Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Trowbridge: Our Distant Connection To Kings And Emperors

Trowbridge Coat of Arms

Our Trowbridge Lineage from England to America
~Twelve Generations~

First Generation:

John Trowbridge was born in 1510 in Hutton, Somersetshire, England and is currently the earliest known of our Trowbridge ancestors. He married Ann who's maiden name is still a mystery to be solved. Ann was born about 1525. John died on 17 Feb 1574 in Hutton.

Second Generation:

Thomas Trowbridge was born in 1542 in Taunton, Somersetshire, England. He married Joan Hutchins Lawrence sometime around 1569 in Somersetshire and died on 20 Dec 1619 in Taunton. Joan was born about 1546 in Taunton, Somersetshire and was the daughter of John Lawrence and Alice Hutchins. Thomas was a prominent merchant in Taunton and operated a store for the sale of woolen cloth and other goods at No. 15 Fore Street, Taunton. He leased the store for 99 years from the Portman family and was responsible for the maintenance of the building. He remodeled it in about 1578 and carved the date, 1578, on a board, together with his initials, TT, on one side of the date and his wife's initials, JT, on the other. This sign [or a replica] is still hanging [1997] over the second story window in the front of the store. Thomas operated the store until about 1606, stating at this time that he had operated it for 30 years. The store is currently operated as a Pub, known as the Tudor Tavern. 

Thomas is still remembered in Taunton as a result of a charity that he created in December 1614. This charity gave a parcel of about eight acres of land in West Monkton to God for "the residue of 1,000 years." The rent on this land, to be administered by a rotating group of four trustees, consisting of the most prominent and honest men of Taunton, was to be distributed to the poor of the parishes of St. James and St. Mary Magdalen Churches, Taunton, on his Saint's Day [St. Thomas Day], December 21st. The money was still being distributed in 1994 when Frank Trowbridge of Macon, Georgia visited St. Mary Magdalene Church and inquired about it. There is a very nice plaque hanging in the vestibule of St. Mary Magdalene church, which briefly describes this Charitable Gift. It was the first charity of this nature to be established in Taunton.

Third Generation:

John Trowbridge was born on 25 Mar 1570 in Taunton. He married Agnes Prowse on the 31st day of July, 1597 in Tiverton, England. John was in the woolen trade business and well known in both Somersetshire and Devonshire. He married Agnes [Annis] Prowse on 31 July 1597 in St. Peter's, Tiverton, Devonshire, England. Agnes Prowse was born in Tiverton on 15 April 1575 and was buried on 6 June 1622. John died on 5 July 1649 in Taunton at age 79.

John was the sole son and heir at his father's death in 1619 and served Taunton as Mayor and Magistrate 1629 and 1637, and also as warden of St. Mary Magdalen, constable and portreve of Taunton Castle Manor. John Trowbridge was even more prominent than his father was. He was a wool merchant and had a shop next to his father on Fore Street. Monies collected in 1611 for the relief of plague victims at Minehead and Dunster were brought to his house, and in 1625 he supervised the repair of the Taunton House of Correction, and provided a field at West Monkton for tents to quarantine travelers suspected of bringing the plague from London to Taunton. He was regularly churchwarden of St. Mary Magdalen, twice mayor of Taunton [1629-30 and 1637-8], traded with London and Bristol, and apart from lands in the vicinity of Taunton, also held property in Strogursey and Cannington. He also arranged commercially important marriages for his children. His son John married the daughter of a Lyme Regis merchant, his son Thomas wedded the daughter of John Marshall, successively sheriff and mayor of Exeter, and his daughters were married to other merchants of both Taunton and Exeter.

John's wife, Agnes Prowse [also spelled Prouse] was also from well to do merchants and through the Prowse family it is possible to trace our ancestry back to Cerdic the Saxon, Rollo the Viking, Charlemagne the Holy Roman Emperor and Alfred the Great.

