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cAncestry of 
William Howard Taft 


Ancestry of William Howard Taft 





Washburn of Ludlow, Vermont 
The Royal Thachers 
Jay Gould's Ancestry 
The Goelets in New York 
The Ghent of the de Peysters 
The Toppings 
Washington's Ancestry 
Lincoln's Ancestry 
Genealogy by Photography : The 
Gable Family 

The Schermerhorns 

Papal Nobility in New York 

The Beckmans 

The Phelps 

The Stillmans 

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WiUiam Howard Taft 

Ancestry of 
William How^ard Taft 







Copyright, 1908, by 
Frank Allaben Genealogical Company 






I Taft II 

II Torrey 24 

III Rawson 29 

IV Wilson 34 

V Grindall 36 

VI Hooker 3g 

VII Cheney 43 

VIII Emerson 46 



Portrait of William Howard Taft 

(Frontispiece) 4 

Site of Robert Taft's Homestead 12 

"Taft's Pond," Mendon 13 

Portrait of William Howard Taft 21 

Torrey House, Mendon 25 

Gravestone of Nathaniel Emerson 47 

Silver Drinking Cup of Thomas Emerson . . 49 



The first known American ancestor of the Taft 
family is Robert Taft, or Taff e, who was bom about 
1640. The date of his coming to New England is 
unknown, but he was one of the Braintree men 
who formed the new village of Mendon, Massachu- 
setts, when the latter was set off from Braintree, 
in 1667. In 1678 he still owned a lot in Braintree, 
which he sold to Caleb Hobart, 18 November, 1679. 

At Mendon he was a man of influence in the 
conduct of affairs. An indication of this is the title 
of respect given to him in the early records, for to 
be called "Mr." was always a distinction among 
our democratic forebears. He served on the first 
Board of Selectmen in 1680, and in the same year 
was a member of the committee appointed to build 
a house for the minister. This office, in the good 
old New England days when the minister was the 
great man of the community, was one of trust and 
dignity, and, in Robert Taft's case, it was also 
bestowed upon him because of his technical fitness, 
his trade being that of a housewright. In the 
necessities of the early colonies all a man's abilities 
were, perforce, pressed into service, and he who 
understood the carpenter's craft was a most useful 


citizen. So Robert Taft made not only houses, but, 
with his sons, built the first bridge across Mendon 

He was a man of property in those early, simpler 
days, buying much land. The site of his homestead, 
facing a beautiful little lake, once known as "Taft's 
Pond," is still held by Robert Taft's descendants. 
Land of his holding was included in that from 

Site of 

Robert Taft's 


which the town of Sutton was formed. Some of 
the colonists seemed to have regarded his prosperity 
with disfavor, for they complained of him to the 
General Court. The latter's action is recorded, 
27 May, 1682, as follows: 

"Touching Robert Taffe, the person complayned 
of for irregular trading with the Indeans, that mat- 
ter is wholly left to the County Court of Suffolk to 
doe therein as they shall judge meet unto whom the 
peticoners may apply them.selves for releife." 

Robert Taft died 8 February, 1725. His wife, 
whose name was Sarah, died in the following 



November. Their sons were: Thomas Taft, who 
was born in 1671 and died in 1755; Robert Taft, 
born in 1674; Daniel Taft, born in 1677, who died 
24 August, 1 761 ; Joseph Taft, of the Hne of descent; 
and Benjamin Taft, born in 1684, who died in 1766. 

Captain Joseph- Taft (Robert^), the fourth son 
of Robert and Sarah Taft, was bom in Mendon in 
1680. He removed to Uxbridge when that village 
was set off from Mendon, and was appointed one 
of the "tything-men" at the first Uxbridge town- 
meeting, 25 July, 1727. 

His farm in Uxbridge lay on both sides of Black- 
stone River, his homestead being on the west side. 

He served as Lieutenant and Captain in the 
Militia, and continued to uphold the eminence of 
the Tafts as practically useful citizens. He died at 
Uxbridge, 18 June, 1747. 

In 1708 Captain Taft married Elizabeth, the 
daughter of James and Sarah Emerson, who was 
born at Ipswich, Massachusetts, 6 March, 1687, 
and died at Uxbridge in 1760, An account of 
Elizabeth Emerson's ancestry is given elsewhere 
in this book. Joseph Taft and his wife had nine 
children, among whom were: Moses Taft, born in 
1 7 13; Peter Taft, of the line of descent; Joseph 
Taft, born in 1722; and Aaron Taft, who was born 
12 April, 1729. 





Captain Peter' Taft (Captain Joseph,^ Robert^), 
the second son of Captain Joseph Taft and Eliza- 
beth Emerson, was born in Uxbridge in 17 15. He 
carried on his farm and was a Captain in the 
Militia. It was perhaps this Peter Taft whose mili- 
tary record, making him one of the heroes of 
Bunker Hill, is given as follows, in "Massachusetts 
Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War." 

"Taft, Peter, Uxbridge. Sergeant, Capt. Joseph 
Chapin's co. of Minute-men, which marched on the 
alarm of April ig, 1775; service, 11 days; also. 
Ensign, Capt. Edward Seagrave's co.. Col. Joseph 
Read's regt. ; regimental return dated Camp at Rox- 
bury, May 18, 1775; commissions for said Taft and 
other officers received by Col. Read, at Watertown, 
May 24, 1775; also 2d Lieutenant, Capt. Edward 
Seagrave's co.. Col. Joseph Read's (20th) regt., 
muster roll dated Aug. i, 1775; engaged April 26, 
1775; service, 3 mos. 13 days; also company return 
dated Sept. 25, 1775." 

Captain Peter Taft married Elizabeth, the 
daughter of Josiah Cheney and Hannah Mason, 
She was born in Medfield, Massachusetts, 21 Sep- 
tember, 1707. An account of Elizabeth Cheney's 
ancestry is given elsewhere in this book. 

The sons of Captain Peter Taft and Elizabeth 
Cheney were: Henry Taft; Gershom Taft; Aaron 
Taft, of the line of descent; and Peter Taft, to 
whom it is possible the Revolutionary War record, 
cited above, should be applied, rather than to his 
father, Captain Peter Taft. 



