Abell Family in America


Of Rehoboth, Mass.
His English Ancestry and his Descendants

Horace A. Abell & Lewis P. Abell

The Tuttle Publishing Company, Inc
Rutland, Vermont

Early ABELLS in the County of Derby, England
Several Branches of the Abell family lived in the County of Derby, England, in the sixteenth century. One branch lived in Creighton and Uttoxeter. The brothers John and Richard Abel were the progenitors of this branch. Richard died before 1536. Henry Abell who died in 1540 was the earliest known of another branch, living in Sommersall. A third branch of the Abell family lived in Norbury. The earliest found of this branch was Nicholas Abell, who died about 1557.

Most of the American Abells are descendants of Robert Abell, who lived in Stapenhill also in the County of Derby. There is a probability that all the branches of the Abell family in the County of Derby were descendants of a common ancestor.

First Generation in America

Robert Abell, born in England; died June 20, 1663 at Rehoboth, Mass., son of George and Frances Abell of Hemington, Leicestershire, England; married Joanna ( ), probably in England.

Joanna died in America, after 1682, buried probably in Norwich First Burying Ground.

Robert was mentioned in his father's will 1630 as then living in New England. He came to America probably in the fleet with Gov. Winthrop, which arrived at Charlestown, Mass., June 1630 (Savage).

The first record of Robert in America is at Weymouth, Mass., included in a list as desirous to be made a Freeman, October 19, 1630 and he took the Oath of Freeman May 18, 1631. He is mentioned at the Quarterly Court, held at Boston December 4, 1638 and June 2, 1640 at Weymouth he is mentioned in regards to land owned by John Ffussell, John Stable and James Snooke, October 26, 1642 to May 21, 1644.

Robert removed from Weymouth in 1643, probably following Rev. Samuel Newman, the real founder of Rehoboth. Rev. Newman was minister at Weymouth for four and a half or five years, then with a majority of his congregation, in 1642 removed to a place called by the Indians Seekonk, to which he gave the name of Rehoboth.

The first meeting of the original planters of Rehohoth, to be found on record, is dated at "Weimoth" the 24th of the 8th month (October) 1643; the next meeting of the proprietors was held at Weymouth, the 10th day of the 10th month (December) 1643. About the year 1643 a joint agreement was made by the inhabitants of Sea-conk alias Rehoboth, for the bringing in of their estates; that so men's allotments might be taken up according to person and estate, also for carrying on of all public charges both for present and future; furthermore the means and interest of what is here expressed is that by which lands now granted by the Court of Plymouth to the town, are to be divided according to person and estate, as is expressed in a list of 58 names. The 28th name on the list is Job Lane (underneath written) "now Robert Abell's," 50; it is evident that Robert Abell was written in after he had bought of Job Lane.

At a meeting of the town February 18, 1646 it was agreed to draw lots for the new meadow, and to be divided according to person and estate, only those that were under 150, estate to be made up 150. Robert is the 41st name on a list of 46 who drew for lots.

The 26th of the 12th month, 1651 it was agreed that Robert Abell and Richard Bullock should burn the commons round about, from the Indian fence, all on the neck, to the new meadow near, and so far about the fresh meadows as may be convenient; and they are to have 20s, for their pains, and to begin the 15th of March next, and to be paid out of the first rate.

The 28th of March, 1653 it was concluded and agreed upon, that Robert Abell should have three acres of meadow on the north side of the line, next the town, next the line that parteth the land of the purchasers and the town of Rehoboth. This meadow was given them by Mr. Prince, Captain Standish and Mr. Winslow.

Mention is made of Robert in Court Orders, June 29, 1653, June 10, 1661 and April 22, 1662.

On February 1, 1654 at a town meeting, Robert was ordered to keep the Ordinary, and on July 3, 1656, Plymouth, Mass., he is allowed by the Court to keep an Ordinary at Rehoboth. (An Ordinary is a place where meals are provided.)

Robert was at the Court of Elections at Plymouth, June 3, 1657 and on Jury at the General Court at Plymouth, June 4, 1657 and took the oath of fidelity in 1657.

