Robert Abell was born 1605 in Stapenhill, Derbyshire, England to George Abell (1561-1630) and Frances Cotton (1573-1646) and died 20 June 1663 Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Joanna Hyde (1610-1672) 1637 in Massachusetts.

Traveled from his home to New England in 1630 as part of the first wave of a mass exodus of Puritans called the Great Migration. Very extensive ancestry documented.

For more info see his bio at wikipedia:en:Robert Abell.

1630: Winthrop Fleet Migration[]


This family were some of the 700+ Passengers of the Winthrop Fleet which sailed from England to settle the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Salem in 1630 under the guidance of Gov. John Winthrop. It is reported that during the first year nearly 200 of these colonists died and another 100 returned to England. The remaining settlers either stayed in Salem or moved on to Boston or Watertown.

Robert Abell’s first recorded act in America (19 October 1630) was to apply to be a freeman in the recently founded village of Weymouth. On 18 May 1631, he took the freeman’s oath. “This act endowed him with full privileges and responsibilities of citizenship in the new colony, including ownership of lands, in the exercise of which he continued to acquire holdings.”

Most of the early settlers of Massachusetts Bay Colony had at least two major preoccupations: (1) helping build Winthrop’s “City upon a Hill,” a model Christian society, and (2) surviving and prospering in the New World. It is not known exactly how committed Abell was to the first objective, but municipal and court records show him participating in the life of his community, slowly building up his land holdings and eventual establishing a business.

Residence at Weymouth[]

During his time as a resident of Weymouth (1630-1643), his civic duties included serving on various types of juries (grand, petit and coroner’s), and records indicate that he accumulated a small amount of land (about 7 acres). Like many immigrants, Robert Abell did not stay indefinitely in the first place he landed. In 1643, when the opportunity to join a newly founded town presented itself, he followed Reverend Samuel Newman (and the majority of his congregation) to a place the local Wampanoag tribe called Seekonk (a portion of which was later renamed “Rehoboth”). Some of Abell’s activities while living there can be found in the following extracts from the minutes of various Rehoboth town meetings and Plymouth colonial records.

Marriage and Family[]

The given name of Robert Abell's wife is first seen after his death, during the probate of his estate; there is no indication that Robert had any other wife, and his sons Preserved & Caleb named daughters Joanna, so he was probably married to Joanna by 1639.

They had 8 children: Abraham, Mary Luther, Preserved, Caleb, Joshua, Benjamin, Experience Baldwin, & another child (based on distribution of estate, which referred to "the eldest son," Mary Abell, and "the other five children"). Analysis of the names given to children of the known children of Robert Abell suggests two possibilities for this child: Mehitable (used by Mary, Preserved, Joshua, Benjamin and Experience) and Martha (used by Mary, Preserved, Caleb and Joshua). Martha was not used in any of these families prior to the marriage of Preserved Abell to Martha Redway, whereas Mehitable was used twice (by Mary and Preserved) before the marriage of Joshua Abell to Mehitable Smith.


Robert Abell and his wife Joanna (who after Robert's death married William Hyde, and d. aft. 1682) [Abell, Horace A. The Abell family in America, p. 43] had ten children: Abraham (d.1639), Mary (1642–1724), Preserved (b. ca. 1644), Caleb (b. ca. 1647), Joshua (b. ca. 1649), Benjamin (b. ca. 1651), Experience (b. ca. 1660), Samuel (1650-1698), James (1656-1724), and Mehitalbe (b. ca. 1655).[1]

  • Circa 1662, their daughter Mary married Reverend Samuel Luther (1636–1716), son of an adventurous mariner named Captain John Luther (d.1645),[2] “a focal figure in the colonies mentioned several times in Winthrop's Journal and other colonial accounts.”[3] Robert Abell's new son-in-law was already famous in New England for having survived a massacre and kidnapping by a small group of Lenape tribesmen when he was only nine years old (1645) and went on to become (1685) the highly respected “settled pastor” of the First Baptist Church (still extant) of Swansea, Massachusetts for 31 years.[4]
  • Mary's sister Experience married (1680) Deacon John Baldwin (1654–1705), an early settler of Lebanon, Connecticut, with whom she had five children.[5]
  • Robert's son Lieutenant Preserved Abell (d. 1724) was among those soldiers listed as having not only “served under Major [William] Bradford (1624-1703)” in King Philip's War, but also “advanced money to sustain it.” (£7, 15s, 1d.)[6]
  • Sergeant Caleb Abell (d. 1731) moved to Norwich, Connecticut in 1668 and was a selectman in 1682, constable in 1684 and 1706, townsman in 1689 and was Sergeant of the Norwich Train Band in 1701. “In the book of Grants in Norwich, there are 38 or more items to Caleb Abell.”[7]
  • Joshua Abell (d. 1725) “was constable in Dedham, Massachusetts and frequently chosen townsman there. He moved to Norwich, Connecticut in 1667 and became a ‘considerable landowner,’ with 44 grants listed in his name.”[8]
  • Benjamin Abell (d.1699) also held substantial property adjacent to or near his older brothers in Norwich.[9]

All of the Abell brothers had sizable families (seven to ten children each), helping to perpetuate the family name in New England. Writing in 1940, genealogist Horace Abell claimed that “probably all the present day Abells of New England stock are descended from Robert’s three sons, Preserved, Caleb and Benjamin Abell. His fourth son, Joshua, did not leave any male descendants.”[10]


Offspring of Robert Abell and Joanna Hyde (1610-1672)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Abraham Abell (1639-1639) 14 November 1639 Weymouth, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States 14 November 1639 Weymouth, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Mary Abell (1642-1716) 11 April 1642 Weymouth, Suffolk County, Massachusetts 20 December 1716 Swansea, Bristol County, Massachusetts Samuel Luther (1636-1716)
Preserved Abell (1644-1724) 11 November 1644 Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts 18 August 1724 Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts Martha Redaway (1648-1685) Sarah Bowen (1656-1703) Martha Redaway (1648-1685) Sarah Bowen (1656-1703) Anna West (1642-1723)
Caleb Abell (1646-1731) 8 April 1646 Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States 17 August 1731 Norwich, New London County, Connecticut, United States Margaret Post (1653-1700) Margaret Post (1653-1700) Mary Miller (1662-1731)
Joshua Abell (1649-1724) 1649 Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States 17 March 1724 Norwich, New London County, Connecticut, United States Mehitable Smith (1655-1684) Mehitable Smith (1655-1684) Bethia Gager (1657-1723)
Benjamin Abell (1650-1699) 14 November 1650 Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States 6 June 1699 Norwich, New London County, Connecticut, United States Hannah Baldwin (1654-1717)
Experience Abell (1653-1705) October 1653 Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts 5 June 1705 Norwich, New London County, Connecticut John Baldwin (1657-1739)
Mehitable Abell (c1655-)


See Also[]

  1. ^ Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins
  2. ^ Luther, Leslie L. and George A. Luther. The Luther genealogy, p. 30
  3. ^ Luther, Leslie L. and George A. Luther. The Luther genealogy, p. 29
  4. ^ Abell, Horace A. The Abell family in America, p. 47
  5. ^ Abell, Horace A. The Abell family in America, p. 56
  6. ^ Bliss, Leonard. The History of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, p. 117
  7. ^ Abell, Horace A. The Abell family in America, p. 50
  8. ^ Abell, Horace A. The Abell family in America, p. 52
  9. ^ Abell, Horace A. The Abell family in America, pp. 54-55
  10. ^ Abell, Horace A. The Abell family in America, p. 15