Richard Higgins
(-Between 1674)


Family Links

Mary (Yates)

Richard Higgins

  • Marriage: Mary (Yates) Oct 1651, Eastham, Massachusetts
  • Died: Between 20 Nov 1674 and 1 Jun 1675, Piscataway, NJ

bullet  Notes and Events:

• Occupation: Tailor.

• Tax List, 1633, Plymouth, Massachusetts. 119

• Note, 1 Apr 1634. Designated as a freeman upon the appointment of Samuel Godberson as his apprentice.

• Note, 1644, Eastham, Massachusetts. 119 One of the first 7 settlers and founders of Eastham, Massachusetts

• Public Office. 119 Selectman of Eastham for 3 years and deputy to the general court in 1649, 1661 and 1667

• Moved: from Eastham, 1670, Piscataway, New Jersey. 119

• Birth Note. I give! Would the real Richard Higgins please stand up?
If I were a direct line descendant, I might tackle this, however, Richard is simply the father of the man who married my seventh great grandaunt. Thus I am going to provide excerpts from Katherine Chapin Higgins books, "Richard Higgins and his Descendents " ( 1913) and " Supplement to Richard Higgins and his Descendents" ( 1924). You, of course, have the right to draw your own conclusions.
Richard Higgins and his Descendents
The english home of Richard Higgins
Two views of the origin of Richard Higgins of Plymouth and Eastham have been set forth. They are not in agreement. If one is accepted, the other must be false. Perhaps future researchers will show that both are false.
The first view was held by Rev. Charles H. Pope, an investigator of some note, author of The pioneers of Massachusetts, and other genealogical writings, who was employed by the author ( Mrs. Higgins ) of this book to discover, if possible the parentage and birthplace of Richard Higgins. Mr Pope furnished the extracts from English wills and administrations relating to estates of persons named Higgins which are given in this book. His work was unfortunately not exhaustive, being interrupted before its completion. Mr.Pope had no clue as to the origin of Richard Higgins upon which to work, save the statement in the records of Plymouth, Mass., that on April 1 1634, Richard Higgins of Plymouth, tailor, took Samuel Godberson as his apprentice, with the consent of William Bradford, Samuels guardian, and agreed to teach Samuel the trade of a tailor. ( This document is later given in full in the account of Richard Higgins which is contained in this volume.) Mr.Pope assumed that Richard Higgins had in his turn served his time as an appretice under the laws of England and so was entitled to recieve and instruct an apprentice legally. In this view Mr. Pope seems to have had reason and probability on his side and he was fortunate enough to find in the records of the " Honourable Company of Merchants Taylors" of the city of London, Apprentice book, vol9, folio 276, the following entry:
"Ricus Higgins fil Robi Higgins de Lemster in Com Heref Mercer po se appren Phillippo Ruddock de St. Clemts Lane proSeptem annis a die dat herin pro tem Dat dict die anno. 23 die Aprilis 1627."
The meaning of this entry in scriveners latin is: " Richard Higgins, son of Robert Higgins of Leominster in the County of Hereford, mercer, places himself as an apprentice with Phillip Ruddock of St. Clements Lane, London, for the term of seven years from the date given herein, for the term aforesaid, on said day and year, April 23, 1627"
( Page 14 K.C.H book )
Further examination of these records shows that this apprentice did not apply for freemanship in the city of London, to which he would have been entitled on the expiration of his apprenticeship. Nor does this young man appear in any records of London or of his native county of Hereford. As a considerable number of the early settlers of Plymouth were from London, it is not unresonable to suppose that this young man obtained leave of absence or was released by his masters death and sought to better his condition in the New World. It is worth noting that Richard Higgins of Plymouth took an apprentice in the very month in which the seven years term mentioned in the record above given expired.
Robert Higgins, mercer of Leominster in Herefordshire is mentioned in the Will of Christopher Higgins, verger to the Dean and Chapter of Hereford, as are also Roberts children. This will is dated July 18 1610, and calls Robert Higgins "cosin" of the testator, probably meaning nephew. If the apprenticeship of Richard Higgins was to end at his majority, the term of seven years for which he was bound would have begun when he was fourteen years old in 1627, he was born about 1613, and hence born after those children of Robert who were living in 1610. The birth date of 1613 would accord well with the known facts about Richard Higgins of Plymouth, who came to Plymouth about 1632, a young unmarried man. His marriage to Lydia Chandler would have ocurred in 1634, when Richard was twenty one. From the wills later given a pedigree of the Hereford Higginses can be made out ( see page 24. )
