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William SARGENT; born Exeter, England, 1610

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William SARGENT; born Exeter, England, 1610

Posted: 1310933378000
Classification: Biography
Surnames: SARGENT
Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts
Prepared under the editorial supervision of William Richard CUTTER, A. M.
Historian of the New England Historic Genealogical Society; Librarian of Woburn Public Library; Authur of “The Cutter Family,” “History of Arlington,” “Bibliography of Woburn,” etc., etc.
Volume 3.; Illustrated
New York; Lewis Historical Publishing Company; 1908
Pages 1206-1211


One of the most recent of several contributors of Sargent genealogy to the archives of New England introduces his work to the public with extended allusion to his experience in assembling data in relation to the different branches of the Sargent family in America; and as a result of his investigations in that directions it was discovered that not less than four apparently separate branches traced their ancestry to an immigrant William, of English birth and parentage, who came to this country previous to 1700. In the work referred to the author mentions a William Sargent of Ipswich, 1633; William Sargent of Charlestown, 1638; William Sargent of Gloucester, 1649; and William Sargent of Gloucester, 1678. Besides these the same writer found several other progenitors of what appeared to be distinct branches of the Sargent family, although it is quite probable that some of them were related.

The Sargent family treated here is that which claims William Sargent (2nd) as its immigrant ancestor, whose arrival in the shores of New England was of later date than that of the others of his christian name, but it is doubtful if any predecessor William was progenitor of a more numerous line of descendants, and it may be said with some degree of pride that none of the Sargent immigrant ancestors of whatever christian name has give to the country a more worthy line of descendants in generation after generation, more men of character, high aspirations and honorable achievement, than William Sargent 2d of Gloucester, who first appears in New England history as a settler on Cape Ann in the year 1678.

One of the most eminent authorities on the English ancestry of the American Sargents has proclaimed that the family cannot lay claim to descent from royalty, but in the ramifications of the surname through changing centuries back to a time antedating the christian era more than seven hundred years the name in some form has been known in history, and if we accept the conclusions of patient investigators of the origin of English patronymics, Sargent may be said to have evolved from the root Sargon through a prolonged series of perhaps more than fifty variations to its now recognized orthographical construction. Sargent as a distinct English name has been known in the British realm for at least four hundred years, and in New England colonial history be reason of imperfect knowledge of the art of spelling it has appeared in town and parish records as Sergient, Serviens, Sergant, Sargeant and Sargent.

(I) William Sargent, founder of the particular branch of the family treated in this place, was born in Exeter, England, 1610, and is said to have gone with his father to the Barbadoes when he was quite young, and was reared there. He returned to England and there, contrary to parental injunction, married Mary Epes, "who stole away from her home in the habit of a milkmaid to become his wife." They left England and went to Bridgeton, Barbadoes, where their son William was educated. Such is the tradition, not vague, but sufficiently grounded to be accepted as truth. Of the family life and antecedents of the elder William Sargent little is known except as is disclosed in the story here given, and well directed efforts to connect him with others of the same surname in England have thus far been unsuccessful.

(II) William Sargent, born in Exeter, England, (Babson's "Gloucester" says Bristol) is mentioned in early Gloucester records as William Sargent (2d) in order to distinguish him from another of the same name who had preceded him on Cape Ann, but with whom he was in no wise related. He appears in Gloucester in 1678, and received a grant of two acres of land on Eastern Point, where he built a house. He was a mariner, and owned a sloop, and it is believed that he engaged in coast trading rather than in the fisheries. The manner and date of his death are not know, and Mr. Babson inclines to the opinion that he was lost at sea, sometime previous to January, 1707, as in the settlement of his estate no charges are made for sickness or burial expense; nor do the town or church records give account of his death and there is no mark in the old family tomb to indicate that his body was given a final resting place there; and it is therefore safe to assume with Mr. Babson that William Sargent "lies in the deep bosom of the ocean buried." William Sargent married, June 21, 1678, Mary Duncan, daughter of Peter Duncan, of Dorchester, who was a member of the artillery company of that town in 1654, and removed from thence to Gloucester. His wife was Mary Epes, daughter of Martha Epes, second or third wife of Samuel Symonds, Esq., of Ipswich. Peter Duncan was a son of Nathaniel Duncan, Dorchester, 1630, who came from England in the "Mary and John" with other first settlers of Dorchester. He was made freeman 1635, member of the artillery company 1638, a captain, auditor-general, and is represented as being "skillful in the Latin and French." His wife was Elizabeth.

