Chapter 19 - The Gale Families of New England
THE NEW ENGLAND COLONY played an important role in England's overseas trade with the West Indies, West Africa and South America. Cloth and utensils were exchanged for slaves and a brisk trade emerged in molasses, sugar, rum, timber and salt fish. Many Colonial families grew rich as merchant mariners and shipbuilding became a major industry in a number of port towns. Essex for example, named for the English county of the same name and one of the oldest settlements in Connecticut, evolved as an important maritime town. Shipbuilding began there in 1733 and the first warship built for the Revolution, the Oliver Cromwell, was launched in 1776. And by this time, branches of the Gale family were firmly established all over New England.

By the War of 1812, Essex was so renowned for its shipbuilding that British marines raided the town during the night, burning a total of 28 ships. Throughout the first half of the 1800s, Essex was dotted with shipyards building transatlantic packets, schooners for the Caribbean trade, and ships that carried cotton from the Gulf ports to the mills of Europe and elsewhere in New England.

Generally speaking, favorites of the Crown and religious conformists [Anglicans] were awarded land in the Southern and Caribbean colonies, considered the most desirable due to the climate. Religious dissenters or non-conformists [Puritans and Quakers] were given less profitable lands in the North with climates similar to Great Britain, namely the New England colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This latter group was referenced by Edward Chenery Gale who remarked,
It is known that of the Puritan emigrants of 1630 - 1640 some two-thirds, roughly speaking, came from that part of England known as East Anglia, from the Counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex, a region always marked and perhaps still marked for its spirit of non-conformity. Of the remaining one-third, one-half, roughly speaking again, came from Devonshire, Dorset and Somerset and the other half from other portions of England…Furthermore, not infrequently a New England settlement was first peopled by families or individuals from the same county or even from the same parish migrating together in groups as was natural or occasionally under the leadership of a single non-conformist Minister. Watertown was essentially a Suffolk colony. Conspicuous among these immigrants were the Shermans who came from Dedham, and John Winthrop, who altho' he settled in Boston came with his Suffolk neighbors from Groton…(E. C. Gale)


THE GALE FAMILY RECORDS IN ENGLAND AND THE UNITED STATES, published in 1867 by George Gale, LL. D. of Galesville, Wisconsin, cited a family tradition that four brothers who were natives of England landed at Boston and later settled in different parts of the country. The first of these brothers was JOHN GALE, who was employed by one John Button in Boston, Massachusetts. He was admitted to the church in 1634 but died soon afterwards. HUGH GALE (Living 1652) of Kittery or York, was admitted a freeman in 1652. EDMUND GALE (1602 - 1642), an ancestor of George Gale, the author, settled at Cambridge and died in Boston on 7/29/1642. Finally, RICHARD GALE (1618 - 1678) was born in Devonshire and purchased land at Watertown in 1640. The name appears in records as Gale, Gael, Gall, and Geale.

In tracing the family of Richard, George Gale found individuals who were not Richard's descendants and stated,
"If the tradition is true, then these persons were evidently the children of Edmond and Hugh or one of them, but as we do not find any of them as far north as York, or bearing the name of Hugh, the writer is forced to assume the probability that they were the children of Edmond of Cambridge, but were born in England, as no record of their birth has yet been found in this country."

