John Bigelow

Male - 1703


Personal Information    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name  John Bigelow  [1, 2
    Gender  Male 
    Baptism  16 Feb 1617  Wrentham, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    • He was baptized by Rev. John Philip who came to Massachusetts in 1638 but returned to England several years later.
    Will  04 Jan 1703 
    Died  14 Jul 1703  Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 5
    Probate  28 Jul 1703 
    Notes 
    • The immigrant ancestor of nearly all persons in North America bearing the surname Bigelow in any of its several variants, is John Biglo of Watertown, Middlesex county, Massachusetts. He lived from 1617 to 1703. Many of his descendants have been recorded in a genealogy entitled Genealogy of the Bigelow Family of America, written by Gilman Bigelow Howe, printed 1890.

      The book was published by Charles Hamilton of Boston, and is no longer available except by photo-copy reprint. Re-bound used copies occasionally come into the used-book market with the simple title Bigelow Genealogy.

      In this book Howe states that be was unable to obtain any satisfactory account of the progenitor of John Biglo, and quotes conflicting traditions stating that the surname is of various national origins. He also quotes the late genealogist H.G. Somerby, who felt that John Biglo came from Wrentham, Suffolk, England, and was son of Randall and Jane Beageley, who had their youngest son, John baptised 16 Feb 1617. Also, from the probate records of Wrentham, Somerby quotes the will of Francis Baguley, blacksmith of Wrentham, who in a will dated 20 Oct 1656, granted five pounds "to his brother John Baguley, now living in New England, if he comes for it within two years." He offered no proof that Francis was son of Randall Baguley.

      The rector of Wrentham parish in 1617 was the Rev. John Phillips, who later emigrated to Dedham, Massachusetts. During his years in Dedham, Phillips once stated that the blacksmith John Biglo of Watertown, Massachusetts was the same infant whom he had baptised in 1617 as the son of Randall Beageley, and that he (Phillips) had "known John Biglo from earliest youth upward."

      Further, in a civil case in Watertown during his lifetime, John Biglo took the witness stand and identified himself as "John Biglo, formerly of Wrentham, England." From these facts we state the identity and parentage of John Biglo, and through parish and probate records in England, can prove three generations of his English ancestry.

      John Biglo seems to have arrived in Watertown, MA by 1632. As early as 1636 he was a resident of Saybrook Fort in Connecticut. He probably came with an older relative, Elizabeth Bigelow, second wife of Deacon Richard Butler, who after a short stay in Massachusetts, followed the Rev. Thomas Hooker to Connecticut. It is assumed that Elizabeth was an older sister or first cousin. No ship's-records exist showing the date of their arrival.

      John Biglo took part in the Pequot War of 1636. By 1642 he returned to Watertown. The next public mention we find of him is his marriage in Watertown on 30 Oct 1642--the first marriage recorded in Watertown--before Mr. Nowell, to Mary Warren, daughter of John and Margaret Warren. Mary Warren was baptised 12 Sep 1624 at Nayland, Suffolk, England.

      The book Reminiscences of the History of Marlborough, MA 1910, by Ella Bigelow, contains a fictional but colorful description of how John and Mary might have dressed for their wedding.

      To quote from Howe's book, "from the list of those who took the oath of fidelity at Watertown 1652, we find that John Biggalough was one of the number, and he became a freeman 18 Apr 1690 which we find from the roll of freemen written as John Bigolo; under the same date we find that Samuel Begaloo was made a freeman, and by another list, date 16 May 1690, we find Samuel Biggilo and John Warren, jr. were made freemen. One the return of soldiers who were in the service of 25 Nov to 3 Dec 1675 [King Phillip's War) we find the names of John Bigulah sr., Michael Flegg, and Isaac Leonard, the last being wounded.

      Thus we find the name variously spelled by different officials, but when we find the name written by any member of the family, in those early days it is written Biglo, Bigelo, or Bigelow."

      John Biglo appears by various accounts to have been a blacksmith, and again from town records we quote: "Agreed with John Biglo that for ten trees the towne allowed him for the setting up of a shop for a Smithes forge, that he shall either go on with his promise of setting up his trade, which is the trade of a Smith, within one twelfmonth after the date hereof or else to pay unto the towne ten shillings for these ten trees he acknowledged to have off the towne." Dated 4 Mar 1651.

      John Biglo was chosen a surveyor of highways in 1652 and 1660, a constable [tax-collector] in 1663, and one of the selectmen or town council, in 1665, 1670, and 1671. His homesite consisted of six acres and was bounded north by Richard Ambler and William Parker, east by Thomas Straight, south by the highway, and on the west by Miles Ives. After the death of his wife Mary on 19 Oct 1691, he married (2) on 2 Oct 1694, Sarah Bemis, daughter of Joseph Bemis. She outlived him. He died on 14 July 1703, at the age of 86 years, as recorded in town records. His will was dated 4 Jan 1703 and was proved 23 July 1703.

