Generation 1

ELIZABETH BIGELOW (mar. Richard Butler)

The Emigrants

There are differences of opinion about the early generations and lineage of our Bigelow family. The books and websites presenting these different data are listed under References, below. One then is concerned that the earliest history is more than likely to be off to some extent or another.


The Bagguley story appears to begin with RICHARD de BAGULEY in 1243. He owned lands in the County of Cheshire, near Manchester, in England. His heir was named Ralph de Baguley.

RALPH de BAGULEY might have married a daughter of Hamon de Massey, Baron of Dunham Massey. The Baron owned lands in Baguley and Ollerton in the parish of Knutsford, Cheshire. There were three sons born:

  1. John de Baguley. John inherited all of his father’s lands and his title.

    His son, William de Baguley, inherited around 1320, and was the builder of the early portions of Baguley Hall.* This was in the time of Edward II’s reign (1284-1327).


    * There are different theories on when Baguley Hall was built, as well as who was the builder. These are presented very capably in a website from the area. There are others as well. I’ve prepared a separate page dealing with Baguley Hall. This marvelous structure is one of England’s treasures.

    Click here to read about Baguley Hall.

    William may have been known as Sir William, Lord of Bagguley. When he died, he also owned a manor at Hyde and another at Levenshulme in Lancashire, plus an inn called The Ryle Thorn in Baguley. There is said to be an effigy of Sir William in St. Mary’s Church, Bowden Parish, Cheshire, not far from Baguley Hall.

    William had three children. The son named John died in 1356 and left no heirs. Ellen, married John Legh, inherited Baguley in 1356, and died in 1370; her son, William Legh, inheriting Baguley Hall. Thirdly, Isabel, who married John Hyde. [But, Howe, the Bigelow genealogist, leaves Ellen out entirely, and says that Isabela married Sir John Legh.

    Originally there was a Baggiley (Baguley) coat of arms. When Baguley Hall passed to Ellen (or Isabela) and Sir John Leigh of Booths, the family coat of arms was destroyed. The manor remained in the Legh (Leigh) family until the late 17th century, when the line terminated in Edward Leigh and his wife Elinor Tatton of Wythenshawe Hall who produced no sons.

  2. William de Baguley. He married Clementia de Chedale. They had a daughter Isabella, who married Thomas Daniers, and this line died out.

  3. HAMON de BAGULEY. This line acquired nearby Ollerton Hall by marriage, and left many descendants, but over time records deteriorated from parish records from 1300 until ...

Many Untraced Generations Later . . .

RALPH de BAGULEY of Ollerton Hall, who died in 1540. Ollerton Hall was in the parish of Knutsford, in Cheshire. He left two children:

  1. Randall of Ollerton; died 1556.
  2. Nicholas of Newton (d. 1558); left two sons named Robert and John.

RANDALL de BAGULEY of Ollerton Hall, married Eleanor. Their home was Ollerton Hall. When Randall died in 1556, his estate was divided between two sons.

  1. Phillip Baguley – had two sons: Randall and Phillip.
  2. Robert Baguley – had two sons: Randall and John.

ROBERT BAGULEY, spouse unknown. The Bigelow Genealogy cites the descent to the American John Biggelow through Robert. He had two sons:

  1. Randall Baguley (died 1636)
  2. John Baguley.

RANDALL BAGULEY married JANE. They removed from Cheshire and settled in the County of Suffolk, England by 1603, where their five youngest children were baptized. He died in 1626.


  1. Francis (probable son). He was a blacksmith at Wrentham, Suffolk, England. His will (dated 20 October 1656) bequeated £5 to his brother John in New England.

  2. ELIZABETH BAGULEY (probable daughter). She married, as his second wife, Richard Butler. Butler died 6 August 1684 at Hartford, Connecticut. She died 11 September 1691 at Hartford, Connecticut.

