The Three Osgood Emigrants

The Osgood Genealogy, published in 1894 (First Book), is the family lineage history of all Osgoods in America descending from the three Osgood emigrants, who came to these shores in the 1630’s from England; John, Christopher, and William.

These three Osgoods certainly knew each other, and they were very probably related, but the specifics of how they were related is lacking from our history. In England they each lived within a twenty mile radius of Shalbourne which was the home of the Danish nobleman, Osgot. His name appears in “The Domesday Book”, which was a census of English property owners that was ordered to be taken in the year 1085 by William The Conqueror. The descendents of Osgot were probably the Osgoods of England who were also the ancestors of our three Osgood emigrants. Although their lineage relationship to Osgot is conjecture,the supposition that they were related to him is quite strong. It is based on the fact that Osgood was derived from the name Osgot having been Osegod and Osgod, before becoming Osgood, and also the proximity of these Osgood’s homes to the original dwelling of Osgot is probably not a coincidence.

John Osgood (July 23, 1595 - October 24, 1651)

In the year 1630, ten years after the Pilgrims stepped on to the shore of Plymouth, Mass., Robert Osgood died at his home, Cottingworth, in Wherwell, England. He was the father of our emigrant, John Osgood. At that time John had been married to Sarah Booth for three years and they were the parents to either one or two children. Six years later they had four children; Sarah, John, Mary, and Elizabeth. Through these years John supported the young family by working the Cottingworth Farm with his main crop being wheat.

The year 1637 was a difficult one for most Englishman, and the family of John Osgood was no exception. Three different problems afflicted their lives.

  1. Like the Pilgrims, who left England before them, the Family was the victim of religious intolerance which manifested itself in a church which had become doctrinely dogmatic. Past customs in the Church, which revolved around a community focus, were changing to a more rigid and structured service. Parishoners were being told how to worship and this caused dissension to grow in the ranks of the citizenry.
  2. The second repressive feature of their lives was the Kings Ship Money Levy. This tax placed a significant hardship on John Osgood and his friends. Many had to sell property, that was producing crops, in order to to pay the tax.
  3. The final adversity was Mother Nature. The year 1637 proved to be a year of total crop failure, and this was followed by the River Test over flowing its banks on to the fields of Cottingworth in the Spring of 1638. This prevented John Osgood from planting his crop of wheat for that year.

The combination of these conditions made life so uncomfortable in England, that the beckoning finger of America was difficult to resist. During the year 1638, 3,000 Englishmen and women sailed for America aboard twenty ships. John Osgood and his Family were among them. They sailed aboard the Ship Confidence in April and landed in Ipswich, Mass. in June of 1638.

The Family probably secured lodging with Christopher Osgood, another of our three emigrants, who had come to America in 1633 and settled in Ipswich. John Osgood only stayed in Ipswich for a brief period, since there is record of him living in Newbury, Mass. later in that Summer. Shortly after their arrival in Newbury, Sarah gave birth to a second son, Stephen.

John Osgood family home
John Osgood, one of our three emigrant ancestors lived in this home (known as Cottonworth Farm) in Wherwell, England, prior to his journey to this country in 1638. It was a large farm of 360 acres and was also the home of his father Robert Osgood. The house exists to this day. (view map)

The property is located in the town of Wherwell. The town of Andover was the market place for the family and became the basis for naming Andover, Massachusetts.

The river Test runs through the land. This was the river popularized by Izak Walton as the best trout stream in England.

Three years later John Osgood moved his Family once more to a settlement called Cochichowicke (Great Water), which later became Andover, Mass. John was the first settler in this new Town and he built his home on the banks of the Cochichowicke River. The site of his home can be found today at the junction of Osgood Street and Court Street. John Osgood came to own over 600 acres of land. His “Great Wide Meadow”, referred to in deeds of the 1690's, was situated across from the house. His barn was located on Osgood Street as we know it today. John became one of the most respected and influential citizens of the new Town. His sixth and last child, Hannah, was born in Andover in 1644.

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Christopher Osgood (       - 1650)

Christopher Osgood of Marlborough, England emigrated to Ipswich, Mass. in 1633 with his second wife, Margaret Fowler. He settled on four acres of land, the center of which lies today at the intersection of Central, Hammett, and Manning Streets. Christopher had one child by his first wife, Mary Everatt. The child was named Mary and was born in England in 1633. Through his second wife he had five children born in America; Abigail, born 1636; Elizabeth, born 1638; Deborah, born 1640; Christopher, born 1643; and Thomas, born 1651. When Christopher died in 1650, the sons were taken in by the Family of John Osgood in Andover. This is another indication that these Osgoods were related. Christopher Osgood, the son, became a contributing member to the Town of Andover. He was a Captain in the Militia and was a Representative. His grandson, Ezekiel, settled the Town of Blue Hill, Maine, where he was deeded one-half of the Town. Many Osgoods still reside on the Blue Hill Peninsula.

The other son, Thomas, is not known after 1694. It is presumed that he migrated to South Carolina with his Family. There was a group that left from Dorchester, Mass. about this time.

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William Osgood (1609 - 1700)

William Osgood of Shipton,England,our third emigrant, sailed for America aboard the Ship Confidence with the Family of John Osgood. This is yet another indication that the Families were related. He would have been twenty-nine years old at the time. He stayed in Newbury until John Osgood moved on to Cochichowiche. William at this time decided to strike out on his own. Three years earlier a group of Newbury residents petitioned The General Court for the establishment of a new settlement in the territoty of Winnacunnet, which later became the present day Salisbury. The new Town was granted in 1639 and William moved to Salisbury from Newbury in 1641. He was granted a “goodly” piece of land on the east side of the Powow River. The Town granted him this land on the proviso that he construct a saw mill within six months “that may be sufficient for the use of the Town”. He completed this mill which became only the second such mill in New England. He later constructed a grist mill along the Powow River.

Around the year 1650, William constructed a home on what is now Congress Street in Salisbury. The home stands to this day and has been lived in by ten generations of his descendents.

William married Elizabeth Cleer and they raised a Family of seven children; Elizabeth; Joanna; John, born August 8,1647; William, born August 8,1647; Mary, born January 3,1649; Joseph, born January 18,1651; and Sarah, born December 7,1652.

William prospered in the mill business and his descendents tended to cluster in the Salisbury/Amesbury area to be around the business of the “Osgood Mills.”

The First Book takes us through seven generations, and in some cases eight generations, for the descendents of John Osgood. For his Line, this amounted to 2,798 individuals. The descendents of Christopher Osgood are brought forward for seven generations and amount to 673 individuals. William Osgood’s descendents are also brought forward for seven generations and show 1,059 individuals. As the lines have been brought forward in the Second Book from the First Book, the descendents of John are much greater in number than the other two Lines. Christopher's Line is the smallest.

When these three Osgood emigrants arrived in this Country, they were in search of religious freedom and land. The security in life which one seeks, was provided by good fertile land. The search for land was a continuous process with the early settlers, and it caused them to develop other parts of Massachusetts as well as the rest of New England. Eventually this land search brought them to New York State and points West. Indeed, the process served to be the way in which our great Country became developed.

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