An excellent history on Charlemagne can be found here:

Fourth Generation:

Capt. Thomas Trowbridge, the second of the nine children of John and Agnes [Prowse] Trowbridge was our first ancestor to come to America. He was born on 08 Feb 1597 in Taunton, Somersetshire, England and baptized at the Parish of St. Petrock. He married Elizabeth Marshall on 26 Mar 1627 at the Parish of St. Mary Arches in Exeter, Devonshire, England. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Marshall, Lord and Mayor of Exeter.

Thomas first arrived in America at Dorchester in the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1636. Due to religious difficulties arising in Dorchester, Thomas moved his family to New Haven, Connecticut sometime before 1644. He spent very little time in America. He was a mariner and was involved in trading between the West Indies and England. In Taunton he was a "prominent citizen and wealthy merchant", his father having long since been identified with the woolen trade. As a young man Thomas opened his business as a mercer in the city of Exeter.

It is believed that Elizabeth died prior to 1644 when Thomas left his sons in the care of his servant, Henry Gibbons. He remained in close contact with the boys, but never returned to America. He died in Taunton in 1673. Mr. Gibbons was charged by New Haven town authorities with mismanaging the property and moneys of Thomas and the boys were then placed in the care of Sergeant Thomas Jeffrey and his wife and it is there they passed their boyhood.


A copy of the 1641 Brockett map as shown in "Three Centuries of New Haven, 1638-1938" by Rollin G. Osterweis, published in 1953 by Yale Univ. Press

Fifth Generation:

William Trowbridge was baptised on 03 Sep 1633 at the Parish of St. Mary Arches in Exeter. William was the fourth born of the five children of Thomas and Elizabeth. On 09 Mar 1655 he married Elizabeth Lamberton of the noteworthy Lamberton family in Milford, New Haven County, Connecticut. It was William, who upon reaching his majority, attempted to bring Mr. Gibbons to an account of the moneys spent during his stewardship:

"William Trowbridge propounded to ye court if he might have an account of his father's estate that was left in New Haven, and for this end presented two letters from his father, one dated March 6, 1655, the other March 4, 1658, wherein his father writes, that he marvells that there is not an account of it given. It was told him that some time has been spent in searching ye records, but it could not be cleared. Wherefore he paying the secretary then ye secretary would afford him that help he could therein to clear it."

"January 3, 1664, William Trowbridge having had a warrant for Henry Gibbons to answer him in action of ye case, was now called to clear this action. He required of Henry Gibbons an account of his father's estate that was left with him when he went to England. Wm. Trowbridge was asked by what authority he had made his demand? He showed a letter of attorney from his father, which being read was allowed and accepted. Henry Gibbons said that he had given him an account as well as he could, but the estate was taken out of his hands by order of authority here and therefore it must be referred to ye records. The records having been looked into formerly and matters not found so clear as was desired and there being much business at this time, the case was referred to another time."

At the county court held at New Haven on June 10, 1664, before James Bishop, assistant and moderator, commissioners and a jury in the case of Trowbridge vs. Gibbons:

"Wm. Trowbridge of New Haven, plaintiff, Henry Gibbons of same place, defendant, in the action of the case for an account of the estate of Mr. Thomas Trowbridge of Taunton in the realm of England mentioned in his letters of attorney dated ye 19th of January, 1662, and sometime in ye possession of trust of ye said Henry ye defendant disposed of and not accounted for."

The records of the transaction concerning the estate were read. Mr. Gibbons made some restitution, in which the plaintiff "seemed to be satisfied".

In 1664 William was master of the sloop "Cocke", making many voyages out of New Haven. In July of 1667 he became one of the first residents in the parish of West New Haven. He built his house on Lamberton Farm in which he had received a 1/6th share from his father-in-law, Capt. George Lamberton. [see town map above.] He owned an additional 144 acres on Long Island Sound near Oyster River.

In early West Haven town records William is referred to as a "planter", in later records he is described as a "husbandman".

William was nominated a Freeman [having exclusive rights in the community] of the colony of Connecticut on 13 May 1669. He and his wife, Elizabeth were admitted as members of the First Church of New Haven on 28 Apr 1686.