  3. Persis Baguley, baptized 1604 at Wrentham Parish, Suffolk, England.

  4. Susan Baguley, baptized 1606 at Wrentham Parish, Suffolk, England.

  5. William Baguley, baptized 1608 at Wrentham Parish, Suffolk, England; d. 1621.

  6. Margaret Baguley, baptized 1611 at Wrentham Parish, Suffolk, England.

  7. JOHN BAGULEY was baptized 1616/7 at Wrentham Parish, Suffolk, England; died 14 July 1703, at Watertown, Massachusetts. He married Mary Warren, on 30 October 1642.

The Emigrant

JOHN BIGLO was born in Wrentham, Suffolk, England, on 15 February 1616/17, and emigrated to the new world in 1630. He settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. At some time between Randall in Suffolk and John in Massachusetts, the surname evolved to BIGLO/BIGELOW.

The family name appeared in early records as Baggiley, then Baguley. When written in American public records, it has been seen as Biglo, Biggalough, Bigolo, Begaloo, Biggilo, and Bigulah. Wow! But whenever the name was spelled by family members, it was spelled as Biglo, Bigelo, or Bigelow.

Bigelow genealogies related that the rector of Wrentham parish in 1617 was the Rev. John Phillips, who later emigrated to Dedham, Massachusetts. During his years in Dedham, Phillips once stated that the blacksmith John Biglo of Watertown, Massachusetts, was the same infant whom he had baptized in 1617 as the son of Randall Beageley, and that he (Phillips) had “known John Biglo from earliest youth upward.”

Further, in a civil case in Watertown during his lifetime, John Biglo took the witness stand and identified himself as “John Biglo, formerly of Wrentham, England.”

From these facts we state the identity and parentage of John Biglo, and through parish and probate records in England, can prove three generations of his English ancestry.

John Biglo seems to have arrived in Watertown, Mass., about 1632. It is probable that accompanying him was Elizabeth Bigelow. No ship-records exist showing the date of their arrival. It is assumed that Elizabeth was an older sister or first cousin.


John Biglo married, first, Mary Warren, on 30 October 1642, at Watertown, Massachusetts. Theirs was the first marriage recorded in Watertown records. She was baptized on 12 September 1624, at Nayland, Suffolk, England, the daughter of John and Margaret Warren. Mary died at Watertown on 19 October 1691.

Mary Warren’s parents were John Jr. and Margaret Warren. He was baptized on 1 August 1585, at Nayland, Suffolk, England. He died on 13 December 1667 at Watertown, Massachusetts.

Mary’s grandparents were John and Elizabeth (Scarlett) Warren. This John was prosecuted in England in 1629 for refusing to kneel at communion. He went to Watertown, Massachusetts by 1630, possibly in the “Plain Jane”. He was made a Freeman on 18 May 1631; was a Selectman in 1636 and 1640. He was fined on 4 April 1654 for neglect of public worship on fourteen Sabbaths, each 5 shillings. His home at Watertown was ordered searched on 17 May 1661 on suspicion that he was harboring Quakers. It has been speculated that John Sr. was a Baptist. He died in 1667.

John remarried, secondly, on 2 October 1694, Sarah Bemis. She was born on 15 January 1642/3, the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Bemis.

Biglo was a man of consequence in New England by reason of the offices he held. He took the Oath of Fidelity at Watertown in 1652. He was Surveyor of Highways in 1652 and 1660; Constable in 1663; and Selectman in 1665, 1670 and 1671. He was a soldier in 1675 (presumably in the Pequot War), and was made a Freeman on 18 April 1690.

John appears to have entered the blacksmith trade about 1651. In town records it is seen:

“Agreed with John Biglo that for ten trees the towne allowed him for the setting up of a shop for a Smithes forge, that he shall either go on with his promise of setting up his trade, which is the trade of a Smith, within one twelfmonth after the date hereof or else to pay unto the towne ten shillings for these ten trees he acknowledged to have off the towne” (dated 4 March 1651).