      The will of John Biglo in its entirety, is as follows:

      "In the name of God amen. I John Biglo of Watertown in the county of Middlesex within her Majesties Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England, being weeke of body but in sound disposing Memory prais be given to god for the same, Do make this my last will and testament in manner & form following, that is to say first andvprincipally I resign my soul unto the mercy full hands of allmighty god my Creator assuredly hoping through the mercy of my blessed Saviour to obtain pardon remission of all my sins and my body I commit to the earth whence it was taken, to be decently buried by the descreshion of my executors hereinafter named and as for the worldly goods & estate the lord hath lone me I dispose thereof as follows:

      "Imp. I give and bequeath unto Sarah my well beloved wife, and to her heirs & assigns forever, all the lands and movable estate, that was hers before our marriage, and fourty pounds in money, twenty pounds of s'd money to be p'd her within one month after my decease and twenty pounds within one year after my dece's I give unto her forty pounds waight of good pork, three bushels of barley, and one bushel of indian corn, five pounds waight in butter and five pounds waight in Chees, and also two Sheep, and half the flax that shall be in the house at my Deces--and that to be in full satisfaction of her thirds.

      "2ndly I give & bequeath to my eldest son John Biglo, & to his heirs & assigns forever, twenty pounds in money to be p'd within one year after my Deces, and in case my s'd son have an heir lawfully begotten of his own body, I give & bequeath his s'd heir twenty pounds in money to be p'd to him or her, when it shall be twenty one years of age, or day of marriage which shall first happen, but if it hapon my s'd son deces without an heir as above s'd, then my will is y't ye abolves'd twenty pounds be equally divided between my children then surviving.

      "3rdly I give & bequeath to my son Jonathan Biglo, and to his heirs & assigns forever, twenty five pounds in money to be p'd him within one year after my deces.

      "4thly I give & bequeath to my son Daniell Biglo and to his heirs & assigns forever, twenty five pounds in money to be p'd him within one year after my deces.

      "5thly I give & bequeath to my son Samuel Biglo and to his heirs & assigns forever ten pounds in money besides what he hath already had, to be p'd to him with one year after my deces.

      "6thly I give and bequeath unto my son Joshua Biglo and to his heirs & assigns forever two parcels of lands lying on the westerly side of bow brook in s'd town. Purchased of Lieut Chas Hammond as may more fully appear by the deed of the same, and twenty five pounds in money, to be p'd him within one year after my deces.

      "7thly I give & bequeath unto my son James Biglo fifteen pounds, which I lent him as may appear by a bond under his hand and seal, and I give & bequeath to my said son James's son James Biglo ten pounds in money to be p'd him if he shall live to the age of twenty one years, but if it so happen that he deces before s'd age, then ye s'd ten pounds to be equally divided between my s'd son James surviving children, when they shall be of the age of twenty one years or day of marriage which shall first happen.

      "8thly I give & bequeath to my Daughter Mary Flagg and to her heirs & assigns forever. twenty five pounds in money to be p'd her within two years after my deces.

      "9thly I give & bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Stearns' children twenty five pounds in money, to be p'd them, when they are twenty one years of age, or day of marriage which shall first happen.

      "10thly. I give & bequeath to my daughter Sarah Learned, and to her heirs and assigns forever, twenty five pounds in money, within three years after my Deces.

      "Ilthly. Igive bequeath to my daughter Martha Wood's children, lawfully begotten of her own body, twenty five pounds in money to be p'd them equally alike, when they shall arrive at the age of twenty one years or day of marriage, which shall first happen.

      "12thly. I give & bequeath unto my daughter Abigail Herrington & to her heirs & assigns, twenty five pounds in money, to be p'd within four years after my deces.

      "And I nominate, ordain, & appoint my above s'd son Joshua Biglo and my son in law Isaac Larned my Sole Executors to see this my last will & testament performed and all the rest and residue of my estate not herein bequeathed, after all my just debts and funeral charges are p'd my will is that it be divided between my s'd executors, that is to say, two parts of three, to my s'd son Joshua, and one third to my son in law Isaac Learnerd, and do request my trusty and well beloved friend, Capt. Benj. Garfield to be overseer of this my last will & testament, my s'd executors to allow him out of my estate for his cost & charges reasonable sattisfaction to his content, Revoking & making null & void all former or other wills by me heretofore made. In witness herof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this fourth day of January one thousand seven hundred two/three, in the first year of the reign of our lady Anna, by the Grace of God over England & Queen.

      his
      John x Biglo
      mark

      Signed, seald & Published
      Sam'l Livermore
      Daniel Harrington Witnesses
      Munning Sawin!'