RICHARD GALE, YEOMAN OF WATERTOWN - IN THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY, 1614 - 1678, written by Edward Chenery Gale and published in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1932, maintains that BARTHOLOMEW GALE (?? - 12/15/1562) was part of the Gale family granted arms in Crediton, Devonshire. One of Bartholomew's sons was ROBERT GALE, whose will of 1648 named his son Bartholomew who, according to Edward Chenery Gale, was head of his line in America. Citing the Title Registry of Wills of Hennock, Devonshire, Edward Gale stated that Bartholomew's brothers were Ambrose (1628 - ??) and Edmund Gale who settled in New England.
NOTE: WHEN THIS SITE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED, the lines of both Edmund and Richard were included based almost solely on the two publications above. However, so much conflicting information has appeared online, some of which conflicts with that published in the above publications, that I have chosen to focus elsewhere. For those interested in the New England lines, I direct you to the publications above as a starting point and to online sites with trusted sources. Meanwhile, I have included some limited data and selected photographs that may be of interest.
Ambrose Gale House (ca. 1663), Marblehead, Massachusetts
(Source Unknown)
Tombstone of Mary Galle (sic),
wife of Ambrose Galle of Marblehead
Tombstone of Mary Gale (Unknown), Old Burial Hill
Burial plot of General John Glover & Grave of Hannah Gale Glover, Old Burial Hill, Marblehead, Mass. (
AZOR GALE: no age or date but a very old stone.
AZOR GALE: age 59, 1/28/1727-28
MARY ROOTS GALE, age 24, 1728
MARY GALE CROSS, age 29, 1749: Daughter of Benjamin and Elener (sic) Scadlock Gale.
MARY GALE, age 70, 5/2/1772: Widow of Samuel Gale.
CAPT. WILLIAM GALE, age 44, 6/30/1762: Son of Azor and Mary Roots Gale.
WILLIAM HUMPHREY, age 27, 4/10/1811, bricklayer: Probably great-grandson of William Humphrey (4/28/1775 - ??), son of Benjamin & Jemima Gale Humphrey, daughter of Thomas Gale and granddaughter of Azor Gale.
ALICE GALE, age 19, 10/24/1735: Wife of Thomas Gale (Bapt. 8/30/1713 - ??), son of Azor Gale. Marblehead Vital Records note a marriage between Thomas Gale and Alice Bray on 12/25/1735.
WILLIAM KNIGHT, age 77 years, 6 months, 8/27/1799: Son of Robert & Deliverance Knight, Bapt. 3/4/1721-22. Robert Knight married Delyverance (sic) Gale, 1713)
Signature from Richard Gael's will (
I. RICHARD GAEL (1618 - 1678) was born in Devonshire, England on 2/16/1618 to RICHARD GAEL (8/18/1585, Devonshire - ??) and his wife ALICE ATWOOD GAE. Later described as a yeoman, Richard immigrated to the American Colonies at an unknown date and was one of the founders of Watertown, Massachusetts where he purchased six acres of land from Richard Browne. On 7/16/1640 he married MARY or MARIA CASTLE (4/4/1624, Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire, England - 8/2/1681, Watertown, Middlesex Co., Mass.) daughter of Richard Castle. Their marriage was noted in the personal papers of Governor John Winthrop in possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society. (Winthrop Papers, Vol. I, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1929) Richard's grandfather was ABRAHAM GALE (1543, Devonport, Devonshire - ??) who married MARGARET (UNKNOWN) in 1567 at Devon.

The Gales and Winthrops of Massachusetts were associated in England as evidenced by the following references to the Gales and Winthrops outlined in the following timeline.

1562: THOMAS GALE: witness to the will of Adam Winthrop, Sr. in 1562, grandfather of Governor John Winthrop. Groton, Suffolk, England. [Adam Winthrop, Jr. was the father of John Winthrop, Governor of Massachusetts.]
1566: JOHN GALE (Living 1566) was named in the will of William More of Groton, Suffolk, gentleman, dated 10/6/1566 and probated on 3/8/1566-67. The will mentioned More's wife Alice, and bequests were made to John Wyntroppe (sic), Gent., John Spencer, William Coo, John Gale and their heirs. Also mentioned was his messuage and lands in Boxford and Hadleigh. John Gale of Hadleigh became High Constable of Groton when William Gale resigned.

