Meigs (Meiggs) Family History and Genealogy

 

 

Vincent Meggs and His Sons

Vincent Meggs (#1) was the first member of the "family" in America. He came to America with his sons Vincent, Jr. (#2), John (#3) and Mark (#4). It was his son John who changed the spelling of the family name to Meigs. The reason for the change is unknown today. The name is still pronounced Meggs.  (Click here for the origin of the name.)

ORIGINS

Vincent has been located among the Bishop's Transcripts of the parish of Chardstock, Dorset. These records commence in 1579, and extend with few breaks through 1641. Douglas Richardson of Tucson, AZ, was surprise in 1991 to find the baptism records for three children of Vincent's while searching these transcripts. The record also provides us, for the first time, the given name of Meggs' wife, Emma. (For more information on Emma Stronge, click here.) These three entries read as follow:

  • 16 Apr.1610 Marie the daughter of Vincent & Em Maggs baptized
  • 29 Jan.1612/3 John the sonne of Vincent & Em Maggs baptized
  • 25 August 1616 Marke the sonne of Vincent & Em Maggs baptized

A further mention of Vincent comes from the records of Axminster, Devon, England, which is an adjacent parish to Chardstock. There one Vincent Maggs is appointed the overseer of the will of John Maggs. The will was proved in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Exeter on 17 September 1632 with the only surviving abstract in the collection of Sir Oswin Murray held at the West Country Studies Library at Exeter. The will reads:

"Will of John Maggs of Axminster, 1632:

I John Maggs of Axminster, husbandman. To my daughter Alice, if she marry to the liking of her mother and brother Stephen, 20 marks. To my daughter Jane, 20 marks when 18. To my daughter Elizabeth, 20 marks when 18. To my children John[,] Emmet and Joan, 20 marks each. To John Hore, son of Constantine Hore and Agness my daughter 4 when 14. The rest to Agnis, my wife, and Stephen my son, executors; overseers: Vincent Maggs, Thomas Lovinge; witnesses: Edward Staple, Wm Steart.

Proved 17 Sept. 1632.

From records found at the Devon, England, Record Officer in the Petre Family records, it appears that Vincent Meggs was an Innkeeper, moving from Chardstock to Axminster in 1617 to become landlord of the Angel Inn. There is no Angle Inn in Axminster today. Research might be able to trace its site, or even the building. These records also indicate the Vincent Meggs at times used the alias Vincent Love and at other times was known as Vincent Love alias Vincent Meggs. It would be worthwhile searching records for the Love alias Meggs surname elsewhere in England.

BRADFORD PEVEREL CONNECTION

For years there has been much speculation on whether Vincent was a descendant of the noble line of Meggs at Dorchester. R. W. Wilcox reviews it best. A William Meggs is recorded, about 1519, as of Canterbury, in Kent. His son, Thomas Meggs, resided at Downham, Isle of Ely, in Cambridgeshire. This Thomas had a son, Nicholas Meggs, who married Jane Peverel. Through this marriage, Bradford Peverel, in the County of Dorset, came into possession of the Meggs family. The eldest son of Nicholas and Jane (Peverel) Meggs was Lawrence. The theory has been advanced that this Lawrence was father of Vincent Meggs, founder of the lineage in America. But the connection of Vincent Meggs to the Bradford Peverel Meggs' has never been proved and is solely based on the fact that Vincent came from the same general area. This popular believe was strongly favored by the Meigs' family in the late 1800's and early 1900's. It was note in our published genealogies and continues to be perpetuated to this day.

Could Vincent have been the illegitimate child of Lawrence? Could be, but until we can prove this it is only speculation.

Could Vincent have been the true youngest son of Lawrence? Not likely since the pedigree of the Meggs of Bradford Peverel, Dorset, is well documented and it does not contain any mention of Vincent.

I would conclude as Banks' did that "English emigrants to New England...in colonial days came from the cottages and not the manor houses...[they] were largely dominated by the...Puritan influences." Vincent may well have been distantly related to the Meggs of Bradford Peverel (Chardstock and Axminster and Bradford Peverel are all within about 25 miles of each other) yet I think it is time that the speculation about any direct connection be put to rest. Vincent is not a descendant of Nicholas Meggs nor the son of Lawrence Meggs.

