Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Dorothy Sheafe

Female - 1669


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  • Name Dorothy Sheafe  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Gender Female 
    Died 1669  England Find all individuals with events at this location  [7, 8
    Person ID I15618  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of TSW
    Last Modified 28 Sep 2020 

    Father Rev. Thomas Sheafe,   b. Bef 10 Oct 1562, Cranbrook, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Dec 1639, Wickham, Welford, Berkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 77 years) 
    Mother Mary Wilson,   d. Bef 26 Jul 1613 
    Married Abt 1597  [6
    Family ID F9554  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Rev. Henry Whitfield,   b. Abt 1590, Mortlake, Surrey, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 17 Dec 1657, Winchester, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 67 years) 
    Married 1618  [6
    Children 
    +1. Sarah Whitfield,   b. Bef 1 Nov 1620,   d. 8 Jul 1675, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 54 years)
    Last Modified 28 Sep 2020 
    Family ID F9552  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • The generally excellent Abandoning America (citation details below) gives her as a daughter of Dr. Edmund Sheafe. But John Brooks Threlfall (citation details below) presents convincing proof that her father was Thomas Sheafe, a brother of Edmund. First, Thomas Sheafe's 1639 will refers to his "daughter Dorothy Whitfield." Second, Threlfall shows the 1617 marriage contract between, on the one hand, Henry Whitfield and his father, and on the other, Dorothy Sheafe and her father, which further demonstrates that Dorothy's father was Thomas Sheafe:

      Indenture tripartite made 20 September, 15 James I (1617) between Thomas Whitfeld of Mortlake, county Surrey, esquire, and Henry Whitfeld of Okelye in the same county, clerk, on the first part; Thomas Sheafe of Wickham, county Barks., Doctor of Divinity and Dorothy Sheafe, spinster, his daughter, on the second part; Thomas Woodwarde of Lyncolns Inne, county Middlesex, esquire, Richard Kinge of Lyncolns Inne, esquire, Thomas Rashleigh of the Strande, London, gentleman, and David Rawsoune of St. Gregoryes, London, woollen draper, on the third part, being the settlement previous to the marriage of the said Henry Whitfeld and Dorothy Sheafe; in consideration of £400, her marriage portion, the said Thomas Whitfeld and Henry Whitfeld covenant to levy a fine and suffer recovery of their messuage and 100 ac. of fresh marsh in Bexhill, called Wrenhams, and also of their closes of pasture and fresh marsh, called Jesus marshe in Aylsham alias Haylsham, the said recovery to enure, as to the said messuage and 70 ac. of fresh marsh land in Bexhill to the use of the said Henry Whitfeld and Dorothy Sheafe, and the heirs of the said Henry Whitfeld, and as to the other 30 ac. of fresh marsh called Wrenhams and the lands called Jesus marshe to the use of the said Henry Whitfeld, his heirs and assigns. Seal & Signatures of Thomas Whytfeld and Henry Whitfeld.

      [Sussex Archaeological Society, Vol. 37, p. 46.]

      Abandoning America and John Brooks Threlfall also disagree on a major point of Dorothy Sheafe's life: whether she accompanied her husband, Henry Whitfield, back to England when he returned there permanently in 1650. Threlfall says that she did not, that she "continued to live in the stone house on its commanding knoll long after her husband's departure," but that in 1659, Dorothy "returned to England and lived there until her death in 1669." Moore says that after Henry's death, Dorothy "visited New England in 1659, perhaps to settle her husband's estate at Guilford", which would seem to imply that she either accompanied him or followed him back to England early in the 1650s. Where Moore and Threlfall appear to agree is that Dorothy was granted probate in Henry's estate on 29 Jan 1658. We aren't expert enough to know whether this is something that would plausibly happen in the early 17th century if the testator's preferred executor was an ocean away.

  • Sources 
    1. [S101] The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Volumes 1-3 and The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England,1634-1635, Volumes 1-7, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996-2011.

    2. [S1617] Abandoning America: Life-Stories from Early New England by Susan Hardman Moore. Woodbridge, Sussex: The Boydell Press, 2013.

    3. [S2122] Descendants of the Reverend Francis Higginson by Thomas Wentworth Higginson. 1910.

    4. [S2216] Mary Lovering Holman, "The Sheafe Line." The American Genealogist 22:85, Oct 1945.

    5. [S2306] The Winthrop Fleet: Massachusetts Bay Company Immigrants to New England 1629-1630 by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012.

    6. [S2906] Puritans and Pedigrees: The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2018.

    7. [S2123] The Ancestry of Reverend Henry Whitfield (1590-1657) and His Wife Dorothy Sheafe (159?-1669) of Guilford, Connecticut by John Brooks Threlfall. Madison, Wisconsin: 1989.

    8. [S933] Fifty Great Migration Colonists of New England and Their Origins by John Brooks Threlfall. Madison, Wisconsin, 1990.