On June 22, 1658 at a town meeting, lawfully warned, lots were drawn for the meadows that lie on the north side of the town in order as followeth, according to person and estate. Of the 49 names on the list, Robert was the third on the list who drew for lots. It appears that this division was of land afterwards included in the North Purchase, near Attleborough and Cumberland.

At a town meeting on May 26, 1668 lots were drawn for the meadow lands in the North Purchase and there were 79 names on the list who drew for lots. Samuel Luther is the 2nd on the list, Goody Hide the 5th, Children's Lands the 6th and Preserved Abell the 8th. Samuel Luther married Mary, daughter of Robert Abell, Goody Hide was Robert Abell's widow (Joanna) who married William Hyde in 1667. Preserved was the eldest son of Robert Abell. "Children's Lands" next to Goody Hide on the list were probably Robert Abell's other children, Caleb, Joshua, Benjamin and Experience.

Note: REHOBOTH NORTH PURCHASE, now Attleborough (Mass.) and Cumberland, R. I. It was bounded on the West by the Pawtucket River, now Blackstone; North by the Massachusetts Colony on the bay line (so called); East by territory which was afterwards the Taunton North Purchase, now Mansfield, Norton and Easton; and south by the ancient Rehoboth, now Rehoboth, Seekonk and Pawtucket. This purchase included Attleborough, Cumberland, R. I., and a tract of a mile and a half in width extending east and west (which was annexed to Rehoboth as an enlargement), and a part of Mansfield and Norton. This purchase was afterwards, viz., Apr. 10, 1666, granted and conñrmed by the Plymouth government to the inhabitants of Rehoboth.

This land was a Massachusetts Bay Colony possessions and placed under Dedham for local jurisdiction. This probably accounts for the mentioning of Caleb Abell (Robert's son) in the Colonial Records at Dedham in 1665, indicating that this is as near as Caleb ever got to living in Dedham.

"An Inventory of estate of Robert Abell of Rehoboth Deceased taken the 9th of Aug. 1663." The only real estate was "an house and land" 130. "The sum totall is 354, 17s, 9d." "The house and land taken out as the oldest sonnes" 130; "A bed and furniture to the widdow" 7; "To Mary Abel given by her father as her full pte in a Cow and feather bed" 8; "Rests Due to the widdow as her thirds" 66, 19s, 6d; "and to the other five Children each of them" 26, 16s.

The appraisers, Stephen Paine, Thomas Cooper and Peter Hunt, were deposed to this Inventory the 18th of Feb. 1663 before Thomas Willett. This division of the estate was approved of and established by the Court held at Plymouth the 3rd of Mar. 16634, "attested by me Nathaniel Morton Clarke of the said Court." The above held at Plymouth the 3rd of Mar. 1663-4, and deposed unto by Joanna Abell, widow.

Administration granted unto the widow, Joanna Abell, to administer on the estate of Robert Abel deceased Feb. 29, 1663-4.

Captain Willett is requested to administer an oath to Widow Abell of Rehoboth for the tenth of the inventory of the estate of Robert Abel deceased Oct. 5, 1663-4.

In connection with the inventory of the estate of Robert Abell are specifically mentioned his "eldest son, widow, daughter Mary and five other children," bequeathing the homestead to his "eldest son." Therefore, inasmuch as Lieut. Preserved Abell was the only child to remain on and in possession of the homestead at Rehoboth, it appears reasonable to suppose that he was in fact the eldest son.


  1. Abraham, b. prob. in England; bur. Nov. 14, 1639 at Weymouth, Mass.

  2. Mary, b. Apr. 11, 1642 at Weymouth.

  3. Lieut. Preserved, b. 1644, at Rehoboth.

  4. Sergt. Caleb, b. 1646, prob. at Rehoboth.

  5. Joshua, b. 1649, prob. at Rehoboth.

  6. Benjamin, at Norwich, Conn., 1670.

  7. Experience, m. 1680. Dea. John Baldwin.

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