Challenge: Tozier-Smith

Richard Tozier and Judith Smith are my 10th great-grandparents. Very little has been written about them and there are very few clues to follow. This is a challenge of major proportions–with a most pleasing and informative outcome, I might add.

Richard Tozier came to New England, most likely from Devonshire, sometime prior to July 3, 1656, when he and Judith Smith were married in Boston, Massachusetts, by Richard Bellingham, the Deputy Governor. The couple had settled in Kittery, Maine, by 1659.

Indian attacks, instigated by King Philip, which began in June 1675 at the Plymouth Colony continued northward along the frontier. There were many raids. Richard, although he had what was considered one of the strongest garrisons in an area of scattered settlement, was killed October 16, 1675, in an attack carried out by an estimated one hundred Indians.

There are numerous versions of this event. Some say that his son Thomas was killed, others that Thomas was carried off and returned. What we never find out, however, is where his wife, Judith, and her children Simon, Martha, and John were at the time of the attack or what followed.

Richard was said to have been 60 in 1669, so he would have been nearly 70 when he was killed. His widow, Judith, died prior to 1683, when her son Richard was appointed administrator of her estate. As with most second generations, we do learn what happened to most of them. A little more than three years later, Martha Tozier married Nathan Lord. It is from the Lord family history we learn that Thomas Tozier returned from captivity. Martha and Nathan Lord lived on the Tozier family site.

This is about all we know about Richard Tozier (found as “Toser” and “Tozer” in English records) or Judith Smith.


If he is the immigrant ancestor, Richard Toser represented the third generation of Tosers in Uffculme, Devonshire. His parents were Thomas and Mary (Cole) Toser. Richard was one of seven children. His grandparents were Robart and Alice (Welche) Toser. Both his grandparents and his parents named one of their children Robart, with exactly that spelling. Other than this, and the fact that Uffculme is a village, parish, and sub-district in the Tiverton district of Devon, nothing more is known of this family. And, there is no guarantee that this is Richard’s family. However, Tozier-Toser-Tozer is such a rare name, generally found in Devon, that it is probable that it is.


The pursuit of someone with the surname Smith would appear an impossible one. The surnames Smith and Jones abound. After days of poking about two key clues emerged.

First: An obscure historical quarterly reported that Richard Tozer originally came from Devonshire and Judith Smith was the “daughter of a London merchant who had also moved to Boston.”

Clarification came from a history of Newton families in colonial America: Judith Smith was the daughter of Thomas Smith and granddaughter of Simon Smith, “Citizen and Fishmonger of London, Eng.”

The phrase “Citizen and Fishmonger” is common to Boyd’s Inhabitants of London & family units. (See below.) A 1637 entry for Thomas Smith of Saint Olave Hart Street, London, shows his parents as Simon Smith and Martha Oldfield, all of the same address. Martha is listed as the daughter of Roger Oldfield and Thomasin Moore.

Thomas was born March 14, 1615, at Saint Olave Hart Street. His wife’s name is Judith. No surname is given and nothing more is found about her. There are three more Smith children: Thomas, Martha, and Thamsin. All of the Smith children were baptized at the Saint Olave Hart Street church.

Simon Smith, Judith Tozier’s grandfather, was born and died in London. He and Martha Oldfield were married about 1610 in London. Their children were also baptized at Saint Olave Hart Street: Thomasin, Thomas, Martha, John, Simon, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Mary.

Simon Smith’s will was written when he was 82 years old. He and his wife Martha had lived together for 55 years. Simon was a merchant with rent properties including a wharf and buildings leased to the Royal Navy.

Curiously, instead of referring to Judith Tozier as his granddaughter, in his will, Simon Smith calls her his “cousin”, the daughter of his son Thomas Smith, “now in New England.”


The family name is found in records as Owfield. A search for it brings up more information than using Oldfield.

Simon Smith married very well into both a merchant and politically-prominent family. In 1608, his father-in-law Roger Owfield famously left in the neighborhood of fifteen-thousand pounds in bequests and charitable gifts in his will.

Roger was born in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, the son of John Owfield of the same. Roger was one of four known children, the others being John, William, and Dorothy. Roger’s brother John had two daughters. Elizabeth married George Cowper and Katherine married Sir George Fleetwood.