Aaron* Taft (Captain Peter,^ Captain Joseph,- 
Robert^), the third son of Captain Peter Taft and 
Elizabeth Cheney, was born at Uxbridge, 28 May, 
1743. It would be interesting to know why Prince- 
ton College was selected for his education, rather 
than the nearby Harvard. His stay at Princeton 
was, however, but a short one, as he was needed at 
home, and one can pity the ambitious boy called 
from his studies to help in the conduct of the farm. 
His spirit did not, however, lose its ardor, for, as he 
left the grave joys of a scholar for the homely 
duties of a farmer, so, at his Country's call, did he 
leave his plow. In the "Massachusetts Soldiers and 
Sailors of the Revolutionary War," appears the 
following record, which probably applies to this 
Aaron Taft: 

"Taft, Aaron, Uxbridge. Sergeant, Capt. Joseph 
Chapin's co. of Minute-men, which marched on the 
alarm of April 19, 1775; service, 15 days." 

Aaron Taft removed, in 1799, from Uxbridge, 
and settled in Townshend, Windham County, Ver- 
mont. As he was the last of William Howard 
Taft's ancestors in Uxbridge, it is, perhaps, appro- 
priate to speak here of an interesting episode 
connected with one of the Taft farms in North 
Uxbridge. This farm was, in 1789, owned by 
Samuel Taft, and here Washington stayed on his 
journey from Boston to Hartford, from which latter 
city he wrote to his host the following letter, 
charming in its kindly feeling and modest sincerity : 


"Hartford, November 8, 1789. 
"Sir,— Being informed that you have given my 
name to one of your sons, and called another after 
Mrs. Washington's family, and being moreover 
very much pleased with the modest and innocent 
looks of your two daughters, Patty and Polly, I do 
for these reasons send each of these girls a piece of 
chintz; and to Patty, who bears the name of Mrs. 
Washington, and who waited more upon us than 
Polly did, I send five guineas, with which she may 
buy herself any little ornaments she may want, or 
she may dispose of them in any other manner more 
agreeable to herself. As I do not give these things 
with a view to have it talked of, or even to its being 
known, the less there is said about the matter the 
better you will please me; but, that I may be sure 
the chintz and money have got safe to hand, let 
Patty, who I dare say, is equal to it, write me a 
line informing me thereof, directed to the President 
of the United States at New York. I wish you and 
your family well, and am your humble servant, 

"George Washington." 
Aaron Taft died in Townshend, Vermont, 26 
March, 1808. His wife was Rhoda, the daughter 
of Abner Rawson and Mary Allen. She died 
9 June, 1827. An account of Rhoda Rawson's 
family is given elsewhere in this book. 

Their children were: Milley Taft, born 29 July, 
1769, who married Ezekiel Clark; Selina Taft, born 
20 February, 1771, who married Jesse Murdock; 
Cynthia Taft, born 17 August, 1773, who married 


Nathaniel Butler; Rawson Taft, born 15 October, 
I775» who died in 1776; Nancy Taft, born 
20 August, 1777, who married the Reverend David 
R. Dixon; Zeruiah Taft, born 21 November, 1779, 
who married Major Willard Lovell; Mary Taft, 
born 12 July, 1783, who married Nathaniel Stiles; 
Peter Rawson Taft, of the line of descent; Sophia 
Taft, born 3 December, 1787, who died in 1843; 
Judson Taft, bom 6 November, 1791, who died in 
1794; and Samuel Judson Taft, born 4 October, 
1794, who married Lucy Hay ward. 

Judge Peter Rawson^' Taft (Aaron,* Captain 
Peter,' Captain Joseph,- Robert'), the eighth child 
of Aaron Taft and Rhoda Rawson, was born in 
Uxbridge, Massachusetts, 14 April, 1785. As a 
child he was taken by his parents to Townshend, 
Vermont. He taught for a time, later entering the 
legal profession. He became Judge of the Court of 
Common Pleas, the Probate Court, and the County 
Court of Windham County, Vermont. He was one 
of the Commissioners of the County, and for many 
years served in the Vermont State Legislature. 

In 1841 he left Vermont and settled in Cincinnati, 
Ohio. Here he died in 1867. 

Judge Taft married, in 1810, Sylvia Howard. 
Their son was Alphonso Taft. 

The Honorable Alphonso" Taft (Judge Peter 
Rawson,^ Aaron,* Captain Peter,^ Captain Joseph,^ 
Robert^), the son of Judge Peter Rawson Taft and 
Sylvia Howard, was born at Townshend, Vermont, 
5 November, 1810. He entered Yale College in 


1829, graduating with high honors in 1833, after 
v/hich he taught for two years in Judge Hall's 
Academy at Ellington, Connecticut, and was also 
a tutor at Yale. He studied law at the Yale Law 
School and was admitted to the Bar in Connecticut 
in 1838. A year later he removed to Cincinnati, 
Ohio, and there entered upon a brilliant legal 

In 1865 the Governor of Ohio appointed Mr. Taft 
to a vacancy in the Superior Court of Cincinnati, to 
which office he was also elected by the people for 
two more terms. He resigned, in 1872, his Judge- 
ship and, with his two sons, formed the law firm of 
"A. Taft & Sons." 

President Grant appointed Mr. Taft Secretary of 
War in 1876, and the following year he became 
Attorney General, holding that office until the close 
of the Administration, in March, 1877, when he 
resumed his practice in Cincinnati. In 1856 he was 
a delegate to the National Republican Convention 
which nominated Fremont for President, and the 
same year was a nominee for Congress. 

In 1882 President Arthur appointed Mr. Taft 
United States Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court 
of Austria, and two years later he was sent to the 
Court of Russia. Soon after his arrival in Russia 
he became ill and was obliged to return to the 
United States. 

Mr. Taft died in San Diego, California, 21 May, 
1891, aged eighty years. 