IN AMERICA

Vincent was born c1583. He married Emma Stronge c1606. There is no record of his wife coming with the family, therefore it is assumed that he was a widower when he arrived in America. Vincent is first recorded in the country in 1641 at Weymouth, MA. From there Vincent and his sons made plans to go with Rev. Samuel Newman's company in 1643 to Rehoboth, MA. At a meeting in Weymouth of those who wished to settle there, each person was required individually to give the value of his estates, in order that the allotments of land might be made accordingly. John Meigs listed his estate at £120. It's not known if Vincent and his sons moved to Rehoboth, for at the organizational meeting, held in the latter part of 1643, certain rules were agreed to by all those present. One of which was that they must move their families to the new community and fence their land. If they failed to do so, they would forfeit to the town their allotted land. John Meigs is one of 18 names that appear on this forfeiture list. John does appear in the town records again on June 9, 1645, as having been assigned a lot "in the new meadow." But, as noted later, Vincent and the family appear to have moved in about 1644 to New Haven, CT. Vincent is recorded at New Haven on June 14, 1646, October 6, 1646 and June 1, 1647. Being in his early 70's, he moved to East Guilford, CT., (now Madison) with his son John in 1653/4. Vincent died on December 1, 1658 at East Guilford. His will is dated September 2, 1658 and was probated on December 2, 1658. Tradition is that he was the first to be buried in Hammonassett Grave Yard.

CHILDREN OF VINCENT, SR.

Meigs Number Name Birth Death
No. 2 Vincent, Jr c1609 11-01-1700
No. 2a Marie 04-16-1610
No. 3 John 01-29-1612 01-04-1672
No. 4 Mark 08-25-1616 1674

VINCENT MEGGS, JR

What is known of Vincent, Jr., is small. Southampton, Long Island, town records say that he contracted to build a mill at Easthampton in 1653 and was a resident of North Sea in 1657. He died on November 3, 1700, at Killingworth, CT. The Court Record at New London, CT, show settlement of the estate on December 17, 1700.

Copy of Estate Settlement of Vincent Meggs, Jr. Probate Journal No. 1, page 7, of New London, CT. Att a Prerogative Court held at New London, December 17, 1700.

Daniel Wetherell, Esqr., Judge.
Richard Christopher, ) Justices in Quorum.
Nehemiah Smith.

An Inventory of the Estate of Vincent Meggs, late of Kenilworth, Deceased, was exhibited in the above Court, proved accepted and ordered to be recorded, and this Court Grants power of Administration upon the Goods, Chattels and credits of the above deceased unto Lieut. Henry Crane and Mr. Willi Stevens, both of Kenilworth.

This Court makes distribution as follows, the debts that are known being deducted out of the Estate:

To Lieut. Henry Crane, 5-2-11 1/2
To Mr. William Stephens, 5-2-11 1/2
To John Meggs 5-2-11 1/2
To Tryall Ward 5-2-11 1/2

Lieut. Henry Crane and Mr. William Stephens of Kenilworth do acknowledge them Selves bound in a bond of 401b. jointly and severally to this Court of Probate in New London that they will faithfully according to Law administer upon the goods, Chattels and Credits of the said Vincent Meggs, late of Kenilworth. Deceased this 17th of December, 1700.

Henry Crane William Stevens

JOHN MEIGS

John Meigs is recorded on February 24, 1644 in New Haven, CT, as having been admitted a member of the court, and the same year is admitted a freeman. In 1648 he bought the lot known in recent history as "Cutler Corner," The conveyance of this property is on record and reads: "William Jeanes passeth over to John Meggs his house and house lot lying on the corner over against the house of John Budd, and the highway." Meigs owned this property for 10 years before giving it to the town in 1658. John appears in the court records of New Haven throughout 1645, 1646, 1647, and 1648. On December 5, 1648, New Haven Court, Richard Perry declared that Meigs had not delivered the 10 bushel of wheat ordered by the court earlier. The court ordered Meigs to hand over the wheat and "for the contemptuous cariage of John Meggs to the court in refusing to fulfill their order in the attachment laid upon the corn the court fined him xx." John also appears in the records on January 6, 1662, about a debt he claimed from the Estate of Thomas Jeffries.