John and Mary (Warren) Bigelow had many children, all born in Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, between 1643 and 1667.

  1. John, b. Oct. 27, 1643; d. 1721, Hartford, CT.

  2. Jonathan, b. Dec. 11, 1646; d. Jan. 9, 1710/1, Hartford, CT.

  3. Mary, b. Mar. 18, 1648/9; d. Sep. 3, 1704.

  4. Daniel, b. Dec. 1, 1650; d. about 1715.

  5. Samuel, b. Oct. 28, 1653; d. Feb. 1, 1731/2, Waltham, MA. An Innkeeper at Watertown for most of life.

  6. Joshua, b. Nov. 5, 1655; d. Feb. 1, 1745, Westminster, MA.

  7. Elizabeth, b. Jun. 15, 1657; d. Apr. 18, 1694, Billerica, MA.

  8. Sarah, b. Sep. 29, 1659; d. after 1703, Framingham, MA.

  9. James, b. about 1660; d. Jan. 20, 1727/8, Weston, MA.

  10. Martha, b. Apr. 1, 1662.

  11. Abigail, b. Feb. 4, 1664; d. Jan. 12, 1754, Watertown, MA.

  12. Hannah, b. Mar. 4, 1666; d. there Mar. 8, 1666.

  13. A son, b. and d. Dec. 18, 1667.

After the death of his wife, Mary, on 19 October 1691, John married (2) on 2 October 1694, Sarah Bemis, the daughter of Joseph Bemis. She outlived him. He died on 14 July 1703, at the age of 86 years, as recorded in town records. His will was dated 4 January 1703, and was proved 23 July 1703.

John’s will was dated 4 January 1702/3 and names his wife, Sarah, his children in birth order, sons first, of course. The will was proved on 28 July 1703, and the estate inventoried at £627.12.00. This was a middle-class fortune. Among the expenses charged for the funeral were several pairs of black gloves, twenty gallons of wine, bottles for the wine, allspice and sugar, and two men and horses to carry the wine and other articles to the funeral, also “a man and horse to notify Isaac Larned and wife at Sherburne to attend the funeral, and a man and horse to notify John Stearns at Billerica to attend the funeral.”


Their first-born son, John Bigelow Jr., was born on 27 October 1643 at Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. He early emigrated to Hartford, Connecticut, probably following Deacon Richard Butler (the husband of his aunt, or cousin Elizabeth). Richard Butler had first settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but was a follower of Rev. Thomas Hoooker and emigrated with him to Hartford, Connecticut, and was a deacon there of the First Church at Hartford. John Bigelow Jr. was intimately associated with Butler’s descendants.

John Bigelow Jr. married (1) on 27 May 1675, at Concord, Sarah Wheate. It is presumed she died childless. He then married (2) Rebecca Olmstead, the daughter of Nicholas and Sarah (Loomis) Olmstead. She was the sister of three other Olmstead siblings who married into the Butler family. John and Rebecca also remained childless.

In 1707, John deeded a portion of his property to Jonathan Butler, nephew of his wife Rebecca (Olmstead) Biglow. John died in 1721, and letters of administration were granted on 5 December 1721, to his widow Rebecca. The inventory was taken on 27 December 1721, amounting to £54-07-01. This settlement was not satisfactory to all, including Joseph Bigelow, nephew of John. He appeared before the court and argued against Jonathan Butler receiving the property, but to no avail; the property remained in the hands of the Butler family until the late 1800s.

Generation 1

Our ancestress was ELIZABETH BIGELOW. It is assumed that she came to America with John Biglo (Bigelow), and was either his elder sister, or a first cousin. We know little to nothing about her, except that she married, as his second wife, Richard Butler.

The Bigelow family in America was very closely linked with the Butlers. Obviously through Elizabeth’s marriage to Richard Butler. But also through the close ties between John Bigelow Sr. and Jr. with Butlers and Olmsteads, detailed above. Elizabeth died 11 September 1691 at Hartford, Connecticut.

