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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jonathan Sparrow ca 1629-1707 and Rebecca Bangs, Eastham, Mass.

I was on the Cape with family this week and stole away to visit a few cemeteries while everyone was at the beach. Family members think I'm quite odd, but I know fellow family history lovers understand. : )  I visited Cove Burial Ground in Eastham for the first time and was pleased to see how the surviving headstones are so well looked after. So many older cemeteries have stones that are unreadable because they are covered with lichen, moss and mold, but there are wonderful people in Eastham who have a strong respect for the past.

Jonathan Sparrow was born, probably in England, ca 1629, the only child of Richard and Pandora (maiden name unknown) Sparrow. I wrote about Richard and Pandora here. His parents migrated to Plymouth in 1632.

Jonathan is my 11th great-grandfather, through my grandmother Mildred Booth Rollins. Since he was a prominent citizen of Plymouth Colony, there is an abundance of information available about him. He was an attorney (he was often called Esquire in records), a justice of the peace who performed many marriages, a Captain in the military company serving in King Philip's War, and a church Deacon. He was a Representative to the Court for 12 years and served as a Selectman for 10 years.  He was made a freeman at Eastham in 1655 and the town’s first schoolmaster in 1666.
He married, first, at Eastham on 26 Oct 1654, Rebecca Bangs. Rebecca was born about 1633, the daughter of Edward and Rebbeca (maiden name unknown) Bangs.

Jonathan and Rebecca had six children:

1.      Rebecca, born 30 October 1655, married Thomas Freeman
2.      John, born 2 November 1656, married Apphia Tracey
3.      Priscilla, born 13 February 1657/58, married Edward Gray
4.      Lydia, born aft. 19 November 1660, married Jonathan Higgins and William Freeman
5.      Elizabeth, born bet. 1660 – 1670, married Samuel Freeman
6.      Jonathan, born 9 July 1665, married Rebecca Merrick and Sarah Snow

I descend from Rebecca and Thomas Freeman.

Rebecca died before 19 October 1677 at Eastham. She’s possibly buried at the Cove Burying Ground  in Eastham.

Jonathan married, second, between 1667 – 1671, Hannah Prence, the daughter of Governor Thomas Prence and his wife Patience Brewster. Hannah had married first Nathaniel Mayo, with whom she had six children, so she was a mother/step-mother to as many as 14 children.

Jonathan and Hannah had two children:

1.      Patience born before October 1675
2.      Richard born about 1675

Hannah died before before November 1698 at Eastham and is buried at the Cove Burying Ground there, without a surviving headstone.
Sparrow cemetery plot includes a broken stone
Jonathan married, third, on 23 November 1698 in Barnstable, Sarah Lewis. Sarah was born Barnstable on 02 February 1642/43, the daughter of George and Mary (Doggett) Lewis. She married first James Cobb with whom she had 11 children.

Although not all of the births of Jonathan’s children were recorded, there is a deed naming them, their mothers and spouses. It is dated 1712 Barnstable County Deeds Book 9, Folio 362 and 363.

Jonathan Sparrow died in Eastham on 21 March 1706/07 at age 73. He is buried at Cove Burying Ground in Eastham. His stone is one of only four surviving pre-1710 stones there. It is engraved with a winged skull, an hourglass, fruit and gourds and is inscribed:  “Here Lyes Buried ye Body of Capt. Jonathan Sprrow aged 73 years died March ye 21st 1706/7.”
Capt. Jonathan Sparrow's gravestone
Memorial stone to Sparrow family

Jonathan's will is in Barnst Co. Prob III:386. Dated 10 March 1706/7 and probated 3 April 1707.

He gave his wearing clothes to his three sons, John, Jonathan and Richard.

Grandson John Sparrow: cutlash and belt

Grandson Jonathan Sparrow: gun and catouch box, horn and pouch that he left at his brother Joshua Bangses.

Son John: winscot chest, land abutting John Coles land in Pochet, marsh at Billingsgate after he pays 10 pounds to three dau, Rebecka, Lydia and Patience. One third meadow at Little Namskeakett, meadow from last division, also his share after wife ceases to be his widow.

Son Jonathan: other part of land on Pochet Neck near John Coles.

Son Richard: lot of meadow at Great meadow, land and meadow where Jonathan lives and all housing and fencing after wife no longer widow. Allowing her to have the new room from the ground to the roof and half the lands during her widowhood and profits of all his meadow at Namskeket and Pochet flats. One third meadow at Namskeket and share at low flatts which he bought from Titus Wixom, 1/3 share low flats near Thomas Mayo and Joseph Rogers after wife's widowhood.

To Son Jonat (Jonathan): one share and a third share of marsh which he bought from Barnabas Wixum near the beach Creek after wife's widowhood.

To loving wife half of house, the new end, half land and meadow near home, half barn and profits of meadow, privilege of cutting wood, fencing stuff, one horse and the furniture belonging to the horse, one feather bed and bed curits and coverings, one fourth moveable estate, all corn and malt that is in the house.

Rest of estate equally divided among three sons and three daughters and the children of Capt Samuel Freeman had by daughter Elizabeth, Benoney Gray to have an equal part of moveables with his uncles and Aunts. Also William Freeman and Lydia Godfree shall have one half of their mothers' part. Sarah Williamson’s that living along with his wife one sheep and lamp to be dlivered to her father.