John was a tanner, currier and shoemaker. On March 3, 1653/4 he was admitted to Guilford as a planter on his buying a £100 allotment at Hammonassett (Hammonassett became East Guilford and is now Madison). John also purchased from the agent of Thomas Jones, on March 4, 1667/8, the land on the east side of Guilford Green.

John later moved to Killingworth, CT., where he died on January 2, 1672. He married Thomasine Frye in England c1632. Their children were:

Meigs Number Name Birth Death
No. 5 Mary 1633 04-30-1703
No. 6 Elizabeth 1635 1664
No. 7 Concurrence 1643 10-09-1708
No. 8 John 02-28-1641 11-09-1713
No. 9 Tyral 1646 1690

MARK MEGGS

Mark, the last son, was the "black sheep" of the boys. Why the black sheep? Well it appears from court records that he made certain unwelcome advances towards his neighbors wife while the neighbor was out of town.

He appears to have identified himself closely with the interests of the family until some time after they moved to New Haven. He moved to Long Island and was granted a lot in Easthampton, but abandoned it before 1651. From that date until 1658 he resided in Southampton. He then moved to Huntington, which is further west on the island, where he, on March 26, 1672, gave by will with the consent of his wife Avis all his property in Old and New England after the death of Avis to Samuel Lum, son of John Lum, who he called his "adopted son." What is meant by the expression "adopted son" is not known, but the assumption has been that Samuel was a son-in-law.

Hannah Meigs (#9a), daughter of Mark, married Samuel Lum and they had at least four children. On July 13, 1674, Mark, now living in Stratford, Fairfield Co. CT, "formerly of Huntington, LI.," deeded all his property to Jacob Walker, his loving friend of Stratford, as he is "growing ancient."

Mark married Avis __________. It appears (but not satisfactorily proven) that they had at least one daughter, Hannah.

NOTES AND REFERENCES

  • C.W. Bardsley, "A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames," Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967. P.H. Reaney, "A Dictionary of British Surnames," Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1958.
  • Benjamin Wright came to Guilford, CT, as early as 1645. He moved to Killingworth sometime after 1650, being shown in Killingworth in 1659. His wife was Jane, no surname mentioned (NEHG Reg., January, 1904). That Jane Wright's maiden name was Meigs appears in a number of "Hand" genealogies including "The Hand, Sisson and Scott Genealogy," Carol Clark Johnson, Leconca Publishing, 1981. The Jane mentioned in John Maggs' Will may have been this Jane Meigs, a niece of Vincent Meggs.
  • "The American Genealogist," Volume 53, No. 2, April, 1977, page 92 and 93.
  • "Search For The Passengers of The Mary & John 1630," Volume 16, 19, and 25. Mary & John Clearing House, 5602 305th Street, Toledo, OH, 43611. This is the most important source of current research on the origins of Vincent Meggs and his family.
  • R. W. Wilcox, "Wilcoxson-Wilcox, Webb, Meigs Families," The National Historical Society, New York City, 1938.
  • Lawrence Meggs' children were: Percival, Peverell, Andrew, Hugh, Christopher, Jane and Agnes. From Bradford Peverell Register, LDS file #908201.
  • R.W. Wilcox, "Wilcoxson-Wilcox, Webb, Meigs Families," The National Historical Society, New York City, 1938.
  • Boston Transcript, December 3, 1923, #2084
  • John Meigs, Jr., son of John Meigs (#3) is recorded as being born in Weymouth, Mass., on February 28, 1641. See "Vital Records of Weymouth, Mass. to the year 1850," Volume 1, NEHGS. Boston, 1910.
  • Leonard Bliss, "History of Rehoboth," 1836.
  • Richard L. Bowen, "Early Rehoboth," Volume II, Privately Printed, Rehoboth, Mass., 1946.
  • J.L. Rockey, "History of New Haven County," Volume 2, W.W. Preston & Co., NY, 1892.
  • Bishop's Transcripts of Chardstock, Dorset. LDS Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Microfilm #1279491.
  • Henry B. Meigs, "Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs," Privately Printed, 1902.
  • Edward H. Lum, "Genealogy of the Lum Family," NP, Chatham, NJ, 1927. Howell's History of Southampton, page 431, says mentioned that one John Lum had a son still living in Southampton who is said to be heir of Mark Meigs of Huntington.
  • Huntington, Long Island, Town Records, Volume 1.

 

Copyright (c) by Rick Meigs