Nielsen Hayden genealogy

John Ingersoll

Male Abt 1626 - 1684  (~ 57 years)


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  • Name John Ingersoll  [1, 2
    Born Abt Sep 1626  [3
    Gender Male 
    Baptised Sep 1626  St. Werburgh, Derby, Derbyshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Died 3 Sep 1684  Westfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 5
    Person ID I23614  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of DDB, Ancestor of TWK
    Last Modified 9 Sep 2020 

    Father Thomas Ingersoll,   b. Abt 1593, Derby, Derbyshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 May 1681, Derby, Derbyshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 88 years) 
    Mother Margery Eaton,   b. Bef 28 Nov 1604, Shadwell, Stepney, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Dec 1664, Derby, Derbyshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 60 years) 
    Married 15 Dec 1620  St. Dunstan's, Stepney, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Family ID F14188  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Dorothy Lord,   b. Bef 1 Jul 1629,   d. Jan 1657, Northampton, Hampshire, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 27 years) 
    Married Abt 1651  [3
    Children 
    +1. Dorothy Ingersoll,   b. 1654, Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 9 Sep 2020 
    Family ID F14184  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Abigail Bascom,   b. Bef 7 Jun 1640,   d. Apr 1666, Westfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 25 years) 
    Married 12 Dec 1657  Northampton, Hampshire, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 6
    Children 
    +1. Abiah Ingersoll,   b. 24 Aug 1663, Northampton, Hampshire, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Nov 1732  (Age 69 years)
    +2. Hester Ingersoll,   b. 9 Sep 1665, Westfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 13 May 1704  (Age > 39 years)
    Last Modified 15 Mar 2020 
    Family ID F14183  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • His first appearance in New England records is on 28 Nov 1654, when he was fined 10s by the Connecticut Particular Court "for the breach of the law against lyinge." First at Hartford, then Northampton about 1655, then Westfield about 1665.

      From David L. Greene, "The English Origin (and Spiritual Turmoil) of John1 Ingersoll of Westfield, Massachusetts" (citation details below):

      A requirement for church membership in Massachusetts Bay Colony after 1636 was a public relation of religious experience. [...] In 1679, John Ingersoll became one of the "seven pillars" who founded the Westfield Church; his extraordinary public relation follows (emphasis added):
      I being brought by Godly Parents, who tooke great pains & Care to bring me out of a State of Nature into a State of Grace in watching over me, in keeping me from Sin, & Sabbothbreaking, in bringing me to attend the word preached, read, & in Cathechising I'd little regard itt, but onely for fear of them.

