Shapleigh Family Association

Alexander Shapleigh's Family Tree - the first four generations in America

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Alexander Shapleigh's Family Tree - the first four generations in America
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Dirt Road

The First Four Generations of Shapleighs in America


(1)Alexander Shapleigh the Immigrant

(2)Katherine, Alexander, Elizabeth, Avis, James, John, Nicholas


(4)Alexander, Alice, Nicholas, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary, John

The Shapleigh Family Association Genealogical Corner
The following publications are excellent reference materials for Shapleigh genealogical research and furthering your knowledge of the Shapleigh Family. They are available in many local (Maine) libraries: "Old Kittery and Her Families by Everett S. Stackpole (1903); "Old Eliot" (3 volumes) by Dr. John L.M. Willis (1897-1909); "Shapleigh Family" by Gustav Anjou (1919-Reviewed 1987) (NOTE: the sections of this book prepared by Alfred Lee Shapleigh and Alexander Wessel Shapleigh, Jr. are accurate; the accuracy of Anjou's research cannot be relied on since he was found to have published fraudulent genealogies); and our publication, "The Descendants of Alexander Shapleigh, the Immigrant" by Hannah Chandler Shapleigh Tibbetts and Frederick Elisha Shapleigh (1968).
In March 1988, a newsletter similar to our own and entitled "The Shapley Connection" by Dr. Brian J. L. Berry was published with its premiere issue and at least two additional issues followed later in the year. This newsletter is devoted to the history and genealogy of the Shapley Family and its connecting lines and is well presented.
During the last 42 years Richard W. Shapleigh, Sr., current secretary and historian of the Association, has accumulated copies of many published short articles about the Shapleigh Family, The Shapleigh Family Association and the settlement of the Kittery, Eliot, Berwicks (3), Lebanon, Acton, Shapleigh, Parsonsfield and Limerick, Maine areas as well as Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He has been sharing these with association members and other interested parties mainly through our annual newsletter "The Shapleigh Chronicles". In addition, anyone requiring assistance in reconstructing their lines of genealogical descent from Alexander Shapleigh, the Immigrant, is welcome to contact us by mail or e-mail. Please furnish as many clues and information that you have in your possession.
Following is information on the first three generations of the Shapleigh Family Association in America which was published in the New England Historic and Genealogical Register in 1941/1942.

The First Generation of Shapleighs in America

ALEXANDER SHAPLEIGH(1), the pioneer of the American Branch of the Family, was born apparently at Kingsweare, Devon, England, about 1574, and was probably the son of Nicholas Shapleigh, of that place, but of this we are not quite sure. His beautiful residence at Kingsweare was called Kittery House. A name that had come down in the Shapleigh family for several generations, and the name, followed the family to America and finally gave name to the Town of Kittery, Maine.
From the testimony of Katherine Treworgy, we learn that Alexander Shapleigh was alive May 26, 1642. We hear nothing more about him, and we learn from the court records that he was dead previous to July 5, 1650.
We do not know the name of the wife of Alexander Shapleigh, when they were married, or when or where she died.
This genealogy if based on a manuscript book which bears on the first page the following notation: "Alexander Shapleigh, and his descendants from the time he emigrated to this Country about 1635 to 1884. By William Fogg, Esq., of Eliot, maine. Copied from the original manuscript now belonging to Mr. James B. Shapleigh of Great Falls, New Hampshire and brought down from 1850 to 1884, together with notes and information late publications have furnished. By Waldron Shapleigh. For his kinsman James B. Shapleigh, who has been of great service in collecting much data for this genealogy both for William Fogg, Esq. and Waldron Shapleigh." The records of the first three generations have been greatly augmented by material found in "The Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire", Libby, Davis, Noyes. Abundant records of later generations have been supplied by interested members of the family, and due credit will be given when these appear in print.
(Contributed by Ralph Sylvester Bartlett, A.B., A.M., LL.B., of Eliot, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts.)
Alexander, merchant, ship owner, was interested in the primitive plantations and trading establishments in Maine and New Hampshire, where he was also an agent for Sir Fernando Gorges, and it is very probably that he visited this country at an early date, but his large interests in Kittery were looked after by James Treworgye and his son, Nicholas Shapleigh(2), whose transactions in his name and depositions of servants would make it appear that he was here at times when actually he was in England. However, he was in Kittery in person on 26 May 1642, when he made over his entire estate to his son-in-law, James Treworgye, although by record Treworgye had deeded this same property to Nicholas Shapleigh on 2 April 1641. (York Deeds, vol. 1, fol. 1, 7: vol. 7, fol. 236, 237).
In 1635 he purchased through the agency of his son-in-law a large tract of land extending from the Piscataqua River halfway to York River, perhaps the same lands now possessed by his descendants. (Sandy Hill, once owned by Albert Shapleigh, was undoubtedly part of his early estate and has been always owned by some member of the family (through 1941). Here was formerly a fort or garrison house and mill, and here it was that Nicholas Shapleigh, son of Alexander Shapleigh(1), received and protected the Quaker preachers. (See "New England Judged by the Spirit of the Lord, George Bishop, 1703)), and in 1638 he added a tract of 500 acres at Kittery Point.
In October 1650 a statement was made that "the house where Mr. William Hilton now dwelleth at the River's mouth was the first house built there, and was where Mr. Shapleigh's father first built and Mr. Shapleigh now intends to rebuild and enlarge."
In May 1674 his daughter Katherine, pleading for her brother, stated that about 38 years since, in a time of great scarcity, her father laid out a good estate for the supply of the country.
In 1679 John White deposed that about 42 years before Mr. Alexander Shapleigh and Mr. James Treworgye agreed with the neighbors dwelling at and about Sturgeon Creek (now Eliot, Maine).
By a deposition of Elizabeth Trickey, it is made to appear that he died at Kittery not long before 6 July 1650, when the question to whom the estate belonged was brought before Godfrey, who ruled that Mrs. Treworgye was in no way possessed of the estate or responsible for any of the debts as her father had conveyed everything before he died and no will was proved, he evidently considering the deeds of Alexander Shapleigh to James Treworgye and of the latter to Nicholas Shapleigh covered the same property and that the latter was the later deed. (See Register, vol. 5, p. 345).