William Sargent and Mary Duncan had fifteen children: Fitz William, born 1679, died 1700; Peter, born 1680, died February 11, 1725; Mary, born 1681; Andrew, born 1683; Daniel, born 1686, became a blacksmith, was killed by lightning July 21, 1713; Jordan, born 1688, died 1689; Epes, born 1690; Ann, born 1692; Samuel, born 1694, died 1699; Fitz John, born 1696, died 1698; Machani, born and died 1699; Jabez, born and died 1700; Fitz William, born 1701; Winthrop, born 1704; Anna.

(III) Colonel Epes Sargent, seventh child of William Sargent (2d) and wife Mary Duncan, born in Gloucester, 1690, died in Salem, Massachusetts, December 6, 1762. He was a man of much prominence in his day, a successful merchant, and acquired considerable property in the pursuits of trade. He was the principal magistrate of the town several years, and its representative in the general court of Massachusetts in 1744. After his second marriage he removed to Salem, where he took an active part in public affairs, was colonel of the militia, and for many years a justice of the general sessions of the court; and above all else he was an upright, earnest and conscientious christian man. After his death his remains were carried back to Gloucester and given a final resting place in the family tomb in the churchyard.

Colonel Sargent married, first, April 1, 1720, Esther Maccarty, born July 1, 1701, died July 1, 1743, daughter of Florence Maccarty by his second wife Elizabeth. Florence Maccarty, Boston, butcher, was one of the founders of the first Protestant Episcopal society in New England. Colonel Sargent married second, August 10, 1744, Catherine Brown, of Salem, widow of Samuel Brown, and daughter of John Winthrop, granddaughter of Waitstill Winthrop and great-granddaughter of John (known as Fitz John) Winthrop, governor of Connecticut. Governor Fitz John Winthrop was a son of Governor John Winthrop of Connecticut, and the latter was a son of John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts. Catherine Winthrop Brown also was a granddaughter of Governor Dudley of the Massachusetts colony. Colonel Epes Sargent had in all sixteen children: Epes, born 1721; Esther, 1722; Ignatius, 1724; James, born 1726, died 1727; Winthrop, born 1727; Sarah, 1729; Daniel, 1731; William, 1734; Benjamin, 1736; and Thomas, whose name is given among the children of the first marriage, but of whom we have no reliable account. The children of the second marriage were Paul Dudley, John, Catherine, Ann and Mary. Among the sons of Colonel Epes Sargent were me of the highest character, and some of them attained to positions of distinguished prominence in the early history of Massachusetts, and although one of them cast his fortunes with the British cause during the revolution he did not sacrifice anything of his high character by reason of his unfortunate choice.

(IV) Epes Sargent eldest son of Colonel Epes Sargent, born in Gloucester, 1721, died of smallpox, 1779. He married, 1745, Catherine, daughter of Hon. John Osborn, of Boston. She died February 7, 1788, and in an obituary notice of her in a Salem paper she is described as "an elegant and accomplished woman." Early in life Epes Sargent engaged in mercantile pursuits, and only a few years before the beginning of the revolution he owned ten vessels which were employed in the fisheries and foreign commerce. His trade was very extensive, but the total suspension of business on account of the war with the mother country caused him heavy losses and the consequent impairment of his large fortune; and most unfortunately for himself Mr. Sargent had cast his political fortunes with Great Britain, and this alone meant financial disaster as well as personal unpopularity among the loyal Americans on Cape Ann. Finding himself at length an object of reproach among his townsmen of Gloucester, and having been summoned to appear before them in public to give account of himself, he quit that town and went to Boston, where even greater indignities were put upon him. He then determined to live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but soon changed his purpose and returned to his old home in Gloucester. Here again his misfortunes were increased by reason of his espousal of the then unpopular doctrines preached by Rev. John Murray, and the warm welcome he extended that noted divine. As Babson says: "His whole life had exhibited the proper fruits of the christian spirit and he had sat for many years at the table of the Lord in affectionate communion and entire unity of religious sentiment with his brethren of the christian faith; but these now coldly turned from him, and so, with fortune wasted and friendships broken up, he 'endured as seeing Him who is invisible,' and rich in faith and the memories of a just and pure life passed away to the tomb."