The second veiw regarding the origin in England of Richard Higgins was published by Mr. Orra E Monnette in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. xlvi, pp.389, 390; vol xivii, pp. 20-32. The main portion is here given in his exact words, as follows:
" In the church at Western ( should be Weston. - Ed ) Underwood, Buckinghamshire, England, can be found several monuments, on one of which are the armorial bearings of this branch of the Higgins family, viz.:
"Vert, three storks heads erased proper, impaling party per fesse arg. and azure in chief an oak tree ppr. between two crescents, or.""
"Rev John Higgins, b.1528; m. 1544 Elizabeth, dau. and co-hier of Thomas Clynton, Esquire of Castleditch ( High Sheriff of co. Hertford, 1568), and Margery, dau. of Richard Tracy, Esq. of Toddington, descendant of Sir John de Clinton, temp. Edward I."
( Page 15 K.C.H Book )
"Rev. John Higgins was instituted Rector of Blatchley of Newport Hundred, co. Bucks, Aug. 20 1561, and lived at Bridstone, co. of Hertfordshire, 1570. He was reinstated after the death of his wife. His curate was Sir James Walsh. By his wife, Elizabeth Clynton, he had two sons, John, the poet and litterateur, of whom the following account is given, and Edward."
"John, son of Rev. John Higgins, b. 1544-5, was a student at Oxford. 1572, although his name does not appear in the University lists. He is thus described in some of his books. He was a poet, antiquary, a historian of great renown, author of a revised edition of Huloets Dictionaire, London, 1572, dedicated to Sir George Peckham. In the library at Greenock, Scotland, a copy of this Dictionaire is kept, marked " By John Higgins, late student Oxford in 1572," and the pages are covered with notes, drawings and crests by John Gibbon, who visited Richard Lee in Virginia in 1659. This John Higgins resided in 1586 at Windsham, Sommerset.
" The second son of Rev. John Higgins and his wife Elizabeth Clynton, was the following:
" Edward, b. Sep. 7, 1545; m. 1598, Julian, dau. of Christopher and Elizabeth Meals of Bridstone, co. Hertford. She was b. in 1582; d. in Langley Paish, Stoke-Hundred, Hertfordshire, Aug 1, 1603. In the church a Langley parish, Stoke-Hundred, a brass plate bears the following inscription:
"Here lieth the body of Julian Higgins, wife to Edward Higgins, and dau. to Chris and Elizabeth Meals, who lived in the Feare of God and died in the Fayth of Christ, 1 Aug., Anno Dni 1603, A most kind child, a wife most mild, a spouse and daughter deare. Though young of age, modest and sage, Behold interred here."
The children of Edward and Julian Higgins whose births have been established were:
i. Jonathan, b. in 1599
ii Thomas, 1600
iii Julian, 1601
iv Richard, b.Aug1, 1603, the day of his mothers death
It is further stated that it was Richard Higgins, born Aug. 1. 1603, who became the settler in Plymouth, coming thither in the ship Anne in 1623, with Nicholas Snow, who had been his neighbour in England, and that Richard returned and was temporarily at Leyden, and again reached New England in the ship Talbot in August, 1629.
Mr. Monnette in the article before quoted further says that Mrs. Frank S. Smith of New York city ( Nee Clara Alzina Hapgood Higgins and sister of Gov. Frank Wayland Higgins ) has old documents and records, tombstone inscriptions, deeds and wills, also a snuff box with the aforesaid Higgins arms thereon, preserved by her ancestor Timothy Higgins ( See number 267 of this volume )
( Page 16 K.C.H. book )
which prove the descent of Richard Higgins of Plymouth and Eastham from the Rev. John Higgins before mentioned. The article also contains a reproduction of an old portrait which is declared to be a genuine portrait of the emigrant, Richard Higgins, and further declares that Mrs. Smith has herself visited the ancestral seat in England and has procured Mr. Gustav Anjou, a genealogist, to verify each record, which, presumably, he succeeded in doing.
We regret to disagree with the conclusions of Mr. Monnette, based upon Mrs. Smiths records and relics, and doubt that the Richard Higgins, born Aug 1, 1603, was the emigrant Richard Higgins who settled at Plymouth about 1632. It is only fair that reasons for this doubt should be given, and this will be done.
