Saturday, August 10, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ GOODSPEED of England and Barnstable, Massachusetts

Cape Cod, Massachusetts


In England, Robert Goodspeed wrote a will in 1658 which named his sons Roger, Bennet and Thomas.  They had all gone to the New World, but he left them 6 pounds, 13 shillings and 4 pence each y if they returned within ten years of his death.  I don’t know if any of the sons ever collected their portion.

The son, Roger Goodspeed is an early Cape Cod settler who came to Barnstable, Massachusetts in the spring of 1639.  He married Alice Layton on 1 December 1641.  Roger was admitted to the Barnstable church in 1644, and in 1651 he was made a freeman.   By 1653 he left Goodspeed’s Hill in Barnstable and removed to the village of Mistick, which is now known as Marston’s Mills, where he had a six acre house lot and 16 acres to plant.  He bought more land in 1659 and in 1665, and in 1667 the town granted him another 16 acres.

On 6 April 1678 Roger Goodspeed signed a document, with his mark, conveying all his land to his sons John and Ebenezer, except for six acres, on the condition that they support him and Alice for the remainder of their lives.  Alice wrote a will in 1689, which named her children:

"To my son Ebenezer Goodspeed what is due to me from my son, John Goodspeed, for my ox with my half cow my son John Goodspeed owes to me, also my dwellin ghouse with all my other estate whatsoever except my wearing clothes and one colt, one gowne to my daughter-in-law Lydia Goodspeed and to my Granson Benjamin Goodspeed, son of Ebenezer, one colt.  Son Ebenezer to be executor, and loving friends James Hamlin and Job Crocker to be my over Seers."

Charles Eliot Goodspeed (1867 – 1950), founder of Goodspeed’s Book Shop in Boston in 1898, was a descendant of Roger Goodspeed.   Goodspeed’s Book Shop was a venerable used book seller on Beacon Street, seller of manuscripts, genealogies, first editions and other valuable books, which closed in 1993. Goodspeed’s Books is still warmly remembered in Boston, and if you Google the name you will still find catalogs, memorabilia and other items for sale from this book shop.  Charles Eliot Goodspeed was also an early member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. 

Roger Goodspeed is not listed in Martin Hollick’s New Englanders in the 1600s, nor is he listed in the Great Migration series of books.   The English origins of Roger Goodspeed were described in an article by G. Andrews Moriarty in the October 1928 NEHGS Register.   There is an older compiled genealogy book, History of the Goodspeed Family, by Weston Arthur Goodspeed, Volumes I and II, Chicago, 1907, available online to read at this link: 

There is a sketch of Roger Goodspeed and his descendants at the database called “New Englanders in Nova Scotia” at the NEHGS website.  This database names more than 650 New England families who settled in Nova Scotia beginning in 1759.  It is a series of articles written by Fred E. Crowell in the 1920s and 1930s for the Yarmouth Herald.  There is a complete name index for these articles. You can find this database at the website 

My Goodspeed genealogy:

Generation 1:  Nicholas Goodspeed, died between 21 July 1557 and 24 September 1558.

Generation 2:  Robert Goodspeed, born about 1532, died before 8 November 1600 in Wingrave, Buckinghamshire, England; married on 30 October 1552 in Wingrave to Isabell Allen.  She died in Wingrave before 9 March 1584.

Generation 3: Robert Goodspeed; married Alice Harris

Generation 4: Roger Goodspeed, born about 1615 in Wingrave, died 1665 in Barnstable, Massachusetts; married on 1 December 1641 in Barnstable to Alice Layton.  She died 10 January 1689 in Barnstable. Seven children.

Generation 5: Ruth Goodspeed, born 10 April 1652 at Misteake, now Marston’s Mills, Massachusetts, died in 1691; married on 2 February 1675 in Barnstable to John Davis, son of John Davis and Hannah Linnell.  He was born 6 January 1650 in Barnstable, and died 1729 in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Five children.

Generation 6:  Benjamin Davis m. Mary Robinson
Generation 7: Ruth Davis m. John Mayhew
Generation 8: Mary Mayhew m. Caleb Rand
Generation 9: Mary Rand m. Asahel Bill
Generation 10: Reverend Ingraham Ebenezer Bill m. Isabella Lyons
Generation 11: Caleb Rand Bill m. Ann Margaret Bollman
Generation 12: Isabella Lyons Bill m. Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Generation 13: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Not related, but the Goodspeeds frequently appear during my maritime research here around Falmouth.
    A Benjamin Perceval of Sandwich, Mass. married in 1774 Lydia Goodspeed of Barnstable (b. 1754, d. Joseph & Abigail). Benj. Perceval kept a really remarkable diary of his life from 1777-1817, a copy of which is held by the Sandwich Public Library. I haven't found any other version of this except the original which is kept at the Sandwich Hist. Society. He was a prominent Sandwich citizen and their son Joseph Perceval, a mariner, was lost at sea in 1807.

    In Falmouth, Obed Goodspeed was also a prominent citizen with home on the Village Green which in 1840, he turned into the Post Office and for a time, was post master. He also had part ownership in a number of Falmouth-built ships, including the famous "Awashonks" and the "William Penn."

    Harrison Goodspeed Sr. (b. 1791, s. Wally of Sandwich, and m. Susan Davis of Falmouth) was a well-known house carpenter in town, owned a shingle mill, and died by falling from a roof (1850). He also was part owner of the ship "William Penn," built in Falmouth. His son Harrison was a mariner, who died of consumption (1857.) I know these Goodspeeds are descended from Roger, so I'm sure you know them all! But I come across them all the time and it was fun to make the connection through your post.

  2. Thanks for your history :)

    A Goodspeed