      The first time, to my rememberance, that God met with me was by a Sermon I heard at Darby in old England upon Ps. 15.1,2, ["Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart"] when I was about 18 years old, whereby I was Convinct that as yet I was none that should inherit the holy Hill of Zion, but I thought I would labour to be one that Should. But this Conviction was soon over & I went on in my Sin & vanity still. & tho' I met with many Conviction that my State was bad, & was in many dangers both at sea, & land; & I saw I must Repent, & become a new Creature if ever I ment to be Saved, yet I put repentance off till afterwards. But being under Mr. Stones Ministry I was convincd that the time was come that I must not put Repentance off any longer, for the Lord had granted me the thing wherein my excuses lay & therefore I set upon Duties, & reformed in many things, & having a book of Mr. Jeremiah Burroughs I read much in it, about Faith, & Hope, & was much incouraged, till I met with an Expression thus, that if my Hopes were not such as would stand with every line of the word of God at the day of Judgment they would availe me nothing. Then being troubled I threw the book a side for a while thinking that altho' he was a good man he was too Strict, & mistaken therein. & that I did believe, & that he that did believe should be saved & therefore my State was good. But coming to Northampton I heard Mr. Mather the first time upon that, that in the world ye shall have trouble, but in Christ you may & shall have peace, which incouraged me for a while. But afterwards his preaching did not please me but I thot I would keep my hopes. And the Lord visiting me with sickness that I was neer death, yet I thot I was well enough prepared for death & was not willing to hear to the Contrary: But the Lord in great mercy was pleased not to take me away in that Condition. But remaining still Confident of my good Estat, I, as I was on atime into the meadow to work, thot nothing should dash my hopes thereof. But presently the thoughts of [blank] who murdered himselfe Coming into my mind, I for a while much wondered at it. But my thots soon runing thus, What if God should leave me? then I should do so. & the temptation came so hard upon me that God would leave me, & I should certainly dy such a death; be guilty of mine own Blood, & be damned irreconcilably, that I was not able to go on to my business; but returning home, the temptation prevaild more, & more upon me, & I was filled with horrour of Conscience, the Lord did so manifest his wrath & Displeasure against me: & my Sins were like mountains ready to sink me down into Hell every moment. & not being able in the night to sleep, was forced to rise up at midnight, & Call up my Father in Law, who hearing how it was with me, & that I feared I had sinned the unpardonable Sin; & that there were no Hopes of mercy, gave me good Counsell, & prayed with me. & after having some abatement I returned home, & remain'd in that Condition: But the Lord after awile was pleased to abate the temptation, & his wrath a little. & I fell to reading & praying in Secret; being incouraged to look to Jesus Christ for mercy. But Mr. Mathers Ministry was like daggers in my heart. For when I was labouring to lay hold on Christ, as I thot, by Faith, it did so rip up my State in such a way as dashed my hopes, whereby, me thot, I was one that went about to Establish mine own Righteousness, & to have something of mine own to Carry me to Christ. Wherefore I Studied upon what terms Christ was to be had, I prayed, Searched the Scriptures, & attended all duties; but could find no way to get a pardon, of Sin, & peace with God, but by Repentance of all Sin, & a Closing with Jesus Christ by Faith. I thot I was willing to part with all Sin, & would gladly be delivered from it, as seing what a Condition it had brought me into. As for the world, I accounted it not worth regarding, so I could but get an Intrest in Christ Jesus. But how to believe I knew not. I heard many Descriptions of Faith, yet could not tell what it was, nor how to gett it. Mr. Mather being upon the work of Humiliation said be humble enough, & good enough; I thot it was the Pride of my heart, that I was so impatient; & could not wait Gods time. I saw there was hopes of mercy for me in Jesus Christ. He came into the world to save his people from their Sins: With him the Fatherless finde Mercy; He gives gifts to Rebellious ones; the Chiefe of Sinners. He Is able to Save all to the uttmost, & will by no means cast off any that come to him. & tho' I could not come to him of myselfe, yet he is able to bring me to, & keep me with, himselfe, then reading that Isa. thou has brought me no Sweet Cane - but hast made me to serve with thy Sins; yet I am he that blotteth out all thy Sins for my names sake. Whereupon I found myself willing, & was inabled to Cast myselfe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, to give up myselfe & all unto him; to leave my Sins, & Corruptions to him to do as he pleased. & So to leave myselfe with him, let him do, what he would with me. & if I did perish at last, yet it should be in his way, remembring Peters words, Lord to whom should we go thou hast the words of Eternall Life.
      This relation begins conventionally enough: all Puritans who commented on the fact had "Godly Parents." The "Mr. Stone" whose ministry persuaded Ingersoll to make one of several attempts at repentance was the Rev. Samuel Stone of Hartford, and Ingersoll's statement that "the Lord had granted me the thing wherein my excuses lay" is probably a reference to his first marriage. The annotators of the relation identify the work that made Ingersoll consider the English Puritan divine Jeremiah Burroughs "a good man" but "too Strict" as Gospel-Revelation in Three Treatises (London, 1660).

      In Northampton, however, we move beyond the conventional, and we gain sharp insight into the personality of John Ingersoll, for it was there that he entered into intense spiritual and psychological agony, for such it certainly was. The Northampton minister, the Rev. Eleazer Mather, first displeased Ingersoll, probably because Ingersoll was already satisfied with his spiritual condition. Even a severe illness did not change his mind. But one day, while working in the meadow, he thought about an unnamed individual who had committed suicide, and he was so strongly tempted to do so himself that he could not sleep that night and awoke his father-in-law to share his agony. Thomas Bascom prayed with him until the suicidal temptation had abated. The rest of the relation becomes conventional again as Ingersoll describes his acceptance of the Puritan view of salvation.

      Ingersoll's morbid desire to destroy himself would today be called clinical depression. But giving it another name does not change the agony and despair that he experienced. In describing it in such gripping terms, John Ingersoll gives us greater insight than we could ever expect into the sufferings of an ordinary individual now dead for over three hundred years.

  • Sources 
    1. [S2066] The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong of Northampton, Mass. by Benjamin Woodbridge Dwight. Albany, New York: Joel Munsell, 1871.

    2. [S215] The Phelps Family in America and Their English Ancestors: With Copies of Wills, Deeds, Letters, and Other Interesting Papers by Oliver Seymour Phelps. 1899.

    3. [S3133] David L. Greene, "The English Origin (and Spiritual Turmoil) of John1 Ingersoll of Westfield, Massachusetts." The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 151:153, 1997.

    4. [S376] Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy.

    5. [S3044] Genealogical Notes, or, Contributions to the Family History of Some of the First Settlers of Connecticut and Massachusetts by Nathaniel Goodwin. Hartford: F. A. Brown, 1856.

    6. [S3133] David L. Greene, "The English Origin (and Spiritual Turmoil) of John1 Ingersoll of Westfield, Massachusetts." The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 151:153, 1997., date only.