Cogswell Family Association
A non-profit corporation, organized in Mass., in 1989, dedicated to preserving the history of the Cogswell family



    Arm & Crest
    Descendants of John Cogswell

Prominent Cogswells in History

    For the past 384 years the Cogswell family has been contributing its sons and daughters to the cultural, religious, and political "experiments" in North America.  For a time, the world wondered whether or not the displaced sons of England could survive and prosper in the new world, especially after the nurture and protection of the English Monarch was rejected by the disgruntled Americans.  Now, from our modern perspective, we can only try and understand and appreciate the sacrifices made, the hardships endured, and the personal pride and satisfaction resulting from a job well-done by our Cogswell ancestors.  Members of the Cogswell family have been especially well represented by honorable military service, and in the fields of medicine and teaching.  But, these "highlights" are not meant to ignore the contributions of the Cogswell farmers, mechanics, teamsters, public servants, and craftsmen (and women) who built the edifice we inherited - North America.   Periodically, this page will introduce you to one of those Cogswell sons or daughters who made a distinguished contribution to our lives in the U.S. and Canada.

   The Association would very much appreciate receiving any additional information (preferably documented) concerning any Cogswell - anywhere.  Now, may we introduce: 

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Click here to view & print a PDF of Famous Cogswell "Cousins"


                 Son of Edward COGSWELL & Alice. Born 1592 in Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England. Baptism 7 Apr 1592. Died 29 Nov 1669 in Ipswich, Mass. Buried in Old North Graveyard, Ipswich, Mass.

                At the age of twenty-three years he married the daughter of the parish vicar, succeeded to his father's business, and settled down in the old homestead.  His parents died soon after his marriage, and he received his inheritance, "The Mylls called Ripond, situate within the Parish of Frome Selwood," together with the home place and certain personal property.  Like his father, he was a manufacturer of wollen fabrics, largely broadcloths and kerseymeres.  The superior quality of these manufactures gave to his "mylls" a favorable reputation, which appears to have been retained to the present (1884) day.  There are factories occupying much the same locations and still owned by Cogswells, which continue to put upon the market wollen cloths that in Vienna and elsewhere have commanded the first premium in the world exhibitions of our times.

                John Cogswell doubtless found in London a market for his manufactures.  He may have had a commission house in that city, which would account for his being called, as he sometimes has been, a London merchant.

Mrs. Cogswell's father was the Rev. William Thompson, vicar of Westbury from 1603 to his death in 1623.  About twenty years after their marriage, with a family of nine children about them, and having the accumulations of a prosperous business, Mr. and Mrs. Cogswell determined to emigrate to America.  The particular reasons which led them to leave England may have been much the same that influenced others in their times.  It appears that early in 1635 Mr. Cogswell made sale of his "mylls" and other real estate, and soon after, with his wife, eight children, and all their personal effects, embarked at Bristol, May 23, 1635, for New England.  Their passage was long and disastrous.  Their arrival in America was after a most unexpected fashion.  Having reached the shores of New England, they were landed very unceremoniously at a place called Pemaquid, in Maine, being washed ashore from the broken decks of their ship "Angel Gabriel," which went to pieces in the frightful gale of August 15, 1635, when such a "sudden, dismal storm of wind and rain came as had never been known before by white man or Indian."  Traces of this storm remained for years.

                Mr. Cogswell and his family escaped with their lives, but well drenched by the sea and despoiled of valuables to the amount of five thousand pounds sterling.  They were more fortunate than some who sailed with them, whom the angry waves gathered to a watery grave.  On leaving England Mr. Cogswell had taken along with him a large tent, which now came into good service.  This they pitched, and into it they gathered themselves and such stores as they could rescue from the waves.  The darkness of that first night of the Cogswells in America found them housed beneath a tent on the beach.  The next day they picked up what more of their goods they could, which had come ashore during the night or lay floating about upon the water.  As soon as possible Mr. Cogswell, leaving his family, took passage for Boston.  He there made a contract with a certain Capt. Gallup, who commanded a small barque, to sail for Pemaquid and transport his family to Ipswich, Mass.  This was a newly settled town to the eastward from Boston, and was called by the Indians, "Aggawam."  Two years earlier, March, 1633, Mr. John Winthrop, son of Gov. John Winthrop, with ten others, had commenced a settlement in Aggawam.  An act of incorporation was secured August 4, 1634, under the name of Ipswich.  The name Ipswich is Saxon, in honor of the Saxon queen Eba, called "Eba's wych," i.e., Eba's house; hence Yppyswich or Ipswich.  Some derive it from Gippewich, meaning "little city."  In the early records are found the following enactments of the General Court:

"April 1st, 1633.  It is ordered that noe pson wtsover shall goe to plant or inhabit att Aggawam, withoutt leave from the Court, except those already gone, vz:  Mr. John Winthrop, Jun'r, Mr. Clerke, Robte Coles, Thomas Howlett, John Biggs, John Gage, Thomas Hardy, Willm Perkins, M. Thornedicke, Willm Srieant.

"June 11, 1633.  There is leave graunted to Tho: Sellen to plant att Aggawam.

"August 5, 1634.  It is ordered that Aggawam shal be called Ipswich.

"At Ipsidge a plantation made upe this yeare.  Mr. Ward P___,  Mr. Parker T____.  James Cudworth, 1634."