He was twice married. His first wife was Fanny, 
the daughter of Judge Charles Phelps, of Towns- 
hend, Vermont, whom he married in 1841, She 
died in 1851. They had five children, three of 
whom died in infancy. The other two children of this 
marriage were: Charles Phelps Taft, born in 1843, 
who graduated from Yale in 1864, received a degree 
from the University of Heidelberg, was a partner 
in the law firm of "A. Taft & Sons," and later 
entered the field of journalism, being, in 1908, the 
owner and editor of the Cincinnati Times-Star ; and 
Peter Rawson Taft, a graduate of Yale in 1867, who 
practiced law in Cincinnati, and died in 1888. 

Judge Taft married, second, 26 December, 1853, 
Louisa Maria, the daughter of Samuel Davenport 
Torrey, of Millbury, Massachusetts. An account of 
the Torrey family appears elsewhere in this book. 
The children of this marriage were : Samuel Daven- 
port Taft, who died in infancy; William Howard 
Taft, whose biography follows; Henry Waters 
Taft, born in Cincinnati in 1859, a graduate of Yale 
in 1880, and a prominent lawyer of New York City, 
being a member of the firm of Strong and Cadwala- 
der; Horace Dutton Taft, who was born in Cincin- 
nati, 28 December, 1861, graduated from Yale in 
1883, was admitted to the Bar but left the legal 
profession to become a teacher, taught Latin at 
Yale three years, and, since 1890, has been head of 
The Taft School for Boys, at Watertown, Connecti- 
cut; and Fanny Louise Taft, who was born in 
Cincinnati in 1865, married Doctor William A. 


Edwards, and resides in Los Angeles, California. 

The Honorable William Howard^ Taft (The 
Honorable Alphonso," Judge Peter Rawson,'' 
Aaron,* Captain Peter,^ Captain Joseph,- Robert'), 
the second child of the Honorable Alphonso Taft 
and Louisa Maria Torrey, was born in Cincinnati, 
Ohio, 15 September, 1857. He received his early 
education in the Public Schools of Cincinnati, 
graduating from the Woodward High School in 
1874. In 1878 he graduated from Yale, with the 
degree of Bachelor of Arts. The same year he 
entered the Law School of Cincinnati, receiving 
therefrom, in 1880, the degree of Bachelor of Laws, 
and was at once admitted to the Bar of Ohio. For 
a time Mr. Taft was Law Reporter for the Cincin- 
nati Times and the Cincinnati Commercial. In 
1 88 1 he was appointed Assistant Prosecuting 
Attorney, resigning the following year to become 
Collector of Internal Revenue for the first district 
of Ohio. This office he gave up in 1883, and 
resumed his legal practice. 

In 1887 Governor Foraker appointed him Judge 
of the Superior Court of Cincinnati, to fill the 
vacancy caused by the resignation of Judson 
Harmon. At the expiration of the term he was 
elected to the same office, which he held for five 
years. In 1890 he was appointed by President 
Harrison Solicitor General of the United States, 
which post he resigned in 1892, then becoming 
United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Judicial 
Circuit. He was chosen, in 1896, by the Faculty of 


William Howard Taft 



the University of Cincinnati, to become Professor 
and Dean of the Law School. 

William Howard Taft became the first Civil 
Governor of the Philippines, 4 July, 1901. Because 
of illness, he returned to the United States, but was 
sent, in 1902, by President Roosevelt, to lay before 
Pope Leo XIII. the matter of the purchase by our 
Government of lands owned by Religious Orders 
in the Philippines. This important and delicate 
affair Mr. Taft conducted with success, and then 
returned, in August, 1902, to the Philippines, to 
resume his Governorship. 

In 1904 Mr. Taft entered upon the office of Secre- 
tary of War, succeeding Elihu Root. Toward the 
close of that year he was sent to Panama by 
President Roosevelt, to confer with the authorities 
there upon questions of government of the Canal 

At the National Republican Convention of 1908 
William Howard Taft was nominated for the Presi- 
dency of the United States. 

In 1886 he married Helen, the daughter of the 
Honorable John W. Herron, of Cincinnati, District 
Attorney and State Senator. They have three 
children : Robert Alphonso Taft, born 8 September, 
1889, and, in 1908, a Sophomore at Yale; Helen 
Herron Taft, born i August, 1891, and, in 1908, a 
student at Bryn Mawr College ; and Charles Phelps 
Taft, born 20 September, 1897. 




William^ Torrey was of Combe, St. Nicholas, 
Somersetshire, England, where he died in June, 
1557. He was twice married, the name of his first 
wife being Margaret, and that of his second wife, 
Thomasyne. By Margaret, he had issue: 

Philip^ Torrey (William^), whose will was dated 
in 1604. He married, first, Jane, and second, Mar- 
garet. By his first wife he had a son, 

William- Torrey (Philip,- William^). He had 
issue : 

Philip* Torrey (William,^ Philip,- William^), 
whose will was dated 21 April, 1621. He died in 
June, 1 62 1. He married Alice, who made her will 
in 1634. They had issue: 

Captain William^ Torrey (Philip,* William,' 
Philip,^ William^), who was baptized in Combe, 
St. Nicholas, 21 December, 1608. In 1640, he emi- 
grated to America, and settled in Weymouth, 
Massachusetts. He served for many years as the 
Clerk of the House of Deputies, was a magistrate, 
and Captain in the Militia. 

William Torrey was a true New England colo- 
nist of the finest type. Amidst the strenuous 
happenings and duties of pioneer life, he found time 
to devote to the study of Latin, and to write. An 




essay of his, entitled, "The Futurities," still exists. 
He died in T.690. 

