TUSLE: Edward Spalding’s Wives

TUSLE #4 (tying up loose ends); please see update at end of post.

The first post on this blog was about Edward Spalding’s wives.

Deeper digging disproves, at least in my mind, that the Edward Spalding who was among those who traveled to James Citie with Sir George Yeardley, the governor and captain general of the Colony of Virginia, arriving there April 19, 1619, aboard the ship Gift, was the same Edward Spalding who arrived sometime in the early 1630s in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Samuel J. Spalding, in his 1872 Spalding Memorial, is correct. The ancestor Edward Spalding made his first appearance in the New World at Braintree or Chelmsford in the early 1630s.

Perhaps part of the mystery comes from previously not knowing exactly where and when Edward Spalding was born and when and where he married his first wife, Margaret Eliot. Both Margaret and their daughter Grace died around 1640 in Braintree. An assumption had been that Edward married Margaret there as his first wife.

English parish and London records show that Edward Spalding, son of Willfred and Anne Spalding, was baptized September 13, 1596, in St Peter upon Cornhill, London, London, England. In 1623, he married Margaret Eliot in Redenhall, Norfolk, England. Sometime prior to coming to Braintree they had their daughter, Grace, who died in May 1641 in Braintree.

Their sons John and Edward were born sometime between 1633 and 1635 in New England.

Although not proof, we do have the report that, in February 1656/57, a notebook includes information that his son John was about twenty-three and his son Edward about twenty-one.

Following the death of Margaret around 1640 in Braintree, Edward senior married Rachel. You can read about Rachel’s likely identity in my earlier post.

Note that Edward’s other four children, Benjamin, Joseph, Dinah, and Andrew, were all born after Edward’s second marriage.

As always, the most likely explanation is the correct one. The convoluted scenario in support of a James Citie Edward Spalding who may have returned to England, or Bermuda, or somewhere else, prior to arriving in New England with a brand-new family is just plain wrong.

UPDATE: Further digging has found that Edward and Margaret (Eliot) Spalding not only were married in Redenhall, Norfolk, England, but also had their children born and christened nearby in Dickleburgh.

It therefore follows that Edward Spalding was from Norfolk as well. Until all the pieces fall into place, and I can put the rest of the Spalding story together, suffice it to say this is one more warning to all of us family historians and genealogists to not accept conventional wisdom. Ever.

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1 Response to TUSLE: Edward Spalding’s Wives

  1. Michael Hogan says:

    Hello, Michael Hogan again. Apologies for my earlier post, I didn’t notice this update until after I posted it. I’m glad we agree about the Virginia thing. The Spalding Memorial I was looking at was the Charles Warren Spalding revision published in 1897 in which the Virginia claim is unequivocally made. Apparently you’re referencing the original Samuel J. Spalding compilation, which I assume from your posting does not make that claim. As for the information about Edward’s & Margaret’s origins in Norfolk, I agree it’s intriguing, however I still have my doubts. I haven’t found a record for the marriage you mention between Edward and Margaret Eliot in Redenhall in 1623 but the birth of children beginning in 1624 is indicative. While there is a record of a Grace Spalding born to Edward & Margaret in Dickleburgh, Norfolk in 1624, there are records of other children, a son Samuel born in 1630 and a son John born in 1628. It’s possible Samuel died, and that this John also died and they had another son John in about 1633, but again we’re jumping to some conclusions here. It’s possible this is the same Edward, Margaret and Grace Spalding who appear in Braintree years later, but it’s also possible it’s just a coincidence. It’s a promising lead for now regarding Edward’s & Margaret’s origins, but I think more evidence is required.


    Michael Hogan


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