George Fleetwood, son of Charles Fleetwood, Esq., was born at Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire. George Fleetwood was one of Cromwell’s lords, one of 59 who signed King Charles death warrant.

John, son of John, was a civic leader during the early years of the English Revolution and was considered an important figure. He was a Common Councilman in 1643 and elected Alderman in 1649.

Roger had at least eleven children. His son, Sir Samuel Owfield, who served as MP of Gatton, Surrey, was one of Cromwell’s lords.

Adventurers in the Massachusetts Bay Company

Judith (Smith) Tozier’s New World connections begin to come clear via her family’s connections with the Massachusetts Bay Company.

. Her uncle Joseph Owfield subscribed to the Impropriations Fund.

. Her aunt Rebecca (Owfield) Gearing was married to John Gearing, one of the Feoffees for Impropriations. John Gearing was also a member of the Dorchester Company, 1624-1626, the failed attempt to establish a permanent fishing and farming colony at Cape Ann.

. Her aunt Mary (Owfield) Janson married as his second wife, John Janson, brother to Sir Brian Janson, knight of London. John Janson was appointed an assistant to the Company.

. Her aunt Sarah (Owfield) Glover was married to Rev. Joseph (Jose) Glover, who died at sea in 1638 on his way to New England. Their daughters married sons of Governor John Winthrop: Elizabeth married Adam Winthrop and Sarah married Deane Winthrop.

All four were siblings to Judith’s grandmother, Martha (Owfield) Smith.

Free Trade

Roger Owfield made what might be called a small fortune with his participation in trading companies, including the Barbary Company, also known as the Morocco Company, a trading company established in 1585 by Queen Elizabeth I of England. Membership permitted exclusive trade for twelve years. In 1592 it merged with the Levant Company.

Thomas Stuart Willan writes:

There was, however, among the members of the Barbary Company a group of considerable merchants whose main trade, though not their sole trade, was with Morocco. The most outstanding of these was probably Roger Owfield. Owfield was importing madder from Middelburg and linen from Stade in 1588; twelve years later he was a member of the Levant and the East India Companies, but most of his free trade seems to have been with Morocco. He was exporting canvas to Morocco in 1583 and woolen cloth the following year; in both cases some of his trade was done in partnership with others. … In the nineties Owfield combined his Moroccan trade with privateering, as did other merchants. He was still exporting to Morocco in 1606, two years before his death. … More than a third of the members of the Barbary Company can be classified as big merchants because of their considerable trade with Morocco itself or because of their extensive trading activities elsewhere. … Among those medium sized merchants was Robert Washborne who married Roger Owfield’s sister Dorothy. In 1584 Washborne was exporting cloth to Morocco in partnership with Owfield, and later the two men may have been associated together in privateering. … in 1590 Robert Washborne and company were exporting sugar from London to Bordeaux. Washborne’s re-export trade was not confined to sugar; in 1598-9 he was re-exporting continental linen and canvas to Morocco. … Of the biggest importers in 1587-8, Roger Owfield and Anne Walkeden, the former rarely and the latter never seems to have belonged to any partnership.

Now we have a picture from whence Judith (Smith) Tozier came, who her family was, what her background was. It was a far cry from the savage frontier of Kittery, Maine.


. Boyd treasure trove of London info here. If you subscribe to, it is part of the database.

. Massachusetts Bay Company Adventurers (Chapter 16, here) and Winthrop Society here.

. The Impropriations Fund was for the maintenance of Puritan preachers in England. Subscriptions to the Fund were intended to indicate interest in the Puritan movement.

. Tudor Foreign Trade: Thomas Stuart Willan, Studies in Elizabethan Foreign Trade (Manchester University Press, 1959) available online.

This entry was posted in French & Indian wars, Great Migration, Immigrant Ancestor, Kittery, Maine, Oldfield, Owfield, Smith, Tozier and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Challenge: Tozier-Smith

  1. suemccall20 says:

    Hi, I am also a descendant of the Owfield family. I am a descendant of Mary Owfield who married John Shorte. You mention Mary Owfield marrying John Janson. The wife of John Janson was another sister named Thomasine Owfield. We have a facebook group for descendants which I thought you might like to join. Here is the link.

    My email is if you would like to make contact.


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