1583: RICHARD GALE: 1583: Richard Gale appeared before Adam Winthrop as Lord of the Groton Manor in certain copyhold proceedings. In 1590 Richard Gale acted as co-trustee of a trust with Adam Winthrop. In 1618 Richard and Ann Gale, children of William Gale, were mentioned in the estate settlement of John Winthrop of Groton.
1586: RICHARD GALE, son of William Gale, was baptized in Groton.
1590: RICHARD GALE was named on a trust document as co-trustee with Adam Winthrop.
1602: WILLIAM GALE relinquished his office of High Constable to JOHN GALE of Hadleigh on 1/6/1602.
1604: MARYE GALE married JOSPEHE COLE on 12/7/1604.
1605: WILLIAM GALE of Hadley died on 5/7/1605.
1608: THE WIDOW GALE was buried at Hadley on 7/11/1608. Dr. Jones preached at the burial.
1609: WILLIAM GALE had a house burnt on 10/17/1609.
1611: RICHARD GALE (Living 1611): The will of Richard Gall (sic) of Wickham Market, County Suffolk, weaver, bequeathed to his son Richard Gall, his house called the "Bearne and a piece of land called the fen and my meadow." He named his wife Johane, daughters Margery, Margaret, and Joane, and sons Edmund and Robert. The executor was his son Richard and witnesses were Richard Baker, William Lingewood, and Christopher Crapnell. The will was dated 11/14/1611 and proved 1/8/1611-12. [Wickham Market is about 25 miles northeast of Groton. The G-A-L-L spelling is particular to the Suffolk region and Richard was of the right age to be the father of New England emigrant Richard Gale. Richard's son Edmond could have been the Edmond Gale who settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he died in 1642.
1618: ANNE GALE, daughter of WILLIAM GALE, was named with Adam and John Winthrop in a land transaction in 1618.
1621: THOMAS GALE died of small pox in 1621.
1700s: JOHN A. GALE (1700s) of Boston, Clerk of Nathan Winship, kept a journal of the voyage of the ship
Albatross and subsequently became the pioneer in the trade in hides between Boston and California. (Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, October 1920 - June 1921, Volume LIV, Boston, MDCCCCXXII
1810: WILLIAM GALE (Living 1810), assistant to Captain Nathan Winship, "had a house burnt." (
WINTHROP PAPERS, VOL. I, 1498 - 1628; Massachusetts Historical Society, 1929)
To the Worshipfull
Jn Wynthropp Junior Esquire

"Sir: It hath beene three times published at Watertowne meeteinge howse that this bearer Richard Gale & Mary Castle intended to enter into a covenaunt of marriage not having els I rest
Watertowne ye 16th of ye 7th 1640
your Worshipps to command
Thomas Mayhew
Richard Gale was not a member of the Watertown Church, and was not designated as a "freeman" or allowed to vote. Instead he was classified as a "Townsmen" and allowed to reside in the town and to receive the less favorable grants . He appears in Watertown in 1640 on the First Inventory of Grants and Possessions in Watertown with 6 acres of upland bounded on the north by the highway, the east by Samuel Freeman, and the west by Joseph Bemis, and the south by Nathan Fiske. He again appears on the Third Inventory of 1646. Records show that Richard's "homestall" of six acres was part of a lot laid out in the town originally granted to Elder Richard Browne and conveyed to Gale as early as 1640. Edward Chenery Gale stated that the location of Gale's home was in the extreme western part of Watertown between Main and Warren Streets, as they existed at the time. He and Mary lived there for over 20 years. On 12/2/1661 he purchased 250 acres from Richard Dummer, described as the north-eastern half of the "old town farm" (Oldham Farm) in Watertown, originally 500 acres on the north of the Charles River in what is now the city of Waltham. The property remained in the family for several generations, passing from Samuel Gale to his sons Jacob and Alpheus. When Alpheus Gale died in 1828 the farm was purchased as a "town farm" and the Gale house was used as an Almshouse for almost half a century. In his study of the family, Edward Chenery Gale provided a history of the property describing the old boundaries. He noted that it remained in the family until the death of Lois Gale in 1852 when it was conveyed to Governnor N. P. Banks. Jacob Gale acquired the estate by purchase from several persons, non of whom were descendants of Richard Gale.

