In his 1995 profiling of the immigrant, Robert Charles Anderson found no record of Mathias Button at New England prior to 1633. Anderson wrote further of the parentage claimed by the Nyes, saying

"Such a baptism does exist, but there is no other evidence in support of this claim. Furthermore, since our Matthias is called at one point a "Dutchman," he presumably derived from a Germanic-speaking region on the Continent and not from England."


Set sail in June 1628


In 1628 the Abigail arrived at a new community in Massachusetts by the name of Naum Kieg ( She carried with her the first official governor of the Massachusetts Colony Jon Endecott and his wife. She also carried the charter for the colony. When they arrived, they found roughly 30 of the Cape Anne people living there, and essentially took over. The community was renamed to Salem and the Cape Anne folks were ignored. They complained to the king and eventually received their due. Our ancestor Capt. William Traske was amongst this Cape Anne group. The King obviously felt favorable toward them as they were granted permission to continue growing tobacco when the others could not. The Cape Anne folks were not puritans as were the Abigail people. There was friction.


The ship Abigail set sail from Weymouth in Dorsetshire, England, in June of 1628, under Henry Gaudens, master. It arrived at Salem, Massachusetts on Sept. 6. This is the ship that brought Governor John Endicott. In addition to John and his wife, Anna, other ship passengers included:

- Richard and William Brackenbury of Folke/Holnest, Dorset. - John Elford of Chetnold, Dorset. - Charles Gott of Cambridge, England. - Hugh Laskin of Childhay, Dorset, with his wife and a daughter, Edith, age 6. - Lawrence Leach, who probably had lived in Somersetshire. He and wife Elizabeth had sons Robert, John, Ambrose, Richard and Edmund and daughters Margaret and Rachel. His brother, John Leach, also came to New England. It is not clear whether they all came with Lawrence on this crossing of the Abigail; some or all of them may have come at a later date. - Roger Morey of Drimpton, Dorset. - Thomas Puckett of Upcerne, Dorset.


On 20th June 1628 the ship Abigail set sail from Weymouth with many Dorset emigrants bound for New England. Under Henry Gauden, the master, they arrived in Salem, Massachusetts on 6th September. This particular passage was important as it carried the new government for the London Plantation. The governor was John Endicott.

A memorial to two pioneers was unveiled on 2 June 1914 by Mrs Joseph Chamberlain, a direct descendant of John Endicott, in front of a huge crowd.

Passengers known to be on board the Abigail from Weymouth 1628 - John Endicott - Mrs Anna Endicott (wife of John) - Charles Gott of Cambridge, England - Richard Brackenbury of Folke or Holnest, Dorset - William Brackenbury of Folke or Holnest, Dorset - Hugh Laskin of Childhay, Dorset - Mrs Laskin - Edith Laskin - Lawrence Leach, possibly from Ash, Martock, Somerset - Roger Morey of Drimpton, Dorset - John Elford of Chetnole, Dorset - Thomas Pucker of Upcerne, Dorset - Captain Richard Davenport - Mathias Button - Humphrey Woodberry with his father - Ralph Sprague of Upwey (son of Edward) - Richard Sprague (brother of Ralph) - William Sprague (brother of Ralph and Richard)


California Mayflower Society


Endecott was chosen to lead the first expedition, and sailed for the New World aboard the Abigail with fifty or so "planters and servants" on 20 June 1628. The settlement they organized was first called Naumkeag, after the local Indian tribe, but was eventually renamed Salem in 1629. The area was already occupied by settlers of the failed Dorchester Company, some of whose backers also participated in the New England Company. This group of earlier settlers, led by Roger Conant, had migrated from a settlement on Cape Ann (near present-day Gloucester, Massachusetts) after it was abandoned. Endecott was not formally named governor of the new colony until it was issued a royal charter in 1629. At that time, he was appointed governor by the company's council in London, and Matthew Craddock was named the company's governor in London.

Shared note

Re: [BDF] Harrold parish registers

Dear Peter:

Your question just hit the spot, so to speak. There is a group of BUTTON researchers who are working together (in the U.S.--I am not sure where you are--England?) on Matthias BUTTON. A few months ago, I wrote St. Peter's Church in Harrold. Below is the answer I received from John Saul, who answers such inquiries for the church. Another BUTTON researcher and I wrote Evelyn Burgess (whose emails are included below) in hopes that she would have more information, but she did not answer either one of us. Perhaps if you email John Saul, he can tell you whether the vital records for Thomas BUTTON and his family are in Latin or English. They were sent to me in English almost 20 years ago by someone in the Bedfordshire County Office. That person said nothing about whether the original record was in English or Latin. John Saul's email address is _johnsaul(a)waitrose.com_ ( . Jayne _perllan987(a)aol.com_ (

From: _johnsaul(a)waitrose.com_ ( Date: July 31, 2010

Dear Jayne

Your enquiry [to St. Peter's church] has been forwarded to me.

The church records confirm the death of Thomas Button in 1617 and the baptisms of his children - but all we have in the church is a typed transcription made in 1946 of the registers kept in the Bedfordshire County Record Office. There is no possibility of going back any earlier than 1598.

You are not the first person to ask us for information about Thomas Button.

In 2003 we were visited by a Russ Button of Alameda, California - he is descended from Thomas Button via Thomas's son Matthias, who emigrated to Massachusetts in the 1630s. ... From what he told me I was able to write a short article for the Harrold village magazine - extract included below.