The first wife of William Torrey was Agnes, 
whom he married in England, 17 March, 1629-30. 
She died before her husband emigrated to America, 
and he married again, but the name of his second 
wife is unknown. His youngest child was 

AngelP Torrey (William,^ Philip," William,' 
Philip,- William^). He was born in Weymouth, 
Massachusetts, but removed to Mendon. He had 
issue : 

William^ Torrey (Angell,« William,"^ Philip,* 
William,^ Philip,- William^), whose son was 

Joseph" Torrey (William,'^ Angell," William,' 
Philip,* William," Philip,'- William^). He had issue: 

William'' Torrey (Joseph,^ William,^ Angell," 
Wilham,^ Philip," William,^^ Philip,- William^, who 
married Anna, the daughter of Seth Davenport and 
Chloe Daniels. Their son was 

Samuel Davenport^** Torrey (William," Joseph,' 
William,^ Angell,« William,'' Philip," William," 
Philip,- William^), who was born in Mendon, 14 
April, 1789. He removed to Boston, where he 
became a West India merchant. In 1831 he retired 
from business and made his residence in Millbury, 
Massachusetts. There he died, 23 December, 1877. 

Samuel Davenport Torrey married, first, Delia 
Chapin, who died in 1821. In 1824, he married 
again, his second wife being Susan Holman, the 
daughter of Asa Waters, and a grand-daughter of 
Colonel Jonathan Holman, who raised and com- 


manded a regiment in the Revolutionary War. 
Mrs. Torrey died at Millbury in i866. 

The second child of Samuel Davenport Torrey 
and Susan Holman Waters was 

Louisa Maria^^ Torrey (Samuel Davenport," 
William,^ Joseph,^ William/ Angell," William/ 
Philip,* William,^ Philip,- William^. She was born 
in Boston, ii September, 1827, and married the 
Honorable Alphonso Taft, 26 December, 1853. 




In the Fifteenth Century Richard Rawson was a 
merchant in London. He was Alderman of Far- 
ringdon Extra in 1475, and in 1476 the Sheriff of 
London. He died in 1483, and was buried in the 
Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, Milk Street, 
London. His wife, Isabella Craford, died in 1497. 
They had nine children. 

The best known of these was Sir John Rawson, 
Knight of Rhodes and of Saint John of Jerusalem. 
He was made Prior of Kilmainham, Ireland, in 151 1, 
and in 151 7 Henry VIII. of England appointed him 
Privy Councillor and Lord Treasurer of Ireland. 
The Grand Master of his Order made him, in 1526, 
Turcopelier of the Knights of Saint John, and he 
later become Prior of Ireland. In 1542 the Royal 
Robber took from him Kilmainham Priory. It was 
claimed that charges of misconduct had been made 
against Sir John by his Superiors, but this appears 
to have been one of Henry's usual excuses when 
the possession of the lands of the Church was in 
question. The King, himself, perhaps wished to 
soften the effect on the public imagination of his 
seizure of the Priory, for he bestowed upon Sir 
John Rawson five hundred marks, and gave him the 
title of Viscount Clontarf. This title, since he was 
a priest, became extinct at his death in 1560. 


Sir John Rawson bore arms: Quarterly, ist., 
parted per fess undee sable and azure, a castle with 
four towers argent (Rawson) ; 2nd, or, on a chevron 
vert three raven's heads erased argent (Craford) ; 
enseigned all over with a chief gules and thereon 
a cross of the third. 

Another son of Richard Rawson and Isabella 
Craford was Richard Rawson, a priest, who was 
Prebendary of Durnsford in Salisbury. In 1502 he 
was Archdeacon of Essex; in 1510 Rector of Saint 
Olave's Church, Hart Street, London; Canon of 
Windsor in 1521 ; and Vicar of Beaconsfield, Buck- 
inghamshire, 25 July, 1525- His arms remained in 
the Vicarage of Beaconsfield, which he rebuilt, until 
1728. He died in 1543. 

Other children were Avery Rawson, a London 
merchant; Nicholas Rawson; Christopher Rawson; 
Anne Rawson, who married Richard Cely; Eliza- 
beth Rawson, who married John Foxe; and Alice 

Christopher Rawson, the son of Richard Rawson 
and Isabella Craford, is, in the tradition of the 
Rawson family, believed to have been the great- 
great-great-grandfather of Edward Rawson, the 
Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He 
was a merchant in London, owning Old Wool 
Quay, in Petty Wales, now Lower Thomas Street, 
this being an inheritance from his mother, Isabella 
Craford. He died in 15 18, and was buried in 
Allhallow's, Barking, Great Tower Street, London. 
His first wife was named Margaret, and he married, 



second, Agnes, the daughter of William Burke. His 
children were: John, Thomas, Richard, Margaret, 
and Catherine. 

The established ancestry of the Rawson family 
in America begins with Edward Rawson, of Coin- 
brook, Langley Marsh, Buckinghamshire, a wealthy 
merchant, whose will '.vas made i6 February, 
1603-4, 3"d offered for probate 4 May, 1604. He 
married Bridget, whose surname was, probably, 
Warde. Edward and Bridget Rawson had issue : 

David- Rawson (Edward^), a merchant tailor in 
London. His will, dated 15 June, 1616, shows him 
a man of charity to the poor, of family affection, 
and proves that he was, for the times, well-to-do. 
He married Margaret, the daughter of the Reverend 
William Wilson and Isabel Woodhal. The story of 
the Wilsons appears elsewhere in this book. 
Margaret (Wilson) Rawson married, second, 
William Taylor, of London, and died before 1628. 
A son of David Rawson and Margaret Wilson was 

Edward^ Rawson (David,- Edward'), who was 
born, probably in London, 16 April, 1615. In 1636 
or 1637 1^6 came to New England and settled at 
Newbury, Massachusetts. At once he became one 
of the leading m.en of affairs in the Colony. He 
was second Town Clerk of Newbury, being 
re-elected to the office every year until 1647. He 
served on various committees, was Selectman and 
Commissioner, Deputy to the General Court and 
Clerk of the House, and, 22 May, 1650, was chosen 
Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, To 


this high office he was annually re-elected until 
1686, when Andros appointed Randolph. Rawson's 
Lane, in Boston, where Edward Rawson lived, is 
the present Bromfield Street. He died 27 August, 

Edward Rawson married Rachel, the daughter of 
Richard Perne, of Gillingham, Dorsetshire. She 
died II October, 1677. They had a number of chil- 
dren, among whom was 

The Reverend Grindall* Rawson (Edward,^ 
David,- Edward^). He was born in Boston, 
23 January, 1659. In 1678 he graduated from Har- 
vard College, where one of his class-mates was 
Cotton Mather. He studied for the ministry with 
his brother-in-law, the Reverend Samuel Torrey, 
and preached at Mendon, Massachusetts, from 
4 October, 1680, to 7 April, 1684. He then became 
the regular minister at Mendon. In 1692 he was 
appointed by the General Court one of the four 
ministers selected to accompany the Colonial troops 
to Canada. He, with the Reverend Samuel Dan- 
forth, was chosen to visit the Indians by the Com- 
missioners for the Propogation of the Gospel, and 
wrote a "Confession of Faith" in both English and 
an Indian language. 