Let it be understood that we do not question the accuracy of the English records, nor do we deny that Edward and Julian ( Meals ) Higgins of Langley parish, Hertfordshire, had a son Richard, born Aug 1, 1603. It is the identity of this Richard Higgins with the emigrant Richard which is doubted and denied.
The objections to accepting this pedigree for Richard Higgins, the emigrant, are as follows:
Mention is made of wills and deeds as proof of the identification of Richard the emigrant. If by this is ment American wills and deeds, it can be said that no wills or deeds, now on record at Plymouth, Mass., Barnstable, Mass. or Middletown, Conn., prove any such claim, for all have been examined, and nothing to prove this has been found. If English wills are ment, only the wills or deeds of Richards alleged father or his grandfather could prove any such fact. That these have been transmitted down to the present time by direct tradition from Richard the emigrant is doubtful.
Tombstone inscriptions in America would prove nothing. There are none old enough. English tombstone inscriptions, unless the fact was actually inscribed on the tomb of Edward Higgins that his son Richard really emigrated to New England and settled at Plymouth- a most imprpbable addition to a mortuary inscription- would prove nothing.
A snuff box bearing the Higgins arms, or what would pass for such, could have easily been procured or have originated at a time after the death of Richard Higgins, the emigarnt. To prove that such a box was actually his property would require very unusual and complete evidence which has not yet been produced.
( Page 17 K.C.H. book )
The costume of the young man in the alleged portrait of Richard Higgins is not of the period of the first half of the seventeenth century. Rather it is the costume of the period from 1790 to 1830. It is possibly the portrait of Timothy Higgins, or of some one of that period. Timothy Higgins was born in 1767 at Middle Haddam, Conn. His father, Israel Higgins, born in 1728, came to Middle Haddam about 1740. If these alleged proofs are genuine, they must have been brought to Middle Haddam from Eastham at the time of the removal to Connecticut, or obtained after that from Eastham. If the proofs had been in Eastham from the time of Richard the emigrant down to 1740 or later, they would have been common property to many branches of the Higgins tribe, for the period is long, more than one hundred years. There is absolutely no trace of any knowledge of the English home of Richard the emigrant among his descendants for the first hundred years. This in itself reasonable proof that no such evidence existed in that early time.
Mrs, Crosby of Brewster, Mass. daughter of Simeon Higgins of Brewster, possesses an old coat of arms, painted in colour, alleged to have been brought from England and certified to be genuine Higgins arms by Sir something-or-other-Higgins. Personal inspection of this "coat of arms" in the summer of 1916 showed that it bore no resemblance whatsoever to the genuine Higgins arms previously described. Further, the principles of heraldry were flagrantly violated in its composition. It is clear that both the arms and the alleged certification were inventions, probably of some unscrupulous trafficker in arms and pedigrees.
The present owner of this " Coat of arms " was ignorant of this deception and entirely innocent in her confidence of its value and genuineness.
( Page 18 K.C.H. book )
The following text is from the Supplement to the K.C.H book and was published in 1942:
The Pedigree quoted from Mr. Monnette, although given out in good faith, is a fraudulent compilation. Mr J. Gardner Bartlett, an expert in English homes of the founders of New England says of it:
" There is no such place as Bridstone, County Hertford, although there is a Bridstow in county Hereford. There is no Stoke Hundred in either county. There are two parishes called Langley in county Hertford, Abbots Langley and Kings Langley. Accounts have been printed of the churches and monuments of both of them, but they mention no Higgins monument as given by Anjou. There is no Langley in county Hereford."
These geographical impossibilities in the Monnette pedigree are sufficient to prove the entire pedigree false and worthless. It is to be regretted that this false pedigree was published in the first place, and unfortunate that it was produced in Richard Higgins and His Descendants, although there regarded as suspicious. Readers of the Higgins Genealogy should utterly disregard the Monnette pedigree.
( Page 5 supplement by K.C.H book )


Richard married Mary (Yates) in Oct 1651 in Eastham, Massachusetts. (Mary (Yates) was born about 1632 and died after 1702.)


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