Wife Sara and son John to be executors. Witnessed by Samuel Freeman Jr, Micajah Snow and Nathan Young.

Sarah died in Eastham on 11 February 1734/35 and is buried at the Cobb’s Hill Cemetery in Barnstable. Her gravestone survives and reads: ”Here lies ye body of Mrs. Sarah Sparrow wife of Jonathan Sparrow Esqr of Eastham who decd Feb ye 11th 1735 in ye 92nd year of her age."

Sources Not Listed Above:

Rev. Enoch Pratt, A Comprehensive History, Ecclesiastical and Civil, of Eastham, Wellfleet and Orleans, County of Barnstable, Mass. from 1644 to 1844, 1844

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995

Deyo, Simeon L., editor, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1890:

Barbara Lambert Merrick, Mayflower Families in Progress: William Brewster for Four Generations, General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1995


  1. Great minds think alike! I visited the same cemetery on the weekend of the GeneaBlogger Bash and posted about Jonathan Sparrow's grave a month ago at http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2012/06/tombstone-tuesday-captain-jonathan.html He's not an ancestor of mine, though, just a relative through the Bangs marriage.

  2. Thanks, Heather. I love your Capt. Jack Sparrow reference!

  3. We have so many ancestors in common. Have you done the ancestry family finder DNA test? If so... I am sure we would be a close match!

  4. Anjuli: I haven't done any DNA testing. Did you find it worthwhile? Chris

    1. I have been pleased! At first, it simply confirmed my research; but in the past couple of weeks it helped tear down a huge brick wall...or should I say BLANK wall on my tree. My fathers paternal grandmother died in the early 1900s and I knew very little of her family. I had pieced together some odds and ends frm census etc. one of my matches showed up as 99 percent chance of being as close as second cousins. This connection proved to be amazing and helped me go very far back on my tree!
      The test I did was the latest ancestry.com one which is a general test. I am still getting matches as more people do the test. I am hoping one more of my branches will open up.
      My husband did the y DNA test because his dad was adopted and we were able to find a lot of answers. But for tree research I would suggest the general DNA test.

    2. Thanks, Anjuli. That's great DNA testing was so helpful for you! Chris

  5. I just discovered your blog. I am a descendant of Jonathan Sparrow and Rebecca Bangs through their daughter Lydia married to William Freeman. I, too, took a DNA test along with my mother this summer. I gave us many hints of ancestors. When going through the generations, we found those names in our direct family line. We discovered two direct lines back to William Brewster through his daughter, Patience, so far. I would highly recommend taking a DNA test.

  6. Nice to hear from a fellow Sparrow, Bangs, Freeman, Brewster descendant, KK. I finally had my DNA done. Chris

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  8. I have all the same ancestors. i have taken a 23 and me DNA test. But this has only helped me find more recent relatives.
    Does ancestry DNA help connect to older ancestors ?

    1. Hi Aimee, Not to my knowledge but I really haven't done much with my 23andme or ancestry DNA results. Chris

  9. I find it interesting that so many of my ancestors share the same professions. Like John I too have served as a deacon of the church, as a Justice of The peace (and have performed over 9,500 weddings), served as a representative to and for local and state governments, and am a veteran. Guess it is true that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

    1. Hi Ken, I find that interesting as well. Jonathan would be proud to have you as a descendant! Chris

  10. Jonathan Sparrow and Rebecca Bangs are my 9th great grandparents. I found your research information very helpful. I totally understand your love for checking out cemeteries, I'm the weird one in my family that will make a pit stop at any cemetery I see. May I use your pictures of the headstones on my tree at Ancestry.com? It's amazing that his headstone is so well preserved! Lori McGee

    1. Hi Lori, Glad you found the info helpful. It is fine to use the photos. Thanks for asking! Chris

    2. Jonathan sparrows and Rebecca bang are my 11th great grandparents. So many people, with so many connections.

  11. Hello Chris, the UK Sparrow family is part of my family. Pandora was born in Panfield, Essex, England, nee Chavis. Maybe we can swop notes, as I don't hqave much info of my US relatices. Probably we are very distant cousins?

    1. My apologies for the tardy response. Blogger hasn't been notifying me of comments. I'd love to know more about a source for Chavis being Pandora's maiden name and give you anything I may have of interest. My email is on the left side of this page. Chris

  12. I am direct decented of John sparrow

  13. Thanks for the Great information on this topic. I had gone by this burial ground a couple of times, and stopped one day in the summer of 2019. Tried to get a few photos but in a hurry before dark, and mosquitoes feasting I had to go. Just got back there yesterday and photographed all of the stones. The artwork is just phenomenal on them! Check out my facebook page for the public photo album I will be compiling when I get back from vacation. Should be up in a couple of weeks ( late July 2022). I have a photo that really came out well with the text very visible of the Sparrow memorial stone. You can capture it for your page if you'd like. Love this burial ground with so much history.

    1. There are some amazing gravestones at Cove! Great you got some good photos. So much depends on condition of the stone, shadows, sun. If you could link to your FB page when they're posted, that would be great.


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