(IV) Daniel Sargent, son of Colonel Epes Sargent and his first wife, Esther Maccarty, born in Gloucester, 1731, died in Boston February 18, 1806. He was engaged in the fishing business and in foreign trade until about the beginning of the revolution, when he went to Newburyport and from thence to Boston and became a successful merchant of that city. Four of his six sons became prominent men: Daniel, the eldest son, was a Boston merchant and at one time was treasurer of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. During the latter part of his life he caused a substantial wall and iron gate to be placed at the entrance of the ancient burial place in Gloucester which contains the Sargent family tomb. He died in Boston, April 2, 1842. Ignatius Sargent, another son of Daniel, carried on mercantile business in Gloucester until about 1800, when he went to live in Boston, and died there in 1821. While in Gloucester he took an active interest in military affairs and held a commission as major of militia. Henry Sargent, another son of Daniel, was a painter of national fame, and one of his best productions, "Landing of the Pilgrims," was presented by him to the Pilgrim Society of Plymouth.

(IV) Paul Dudley Sargent, son of Colonel Epes Sargent and his second wife, Catherine Winthrop Brown, was born in Gloucester in 1745, and during the revolutionary war took an active part on the side of the American colonies. He attained the rank and commission of colonel, and was a valuable officer. After the war he engaged in commercial pursuits, but appears to have been unsuccessful and finally retired to a farm in Sullivan, Maine. He represented that town in the general court and also held a number of offices under the state and federal governments.

(IV) John Sargent, youngest son of Colonel Epes Sargent, followed the example of his eldest brother in taking sides with the British, but finding himself in disfavor with the great majority of the settlers on Cape Ann prudently betook himself to the more friendly associations of the town of Barrington in Nova Scotia.

(IV) Winthrop Sargent, fourth son of Colonel Epes Sargent and Esther Maccarty, his first wife, born in Gloucester March 6, 1727, died there December 3, 1793. He was a seafaring man, and was given command of a vessel when quite young; but soon left the sea and engaged in mercantile pursuits until the time of his death. He was a patriot of the revolution, one of the committee of safety in 1775, and government agent on Cape Ann throughout the period of the war. In 1778 he was a delegate to the state convention assembled for the purpose of ratifying the federal constitution. In Gloucester he was one of the first followers of Rev. John Murray, and remained as long as he lived one of his warmest friends and supporters. His general character was that of an intelligent and benevolent man and one whose qualities of head and heart secured to him the respect of all with whom he became acquainted. He married Judith Saunders (sometimes given as Sanders), born in Gloucester, September 25, 1731, died July 1, 1793, daughter of Thomas and Judith (Robinson) Saunders, daughter of Captain Andrew Robinson, of Gloucester. In 1725 Thomas Saunders was lieutenant (mate) of the sloop "Merry Making," and passed much of his life in the service of the province and the government as commander of a vessel. On one of his voyages he was made prisoner by the French and Indians, but soon succeeded in making his escape, taking away with him at the same time a bag containing about $200 of the enemy's gold. He was a son of Thomas Saunders, who first appears in Cape Ann history in 1702, and in 1704 had of his commoners an acre of land between the head of the harbor and Cripple cove. In 1706 he was granted a piece of flat land on the shore, where he carried on an extensive business in building vessels. In 1725 he was commander of the sloop "Merry Making," of which his son Thomas was mate. Winthrop and Judith (Saunders) Sargent had children: 1. Judith, born May 5, 1751, died 1821; married first, October 3, 1769, John Stevens, who died March 8, 1789; second John Murray, and by him had daughter, Julia Maria Murray, married Adam Louis Benjamin, and had children, Charlotte and Louis. 2. Winthrop, born May 1, 1753, died in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 3, 1820; married first, in Ohio, a daughter of General Tupper; second, October, 1798, Mary Williams, who died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 9, 1844, widow of David Williams, a Mississippi planter. Children: Winthrop Fitz William, died young; George Washington, married Margaret Percey. 3. Esther, born 1755; married John Stevens Ellery; had John Stevens Ellery and Sarah Ellery, the later of whom became wife of Ignatius Sargent. 4. Catherine, born March 24, 1757, died April 24, 1757. 5. Catherine, born July 5, 1758, died June 15, 1759. 6. Sarah, born July 12, 1765, died September 6, 1766. 7. Fitz William, born August 14, 1768, died October 6, 1822; married September 3, 1789, Anna Parsons (see post). 8. Sarah, born December 3, 1771, died October 5, 1775.

