Saturday, April 14, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Rev. Skelton, first minister at Salem, Massachusetts

The First Church, Salem, MA
Founded in 1629, this building
dates from 1836

Samuel Skelton matriculated at Clare Hall, Cambridge University on 7 July 1608 and received his Batchelor of Arts degree in 1611, and his Master’s degree in 1615.  He was Governor John Endicott’s spiritual advisor in England, and he arrived in New England on the “George Bonaventure” with several of his children on  19 June 1629.    He was ordained as the pastor and Reverend Higginson was made the teacher of the First Church in Salem on 6 August 1629.   It was the first church founded in the Massachusetts Bay colony.

"Upon the eighteenth day of March came one from Salem and told us that upon the fifteenth thereof there died Mrs. Skelton, the wife of the other minister there, who, about eighteen or twenty days before, handling cold things in a sharp morning, put herself into a most violent fit of the wind colic and vomiting, which continuing, she at length fell into a fever and so died as before. She was a godly and an helpful woman, and indeed the main pillar of her family, having left behind her an husband and four children, weak and helpless, who can scarce tell how to live without her. She lived desired and died lamented, and well deserves to be honorably remembered" [ Thomas Dudley, Letter to Lady Bridget, Countess of Lincoln 12 and 28 March 1630/1 in Letter from New England in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1629 – 1638, Everett Emerson, editor, Amherst, MA, 1976].

Richard Charles Anderson made this humorous note about the Skelton family in his Great Migration Begins, Volume III, pages 1684-1687:  “In 1939 Nora E. Snow published an account of the family of Samuel Skelton which assigned to him another wife, prior to Susanna Travis, and two sons with that wife, Benjamin and Nathaniel [ Snow-Estes 2:214]. She reached this incorrect conclusion by deciding that the tentative entries for Benjamin and Nathaniel Skelton in Savage must have been real people and must have been sons of Samuel [ Savage 4:103]. Savage, in turn, was misled by Felt, who included men of those names in his list of first settlers of Salem, giving the first appearance of Benjamin as being in 1639 and of Nathaniel as being in 1648 [ Felt 1:170]. In both cases Felt had misread entries in the Salem church records for baptisms of children of Benjamin and Nathaniel Felton [ SChR 17, 22]. Skelton Felton, a great-grandson of the Rev. Samuel Skelton, might have appreciated the humor of the situation.”  [At the annual Felton family reunion, the name of “Skelton Felton” often comes up, with much giggling]

For more Skelton information:

The History of Salem by Sidney Perley,  Massachusetts, 3 volumes (Salem 1924-1928)

An Emerson-Benson Saga: The Ancestry of Charles F. Emerson and Bessie Benson and the Struggle to Settle the United States Including 194 Allied Lines by Edmund K. Swigart, Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, 1994

The Records of the First Church in Salem, Massachusetts, 1629-1736 by Richard D. Pierce, ed. , Salem, MA, 1974

The Reverend Samuel Skelton, A. M., by Herbert Parker, Society of the Descendants of Colonial Clergy, Lancaster, MA, 1943    call number BX7260. S54 S6 1943 at NEHGS library

The First Church in Salem, Massachusetts is now a Unitarian church, founded in 1629 as the Puritan First Church in Salem

My Skelton lineage:

Generation 1: Reverend Samuel Skelton, son of William Skelton and Sarah Unknown, baptized on 26 Feburary 1593 at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, England, and died on 2 August 1634 in Salem, Massachusetts; married on 27 April 1619 at Horbling, Lincolnshire, England to Susanna Travis, daughter of William Travis,  born before 11 September 1597 at Horbling, died on 15 March 1631 in Salem.  Five children:
1. Sarah Skelton, baptized 12 August 1621 at Sempringham, Lincolnshire, England, probably died young
2. Samuel Skelton, baptized 8 January 1623 at Tattershall, Lincolnshire, England, married Margaret Unknown
3. Susanna Skelton, baptized 3 April 1625 at Tattershall, married 1st John Marsh, married 2nd Thomas Rix
4. Mary Skelton (see below)
5. Elizabeth Skelton,  born about 1630, married Robert Sanford

Generation 2:  Mary Skelton, baptized on 28 June 1627 at Tattershall, died May 1701 at Salem; married about 1643 to Nathaniel Felton, son of John Felton and Eleanor Thrower, born about 1615 at Great Yarmouth, England and died 30 July 1705 at Salem.  Eight children.

Generation 3: John Felton married Mary Tompkins
Generation 4: Nathaniel Felton married Elizabeth Foot
Generation 5: Malachi Felton married Abigail Jacobs
Generation 6: Sarah Felton married Robert Wilson
Generation 7: Robert Wilson married Mary Southwick
Generation 8: Mercy F. Wilson married Aaron Wilkinson
Generation 9: Robert Wilson Wilkinson married Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 10:  Albert Munroe Wilkinson married Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 11: Donald Munroe Wilkinson married Bertha Louise Roberts


Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. I'm also a direct descendant of Reverend Skelton through his daughter Susanna.