Wilder Family Notes

Mary Wilder (est 1620-1658)

Mary Wilder b. est 1620 prob. at Shiplake, Oxfordshire,, England; imm. 1638 aboard the Confidence with her mother Mrs. Martha Wilder; d. 13 DEC 1658 prob. Watertown, Middlesex Co., Mass.; m. est 1644 prob. Massachusetts to Joseph Underwood, he b. abt 1614 England; imm. 1637 to Watertown, Mass.; d. 16 Feb 1676/7 prob. Watertown. Some sources claim descendant of Nicholas Wilder b. est 1505 "of Bohemia" (Nicholas-1, John-2/Agnes, John-3/Alice Keats, Thomas-4/Martha). Clark (below) provides some sources and argument that she is of the family descended from Richard Wilder (bef1560-ca1596) of Shiplake, Oxfordshire,, England (Richard-1/Alice, Thomas-2/Martha Keene). Clark claims that the surname of Thomas' wife Martha was Keene. Clark also provides extensive narratives and analysis of some other Wilder lines.

The latest Wilder book (1998 printing which I have not seen) is a continuation of the work started in 1876 and published in 1878 by Rev. Moses H. Wilder and supports the lineage back to Nicholas Wilder. According to this work (quote supplied by a correspondant):

"Some of have confused this family with that of another Thomas Wilder of Shiplake, yeoman (son of Richard) who died in 1619. This Thomas married in 1606 at Reading, Berkshire to Martha Keene and had sons, Isaac, Mathew, and Abraham and daughters, Elizabeth and Marie. There were many Wilders in the area at the time, so it is not known whether Thomas Wilder who died in 1619 was descended from one of the seven sons of Nicholas or was from another migration. There are records showing Wilders in the region before the time of Henry VII, in whose army our Nicholas was a military Chieftain."
[Note: The will of Thomas Wilder names wife Martha, above named children and one unborn.] Reportedly, some pages of the Shiplake parish register for the relevant time period were removed.

It seems that the current consensus is that the 1998 Wilder book is correct, that Martha Wilder Underwood (-1658) was a descendant of Nicholas Wilder (ca.1464-?). Clark seems to base his claim that Martha Wilder who immigrated in 1638 was Martha Keene because of the other Keene's shown on the passenger list. He also cites the 1606 marriage record at St. Mary's Reading of Thomas Wylder to Martha Keene. Since I have not seen the Wilder book, I cannot say any more at this point. The stuff on the internet does not provide sources, analysis or rationale. My instinctive conclusion is most likely Mary Wilder Underwood was the daughter of Thomas Wilder (1579-1634) (descendant of Nicholas (ca. 1464-?)) and Martha (unknown), but that either theory could be proven or disproven by subsequent evidence or analysis. Maybe some DNA testing?

However, it does appear that Mary Wilder Underwood was the Mary Wilder "daughter" immigrated to America in 1638 on the Confidence with her mother Martha Wilder "of Shiplake, county Oxford, spinster", "spinster" in this context meaning widow. It has been presumed that Martha's children included Edward and Elizabeth who supposedly immigrated before 1638 and that John remained in England. Edward Wilder married 1 Apr 1651 at Plymouth to Elizabeth Eames and died 28 Oct 1690 at Hingham; Elizabeth married 16 Jan 1639 at Hingham to Thomas Ensign and died 1688 at Doxbury or Marshfield. I have not seen primary source citations for those marriage dates. Also, a Thomas Wilder married April 1640 at Charlestown to Anna Eames; an Alice Wilder married (unknown) to Henry Warner.

There are various transcriptions of the passenger list on the internet. I have not studied them and am not sure which most closely represents the original listing. One transcription:

CONFIDENCE, of London, two hundred tons, John Gibson, Master.
She salled from Southampton the last of April,
"by vertue of the Lord Treasurers warrant of the 11th of April,1638."

Mrs. Martha Wilder   of Shiplake, county Oxford, spinster
 Mary Wilder   daughter
 Augustine Bearce  20
 Martha Keene  60
 Elizaheth Keene  13
 Martha Keene
 Josias Keene
 John Keene  17
 Sarah Keene

Not Higgs

But one thing appears now established: Mrs. Martha Wilder's maiden surname was NOT Higgs as has been long reported. From the Wilder book (revised):
Also a notion has circulated that our widow Martha Wilder of Shiplake was Martha Higgs. This was apparently based on a statement in the Higgs genealogy to the effect that the family of Thomas Wilder of Shiplake had, in earlier chapters, intermarried with the Higgs family. Martha was not found in that family. Careful reading of that statement shows that it referred to Thomas's Aunt Eleanor Wilder who married a Higgs and not to Thomas himself. So we are still without a maiden name for Martha, thanks, not doubt, to whoever tore out the pages of the Shiplake register."
Research into the Higgs family conducted in 1984 in England by a professional genealogist from London did not reveal any Martha Higgs and concluded no Martha Higgs was part of that family. (I do not have any further details about that.) There is, of course, a chance that her surname still MIGHT have been Higgs, but until some evidence is presented, the claim should be presumed NOT correct.