(V) General Winthrop Sargent, eldest son of Winthrop and Judith (Saunders) Sargent, was a character of almost national importance during the revolution and the several years next following when a serious Indian uprising on the western frontier called for summary action on the part of the federal government. When the revolution began he was on a voyage to the West Indies in one of his father's trading vessels, and immediately after his return to Gloucester he entered the service and was placed in command of a company in Colonel Crane's regiment of artillery. He was with Washington at the battles of Trenton and Brandywine, later was aide to General Howe in the Carolinas, and by reason of his service was commissioned major. After the close of the war he was commissioned adjutant-general, and took part in the western expedition against the Indians who declared was under leadership of Pontiac. Subsequently he was made secretary and acting governor of the northwest territory, and still later took up his residence near Natchez, Mississippi, where he built a mansion house and named the locality Gloster place, in allusion to his own native town on Cape Ann. In 1796 General Winthrop was appointed governor of Mississippi, and continued in that office about five years, when with a change in the national administration he was deposed for purely political reasons; but he kept his residence at Gloster place until his death.

(V) Fitz William Sargent, youngest son of Winthrop and Judith (Saunders) Sargent, engaged in mercantile pursuits in Gloucester, and lived a quiet business life. He was a prudent man in his business and domestic affairs, his efforts being rewarded with a competency, but for many years he suffered with a rheumatic affliction which caused his death, October 6, 1822. He married, September 3, 1789, Anna, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Parsons, and a descendant of one of the oldest colonial families of New England (see Parsons family). She died August 5, 1860. Children: 1. Anna Maria, born July 11, 1790, died August 27, 1794. 2. Winthrop, born January 20, 1792; (see post). 3. Sarah, born September 24, 1793, died October 20, 1883; married January 2, 1817, Rev. Samuel Worcester, born Thornton, New Hampshire, August 31, 1793, son of Rev. Noah Worcester, D. D. and his first wife, Hannah Brown. Rev. Samuel Worcester removed with his father to Brighton, Massachusetts, received his license to preach in 1819, and was employed in teaching and preaching in Newton and Boston, Massachusetts, Natchez, Mississippi, Gloucester and Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, until 1834, when he became settled pastor of the New Jerusalem church in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He died there December 25, 1844. He published several valuable books for use in schools. By his wife Sarah Sargent he had nine children: Anna, born November 5, 1817, died March 21, 1835; Fitz William Sargent, born in Natchez, Mississippi, December 18, 1819, died in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, January 17, 1855; Sarah Parson, born December 22, 1821, married June 15, 1845, Charles J. Doughty, of Brooklyn, New York; Samuel Howard, born Gloucester, Massachusetts, February 16, 1824; Francis, born December 5, 1825, married October 20, 1846, Abby Kieth; Ellen Gorham, born January 20, 1828, died December 11, 1832; Edward, born January 28, 1830; Theodore Parsons, born August 7, 1832, died August 30, 1840; Emma, born March 22, 1836, married, October, 1853, Dr. John Turner. Of these children the Rev. Samuel Howard Worcester, born February 16, 1824, received his education in Brown University, afterward became principal of the academy in Framingham, Massachusetts, and was ordained pastor of the New Jerusalem church, Baltimore, Maryland, August 28, 1851. He married first, September 22, 1844, Jane Ames Washburn, born March 9, 1821, died December 7, 1854, daughter of Calvin Washburn, of Bridgewater, Massachusetts; married second, October 11, 1855, Elizabeth Ann, daughter of Townsend Scott, of Baltimore, Maryland, and his wife Elizabeth Bullock Stockton, of Burlington township, New Jersey. Six children were born of his first marriage. Emma Worcester, born January 25, 1861, daughter of Rev. Samuel Howard Worcester and Elizabeth Ann Scott, his second wife, married October 20, 1886, Winthrop Sargent, son of Dr. Winthrop Sargent and Elizabeth Browne, and grandson of Winthrop Sargent and Emily Haskell. 3. Judith, born April 12, 1795; married first, November 27, 1817, David Williams, who died May, 1821; second, May 6, 1824, David Worcester, who died July 25, 1845. 4. Juliana, born March 27, 1797, died April 5, 1842; married December 19, 1820, Edward B. Babbitt. 5. Fitz William, born December 18, 1799, died October 23, 1818. 6. Thomas Parsons, born September 24, died Sep 26, 1801. 7. Mary, born July 4, 1806, died aged ninety-two years.