Then last year we received an enquiry from a Mrs Burgess:

From: _ev burgess_ () To: _janefox_1(a)btinternet.com_ () Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 3:59 AM Subject: St. Peters and the Buttons

Rev Fox,

I am from Michigan, United States. I am researching my family ancestry with a friend of mine. Three years ago I was fortunate enough to be in Harrold, England, and to visit the church of St. Peters. I had hoped to see my Great Great.....Grandfather's grave. I was only able to wander thru the picturesque cemetery. No one seemed to be about that day, though my family and I were able to enter the church St. Peters. What a thrill!!

My ancestor William Button was buried in St. Peter's approximately 1637. That really is about all I know. Would it be possible to look thru the church archives online? Oh, that would be wonderful!! Is there someone who could give me more information? William's Great Great ..... grandson Albert Augustus Button (my Grandfather) was born in Detroit, Michigan approximately 1881. Some time between the mid 1600s and the mid 1800s the Buttons migrated to Canada/United States. I would be happy to discuss any information with any one who can help me.

Thank you...........I really do hope to get back to Harrold some time, and wander through my history. Evelyn Burgess _evmb65(a)hotmail.com_ ()

To: evmb65(a) CC: janefox_1(a) Subject: The Buttons Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2009 18:21:56 +0100

Dear Mrs Burgess (or may I call you Evelyn).

Revd Fox passed your enquiry to me as I am probably the nearest we have to a church historian.

I am not surprised that you were unable to find any Button memorials in the churchyard. There are no Button entries in the parish registers after the death of his father Thomas Button, so we must assume that the other Button children had all moved away by that time. We believe that the churchyard contains the remains of some 7000 people, and 98% of them would have been interred in unmarked graves - only the wealthiest would have been able to afford a memorial. Also, I am sure that if there were a memorial, erosion by wind and water over 375 years would have obliterated any inscription.

You are not the only descendant of Matthias Button to have made such an enquiry.

In 2003 we were visited by Russ Button (_russ(a)button.com_ () ), his wife and son, from Alameda, California. Later that year, I wrote a piece for our parish magazine about Russ's researches, as follows:

"Matthias Button, Russ’s direct ancestor, was baptised at St Peters Harrold on 11 October 1611, the fourth child of Thomas Button. Russ already knew that Matthias emigrated to the American colonies in the early 1630s, possibly (like the Pilgrim Fathers) via Holland. He may have married his first wife, Lettyce, before he went to America, but no record of this marriage has yet been found. She died young, and he remarried thrice more, in 1639, 1649 and 1663! He first lived in Salem, then moved to Boston where he was one of the very first settlers. He next moved to Ipswich and finally to Haverhill, Massachusetts, where he died in 1672. He accumulated a fair amount of land during his life in Haverhill. The records also show that he incurred the enmity of a certain John Godfrey when he testified at Godfrey’s trial in 1665 on suspicion of witchcraft. Godfrey was charged with ‘not having the fear of God before his eyes, did or have consulted with a familiar spirit and being instigated by the divil have done much hurt and mischief by several acts of witchcraft to the bodyes and goods of several persons’. Testimony at the trial stated that Godfrey passed through locked doors, appeared in two places at once and kept company with a retinue of strange cats and noisy demons. He was found ‘suspiciously guilty’ but not ‘legally guilty’! Four years later, Godfrey was found guilty - of burning down Matthias Button’s house! All this took place only a few years before the infamous trials of the ‘Witches of Salem’. Could Matthias Button’s journey to Massachusetts have been linked with that of Peter Bulkeley, the Rector of Odell, who was dispossessed of his living by Archbishop Laud because of his Puritan views? Peter Bulkeley emigrated to Massachusetts in 1635, where he founded and became the first minister of the town of Concord. Certainly, large numbers of Englishmen and women followed the Pilgrim Fathers to the New World in the 1630s in search of religious freedom. However, Matthias Button is known to have identified himself with the First Church of England in Boston; at least two of his children were baptised there. So he was probably what we would now describe as an economic migrant rather than an asylum seeker." Odell is less than 2 miles from Harrold, so what went on in Odell would have been well known in Harrold. It is believed that Archbishop Laud actually visited Odell to dispossess Bulkeley - indicating that Bulkeley was regarded as a more serious threat to Laud's vision for the Church of England than his humble position at an obscure parish church would indicate. Mrs Burgess replied as follows:

John Saul, oh my goodness, what a wealth of information you passed on! I am grateful....thank you so much. I am going to meet with a cousin next month and will share this information with him. I am amazed the St. Peter's cemetery holds so many people. I was told that the grave stones that were very old and had fallen, were used to fence in the cemetery and to make room for new graves.

The story of Matthias is very intriguing. I was told by my cousin that we are direct descendants of Matthias, but we have no stories of the witchcraft trials. The only thing my grandfather told me about ancestors still in England, is that one man (no name, no date) was hung for hunting deer on the kings' land.

I also did run across, in some of my ancestry searches, some of the family tree line of Matthias, that was the first I'd seen references to Matthias and Thomas being brothers.

Again, thank you so much, Mr. Saul, for sharing this information. I really do hope to visit England again and stay several days in Harrold. My husband's grandmother was born in Dufton, Scotland. Looks like a wonderful visit to the past for us.

............sincerely, Evelyn Burgess

I find family history research highly intriguing - I have traced the Saul line back to 1637, and one maternal line to the 1580s.

Let me know if there is anything else that I might be able to help you with.


John Saul

In a message dated 1/5/2011 6:00:50 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, ynad93(a) writes:

Would anyone have easy access to the Harrold parish register transcripts? I am interested in the entry for the baptism of Matthias son of Thomas Button on 11 October 1607. I would like to know whether the original entry was written in Latin or in English. Thanks if someone can help. Peter Jones

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