The Second Generation of Shapleighs in America
Children of Alexander Shapleigh(1) and his first wife:

i. KATHERINE(2), b. about 1600; d. before 30 May 1676; m. (1) at Kingsweare, 16 March 1616/17, James Treworge (also spelled Treworgy), a settler before June 1640 at Kittery, d. before 2 July 1650; m. (2) soon after 1654 Edward Hilton, the first permanent settler in New Hampshire, a prominent citizen in the early history of that colony, bapt. at Northwich, Co. Chester, England, 5 June 1596, d. between 19 May 1669 and March 1670/1, son of William Hilton.
Katherine's children by first husband (surname Treworgye):
1. John, of Kittery, merchant, attorney for Nicholas Shapleigh(2), bapt. at Kingsweare 30 September 1618; living 19 Mar. 164-, Penelope Spencer.
2. Nicholas
3. Joanna, m. John Amerideth of Kittery, cooper, grand juryman, bapt. at Townstall, Co. Devon, England, 26 Nov. 1615, d. between 26 January 1691, son of John and Jane (Whitney) Amerideth.
4. Lucy, b. about 1632; d. before 1708; m. (1) Humphrey Chadbourne of Kittery, town clerk, juryman, selectman, deputy, associate judge, d. between 25 May 1667 and 12 September 1667; m. (2) as his second wife Thomas Wills of Kittery, shipmaster, selectman, juryman, d. before 14 March 1687/8; m. (3) Elias Stileman of Portsmouth, NH, selectman, town clerk, magistrate, deputy, captain, major, councilor, judge of the court of common pleas, b. about 1616, d. 19 December 1695, son of Elias Stileman who came to New England from the parish of St. Andrews Undershaft, London, England.
5. Elizabeth, b. about 1638; d. 8 September 1719; m. 30 June 1657 John Gilman of Exeter, NH, selectman, representative, lieutenant, deputy, clerk of writs, councilor, judge of the court of common pleas, tavern keeper, bapt. at Hingham, MA, 23 May 1636, d. 24 July 1708, son of Edward and Mary (Clarke) Gilman.
ii. ALEXANDER(2), m. at Kingsweare, 9 April 1622, Elizabeth Tellman.
iii. ELIZABETH(2), bapt. at Kingsweare 21 June 1603; m. there, 4 July 1626, John Bereford.

Children of Alexander Shapleigh(1) and his second wife:

iv. AVIS(2), bapt. at Brixham, Co. Devon, 5 February 1604/5; buried at Kingsweare 1 November 1615.
v. JAMES(2), bapt. at Kingsweare 24 November 1612.
vi. NICHOLAS(2), bapt. at Kingsweare 1 January 1617/18; d. s.p. 29 April 1682, being killed by a falling mast at the launching of a vessel at the shipyard of John Diamond; m. by 1651 Alice (Mesant) living 20 December 1685.

