Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Mary Launce

Female Abt 1625 - 1710  (~ 85 years)


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  • Name Mary Launce  [1
    Born Abt 1625  [2
    Gender Female 
    Died 9 Mar 1710  Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5
    Person ID I27524  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of AP
    Last Modified 7 May 2020 

    Father John Launce,   b. Abt 1597, of Penair in St. Clement, Cornwall, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 25 Jun 1635  (Age ~ 38 years) 
    Mother Isabella Darcy,   b. Abt 1600,   d. Between 29 May 1668 and 4 Aug 1669  (Age ~ 68 years) 
    Married Abt 1619  [2
    Family ID F16438  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Rev. John Sherman,   b. 26 Dec 1613, Dedham, Essex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Aug 1685, Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years) 
    Married Abt 1645  [2, 3
    Children 
    +1. Rev. James Sherman,   b. Abt 1651,   d. 3 Mar 1718, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 67 years)
    Last Modified 9 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F16437  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • One of AP's two gateway ancestors.

      Cotton Mather, in Magnalia Christi Americana, called Mary Launce, second wife of the Rev. John Sherman, a "young gentlewoman [...] a Person of good Education, and Reputation, and honorably descended," whose mother was "daughter to the Lord Darcy, who was Earl of Rivers." She certainly was not, and in his pioneering 1860-64 Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, James Savage took delight at exercising his well-known animus against Mather, who "tells of this wife calling her mother daughter of Darcy, Earl Rivers, one of the Popish Counsellors of Charles I who had no daughter that married a Launce." Savage continues: "If [Mary Launce Sherman] did give [her husband] these myths of her noble descent [...] either she was insane, which he had not sanity enough to discover, or she was irreverently playing on his bottomless credulity." It was left to the great Donald Lines Jacobus, founder of the twentieth-century "Jacobus School" of skeptical, fact-based genealogy, to point out, in a 1944 article, "The Family of Rev. John Sherman" (citation details below), that Mary Launce's mother really was a Darcy, albeit one of the Darcy family of Kent. Isabella Darcy of London, daughter of Sir Edward Darcy, a confidant and ally of Elizabeth I, first married John Launce of Cornwall and, secondly, the Rev. Sydrach Simpson, master of Pembroke Hall at Cambridge University. Her 1668 will names, with others, her sons James Launce and Darcy Launce, and her daughter Mary Sherman. In a subsequent article, "The Darcy Ancestry of Mrs. John Sherman" (citation details below), Jacobus put forth further proofs of Mary Launce's parentage, calling it a "perfect chain of evidence" and remarking that "Few English lines of early colonists are so thoroughly proved."

      Descendants of the Rev. John Sherman and Mary Launce include Norman Rockwell, Declaration of Independence signer Robert Treat Paine, and the 68th governor of Massachusetts, William Weld.

  • Sources 
    1. [S3981] Donald Lines Jacobus, "The Family of Rev. John Sherman of Wethersfield, Milford, and Branford, Conn., and Watertown, Mass." The American Genealogist 20:129, 1944.

    2. [S3901] Donald Lines Jacobus, "The Darcy Ancestry of Mrs. John Sherman." The American Genealogist 21:169, 1944.

    3. [S142] Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families by Douglas Richardson. Salt Lake City, 2013.

    4. [S1579] The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States, Who Were Themselves Notable or Left Descendants Notable in American History by Gary Boyd Roberts. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2018., colony only.

    5. [S4046] Brice Clagett, 25 Oct 2000, post to soc.genealogy.medieval., year only.