Edward Wilder


(pages 311-329)

From History of the Town of Hingham **
  1. Edward1, the ancestor of all who have borne this surname in Hing. and vicinity, had his first grant of land here, containing ten acres, the 8th of Oct. 1637, "in a place as convenient as can be discovered." He subsequently received other gran ts from the town, including a track situated next to that given to his mother, the wid. Martha Wilder,* in 1638, which was located at or near the junction of main and Pleasant Sts., and inc. the est. now owned by heirs of Fearing Loring, deceased. He als o owned all the land between Tower's Bridge and Wilder's Bridge, and, without doubt, was one of the earlier planters of this locality. His w., whom he prob. m. ab. 1650, was Elizabeth, dau. of Anthony Eames, Senr, of Mf'd. She outlived him, and d. 9 Jun e, 1692. He d. intestate 18 Oct. 1690, having been stricken suddenly with malignant fever. Elizabeth, his wid., and s. Jabez were appointed adm's. "Farmer." Freeman 29 May, 1644, and in 1667 selectman. Dec. 1, 1675, he was one of the sixtee n &q uot;Hingham soldiers impressed into the country service." at the outbreak of Philip's War. He resided on Main, between High and Friend Sts., on the est. purchased of Samuel Ward.
       Ch., prob. all b. in Hing., were --
               i.  Elizabeth, 1651-52. m. July 22, 1673, Israel Fearing.
        2.   ii.  John, 1653.
             iii.  Ephraim, 1655, d. unm. 28 Oct. 1690. In his will of 26 March, 1687, proved 30 Apr. 1692,
                     gives "to brother-in-law Israel Fearing the horse which I use to ride. To my brother
                     John Wilder, and to my six sisters, all my lands and rights in the township of Mendon,
                     to be equally divided between them. And as to my part of that land at Monument lying
                     betwixt Israel Fearing, Isaac Wilder, Jabez Wilder, and myself, I give to my beloved
                     brothers Isaac, Israel, and Jabez, to be equally divided between them. I give to
                     my brother Jabez all my lands and rights in Hingham and Scituate, as also that part of
                     my land at Accord Pond.". Est. appraised at 429  8s.
        3.  iv.  Isaac, 1656.
        4.   v.  Jabez, March, 1657-58.
             vi.  Abia, 1659. m. 1692, William Clark of Ply., widr.
            vii.  Mehitable, 1661. m. Dec. 25, 1692, Joseph Warren of Ply.
           viii.  Abigail, 1662, d. unm., 6 Jan. 1717-18.
              ix.  Anna, 1664.
               x.  Hannah, March 16, 1665-66, d. unm., 1690.
              xi.  Mary, Apr. 5, 1668. m.(1) 1695, Francis Le Baron, and (2) 1707, Return Wait.

       *Wid. Martha Wilder was an inhabitant of Hing. as early as 1638, when she had a grant of five acres of land for a house-lot on Main, near Pleasant St.,; also other lots at subsequent dates of planting, pasture, and meadow lands. She pro b. came from Shiplock, Oxfordshire County, Eng., with her dau. Mary, and perh. Eliza, who m. Jan. 17, 1638 or 1638-39, Thomas Ensign of Scit. It may have been her dau. Mary who m. ---- Cudworth of Scit. Wid. Martha Wilder d. in Hing. 20 Apr. 1652.

    ** History of the Town of Hingham, Massachusetts In Three Volumes; Published by the Town; 1893; Volume II; Genealogical. History of Town of Hingham, Massachusetts Volume II; Genealogical. online at Archive.org

Thomas Wilder "of Charlestown" (-1667)

Past researchers have presumed that Edward Wilder "of Hingham" (-1690) and Thomas Wilder "of Charlestown and Lancaster" (-1667) were brothers, sons of Thomas Wilder (1579-1634) "of Shiplake" and Mrs. Martha (not nee Higgs) Wilder (bef1591-1652). However, DNA research ca. 2009 has demonstrated that Edward and Thomas were not brothers. This contention had apparently been deemed tenuous even before.
"Martha's supposed son Thomas1 Wilder never appears in any Hingham town record, and no document connects Thomas 'the immigrant' with these Wilders of Hingham. Instead, Thomas Wilder settled by about 1638 in Charlestown, where he was received into the church on March 30, 1640, and made a freeman in 1641. He married an Anna or Hannah ____,[3] and had four sons and two daughters. In 1659, Thomas and his family moved forty miles inland to Nashawena, now Lancaster, Massachusetts, where he died in 1667."
See DNA Solves A Wilder Ancestral Enigma by Donald F. Hansen and Michael F. Hansen which further concludes:
"The genetic distance between the two ancestral haplotypes is so great that the descendants of Thomas and Edward Wilder were not patrilineally related within the last 1,000 to 2,000 years. Not only were Thomas and Edward not brothers, their kinship is too distant to calculate in any genealogical timeframe. We also discovered that the haplotypes of the Edward Wilder descendants are quite common and the haplotypes of the Thomas Wilder descendants are rare. This difference further confirms our conclusion that Thomas1 Wilder and Edward1 Wilder were not brothers."

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