      The inventory of John ~Biglo's estate amounted to 627-12-00. This was a middle-class fortune. Among the expenses charged for the funeral were several pairs of black gloves, twenty gallons of wine, bottles for the wine, allspice and sugar, and two men and horses to carry the wine and other articles to the funeral, also "a man and horse to notify Isaac Larned and wife at Sherburne to attend the funeral, and a man and horse to notify John Stearns at Billerica to attend the funeral."

      An additional note comes from the Knight family genealogy, in which Joseph Knight and his wife Hannah in 1649 sold 'a mansion and land' to John Biglo. A map of early Watertown is shown in Robinson and Wheeler's book, Great Little Watertown; the land owned by John Biglo appears at the extreme left of the map, as does the adjoining parcel purchased from Joseph Knight.

      John Biglo owned several pieces of property, and in 1686 executed a gift-in-deed, conveying to Samuel Biglow and wife, 16 acres and the house thereon "already occupied by my son Samuel."
    Person ID  I12405  Bryant
    Last Modified  29 Nov 2002 

    Father  Randall Bigelow (Baguley),   b. Abt 1578, Ollerton Hall, Cheshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 May 1626, Wrentham, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Jane,   d. 01 May 1626 
    Married  probably, Cheshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Family ID  F808  Group Sheet

    Family 1  Mary Warren,   d. 19 Oct 1691, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  30 Oct 1642  Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 5, 7
    Children 
     1. John Bigelow,   b. 27 Oct 1643, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1721, Hartford, Hartford Co, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Jonathan Bigelow,   b. 11 Dec 1646, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Jan 1711, Hartford, Hartford Co, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Mary Bigelow,   b. 18 Mar 1649, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 03 Sep 1704, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Daniel Bigelow,   b. 01 Dec 1650, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1715, Framingham, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. Samuel Bigelow,   b. 28 Oct 1653, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 Feb 1732, Waltham, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
     6. Joshua Bigelow,   b. 05 Nov 1655, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 Feb 1745, Westminster, Worcester Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
     7. Elizabeth Bigelow,   b. 18 Jun 1657, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Apr 1694, Billerica, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
     8. Sarah Bigelow,   b. 29 Sep 1659, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1702, Framingham, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
     9. James Bigelow,   b. Abt 1660, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Jan 1728, Weston, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
     10. Martha Bigelow,   b. 01 Apr 1662, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
     11. Abigail Bigelow,   b. 04 Feb 1664, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Jan 1754, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
     12. Hannah Bigelow,   b. 03 Mar 1664/65, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 08 Mar 1664/65, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
     13. son Bigelow,   b. 18 Dec 1667, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Dec 1667, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location
    Family ID  F724  Group Sheet

    Family 2  Sarah Bemis,   b. 15 Jan 1643, Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1712 
    Married  02 Oct 1694  Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Family ID  F807  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBaptism - 16 Feb 1617 - Wrentham, Suffolk, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 30 Oct 1642 - Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 02 Oct 1694 - Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 14 Jul 1703 - Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S38] Bigelow, Bigelow Family, Editor: Bigelow, Patricia, (Flint, MI: The Bigelow Society, Inc,, 1986), p.8-10.

    2. [S233] Saybrook Founders, Descendants, Staplins, Elaine F., Chairman, (The Founders Committee, Saybrook, CT, 1985), John Bagley.

    3. [S17] Threlfall, 50 GMC, Threlfall, John Brooks, (Heritage Books Inc., reprinted, Bowie, MD, 1990), F3T581990..

    4. [S203] Lawless, Parker, Lawless, Thomas, (Author, 1981 & 1983 (Revised edition:1990)), Bigelow family.

    5. [S261] Ancestry of Eva Kempton, Smith, Dean Crawford & Sanborn, Melinde Lutz, (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA, 1996), p.473.

    6. [S38] Bigelow, Bigelow Family, Editor: Bigelow, Patricia, (Flint, MI: The Bigelow Society, Inc,, 1986), p.3.

    7. [S38] Bigelow, Bigelow Family, Editor: Bigelow, Patricia, (Flint, MI: The Bigelow Society, Inc,, 1986), p.7.


Send me eMail
© This Site Copyright Don Bryant 2019
This site powered by The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding

© written by Darrin Lythgoe 2001-2019
Other Sites Using TNG
Back to Home Page