Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and love that this blog helps with that. I consider much of my research as a work in progress, so please let me know if you have conflicting information. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My male Mayflower ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, and John Howland.
Female Mayflower ancestors: Mary Norris Allerton, Eleanor Billington, Mary Brewster, Mrs. James Chilton, Sarah Eaton, and Joan Hurst Tilley.
Child Mayflower ancestors: Giles Hopkins, (possibly) Constance Hopkins, Mary Allerton, Francis Billington, Love Brewster, Mary Chilton, Samuel Eaton, and Elizabeth Tilley.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Moses Godfrey 1668-1743, Eastham to Chatham, Mass.

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
+Ruth Harding      
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
12    me

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


  1. Dear Bethiah,

    Thank you for your inquiry. In checking our ancient records for the
    family/marriage records of George Godfrey, the following was found:

    There is a listing of the family of a George Godfrey (spelled Godfroid in
    the original recordings), but no mention of the name of his wife. The
    children of George Godfrey and their dates of birth listed in the record
    are: George, born January 2, 1662, Samuel born January 27, 1664, Moses born
    January 27, 1667, Hannah born April 25, 1669, Mary born June 2, 1672, Ruth
    born January 1, 1675, Richard born June 11, 1676, Jonathan born June 8, 1682
    and Elizabeth born September 10, 1688.

  2. Samuel Godfrey married Thankful Knowles. Is there some reason that I believe that in error? I have this:
    Thankful Knowles 6th gr.Grandmother
    Birth 1705 in Chatham, Mass
    Death BEF 1 NOV 1779 in Barrington, NS, Canada (1773 in Barrington, Shelburne Co., Nova Scotia. Census of Nova Scotia 1773 page 8 - Thankful Knowles Godfrey lived by herself.)
    She married ..Samuel Godfrey
    Birth 1704 in Barnstable, Mass
    Death BEF 30 AUG 1768 in NS, Canada.
    Her parents were Richard Knowles, 1688 – 1769 and Martha Cobb, 1682 – 1763

    1. I've only seen Samuel's wife as Thankful, with no maiden name known. I haven't done much research on this though, so can't be of any help.

  3. Hello Chris,
    Like you, I am an avid genealogist. My husband is one of your distant cousins and I have my own genealogy blog. I will be adding this blog to my sources for this family. Thank you for your time spent researching!


I'm now moderating comments on this blog. My apologies for any ensuing delays, but the large number of "spam" comments have made this necessary. ~Chris