Some Boyntons of Rowley, MA


See a map of the East Riding of Yorkshire, where many early Rowley settlers originated, including the Boynton families. John and William Boynton were from Knapton, Wintringham Parish, near East Heslerton. Sir Matthew Boynton, their cousin who apparently helped finance the Rowley expedition, built his home at Burton Agnes, near the ancient village of Boynton west of Bridlington after he decided to stay in England instead of emigrating. The assumption that he financed at least his cousins' emigration is based on a transcribed letter from Sir Matthew to the son of Gov. Endicott found in the Boynton genealogy, stating his decision not to come to New England after all, and releasing his "servants" from any further obligation to him, and making a gift of his goods and livestock that were transported in preparation for his now-abandoned emigration plans.

The Boynton family first came to America from Yorkshire, England, probabaly in 1638 with the Rev. Ezekiel Rogers on the ship John of London, which was the ship Rogers sailed on from Hull. There is no passenger manifest existing for this voyage, but a list of people who "probably" came with Rogers is found in Blodgett & Jewett's "Early Settlers of Rowley Massachusetts" which has been transcribed from that book by a contributor to the Immigrant Ship Transcribers Guild. The Boynton brothers settled in Rowley, Essex County, Massachusetts in Rogers' "plantation" which was chartered by the Bay Colony in 1639. Our last Yankee ancestor, Amos Boynton, who was born in Rowley, left there with his father some time before the American Revolution. He may have lived near Lancaster or Shrewsbury, MA, where his parents had moved after he was born (in 1742) in Rowley. According to Rowley church records, Amos' father, Ephraim, had his church letter moved from Rowley Church to the Second Church of Lancaster in 1764. Blodgett & Jewett say Ephraim removed from Rowley to Chockset, which is now called Sterling, in the 2nd parish of Lancaster, MA. Amos and his wife, Sarah Snow, bought land in Fitzwilliam, NH, where their children were baptised. According to Norton, the deed they both signed said they were "of Shrewsbury" at the time of purchase.

Sometime after the Revolution (between 1790 and 1800) Amos and his family moved to Wilkes Co., GA. The move to Georgia may have been to collect "bounty" land awarded to Revolutionary veterans, or just to find available land. Amos may have been involved in the ill-fated attack on Canada, led by Montgomery and Benedict Arnold, and if so, he was captured by the British along with 400 others. However, that was probably one of his cousins, not our Amos. There were three Amos Boyntons, all cousins born within a 5-year span in Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, who fought in the Revolution, and some of their records may be mixed up. All three apparently fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill (actually at Breed's Hill) under Arnold's command. One Amos may or may not have been one of Ethan Allen's "Green Mountain Boys" and at least one account says an Amos Boynton was at either the battle of Lexington or Concord when the whole thing got kicked off.

The Puritan Rowley settlers kept very good records, and through those a complete family tree back to immigrant John Boynton has been traced. John was the brother of William Boynton, who is #22 on a list in Douglas Boynton Quine's website. Douglas has the family traced back to 1067, using information from the genealogy by John Farnham Boynton and other sources. The records are more sketchy once Ephraim Boynton (father of the Revolutionary Patriot Amos Boynton) moved his family to the "western frontier" -- to present-day Sterling, just east of Worcester, MA, around 1750. Sometime later Ephraim, or at least his son, Ephraim, Jr., settled in Sullivan, NH.

I visited Rowley, MA in the summer of 1998, and took a picture of our 2nd generation ancestor's grave. Capt. Joseph Boynton died in 1730 and is buried in the Rowley Graveyard along with many other early settlers.

More information about Rowley can be found in the Essex County, MA GenWeb site, and by subscribing to the Essex-Roots email list discussion. I've also added a page here that contains the chapter about Rowley from C.F. Jewett's Standard History of Essex County, Mass. published in 1878. The entire book is available on CD-ROM from my company's History eBooks Web site.

So far it has not been possible to trace the ancestry of Sarah Snow Boynton, other than her father's name (Jonathan Snow) which was found in the Boynton genealogy, not a primary record. There were several Snow families in New England at the time (I've counted 27 Jonathan Snows in the 1790 Massachusetts census), and Sarah was a rather common name for girls then. The assumption my grandmother made that our Sarah was the daughter of a 4th generation descendent of Constance Hopkins and Nicholas Snow was apparently mistaken, since that Sarah married someone other than Amos Boynton. Another Sarah Snow of around the same age from Delaware has also been ruled out, but we haven't given up yet on finding our Sarah.

Amos & Sarah's son, Elijah Snow Boynton, moved to Georgia with his parents and at least some of his brothers and sisters around 1790-1800. He married three times, first to a woman named Elizabeth Jackson (no children), 2nd to Elizabeth "Betsey" Moffett, mother of Amos Boynton and 10 other children, including a non-elected governor of Georgia, James Stoddard Boynton. After Betsey Moffett Boynton died in 1839, Elijah Snow married a 3rd time, only a few months later, to Betsey's much younger neice, also named Elizabeth Moffett. He had four more children with the younger Elizabeth.

Amos Boynton the younger, born in 1818 in what is now Henry Co., GA, moved to Texas and married Martha Elizabeth "Mattie" Harvey in 1856. Their daughter, Anne Elizabeth "Annie" (Ralston) (1860-1952) was the last of the Boynton name in our line. A descendent chart of the family from the first Amos to Annie Boynton Ralston is also here, but needs review for accuracy after finding new information, so don't take it too literally.

The map below, which used to show a "side trip" to Windsor Co., VT, has been updated. At this time I do not believe our Amos Boynton lived in Vermont, but that the records there refer to his cousin of the same name, apparently a descendant of William, brother of immigrant John Boynton, who was another original settler of Rowley. Instead, indications are that our Amos Boynton family went south from Fitzwilliam, NH.

Some information about Amos' Revolutionary War record indicates that he enlisted several times from Cheshire Co., NH. His brother, Ephraim, also an Am. Rev. War officer, is buried in Four Corners Cemetery, Sullivan, Cheshire Co., NH according to the "Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution" -- a 17-volume work compiled by the Secretary of the Commonwealth and published in 1896. I found an electronically searchable database of this at Sullivan is about 15 miles north of FitzWilliam, NH, so this does all hang together logically.

Here is the listing in that work for one of the Amos Boyntons (but I think this one was for the cousin from Maine, not ours, since Machias is in Maine):

Boynton, Amos. Clerk, Capt. Stephen Smith's co; enlisted Sept. 15, 1775; discharged Dec. 31, 1775; service, 3 mos. 23 days; stationed at Machias; also, Lieutenant, Capt. Smith's co., Col. Benjamin Foster's (Lincoln Co.) regt.; service from July 16, 1777, to Oct. 10, 1777, at Machias when British ships lay in the harbor; also, same co. and regt.; service, 15 days, between Dec. 4, 1778, and Jan. 4, 1779.

-- page 637



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