William's father-in-law, George Lamberton, [who is also our ancestor] died at sea and has been immortalized in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I will probably write about Captain Lamberton at another time although I don't think I could tell it better than you will find here: 
The poem written by Longfellow can be found here: 
The Phantom Ship

Sixth Generation:

Joseph Trowbridge was born in New Haven in 1676. He was the youngest of ten children. Very little is known of Joseph as he died young having fathered only three children. A son, Mathew born in 1708, died while still an infant. A daughter, Anne born on 13 Dec 1713, who married Jacob Wakely and a son David, our ancestor. What is known about Joseph is that he was a carpenter by trade, but farmed his own land. He married Anne Sherwood, the daughter of Capt. Mathew Sherwood in 1708 in Fairfield. He and his wife were members of the Stratfield Congregational Church in Connecticut. Joseph died sometime in May of 1715 as a Probate inventory of his estate was taken on the 31st of May, 1715. Anne then married Caleb Fairchild in 1716 and moved to Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey where she and Caleb raised David and Anne.

Seventh Generation:

David Trowbridge, born on 30 Dec 1709 in Stratfield, Connecticut married Lydia Holmes on 03 Jul 1735 in Bedford, New York. They settled in what is now known as Morristown, Morris Co., in West New Jersey. David homesteaded the area known as Trowbridge Mountain, having derived it's name from the fact that David, several of his sons and his grandsons built their farms there. David was a farmer by trade and he and his wife were members of the Baptist church in Morristown.

Eighth Generation:

David Trowbridge, was born on July 11, 1743, in Morristown, N.J. He was the sixth child of David and Lydia Holmes Trowbridge. David Trowbridge is supposed to have gone to Virginia at the same time as his brother Samuel. He was engaged in farming there, removing later, first to Kentucky and then to Washington Co., Indiana where he died. David married Mary Scott in 1768.

Ninth Generation:

Silas Trowbridge  was born 1776 in Frederick Co., Virginia, and died in 1840 in Boone Co., Kentucky.  He married Elizabeth Emmett on 12 Aug 1801 in Lincoln Co., Kentucky.    He married again in 1823.  His second wife's name is not known but she was born between 1790 and 1800.

Silas emigrated to Kentucky, probably in company with his older brothers. He appears to have settled and lived in Boone county. He was a farmer.  Elizabeth Emmett may be the sister to Mary Emmett, wife of Silas's brother David.

It is important to note here that one of Silas's sons by his second wife, John Trowbridge b. 1825, was my 2nd great grandmother's first husband. She [Phoebe Cook] married him in Rush Co., Indiana in 1859. After John died Phoebe married my 2nd great grandfather John CALVIN Trowbridge b. 1843, grandson of Silas and Silas's first wife Elizabeth Emmett.

Tenth Generation:

Isaac Trowbridge was born  on 09 Jun 1814 in Boone Co., Kentucky, and died on 17 Feb 1892 in Dunreith, Henry Co., Indiana.  He married Tabitha Morgan in 1837 in Scott Co., Kentucky, daughter of Charles Morgan and Polly Osborn.  She was born on 01 Sep 1800 in Georgia and died on 16 Oct 1878 in Rush Co., Indiana.  Isaac later married Lydia E. Allender on 21 Dec 1885 in Henry Co., Indiana.  She was born on 28 Jun 1810 in Kentucky, and died on 19 Jun 1894 in Henry Co., Indiana.

After his first marriage Isaac settled in Scott Co., Kentucky. In 1844 he removed to Hancock Co., Indiana, and finally settled in Dunreith, Henry Co., Indiana, where he lived until his death. He was engaged in farming all his life.

Eleventh Generation:

John Calvin Trowbridge was born on 07 Feb 1843 in Scott Co., Kentucky, and died on 01 May 1909 in Hancock Co., Indiana.  He married Phoebe Cook on 06 Jan 1867 in Rushville, Rush Co., Indiana, daughter of Giles Cook and Martha Brown.  She was born on 10 Mar 1836 in Cass Co., Indiana, and died on 26 Jul 1900 in Rush Co., Indiana.  John later married Cinderella [Rilla] Whitaker on Feb 1905 in Henry Co., Indiana.  She was born in 1861 in Indiana. Rilla was the widow of Benjamin F. Morris. No children from the second marriage.