Richard's family continued to reside in Middlesex County, and in 1656 Richard testified in a divorce case concerning William and Susan Clemence. The records stated that Richard was "about 42 yeares of age" at the time. Others named in the case were deponents William and Elizabeth Fuller, Margaret Allin of Braintree, Thomas Wilson and John Carr. Also on 1/3/1656 Richard signed a covenant to take Sarah Baall, age two, the daughter of John Baall, into his home for a period of four years. Likewise, on 12/9/1656, he took Sarah, age 2, daughter of John Peirce, for an unspecified period. According to Watertown Town Records "Richard Gall (sic) dyed the 22 of March" (1678). He was buried at Watertown on 4/1/1679. "Mary Geale (sic) the wife of Richard Geale (sic) dyed the 2d of August 1681." (Gale, E.C.)

WILL OF RICHARD GAEL, dated 2/25/1678-79 and proved 4/12/1679.
I Richard Gael of Watertowne in the county of Middlesex in New England, yeoman: being under the afflicting hand of the infinitely wise God: as to a bodily distemper, yet through the goodness of God am sound in my memory and understanding do declare this to be my last will and testament as followeth:

I give my spirit unto the hands of God that gave it and my body to the earth from whence it was taken: hoping throough the mediation of Jesus Christ to have raised again at the great day.

My will is that, except what of my estate just debts shall call for: my well beloved wife shall enjoy my whole estate both houses and lands and cattle of all sorts and all my household good for her comfort and maintenance during her natural life: my loving wife being dead: I give unto my son Abraham the dwelling house he now lives in with seven acres of upland adjoining to it which I gave him at his marriage: so long as my son Abraham lives and to his wife if she should outlive him so long as she lives a widow: and if their death: or my said sons death and his wife's marriage my will is the said house and seven acres of land shall be as an inheritance to my said sons two eldest sons namely Abraham Gall (sic) and Richard Gall:

I give and bequeath unto my son Abraham one fourth part of my orchard as long as he lives: and his wife as long as she lives or continues a widow: and it is to return to the two eldest sons of Abraham my son as they are above…also my will is the two eldest of my son Abraham aforesaid should enjoy two fourths of my said orchard: and to be improved for their benefit until they come of age: and my will is that my son John Gall (sic) should enjoy one forth part of my orchard so long as he lives and at his death the said forth part is to return to my son Abraham and his heirs; I give unto my daughter Sarah Garfield ten pound to be paid within seven years after my wives decease to be paid in country pay at an indefrant rate: and in case my said daughter shall die before the said seven years be expired then my will is the said ten pound should be paid to my said daughters children equally among them: I give unto my daughter Mary Flag ten pound to be paid her in all respects as is said to my daughter Garfield and her children: also my will is that my two sons Abraham Gall and John Gall should enjoy my whole farme containing two hundred and fifty acres: save only the seven acres before given to my son Abraham: and it is my will that my son John Gall aforesaid should enjoy his half of my farme aforesaid no longer than the time of his natural life and at his decease my will is: my whole farm containing 250 Acres as aforesaid should return to my son Abraham and his heirs forever: Also my will is that if God should give unto my son John Gall aforesaid a male heir that then my son Abraham shall when the said male heir attains to the age of one and twenty years a paid unto him twenty pounds in country paie at an indeferant rate and in case my son John aforesaid should depart this life without a male heir then my will is that the said twenty pound be paid to those children or child my said son John shall leave when he dies: to be paid divided equally among them either at their marriage or when they attain eighteen years of age.

And I doe nominate and appoint my well beloved son Abraham Gall to be sole executor to this my will and as a confirmation to this my last will and testament I have hereunto set my hand this five and twentieth of February sixteen hundred and seventy eight.
In the presence of us

Richard Gall, + his mark.