After a ministry of thirty-four years in Mendon, 
he died, 6 February, 17 15. The funeral sermon of 
this eminent divine was preached by the famous 
Cotton Mather. 

Grindall Rawson's wife was Susanna, the daugh- 
ter of the Reverend John Wilson and Sarah Hooker. 



The story of the Hookers is given elsewhere in this 
book. Susanna Wilson was her husband's second 
cousin. She was born about 1665, and died 8 July, 
1748. Among the children of Grindall Rawson and 
Susanna Wilson was 

Edmund-' Rawson (Rev. Grindall,* Edward,' 
David,' Edward"), born 8 July, 1689. He settled in 
Uxbridge, Massachusetts, where, for many years, 
he acted as deacon in the church. He married 
Elizabeth Howard, of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, 
and had a son 

Abner"^ Rawson (Edmund,' Rev. Grindall,* 
Edward,' David," Edward'), who was born 24 April, 
1 72 1. He lived in Uxbridge, where he was a 
farmer. He married Mary Allen, the sister of his 
brother Edmund's wife. Their daughter, 

Rhoda' Rawson (Abner," Edmund,' Rev, Grin- 
dall,* Edward,^' David,- Edward^), was born 
4 October, 1749. She married Aaron Taft, and died 
in Townshend, Vermont, 9 June, 1827. 



William Howard Taft is descended, through the 
Rawsons, both from a son and a daughter of the 
Reverend Doctor William^ Wilson, who married 
Isabel Woodhal. (See Grindall.) Margaret- Wil- 
son (Rev. William^), married David Rawson. Their 
son was Secretary Edward Rawson, the first of that 
family in America. 

Through a son of the Reverend Doctor William^ 
Wilson, the line goes down to the Rawsons, as 
follows : 

The Reverend Doctor William^ Wilson was 
Prebendary of St. Paul's, of Rochester, and of 
Windsor. It is probable that he was the Chaplain 
of Archbishop Grindall, his wife's uncle. He mar- 
ried Isabel, the daughter of John Woodhal and 
Elizabeth Grindall. One of their sons was 

The Reverend John- Wilson (Rev. William^). 
He was born in 1588 at Windsor, and was educated 
at Eton and at Cambridge, where he entered King's 
College in 1602, and from Christ's College received 
the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1605-6, and that 
of Master of Arts in i6og. He became a minister 
of the Establishment, was Chaplain to several 
families, and officiated at Burnstead, Stoke, Clare, 



and Candish, in County Suffolk. Later he was 
installed as the regular minister at Sudbury, Suf- 
folk, where he remained for ten or twelve years. 

In 1630 he came to Massachusetts on the "Ara- 
bella," went back to England for a brief stay, and 
returned to New England. He was the first min- 
ister of the first church in Boston, and died 

7 August, 1677. His will was dated 31 May, 1667. 
By his wife, Elizabeth, he had issue: 

The Reverend John^ Wilson (Rev. John,- Rev. 
William^), who was born in England in 1621. He 
came to New England with his father, on the lat- 
ter's second voyage, graduated from Harvard in 
1642, and was made a Freeman in 1647. 

In 1649 he entered the ministry, and was 
appointed to officiate jointly with the Reverend 
Richard Mather at Dorchester. He became the 
minister of Medfield in 1651, and died in 1691. 

The Reverend John Wilson married Sarah, the 
daughter of the celebrated Thomas Hooker, the first 
minister of Hartford, Connecticut. (See Hooker.) 
Their daughter was 

Susanna* Wilson (Rev. John,^ Rev. John,^ Rev. 
William^). She was born about 1665, and died 

8 July, 1748. She married, in 1683, the Rev. Grin- 
dall Rawson. (See Rawson.) 



In the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, there 
lived in Hensingham, St. Bees Parish, Cumberland, 
a well-to-do farmer, named William Grindall. One 
of his sons was Edmund Grindall, the second 
Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, whom Queen 
Elizabeth appointed to succeed Parker. 

William Howard Taft is a descendant, through 
the Rawsons, from two daughters of William 
Grindall, this ancestry coming down in three lines, 
described more fully in the chapters on Rawson, 
Wilson, and Hooker, but which may be briefly 
summarized as follows: 

WiUiam^ Grindall, whose daughter, 

Elizabeth- Grindall (William^, married Wood- 
hal, and had issue: 

Isabel WoodhaP (Elizabeth- Grindall, William^. 
She married the Reverend William Wilson, and had 
a son. 

The Reverend John Wilson* (Isabel Woodhal,' 
Elizabeth^ Grindall, William^), who, by his wife, 
EHzabeth, had issue: 

The Reverend John Wilson^ (Rev. John Wilson,* 
Isabel Woodhal,=' Elizabeth- Grindall, William^. 
He married Sarah Hooker, and had a daughter, 



Susanna Wilson''' (Rev. John Wilson,'' Rev. John 
Wilson,* Isabel Woodhal,' Elizabeth- Grindall, 
William'). Susanna Wilson married the Reverend 
Grindall Rawson, of Mendon. 