NICHOLAS SHAPLEIGH(2), noted for his ability in public life and for his hospitable nature and tolerance for those not always in favor with others, early became a distinguised man in the Province of Maine.
Early in 1641 he was called merchant of Kingsweare, but he was at Kittery in August 1644, but bound for England three months later. By 1648 he had returned and was serving as selectman, an office he filled for many years until 1669. He was chosen Treasurer of the Province of Maine in 1649, captain in 1653, major in 1656 (superseded by William Phillips in 1663), and in 1662 was magister, next to Worshipfull Henry Josselyn (register). In 1653 "Mr. Nicholas Shapley" was appointed one of the commissioners to hear cases of "civill actions" on the "Ile of Shoales" ("Records of Massachusetts," vl. 3, pp. 307-308). When York and Kittery were taken into the Bay Government the bounds of "Yorke" & Kettery" were laid out by "Nico Shapleigh, Edw: Rishworth, Abram Preble, Nico Frost, and Joh: Davese. (Ibd., p. 402.)"
In 1644 he was a member of Governor Vine's council which sat at Saco, he was a member of the Provincial Council each year with one exception from this time to 1652, when the people of Kittery submitted to Massachusetts. With others of Governor Godfrey's council, he contended violently with the Massachusetts commissioners in opposition to submitting to that Province, but as most of the people had yielded, Godfrey, Shapleigh, and most of the other members of the Council signed a submission in 1652. ("Nicholas Shapleigh" signed the acknowledgment of subjection to the Massachusetts Bay Government on 18 May 1653. The demand, dated 15 Nov. 1652, was made by the Massachusetts Bay Governor ("Records of Massachusetts," vol. 4, pt. 1, pp. 123-124). On 26 May 1658 the Court appointed Capt. Brian Pendleton, Capt. Nicholas Shapleigh, and Nico Frost "to pitch & lay out the dividing line betweene Yorke & Wells" (ibid., pp. 340-341). On 28 May 1659 Capt. Nicholas Shapleigh and three others were appointed to lay out Scarborough, Falmouth, and Saco bounds (ibid., p. 380).
This was a striking mark of the confidence which the Massachusetts authorities had in his candor and abilities. The Massachusetts Commissioners who were authorized to settle a government in the Province appointed him collector and directed him to make a report of his proceedings within one month; and in case of insufficiency in collections, to discharge the peoples engagements, it was to be supplied by an assessment or rate according to their former custom.
On 14 Sept. 1653 they also appointed him Shire or County Treasurer, an office which was ordered to be filled subsequently from year to year by the County Court. He was appointed also one of the Commissioners to hold the first term of County Court for Yorkshire in June 1653, and these trusts were conferred on him by the Government of Massachusetts, notwithstanding he had been a zealous opposer of the peoples submission to that Province and was far from being a supporter of the Puritan faith, then the established religion of Massachusetts. At the first regular organization of the militia in Yorkshire, Maine, into a regiment by the General Court of Massachusetts in 1656,* (*15 May 1656: "Whereas this Court is informed of se[er]all neglects of the inhabitants of Yorkshire in not being furnished with suffycyent armes, powder, &c. as the law requires, there being no generall officer at p[re]sent to call p[er]sons for neglecting to an account it is therefore ordered, tht Capt. Nico Shapleigh shall henceforth have power to call together the cheife officers of each company wthin sd county, to examine such abuses & defects as may or shall arise amongst them, & is hereby impowred to act therein as a maor may & hath power to doe in the like cases, till the Court make further order herein" ("Records of Massachusetts," vol. 3, p. 409).
27 May 1663 "Whereas this Court thought meete, in the yeare 1656, to conferr the power of a major vpon Capt. Nico Shapleigh, for ordering of the militia in the county of Yorke, vntill the Court tooke further order therein, this Court doeth hereby declare the sajd order & commission of Nico aforesajd to be null, voyd, & of none effect, & doe further order & declare, that Capt. Willjam Phillips, of Saco, is hereby impowrd & hath power..." (ibid., vol. 4, pt. 2, pp. 75-76), a Nicholas Shapleigh was appointed sergeant major and commandant, and he was required to meet with the company officers for improvement in military tactics, and to see that the soldiers were well armed, equipped, and disciplined. In 1661, after the restoration of Charles II, Gorges' heirs renewed their claim to the Province, thereby causing a division among the people and a manifestation of some disaffection to Massachusetts in which Shapleigh and several prominent men partook. Charged with not causing the militia to be exercised and trained according to law, he was displaced from the comman of the militia and superseded by William Phillips of Saco.
Nicholas Shapleigh had been an associate of one of the County Courts in 1659, 1660, and 1661, an office chosen by the people for one year. Although he was evidently of the established Church of England, yet he appears to have had a strong leaning toward the Quakers and was at times considered one of them by the authorities of Massachusetts. In 1669 he and two others (one of them the town clerk), elected by the people selectmen of the town, were all removed by the County Court on the charge of being Quakers and the town was required to elect others; but it is evident that Nicholas had not joined the Quakers for prior to this period he had held high military stations which he could not have occupied had he been a Quaker.
In 1674 he was imprisoned in Massachusetts, but was released on the plea of his sister Katherine, and the payment of Sterling 200.
On 21 Feb. 1675/6 Maj. Richard Waldrene and Nicholas Shapleigh were appointed a committee to treat [we see "treat" in several places - probably an old word/expression for "trade"] with the Eastern Indians for peace.
In 1677 he was reappointed to the command of the militia, it being then a time of war with the Indians when men of the best ability were needed for a trust of that nature.
In 1678 Nicholas Shapleigh, Captain Champernoon ["Champernowne"], and Captain Fryer of Portsmouth were appointed by the Government of Massachusetts commissioners to settle a peace with Squando and all the Sagamore upon the Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers. They met the Indians at Casco and entered into articles of peace of 12 Apr. 1678. This treaty put an end to the distressing Indian wars which had existed three years and had greatly reduced the number of inhabitants.
In the early part of April 1682, a few days before his death, Nicholas for the last time was elected to office, being chosen Representative to the Massachusetts General Court.
Nicholas Shapleigh left no children. His widow Alice, his deceased sister's three daughters, and his deceased brother Alexander's son John were the heirs to his estate. He left at his decease a large property consisting principally of land and mills. He received but little from the town.
At an early period Nicholas Shapleigh purchased from Cammack and Mrs. Wannerton a large tract of land extending by the river back that width halfway to the York line. He also bought from the Indian Sagamore several islands between Cape Small Point, Georgetown, and Marquoit, and some other tracts of land which were subsequently sold by his heirs.
In 1663 Francis Small* (*Francis Small bought this tract from the Indian Capt. Sunday for "two large Indian blankets, two gallons of Rum, two Pound of Powder, four Pounds of muscet Balls and twenty Strings of Indian Beads with several other articles.") purchased of the Indians a large tract of land comprising the northern and some of the middle part of the present County of York, one-half of which Nicholas Shapleigh purchased. Shapleigh's half included several townships, among which was all of a part of the present town of Shapleigh, which was named in his honor. The tract contained "Twenty miles Square Lying and Being the two Rivers of great osobe and Little ossobe (Ossipee)." This deed is dated 28 Nov. 1668. It was lost for over 100 years, but was finally found among the descendants of Small and recorded 28 Aug. 1773. (York County Deeds, vol. 42, fo 239.) (Please see our web page "The Shapleigh, Maine Connection".)