(VI) Winthrop Sargent, eldest son of Fitz William and Anna (Parsons) Sargent, was known as "the Gloucester merchant," having succeeded his father in business and continued it until 1829, when he removed with his family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was representative from Gloucester to the general court in 1823, but otherwise does not appear to have taken a prominent part in public affairs. In Philadelphia he became actively identified with the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, and devoted his attention closely to the work of that organization and also to church work in general. He continued to live in Philadelphia until his death, except during a few years which were spent in Byfield parish, Newbury, Massachusetts, at the home of his son, Gorham Parsons Sargent. On May 17, 1814, Winthrop Sargent married Emily Haskell, of Gloucester, a descendant of William Haskell, who was born in England in 1617, and came to New England as early as 1637 with his elder brother Roger and his younger brother Mark, and settled in that part of Salem which is now Beverly. Winthrop Sargent and Emily Haskell had eight children: 1. Anna Maria, born June 6, 1815; married November 22, 1848, Moses Allen Low; children: Eliza, born January 24, 1850; Lucy, July 21, 1851; Winthrop Sargent, May 20, 1853; David Low, April 5, 1855; Anna Sargent, November 11, 1858. 2. Emily, born April 6, 1817; married September 19, 1841, Henry Pleasants; had: Mary Haskell, born August 2, 1842, died September 10, 1843; Israel, born October 2, 1843, died November 27, 1847; Emily Sargent, born September 15, 1845; Sally, born December 30, 1848; Elizabeth Byrd, born July 10, 1851; Henry, born September 12, 1853. 3. Fitz William, born January 19, 1820; married November 27, 1850, Mary Newbold Singer, had: Mary Newbold, born May 3, 1852, died July, 1853; John Singer, born January 12, 1856; Emily, born January 29, 1857; Mary Winthrop, born 1865. 4. Winthrop, born July 8, 1822; (see post). 5. Henry, born June 2, 1825; married, October, 1864, Sophie H. Malin. 6. John Haskell, born February 8, 1828; married June 2, 1853, Frances Eugenia Hall. 7. Thomas Parsons, born July 19, 1830; married December 13, 1854, Jane Elizabeth Goodall. 8. Gorham Parsons, born December 10, 1834; married, January, 1865, Caroline B. Montmellin.

(VII) Dr. Winthrop Sargent, second son and fourth child of Winthrop and Emily (Haskell) Sargent, was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, July 8, 1822, and died in Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts. His literary education was acquired at Dartmouth College, where he graduated A. B., and he was educated in medicine in the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, graduating M. D. in 1847. He practiced several years in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, and in 1855 located in Philadelphia and afterward lived in that city, practicing general medicine and minor surgery, and he ranked with the ablest and most successful men of his profession in Philadelphia, a city long noted as a center of medical learning and the home of medical men of eminent distinction. In 1862 Dr. Sargent was surgeon-in-chief of the United States Military Hospital at Kingsessing, and later on during the period of the war was a contract army surgeon. He was a familiar figure in all medical circles during the thirty years of his active practice in Philadelphia, and held membership in various professional organizations: member of the American Medical Association; the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, its recording and also its corresponding secretary; one of the founders, ex-secretary and ex-president of the Montgomery County Medical Society; member and for several years censor of the Philadelphia County Medical Society; and fellow of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Philadelphia. For six years he was a school director in Philadelphia. Dr. Sargent married first, in Philadelphia, November 16, 1847, Elizabeth Browne, the mother of all his children. She died April 25, 1864, and he married second, Anna Combe, daughter of William W. and Jane Caldwell, of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Children: 1. Samuel Browne, born December 13, 1848. 2. Winthrop, born August 18, 1853 (see post). 3. Jane Tunis, born January 28, 1856. 4. Fitz William, born January 4, 1859. 5. Katie, born May 15, died May 25, 1862. 6. Elizabeth, born October 26, 1863.

(VIII) Winthrop Sargent, second son and child of Dr. Winthrop and Elizabeth (Browne) Sargent, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 18, 1853, and now lives in Haverford, a suburb of Philadelphia, maintaining a summer residence at Bass Rocks, Gloucester, the ancient seat of his ancestors in New England. He has engaged in various enterprises, the iron and steel business, and also has been connected with the office force of the Pennsylvania railroad Company in Philadelphia. Mr. Sargent married, October 20, 1886, Emma Worcester, born January 25, 1861, daughter of Rev. Samuel Howard Worcester and Elizabeth Ann Scott, his second wife, and granddaughter of Rev. Samuel Worcester and Sarah Sargent (see ante; see Worcester family). Winthrop Sargent and Emma Worcester have children: 1. Winthrop, born August 21, 1887; graduated from Haverhill (Penn.) College, 1908, with highest honors; is attending Harvard University as a post-graduate student. 2. Samuel Worcester, born April 13, 1889; is a student at Harvard University. 3. Gorham Parsons, born August 18, 1891. 4. Fitz William, born October 10, 1892. 5. Richard Milne, born January 6, 1899, died January 9, same year.

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