The Seagraves Family

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The New Jersey Settlement

Essentially all members of the Seagraves family in America descend from one of three original Settlements begun by early colonists: 1. The MASSACHUSETTS SETTLEMENT, 2. The NEW JERSEY SETTLEMENT, and 3. The NORTH CAROLINA SETTLEMENT.  Each settlement produced a significant line of descendants, some well documented.  The descendants of the NEW JERSEY SETTLEMENT are covered by the first and second editions of “Genealogy of Seagraves Sampson and Kindred Lines” by Faye S. Seagraves, Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho, 1969 & 1983.

The first edition of Faye’s book describes in its Introduction much of the commentary directly from “The Genealogy of the Seagrave Family from 1725-1881” by Daniel Seagrave, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1881.  That book and a discussion of some of its conclusions can be found under the link to the MASSACHUSETTS SETTLEMENT.  Faye, not unreasonably, assumed that the material in Daniel’s book was accurate.  She also accepted the ‘tradition’ in the Massachusetts family that there were “two brothers” who came to America, one settling in Massachusetts and one in “the Jerseys”.

Faye struggled with the perennial problem of poor records of the Colonial Era (as we still do).  In her second edition (1983) Faye had concluded that the idea that the New Jersey and subsequent Pennsylvania Seagraves families were descended from part of the Massachusetts line was not likely to be true.  We agree with that since we have identified the man we believe is the founder of the New Jersey Seagraves families.  That man is William Seagraves (i5479), born possibly about 1660, and possibly born in New York or a colonist from either England or Ireland.

William is first recorded in 1683 (well before the Massachusetts Seagrave family landed in Boston) in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York as a Testator owed the amount of 3 Pounds, 1 shilling according to the Suffolk County Inventories Sessions Book #1, page 155.  The "Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey" Vol 13 #4, page 79 describes the marriage of Mary Seagrave of East Hampton, Long Island, New York to Thomas Alderman dated 27 Aug 1703 saying "she was possibly the daughter of William Seagrave of Suffolk County, Long Island, New York”. 

"Aldermans in America” by William Alderman Parker, privately published in Raleigh, North Carolina, 1957, says: “Thomas Alderman was a son of William and Mary (Case) Alderman and was born 9 Jun 1683 at Simsbury, Connecticut.  He went along with friends to East Hampton, on Long Island, and it is there that … at the age of nineteen he married Mary Seagrave.  Shortly after their marriage Mary (Seagrave) and Thomas Alderman settled in the Cohansey section of New Jersey.  Cohansey is near the line between Salem and Cumberland counties and Thomas may actually have lived in the latter…. The Church of Christ in Fairfield, NJ was founded May 19, 1708 on the Cohansey River (Fairfield Township, Cumberland County).  Thomas and Mary Alderman signed the Covenant.”

We believe that Mary was the daughter of the William Seagrave of Long Island and that William migrated to Cape May County, New Jersey by 1698 and was there in 1702.  It is possible to create a story that William moved to New Jersey as part of the movement quoted by William A. Parker: "About the year 1700 immigrants flocked into Cohansey [the border area between Cape May County and Salem County, New Jersey at the time] from New England, Long Island..." and then encouraged his daughter and her new husband to join him there.

When Thomas Alderman, a weaver of Cohansey, died 15 Aug 1715 at age 32 he left a large estate to Mary, his wife, and a plantation to his son, Thomas, and 5 pounds each to his son, William, and his daughter, Mary, “when they come to age”.  He left all his land in Simsbury, Connecticut to his son, Daniel.

The man we believe to be William Seagrave, father of Mary, appears in two records in New Jersey:

1) on 21 Dec 1698 in Cape May County, New Jersey, “a Letter of Administration was granted to William Segrave apon [sic] the effects of Oliver Johnson, deceased”, according to the “History and Genealogical Miscellany of New York & New Jersey”.  and,

2) on 29 Aug 1702 also in Cape May County, New Jersey, Will Segrave is listed as a “debtor to the estate of John Stubbs, mariner”, according to “Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New Jersey”.

There are other records in Cape May County that refer to a William Seagrave starting in 1712 when a William Seagrave is on the "List of constituents of the First Baptist Church" and in a marriage to a Hester (Esther?) (Hand) Huitt in about 1715.  We believe that some of these later events probably involve the son of the William from Long Island.  William from Long Island (father of Mary), was probably born in the early 1660's since Mary, if she was nineteen in 1703 like her husband, Thomas Alderman, she would have been born about 1683/4.  We can see William Seagrave of Long Island in his late 30's moving to New Jersey and living long enough to help found a church there at about age 50.  However, the marriage about 1715 to Widow Huitt while probable if she were older as he was, seems improbable when we consider that William and Esther are credited with two sons: William Seagrave, Jr., born 14 Oct 1716; and Onesimus Seagrave, born about 1718, both in Cape May County.  As late as 1728 Esther (Hester in this document) and William and Onesimus are mentioned in Esther's father's will, so there may not have been any other children.  Those two boys survived and helped establish the New Jersey/Pennsylvania Seagraves families that covered generations and many other states west.

In "The History of Salem County New Jersey" by Joseph S. Sickler, 1937, there is a Seagraves mentioned, Artis, who we believe was a son of Onesimus.  It does describe the settlement of that area and how it had originally bordered on Cape May County and that early English settlement in New Jersey on lands claimed by the same Dutch who ruled in New Amsterdam was largely by English from New Haven, Connecticut.  After the Dutch were run out of Salem the Swedes came in for a few years.  From 1675 to 1705 more than a dozen ships carrying settlers, mostly from England, arrived in Salem County.

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