William' Grindall, of Hensingham, had a daugh- 
ter, whose name is unknown, but who married John 
Hooker. They had issue : 

Mary Hooker^ ( • . •' Grindall, William'). She 
married Richard Greene. Their daughter was 

Rachel Greene* (Mary Hooker,'* . . .- Grindall, 
William^), who became the wife of Richard Perne, 
and had issue : 

Rachel Perne'' (Rachel Greene,* Mary Hooker,^ 
. . .- Grindall, William'). She married Edward 
Rawson, the Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay 


As has been shown in the first of the little Grin- 
dall-Rawson pedigrees in this chapter, William^ 
Grindall had a daughter, Elizabeth- Grindall, who 
married Woodhal, and had a daughter, Isabel 
Woodhal. Isabel Woodhal, as outlined above, 
married the Reverend William Wilson. Besides 
their son, the Reverend John Wilson, the descent 
from whom of Susanna (Wilson) Rawson, has been 
described, Isabel Woodhal and William Wilson had 



a daughter, Margaret Wilson* (Isabel Woodhal,' 
Elizabeth^ Grindall, William^). Margaret Wilson 
married David Rawson, and became the mother of 
Edward Rawson, the Secretary of the Massachu- 
setts Bay Colony. 




Arms: Or a fesse vair between two lions passant 
guardant sable. 

Crest: A hind passant, or, in the mouth a branch 
leaved vert flowered argent. 

Hooker ancestry enters into the Rawson family 
through two strains, and gives, therefore, a double 
Hooker line to William Howard Taft. 

Under the chapter on the Grindalls has been 
shown the descent of Rachel Perne, the wife of 
Secretary Edward Rawson, from John Hooker and 
a daughter of William Grindall. While the connec- 
tion of this John Hooker with the Hooker family 
of Devonshire, and his relationship to the Reverend 
Thomas Hooker, the first minister of Hartford, 
Connecticut, has not been established, it is believed 
that John Hooker was of the Devon stock, and that 
he was a near kinsman of the Reverend Thomas 
Hooker, and, also, of the famous Richard Hooker, 
author of "Ecclesiastical Polity." 

The ancestry of Sarah Hooker, whose daughter, 
Susanna Wilson, married the Reverend Grindall 
Rawson, of Mendon, is as follows : 

Jenaph^ Vowell, of Pembroke, had issue: 

Jago- Vowell (Jenaph^), of Pembroke, who mar- 
ried Alice, the daughter and heiress of Richard 


Hooker, of Hurst Castle, County Southampton. 
For many generations from the time of this 
marriage, the family appear to have used, inter- 
changeably, the names, Vowell and Hooker, or 
Hoker. The son of Jago Vowell and Alice Hookei 

John^ Vowell, or Hooker (Jago,- Jenaph^), who 
had issue: 

John* Vowell, or Hooker (John,^ Jago,- Jenaph^), 
He married Margery, the daughter and heiress ol 
Roger Bolter, of Boltercourt. Their son was 

John^ Vowell, or Hooker (John,* John,^ Jago,' 
Jenaph^), of Exeter, County Devon, "Gentleman.' 
He represented Exeter in Parliament, and died in 
1493. He married twice, his first wife being Agnes 
the daughter and heiress of Richard Drewell, oi 
Exeter, Esq., and his second wife, Alice, the widow 
of John Cole, of Topsham. A son, by ,his first 
marriage, was 

Robert^ Vowell, or Hoker (John,^ John,* John,' 
Jago,- Jenaph^), of Exeter, who died 9 August, 1538 
His will was made 7 August, 1534, and enrolled 
before the Mayor of Exeter in 1538. Of his three 
wives, the first was Margaret, the daughter oi 
Richard Duke; his second, Agnes, the daughter oi 
John Cole; and his third wife, Agnes, the daughtei 
of John Dobell, of Woodbridge, County Suffolk. Bj 
one of these three marriages, Robert Vowell hac 
issue : 

John^ Vowell, or Hoker (Robert,® John,^ John,' 
John,^ Jago," Jenaph^). He was born about 1525 



the second son, and was his father's heir. He was, 
in 1565, Chamberlain of Exeter, and died 8 Novem- 
ber, 1601, being buried at St. Mary Major, Exeter. 
He married, first, Martha, the daughter of Robert 
Tucker, of Exeter; and, second, Anastasia, the 
daughter of Edward Bridgman, of Exeter. She was 
buried 25 March, 1599, at St. Mary Major, Exeter. 
By her, John Vowell had issue: 

Thomas^ Hooker (John,' Robert," John,'* John,* 
John,'' Jago,- Jenaph^), who was the second son. 
It is not established beyond a doubt, but it is 
believed that this Thomas Hooker was he who died 
in 1635, and who was the father of 

The Reverend Thomas" Hooker (Thomas," John,'^ 
Robert," John,' John,^ John,^ Jago,- Jenaph^). He 
was bom at Marfield, Leicestershire, about 1586, 
and was educated at Market Bosworth Grammar 
School, and at Emmanuel College, Cambridge Uni- 
versity. He received therefrom his degree of 
Bachelor of Arts in 1608, of Master of Arts in 161 1, 
and became a Fellow of the College. 

He entered the ministry of the Established 
Church, but his non-conformity with certain of its 
doctrines brought him into difficulties with the 
authorities. In 1630 he left England and, after a 
stay in Holland, and a brief return to his own 
country, he took ship for Massachusetts, arriving 
at Boston 4 September, 1633. He settled in Cam- 
bridge, whose association of name with his old 
University days must often have recalled to him 
bright dreamings of youth, and awakened new 


emotions of homesickness for the mother-land and 
strong purpose to do his work in the wilderness 
which was now his home. 

In 1636 Thomas Hooker became the first min- 
ister of Hartford, Connecticut, where he died 7 July, 

His wife's name was Susanna, and, by her, he had 
a daughter, 

Sarah^"' Hooker (Rev. Thomas,^ Thomas," John,^ 
Robert,^ John,^ John,* John,=' Jago,' Jenaph^). She 
married the Reverend John Wilson, and their 
daughter, Susanna Wilson, became the wife of the 
Reverend Grindall Rawson, of Mendon. (See Raw- 
son and Wilson.) 