Twelfth Generation:

Ida May Trowbridge was born on 05 Nov 1873 in Rush Co., Indiana, and died on 24 Oct 1939 in Henry Co., Indiana.  She married Charles Lee Newby on 25 May 1892 in Knightstown, Henry Co., Indiana, son of John Newby and Mary Grunden.  He was born on 22 Oct 1868 in Henry Co., Indiana, and died on 07 May 1937 in Henry Co., Indiana.

With Ida May our Trowbridge line "daughters out". Ida was my great grandmother. Her daughter Mary Fern Newby Runyan was my maternal grandmother. 



  1. Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Looking forward to reading yours too!
    Terri @ The Ties That Bind - Blog

  2. Lisa,
    In this post of May 5th, my 7th great-grandfather is mentioned, James Bishop, "At the county court held at New Haven on June 10, 1664, before James Bishop, assistant and moderator, commissioners and a jury in the case of Trowbridge vs. Gibbons:"

  3. That's AMAZING! I hope this was a "new" find for you!

  4. Thanks for this great history of the Trowbridges. I am 10th generation from Thomas and Elizabeth's son James who helped found Newton Mass. I am having so much fun finding all my long lost relatives! Up until finding your blog, I was not aware of the Trowbridge history before Thomas and Elizabeth, so thank you for sharing this information. Just curious what would OUR relationship be? hmm cousins 10th removed? (just kidding)

  5. Hi Cousin Linda! Glad you found my blog. This lineage is pretty well known if you dig around enough. I had fun putting it together in this type of format.

  6. Hi, I stumbled upon this post while adding info to my own genealogy site. Great information and photos! My Trowbridge line is the same as yours, up until Silas. My direct line came from his brother, Jonathan. It was great reading another side of their history! What sources did you use? I'd love to check it out further. If you are interested in checking out my site, its

  7. Hi RJW! I'm glad you enjoyed the post here. I'll have to check out your web site. My main source was the Trowbridge book by Francis Bacon Trowbridge. It's an excellent book on the Trowbridge line up to the early 1900s. I verified as much as I could using census, marriage records, and the family Bible, etc. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. are these trowbridges related to the ones that hold "the freedom of the city of london" ?

  9. Thanks for your question. I have not heard about "the freedom of the city of London", so I can't really give you an answer. I would need more information such as names, lineages and history.

  10. Hi Lisa! Thanks for the link to this post that you left on my New Haven cemetery posting! This is great information on here, and so nice to know you are Trowbridge!!!

  11. You have a terrific blog. Thanks so much for all the Trowbridge info. It's fascinating. I'm a descendant of David Trowbridge and Lydia Holmes via their son, Shubael. I guess that makes us 6th cousins? Anyway, thanks for this post; I often return for a re-read.

  12. Chuckling now I know the connection and wonder about the Logsdon name also. Susi

  13. Hi Lisa, I was watching "Who Do You Think You Are?" on TV tonight that featured Cindy Crawford (TLC)and her link to the Trowbridge family. They linked her family back to Charlemagne, ca. 748, and other roylalty. I am anxious to find her link so that I can add it to mine. I share your link through William and Elizabeth (Lamberton) but continue on with James (Mary Belden), Daniel (Sarah Seymour), James (Mary/Molly Dunning), Aaron (Keziah Jacob), and Mary (Seth Fletcher), etc. Thank you so much for your information and I will be visiting your site in the furture! JLW

    1. Hi JLW...I had not yet seen that episode of WDYTYA until just this afternoon (I had it DVRd). Seems we all have a lot of cousins! Good to meet you!!

  14. Love your blog. My lineage is Thomas and Elizabeths' son William. Thanks I have additional new info.

    1. Hi N Lahr: Thank you for the compliment and I am glad you found more of the information you were looking for!

  15. Would you by chance know if Fern Newby was one of the smallpox patients that was at The Pest House? If so do you have any photos of her? I live in the Pest House and love to gather info on the outbreak and people that stayed here. Thanks, Melissa

    1. Fern Newby was indeed one of the patients that was at the Pest House. If you check, there is an article about that, along with photos.