident~'ing the English ancestry of American colonists. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
¹James A. Rasmussen, "Edward Raynsford of Boston: English Ancestry and American Descendants," Register 139 (1985):225-38, 296-315. The letter by John Hull is cited at 226.
²Douglas Richardson, "Plantagenet Ancestry of Edward1 Rainsford (1609-1680) of Boston," Register 154 (2000):219-26.
³Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620- 1633, 3 vols. (Boston: NEHGS, 1995), 3:1547, citing Winthrop Papers, 1498-1654, 6 vols., (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1929-92), 4:6.
4Apprenticeship Register for the Haberdashers Company of London [FHL 1,551,159].
5Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 60 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 47:1003-04 (reference pointed out by John Brandon of Columbia, South Carolina). See also "Absentee Landlords," Great Migration Newsletter 15:2 (2006):9-1 0, 16.