William Cheney was born about 1604, In 1639 
he was living in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where 
he was an original subscriber to the first school, of 
which he was one of the principal supporters, being 
chosen a director in 1663 and 1666. He was a 
leader in the government of the town, as well as in 
its efforts to educate the children, and held offices 
of responsibility. He was a member of the Board 
of Assessors, 21 February, 1648; Constable in 1654- 
1655, and was appointed Selectman, 19 January, 
1656-7. He was made a Freeman 23 May, 1666. 

William Cheney died 30 June, 1667. His will was 
dated in April of that year, and proven the thirtieth 
day of the following July. 

His wife's name was Margaret. Hers was one of 
those little tragic stories, coming down to us from 
the gloom of the early Puritan times, whose haunt- 
ing shadows of terror and massacre, witchcraft and 
unloving asceticism — intrinsically alien to the cheer- 
ful self-denial of the Gospels, "la chastite qui rit" 
of the Saints — we are apt to forget in our just 
tribute of respect for the courage, the perseverance, 
and the humble recognition of God's Rights, which 
make all true -Americans proud of their Puritan 



She had married William Cheney in England, 
and, whether its first cause was the hardship of life 
in the bleak wilderness, or just a woman's heart- 
sickness for her home in England, for the quiet 
country and the pleasant, simple ways (from which, 
in the early years of the Seventeenth Century, the 
afterglow had not quite faded from the time when 
our ancestors' land was indeed "Merry England"), 
we cannot know, but she became afflicted with a 
curious, hopeless melancholy, which lasted for more 
than ten years. In his will William Cheney speaks 
of his "deare and afflicted wife." We are glad to 
know that the poor soul finally found a way to 
happiness, although we hope some kindly neighbor 
comforted away the belief that in her past suffering 
she had been "bound by Satan," her loneliness a 
"sinful yielding to temptation." On 24 May, 1673, 
"Margaret Cheney widow" "gave thanks to God for 
loosing her chain." 

Some time between the date of her recovery and 
15 March, 1679-80, when, in a deed, she was called 
both "Margaret Burdge * * * widow," and "Relict 
of William Cheney sometime of sd Roxbury 
Decest," she re-married and became, for a second 
time, a widow. She was living in Boston at the 
time of her death, but was buried in Roxbury, 
3 July, 1686. Her will was made 15 May, 1686, and 
offered for probate 23 September of that year. 
A son of William and Margaret Cheney was 
Joseph^ Cheney (William^, bofn at Roxbury, 
6 June, 1647. He was, in 1667, a legatee in his 



father's will, and, in 1686, a legatee and the sole 
executor of the will of his mother. Soon after his 
father's death he removed to Medfield, Massachu- 
setts. Joseph Cheney died 16 September, 1704, his 
will being dated the day before his death. 

He married, first, 12 March, 1668, Hannah, the 
daughter of John and Margaret Thurston; and, 
second, 21 July, 1691, Mehitable, the daughter of 
John Plimpton and Jane Dawson, and the widow of 
Ephraim Hinsdale, who, after Joseph Cheney's 
death, married, third, Jonathan Adams. 

Hannah (Thurston) Cheney died 29 December, 
1690. By his marriage with her, Joseph Cheney 
had issue: • 

Josiah' Cheney (Joseph,- William'), who was 
born in Medfield, 27 July, 1685. He died in 1754. 
His first wife, named Hannah, died 22 April, 1717. 
He married, second, Hannah Smith, a widow, the 
daughter of Ebenezer Mason and Hannah Clark. 

A daughter of Josiah Cheney and his first wife, 
Hannah, was 

Elizabeth^ Cheney (Josiah,^ Joseph,- William^. 
She was born in Medfield, 21 September, 1707, and 
became the wife of Captain Peter Taft. 




Arms: Per fesse indented vert and or a bend 
engrailed azure, three lions passant, of the first, 

Crest: A demi-lion rampant vert and bezante 
holding a battle axe, shaft gules and head argent. 

The Emersons were an ancient family of County 
Durham, England. The coat of arms, designated 
above, was granted to Ralf Emerson, Gentleman, 
of Foxton, County Durham, in 1535. It was carved 
on the tomb-stone of Nathaniel Emerson, a son of 
Thomas, the immigrant, indicating the descent of 
the American Emersons from Ralf of Foxton. 

Thomas^ Emerson was born, according to family 
tradition, in Sedgefield Parish, Durham, England, 
and emigrated to America before 1638, in which 
year he was granted eighty acres of land in Ipswich, 
Massachusetts. By his wife, Elizabeth, he had 
issue : 

The Reverend Joseph- Emerson (Thomas^), who 
was born in England, was in Ipswich as early as 
1638, and was admitted as Freeman in 1648. He 
became a minister and preached at York, Maine, 
in 1648. Later, he was at Milton, Massachusetts, 
and was, in 1669, the first minister of Mendon. He 
died at Concord, Massachusetts, 3 January, 1680. 


Gravestone of Nathaniel Emerson 



His first wife was Elizabeth, the daughter of 
Robert Woodmansey, a schoolmaster of Boston. 
On December 7, 1665, Joseph Emerson married, 
second, Elizabeth, the daughter of the Reverend 
Edward Bulkley, of Concord, Massachusetts. She 
married, second, Captain John Brown, of Reading, 
Massachusetts. It is unknown which of Joseph 
Emerson's two wives was the mother of 

James^ Emerson (Rev. Joseph,- Thomas^). He 
was born at Wells, Maine, and became a tailor at 
Ipswich and later at Mendon, where he died in 

James Emerson married Sarah, who died at 
Mendon, 13 October, 1732. Their daughter, 

Elizabeth* Emerson (James,^ Rev. Joseph,- 
Thomas^), was born in Ipswich, 6 March, 1687, and 
died in 1760, at Uxbridge. She was married in 1708 
to Captain Joseph Taft. 

From Thomas Emerson, the immigrant, descends, 
in the seventh generation, Ralph Waldo Emerson, 
The great philosopher and essayist was thus a 
kinsman of William Howard Taft. 

