Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Mary Launce

Female Abt 1625 - 1710  (~ 85 years)


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Mary Launce  [1, 2
    Born Abt 1625  [3
    Gender Female 
    Died 9 Mar 1710  Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Person ID I27524  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of AP
    Last Modified 20 Oct 2021 

    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  [3
    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 1647  [5
    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 16 Aug 2021 
    Family ID F16437  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • One of AP's two proven 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.

      Regarding the date of her death, the Early New England Families Study Project (citation details below) states only that she "[d]ied probably at Watertown between 15 October 1705 and 24 December 1712. She was living on 20 October 1704, when she acknowledged a deed." But Watertown records (citation details below) clearly state "ms Mary Sherman (widow of mr. John Sherman Late: Rd: pastor of the church in watertown) deceast march : 9 : 1709/10".

  • 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. [S756] Early New England Families Study Project: Accounts of New England Families from 1641 to 1700 by Alicia Crane Williams. Online database, New England Historic Genealogical Society.

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

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

    5. [S950] Michael Johnson Wood, "The Early Shermans of Dedham, Essex, and Their Wives." The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 166:245, October 2012; 167:35, January 2013; 167:149, April 2013; 167:213, July 2013; 167:275, October 2013; 168:16, January 2014.

    6. [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.

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

    8. [S5880] Watertown Records, Comprising the Third Book of Town Proceedings and the Second Book of Births Marriages and Deaths to the End of 1737 by the Historical Society of Watertown. Watertown, Massachusetts: Press of Fred G. Barker, 1900.