The Third Generation of Shapleighs in America
LIEUT. JOHN SHAPLEIGH(3), son of Alexander Shapleigh, Jr.(2) and Elizabeth Tellman, was born in England shortly after the death of his father in 1642 (as in his deposition of June 1678 he states his age as about 36 years), intestate. He came to Kittery in New England with his mother and grandfather Alexander and some aunts and uncles.
He was a grandson of Alexander Shapleigh(1) and a nephew and heir of Maj. Nicholas Shapleigh(2), who brought him from England to New Hampshire as a child after his father had died.
NOTE: Lieutenant John Shapleigh(3), son of Alexander Jr. and grandson of Alexander, the pioneer and immigrant, was the only son, bearing the name of Shapleigh, whom we have any record of, in the third generation. There may have been, and probably were, other sons of that generation in England, but we do not know their names.
He married, after 25 Apr. 1671. *Sarah Withers, who died between Nov. 1708 and October 1723, daughter of Thomas and Jane Withers.
In June 1678 John Shapleigh deposed about Antipas Maverick's possession of a house and land near thirty years past; and in Jan. 1700/1, aged about 56 years, he deposed that he lived with Maj. Nicholas Shapleigh(2), his uncle, in his house above 46 years past.
John Shapleigh was a sergeant for Kittery 4 July 1659 and ensign on 18 July 1665, and he was called lieutenant in 1695. In the civic and political life of Kittery he played an important part, serving on the jury in 1674, 1683, 1687, and 1694, on the grand jury in 1674, 1675, and 1693, on the jury of life and death in 1693, and was a selectman (1676-1677, 1683-1684, 1692-1699), highway surveyor (1692-1699), town treasurer (1694-1698), and deputy (1696).
He was also an overseer of the wills of Humphrey Chadbourne in 1667, John Heard in 1676, and John Ameredith [also "Amerideth"] in 1690.
In 1669 John Shapleigh received a grant of 110 acres of land at Spruce Creek, Kittery, and he also inherited part of the estate of his uncle, Nicholas Shapleigh(2), at Sandy Hill, Kittery.
On 29 Apr. 1706 as John was returned from his mills at Spruce Creek (Kittery) to his residence at Sandy Hill accompanied by his son Nicholas, the two were waylaid at a brook, near the southeast corner of the Dennett Farm [on Wilson Road in Kittery, probably where the west branch of Spruce Creek crosses Route 101), and fired upon by a party of Indians. John Shapleigh(3) was killed and Nicholas was captured and carried to Canada.