Silver Drinking Cup of Thomas Emerson 
the Immigrant 



Adams, Jonathan, 45 
Allen, Mary, 16, 33 
Andros, Governor, 32 
Arthur, President, 18 
Bolter, Margery, 40 

Roger, 40 ^ 

Bridgeman, Anastasia, 41 

Edward, 41 
Brown, John (Capt.), 49 
Bulkley, Edward (Rev.), 49 

EUzabeth, 49 
Burdge, Margaret, 44 
Burke, Agnes, 31 
Butler, Nathaniel, 17 
Chapin, Delia, 27 

Joseph (Capt.), 14. 'S 
Cheney, Elizabeth, 14, 15, 45 

Hannah, 45 

Joseph, 44, 45 

Josiah, 14, 45 

Margaret, 43, 44 

William, 43, 44 
Clark, Ezekiel, 16 

Hannah, 45 
Clontarf, Viscount, 29 
Cole, Agnes, 40 

John, 40 
Craford, Isabella, 29, 30 
Danforth, Samuel (Rev.), 32 
Daniels, Chloe, 27 
Davenport, Anna, 27 

Seth, 27 
Dawson, Jane, 45 
Dixon, David R. (Rev.), 17 
Dobell, Agnes, 40 

John, 40 
Drewell, Agnes, 40 

AUce, 40 

Richard, 40 
Duke, Margaret, 40 
Edwards, William A. (Dr.), 19 
Elizabeth, Queen, 36 
Emsrson, Elizabeth, 13, 14, 46 


James, 13, 49 

Joseph (Rev.), 46, 49 

Nathaniel, 46 

Ralf, 46 

Ralph Waldo, 49 

Sarah, 13, 49 

Thomas, 46, 49 
Foraker, Governor, 20 
Greene, Rachel, 37 

Richard, 37 


Grindall, Archbishop, 34, 36 

EUzabeth, 34, 36, 37 

William, 36, 37, 39 
Hall, Judge, 18 
Harmon, Judson, 20 
Harrison, President, 20 
Hayward, Lucy, 17 
Henry VHI., 29 
Herron, Helen, 23 

John W., 23 
Hinsdale, Ephraim, 45 
Hobart, Caleb, 11 
Holman, Jonathan (Col.), 27 
Hooker, Alice, 39, 40 

John, 37, 39 

Mary, 37 

Richard, 39 

Sarah, 32, 35, 36, 39i 42 

Susanna, 42 

Thomas, 41 

Thomas (Rev.), 39, 41, 42 
Howard, Elizabeth, 33 

Sylvia, 17 
Leo XHL, Pope, 23 
Lovell, WiUard (Major), 17 
Mason, Ebenezer, 45 

Hannah, 14, 45 
Mather, Cotton, 32 

Richard (Rev.), 35 
Murdock, Jesse, 16 
Parker, 36 
Perne, Rachel, 32. 37, 39 

Richard, 32, 37 
Phelps, Charles (Judge), 19 

Fanny, 19 
PUmpton, John, 45 

Mehitable, 45 
Randolph, 32 
Rawson, Abner, 16, 33 

Alice, 30 

Anne, 30 

Avery, 30 

Catherine, 31 

Christopher, 30 

David, 31, 34, 38 

Edmund, 33 

Edward, 30, 31 32. 34. 37, 

38, 39 
EUzabeth, 30 

Grindall, Rev., 32, 33, 35, 37, 

39. 42 
John, 31 

John (Sir), 29, 30 
Margaret, 30, 31 


Rawson, Nicholas, 30 

Rhoda, 16, 17, 33 

Richard, 29, 30, 31 

Thomas, 31 
Read, Joseph (Col.), 14 
Roosevelt, President, 23 
Root, Elihu, 23 
Seagrave, Edward (Capt.), 14 
Smith, Hannah, 45 
Stiles, Nathaniel, 17 
Taft, Aaron, 13, i4t i5» 16. i7. 

Alphonso (Hon.). 17. i». 
19, 20, 28 

Benjamin, 13 

Charles Phelps, 19, 23 

Cynthia, 16 

Daniel, 13 

Fanny Louise, 19 

Gershom 14 

Helen Herron, 23 

Henry, 14 

Henry Waters, 19 

Horace Dutton, 19 

Joseph (Capt.), 13. I4. 4Q 

Judson, 17 

Mary, 17 

Milley, 16 

Moses, 13 

Nancy, 17 

Patty, 16 

Peter (Capt.), 13, 14. i5. 45 

Peter Rawson (Judge), 17. i9 

Polly, 16 

Rawson, 17 

Robert, 11, 12, 13 

Robert Alphonso, 23 

Samuel, 15 

Samuel Davenport, 19 

Samuel Judson, 17 

Sarah, 12, 13 

Selina, 16 

Sophia, 17 

Thomas, 13 

Taft, William Howard, 15, 19, 
20, 23, 34, 36, 39, 49 

Zeruiah, 17 
Taylor, William, 31 
Thurston, Hannah, 45 

John, 45 

Margaret, 45 
Torrey, Agnes, 27 

Alice, 24 

Angell, 27 

Jane, 24 

Joseph, 27 

Louisa Maria, 19, 20, 28 

Margaret, 24 

Philip, 24 

Samuel (Rev.), 32 

Samuel Davenport, 19. 27. 

Thomasyne, 24 

William, 24 

WilUam (Capt.), 24, 27 
Tucker, Martha, 41 

Robert, 41 
Vowell, Jago, 39. 4° 

Jenaph, 39 

John, 40 

Robert, 40 
Warde, Bridget, 31 
Washington, George, 15. 16 

Martha, 16 
Waters, Asa, 27 

Susan Holman, 27, 28 
Wilson, EUzabeth, 35. 36 

John (Rev.), 32, 34. 35. 30. 
37. 42 

Margaret, 31. 34. 38 

Susanna, 32. 33. 35. 37. 42 

William (Rev.), 31. 34. 30, 
37 , 

Woodhal. Isabel, 31. 34. 30, 37 

John, 34 
Woodmansey, EUzabeth, 49 

Robert, 49 


W 55- 7 

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