                It was probably near the last of August, 1635, when Capt. Gallup sailed up the Aggawam River, having on board Mr. and Mrs. Cogswell, their three sons and five daughters, and whatever of household goods his barque would carry, the rest of their effects being taken by another ship.  The settlers of Ipswich at once manifested an appreciation of these new-comers.  They made John Cogswell liberal grants of land, as appears from the following municipal records:

                "1636.  Granted to Mr. John Cogswell Three Hundred acres of land at the further Chebokoe, having the River on the South east, the land of Willm White on the North west, and A Creeke romminge out of the River towards William White's farme on the North east.  Bounded also on the West with a Creek and a little creeke.

"Also there was granted to him a parsell of ground containinge eight acres, upon part whereof ye sd John Cogswell hath built an house, it being the corner lot in Bridge street and hath Goodman Bradstreet's house-Lott on the South East.

                "There was granted to him five acres of ground, which is thus described:  Mr. John Spencer's buttinge upon the River on the South, having a lott of Edmond Gardiner's on the South East, and a lott of Edmond Sayward's on the south west; with six acres of ground, the sd John Cogswell hath sold to John Perkins, the younger, his heirs and assigns.

                The grant of three hundred acres of land at the further Chebokoe was some five miles to the eastward, in a part of Ipswich that was constituted, May 5, 1679, Chebacco Parish; and February 5, 1819, incorporated the town of Essex.  A settlement had been commenced in the Indian Chebokoe, in 1635, by William White and Goodman Bradstreet.

                It appears that John Cogswell was the third original settler in that part of Ipswich which is now Essex, Mass.  On the records of Ipswich his name often appears.  It is uniformly distinguished by the appellation of Mr., which in those days was an honorary title given to but few, who were gentlemen of some distinction.  There were only about thirty of the three hundred and thirty-five original settlers of Ipswich who received this honor.  Very soon after his arrival, March 3, 1636, by an act of the Court, John Cogswell was admitted freeman, to which privileges none were admitted prior to 1664 except respectable members of some Christian church.  To freemen alone were given the civil rights to vote for rulers and to hold public office.

                Ipswich In The Massachusetts Bay Colony, pp. 290-291, by Thomas Franklin Waters, The Ipswich Historical Society, 1905:  "Five members of the Cogswell family were among the twenty prominent people who signed the petition drawn up by the Rev. John Wise on behalf of Goodwife Proctor, who stood accused of witchcraft.  Mary Warren alleged that she had been threatened and abused by Goodwife Proctor, and that she had seen apparitions of people who had long since been murdered by the wife of John Proctor. This evidence prevailed and the good woman was sentenced to death."

                For several years Mr. Cogswell and family lived in the log-house with its thatched roof, while many of their goods remained stored in boxes, awaiting some better accommodations.  It is said there were pieces of carved furniture, embroidered curtains, damask table linen, much silver plate; and that there was a Turkey carpet is well attested.  As soon as practicable Mr. Cogswell put up a framed house.  This stood a little back from the highway, and was approached by walks through grounds of shrubbery and flowers.  There is an English shrub still, 1884, enjoying a thrifty life, which stands not far from the site of the old Cogswell manor.  This shrub, tradition says, John Cogswell brought with him from England.

                Not long since, Mrs. Aaron Cogswell, of Ipswich, had in her possession, it is said, the famous coat of arms which has been widely copied in the family.  This is described as "wrought most exquisitely with silk on heavy satin."  A few years ago, a stranger borrowed the curious relic of this too obliging lady, and, like the jewels of the Egyptians, borrowed by the Israelites, it was never returned.

                For some years after the completion of their new dwelling-house Mr. and Mrs. Cogswell lived to enjoy their pleasant home, surrounded by their children, well settled, some of them on farms near by, made of lands deeded to them by their now aged parents.  The time came at length, after a life of change, adventure, and hardship, and Mr. Cogswell died at the age of seventy-seven years. The funeral service for John Cogswell was conducted by the Rev. William Hubbard, pastor in Ipswich and since known as 'the Historian of New England'.  The funeral procession traversed a distance of five miles to the place of burial, the Old North graveyard of the First Church.  They moved under an escort of armed men, as a protection against the possible attack of Indians.

                Mrs. Cogswell survived her husband but a few years.  She was a woman of sterling qualities and dearly loved by all who knew her.  Side by side in the old churchyard in Ipswich have slept for more than two hundred (now more than 300) years the mortal remains of this godly pair, whose childhood was passed near the banks of the river Avon; who, leaving behind the tender associations of the Old World, came with their children to aid in rearing on these shores a pure Christian state.  They did greater work than they knew, died in the faith of the Gospel, and while their graves are unmarked by monument of stone, their souls are safe in heaven, their memory blessed, and their names honored by a posterity in numbers hardly second to that of Abraham.

John married Elizabeth THOMPSON, daughter of William THOMPSON Rev. & Phillis _____, 10 Sep 1615 in Westbury, Leigh, Wilts, England. Born circa 1594 in Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England. Died 2 Jun 1676 in Ipswich, Mass.

Buried in Old North Graveyard, Ipswich, Mass.  They had the following children:

              2                i.              Daughter [2] COGSWELL
              3               ii.              Mary [3] COGSWELL
              4              iii.              William [4] COGSWELL
              5              iv.              John [5] COGSWELL
              6               v.              Phyllis [6] COGSWELL.  Baptism Jul 1624.  She probably died young.
              7              vi.              Hannah [7] COGSWELL
              8             vii.              Abigail [8] COGSWELL
              9            viii.              Edward [9] COGSWELL
              ix.              Alice [10] COGSWELL.  Baptism 1632.  She probably died young.
            11               x.              Ruth [11] COGSWELL.  Baptism 1633.  She probably died young.
            12              xi.              Sarah [12] COGSWELL
            13             xii.              Elizabeth [13] COGSWELL  







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