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This is a cute story from my family tree…

“William Cogswell, when a lad, was out from home by the highway, where some men were trying in vain to relieve a cow who had become choked with a potato. There stood by, also, a young girl, eight or ten years old, who watched with interest every effort made. When all experiments failed, and it was suggested that only by someone thrusting his hand down the cow's throat would the cow be saved, she at once said, "My arm is small; I can do it best; you hold her mouth." They did so, and she drew out the potato, to the great relief of the poor cow and all present. The young lad said to himself, "That young miss, by and by, shall be my wife." Her name was Martha Emerson; and thus the name of Emerson came into the Cogswell family.”

The William Cogswell mentioned in the story is nephew of my ancestor John Cogswell, who was born about 1622 in England and lived in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich, Massachusetts. He arrived in the New World aboard the “Angel Gabriel”, which shipwrecked in Maine. William Cogswell, the nephew, was born in 1659, and he finally married little Martha Emerson in 1685.

My Cogswell lineage:

Generation 1: John Cogswell, born about 1592 in Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England, died on 29 December 1669 in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts; married on 10 September 1615 in Westbury Leigh to Elizabeth Thompson, the daughter of William Thompson and Phillis (maiden name unknown). He arrived in New England in 1635 aboard the Angel Gabriel.

Generation 2: John Cogswell, born about 1622 in England, died on 27 September 1653 on a ship returning to America; married to unknown. His wife died young, leaving him with three children who he put into guardianship with his brother William, father of the William in the story above. He left for England and died on the return trip to America.

Generation 3: John Cogswell, born 1650 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, died in 1724; married on 22 July 1674 in Ipswich to Margaret Gifford, daughter of John Gifford and Margaret (maiden name unknown) born about 1653 in Ipswich,

Generation 4: John Cogswell: born 6 September 1683 in Ipswich, died on 3 May 1719 in Ipswich; married in 1708 to Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown, and she died 15 July 1753.

Generation 5: Martha Cogswell, born on 1 Jan 1718/19 in Chebacco Parish, Ipswich, died 23 December 1809 in Ipswich; married on 1 March 1747/8 in Ipswich to John Andrews, son of John Andrews and Elizabeth Wallis, born 1717 in Ipswich, died on 3 May 1779 in Ipswich.

From here my line switches to the Andrews family of Chebacco Parish/Essex, Massachusetts for the next three generations.

For more information:

This except is from "The Cogswells in America" book originally published in 1884 by the Rev. E. O. Jameson and long out of print. This book was updated with the new book “Descendants of John Cogswell 1635- 1996” by Donald J. Cogswell, Family Line Publications, 1998.

See my blog posting on November 20, 2009 “The Other Mayflowers, Voyage 5: The Shipwreck of the ‘Angel Gabriel’” for the story of the wreck of the Angel Gabriel in Pemaquid Maine. The Historic New England webpage for the 1728 Cogswell’s Grant home at 60 Spring Street, Essex, Massachusetts. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places, and was deeded to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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