Move to


Bigelow, Patricia, ed. The Bigelow Family Genealogy: Volume I: Six Generations of Descendants of John Biglo (1617-1703) of Watertown, Massachusetts. The Bigelow Society, Inc., 1986. SLC FHL 929.273 B481bf.

Hopkins, Timothy. John Hopkins of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1634, and Some of His Descendants. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1932.
On p. 23, footnote b.
On p. 805, Hopkins indicates that descendants of Richard Butler are eligible for membership in the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.

Stiles. History of Ancient Wethersfield. “Butler”, see Vol. I, pg. 256; Vol. II, pgs. 170-173.


Bigelow, Ashley. A Bigelow Background. SLC FHL 929.273 B481 ba.
This reference stated that John Bigelow married Mary Warren, daughter of John Warren of the “Mayflower” fame. A handwritten note on the page states that was incorrect.

Howe, Genealogy of the Bigelow Family of America,.

Barbour, Families of Early Hartford, CT.


Biggelow ancestry, website of Steve Lawson. Seen online 20 March 2008.

Bigelow Family Genealogy, by Albert D. Hart, Jr.
Email ourfolk@ renderplus.com for errors. This genealogy has Dorcas Bronson Hopkins as the daughter of John Bronson and Sarah Ventris (which is incorrect. See my web page for John Bronson).

Bigelow Society.
(1) Presented by Rod Bigelow, of Dannemora, New York is a Baguley History. He outlines the early beginnings of the Baguley family and the manor house.
(2) Click the link to read the John Biglo page.
(3) James M. Baker, on Rootsweb’s Baguely Genealogy Forum, presents sound argument against the data presented in the Bigelow Society website. Click the provided link to get to the Rootsweb forum: Baguley Genealogy Forum. The forum is a place where people go to ask questions, others go there to help out and give answers.


Richard Butler-Elizabeth Bieglow Page, website by Diana Gale Matthiesen.

Deacon Richard Butler Family. Seen online 14 February 2012.

The Butler Society.
The Butler Society was founded in 1967 and has published a Journal since 1968. A Butler Rally is held every three years in Kilkenny, Ireland.


Website of the Wethersfield Historical Society.


The Bigelow Society recommends that those looking for their English ancestry should read not only the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (October 1910), but also the following sources, on the architecture and history of Baguley Hall in Cheshire, England:

  • Balshaw, Charles Balshaw. Stranger’s guide and complete directory: to Altrincham, Bowdon, Dunham, Timperley, Baguley, Ashley, Hale, and Bollington. Manchester: E.J. Morten, 1973. At SLC Family History Library 942.71 E6bc.

  • Ormerod, George. History of the County of Palatine and City of Chester, 2nd ed. Chester, England: The Family History Society of Cheshire and the Cheshire Local History Association, c2000. Available at SLC Family History Library on CD-ROM no. 596.

  • Philips, Nathaniel G. Views of the old halls of Lancashire and Cheshire. London: Henry Gray, 1893. Available at the SLC Family History Library 942.7 E6.

  • Taylor, Old Halls in Lancashire and Cheshire, 1884.

  • Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society. Manchester: Henry Blacklock, 1886. At the SLC Family History Library 942.7 C4L; also BRITISH Film 1696695 Item 3.

The architecture and history of Baguley and Ollerton Halls have also been treated in Forge: The Bigelow Society Quarterly, Vol. 5 (pp. 3-8), vol. 7 (pp. 3-12), and Vol. 12 (pp. 5-8).
For information about The Forge Click here.


Wethersfield Historical Society, 150 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109.
Genealogical and Research Library, located in the Old Academy at 150 Main Street. Open year-round Tues.-Fri. 10am - 4pm. Also open by appointment. Phone (860) 529-7656. If you have a query and would like to have it answered by mail, put your request in writing and our volunteer researchers will handle it.

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Last Updated 14 February 2012

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