The Fourth Generation of Shapleighs in America
Children of Lieutenant John Shapleigh(3) and Sarah Withers:

i. ALEXANDER(4), named in will of his grandfather Thomas Withers, d. s.p. about 1701; m. Mary Adams (daughter of Christopher and Margaret (Hunking) Adams), who m. (2) 5 Feb. 1701/2 John Dennett, d. 18 Nov. 1742, son of John Dennett. In 1694 Alexander Shapleigh received a grant of 40 acres of land from the town of Kittery.
ii. ALICE(4), named in the will of grandfather Thomas Withers, d. s.p. by 1715.
iii. MAJ. NICHOLAS(4), b. in 1680, d. 1752. He married, 7 July 1715, Martha Langdon, b. 7 Mar. 1692/3, daughter of Capt. Tobias and Mary (Hubbard) Landgon.
Nicholas Shapleigh served his father for seven years after becoming twenty-one years of age. He resided on the farm which formerly was owned by his great-uncle at Sandy Hill in that part of Kittery now Eliot, Maine. In 1706 he was captured by Indians (who killed his father John - see the 3rd Generation) who carried him to Canada. He was tortured by having his fingers bitten off and then seared with hot tobacco pipes. He was later ransomed and returned home. Later in life Nicholas was able to avenge amply his father's death and his own inhumane treatment in the succeeding Indian Wars.
He was several years a major in the militia and a justice of the peace in 1733 and 1734, and he held several civil offices. He was one of the six original members of the Congregational Church at Eliot (the the upper parish of Kittery) which was organized 22 June 1721. In the capacity of justice of the peace, he issued the warrant for the first parish meeting in the Blackberry Hill Parish at Berwick, Maine, 15 Jan. 1749.
The will of Nicholas Shapleigh(4), dated 17 Jan. 1752 and proved 6 Apr. 1752, mentions wife Martha, six sons, and one daughter. The estate was inventoried for L4501.
iv. SARAH(4), eldest daughter in 1715, living in 1754; m. Dec. 1714, as his second wife, Stephen Eastwick of Kittery, master mariner, juryman, b. at Cambridge, Mass., 3 Oct. 1679, living in 1754.
v. ELIZABETH(4), living in 1769; m. Capt. John Knight of Newington and Portsmouth, N.H., merchant, moderator, selectman, representative, b. 29 Jan. 1684/5, d. between 28 Dec. 1765 and 29 Jan. 1766, son of John and Bridget (Sloper) Knight. Elizabeth and John had four sons and eight daughters.
vi. MARY(4), not named in list of father's heirs in 1733.
vii. CAPT. JOHN(4), b. probably about 1689, captain in the militia, a member in 1734 of the Congregational Church in what is now Eliot, d. at Kittery 15 Mar. 1758/9. He married 29 Nov. 1733, Dorcas Littlefield of Wells. John and Dorcas had four sons and four daughters.
On 25 Apr. 1671 Thomas Withers gave Sarah Withers, Capt. John's mother, one-half of his farm at Oak Point, Spruce Creek, as a marriage portion, and in his will, dated 26 Sept. 1679 and proved 30 Mar. 1685, he records a neck of land called Oak Point, with the marsh next to his house. (The area still carried the name Oak Point in 1991 and is opposite the location of The Kittery Trading Post on Route 1 just before it crosses the Spruce Creek bridge.)
[WEB HOST NOTE: We have included only the first four generations of the Shapleighs in America. As time went on the Shapleighs migrated to all parts of the United States; a branch of the Shapleigh family migrated to St. Louis, Missouri and founded the huge business, the Shapleigh Hardware Company in 1843. The Shapleigh Family Association has much more genealogical information from the 4th generation to the present, as well as some related family line genealogies and would be glad to answer queries. I am a 12th generation descendant of Alexander Shapleigh the Immigrant. Jane Shapleigh Edgecomb]