Moses Godfrey (sometimes Godfree) was born in Eastham, Mass. 27 January 1667/68, the son of George Godfrey, whose wife’s name is unknown. There isn’t much known about George. He was in Eastham before 1661 and had the births of nine children registered there. There has been some speculation that he was the son of Francis Godfrey who was in Plymouth in 1637, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this.
Moses came to Chatham (then Monomoit) around 1695, following his older brother George who had already settled there. He lived in an area called Cotchpinicut Neck (Old Harbor), near the land of William Nickerson, son of the founder of the town.
|Modern photo of Cotchinpinicut source: panoramio.com|
Moses served his church and community in a variety of ways: tithingman, fence viewer, surveyor, grand jury, selectman, and assessor. He is described by historians and genealogists as a man of prestige and influence, a religious man and a substantial citizen.
Moses married Deborah Cooke around 1700, likely at Eastham. She was born in Eastham on 15 February 1678/79, the daughter of Josiah Cooke and Deborah Hopkins. Deborah was the great-granddaughter of Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins (Stephen 1, Giles 2, Deborah 3). She does not descend from Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke.
Moses and Deborah’s children, order uncertain, born Chatham:
1. Jonathan, b. ca 1701, married Mercy Nickerson and had three children. Died before March 1730.
2. Samuel, b. ca 1703, m. Thankful ___ and had seven children. Moved to Nova Scotia.
3. Moses, b. ca 1705, m. Martha Collins and had nine children. Moved to Nova Scotia.
4. George, b. ca 1707, m. Mercy Knowles and Jane Collins. Ten children with Mercy.
5. David, b. 1709, married Priscilla Baker and had four children. Moved to Nova Scotia and then possibly Orange Co., NY.
6. Mary, b. 4 Sept 1711, m. Caleb Nickerson and Seth Smith. Eight children with Caleb.
7. Desire, b. ca 1712, married Nathaniel Ryder and had seven children. I descend through their daughter Esther who married Thomas Freeman.
8. Benjamin, b. ca 1715, married Elizabeth Hopkins and had at least two children and moved to Nova Scotia.
9. Elizabeth b. 15 March 1717/18, married Benjamin Bearse and had five children.
10. Deborah b. about 1721, m. Thomas Bassett and had seven children.
11. Joshua b. 30 April 1723, m. Phebe Gould and had six children.
12. Richard b. about 1724, m. Azuba Collins and had at least two children.
Deborah and Moses were among the first to join the Chatham church when it was organized in 1720, but soon disagreed with the Rev. Mr. Lord over his attitude towards the free-thinking Rev. Samuel Osborne of the Pochet church at Orleans. Moses and Deborah, together with Elisha Mayo, were excommunicated. They immediately rejoined the Pochet church, where they had previously been members. He was a special friend of Rev. John Latimer, who remembered Moses and Deborah in his will. It was typical of the Godfreys during the next 200 years, to be non-conformists in matters of religion, being Baptists, Universalists and non-sectarians, when such views were unpopular.
Moses died at Chatham on 16 April 1743 in his 76th year. His widow Deborah died 23 April 1745 in her 65th year. They are buried at the Oldest Burying Ground, Chatham, also known as Queen Anne Cemetery.
|Moses Godfrey's stone source: findagrave.com|
|Deborah Cooke Godfrey stone source: findagrave.com|
Moses Godfrey left a will dated February 1742; proved 16 May 1743. It mentions his 12 children: Jonathan, Samuel, Moses, George, David, Mary (wife of Caleb Nickerson), Desire (and her husband Nathaniel Ryder), Benjamin, Elizabeth (wife of Benjamin Bearce), Deborah (wife of Thomas Bassett), Joshua, Richard. Also mentions the children of deceased son Jonathan: Caleb, Jonathan and Rebecca. His son Samuel was executor.
My line of descent from Moses:
1 Moses Godfrey 1667/68 - 1743
+Deborah Cooke 1678/79 - 1745
2 Desire Godfrey 1712 - 1741/42
+Nathaniel Ryder 1705 - 1749
3 Esther Ryder 1731 - 1802
+Thomas Freeman 1731 - 1800
4 Dorothy Freeman 1752 - 1825
+Elnathan Eldredge 1746/47 - 1837
5 Nehemiah Eldredge 1775 - 1839
6 James Harding Eldredge 1797 – 1873
+Rosanna Wixon 1789 - 1868
7 Rosana S. Eldredge 1826 - 1911
+Valentine Kelley 1828 - 1882
8 Mary Ann Kelley 1855 - 1941
+David Howes Kelley 1842 - 1925
9 Ethel Florence Kelley 1890 - 1981
+Wallace Cedric Booth 1887 - 1970
10 Mildred Louise Booth 1917 - 1999
+Arthur Elmer Washburn Davis 1913 – 1976
11 my parents
Sources Not Listed Above:
Elizabeth Pearson White, The Godfreys of Chatham, Mass., NEHGR October 1972, Vol 126, No. 4
William C. Smith, Early Chatham Settlers, Library of Cape Cod History & Genealogy, No. 36, CW Swift Publishers, Yarmouthport, Mass., 1915
John Austin, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume Six, Stephen Hopkins, 1995