Joseph Taynter
William Bond
An inventory of Richard's estate was made on 3/22/1678 and his real estate, valued at ?150 was described as, "A dwelling house and barne with about 250 Acres of Land adjoining to it…," Six Acres of upland upon the great plaine joining to ye farme, Seven Acres of remote meadow near ye pond at Mr. Samuelles farme, (and) Three Acres of meadow lieing upon stonie brooke…" (Gale, E.C.) In his will Richard describes himself as a "yeoman," a designation that corresponds to a middle class farmer in contemporary terms. In English society he would have followed Esquires and Gentlemen and would not "have the right to bear arms or use a crest or coat of arms in any form." (Gale, E.C.) Ironically, his descendants through his son Abraham ultimately settled in New York and later in Washington, DC where one of them claimed the following arms. ARMS: Gu a griffin segreant or within a bordure gobonated/gorbony argent and vert. CREST: A unicorn's head paly of six azure and or, the horns twisted of the second and first (or and azure). MOTTO: Qui semina vertu raccoglia fama. [Who sows virtue gathers fame.] CHILDREN OF RICHARD & MARY GALE: II. JOHN H. (9/5/1647, Watertown - Bef. 1694) married Elizabeth Spring, daughter of Henry and Mehitable Bartlett Spring, on 9/27/1677 and had six children. II. ABRAHAM (ca. 1643, Watertown - 9/15/1718) married 9/3/1673 to Sarah Fiske, d/o Nathan and Susanna Fiske. II. EPHRAIM (Abt. 1649 - 5/1653, Watertown - Bef. 1678-79) living 5/1673 when he was described as a vagrant, "distempered in his mind." Ephraim is not mentioned in his father's will and may have predeceased him. II. SARAH (9/8/1641- 4/3/1663) married 4/3/1663 to Joseph Garfield, Jr. II. MARY (8/7/1641-42 - ??) married 3/30/1670 to John Flagg, son of Thomas Flagg of Watertown and Constable and Collector of Watertown. [Twin of Sarah or Abigail?] II. ABIGAIL (1642 - 9/5/1718, age 76). II. THOMAS (1646, Watertown - ??)

ONE OF RICHARD'S SONS WAS ABRAHAM GALE (1643 - 1718), born to Richard and Mary Castle Gale about 1643. On 9/3/1673 he married SARAH FISKE (2/1/1653 - 5/14/1728), daughter of Nathan Fiske, a selectman of Watertown, and had sixteen children. A farmer, Abraham was admitted as a freeman at Watertown in 10/11/1682 and a selectman in 1706 and 1718. He was executor of his father's will and inherited half of the family farm. Based on the date, it appears that Abraham served as sergeant and lieutenant in the Massachusetts militia and in 1689 was master of the ship Peace. (SR 07752, p. 3, Virginia Colonial Records: Survey Report Image S. R. Number SR 07752; Reel Number 918; Library of Virginia)
According to George Gale he was also a captain during Shay's Rebellion. He died on his family farm at Watertown on 9/15/1718 at age 75 leaving a will dated 9/3/1718 and proved on 9/22/1718. Sarah, John and Joshua Gael (sic) were appointed as executors and it was noted that all signed their executors bond by their marks. Sarah Gale died 5/14/1728 at about age 72. Both are buried at Grove Hill Cemetery, Waltham, Massachusetts, along with their son, John Gale.

In the name of God, amen, the third day of September 1718, I, Abraham Gael, of Watertown, in the country of middx, within his magesties Province of the Massachusets Bay in New England, yeo., Being very sick and weak in body, But of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God: Therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to Dye, Do make & ordain this my last will & testament; That is to say, Principally, and first of all, I give & Recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it: and my body I recommend to the earth, to be Decently buried in Christian burial at the Discretion of my executor: Nothing doubting but at the Gen. Resurection I shall receive the same againe by the mighty Power of God, and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it hath Pleased God, to Bless me in this life, I give & bequeath the same in the following manner and form: Imp. - I give and bequeath to Sarah, my well beloved wife, all my Personal estate within doors for her comfort & support during the time she Remains my widow; and further my will is that my wife shall have a comfortable Room in my mansion house, and to be constantly Provided with sufficient fire wood laid at the door fit for fire, and also to have Ten pound annually pd. Her in corn & meat & other Provisions by my two youngest sons, namely John & Joshua Gael. But in case my wife shall see cause to marry againe, my will is she shall be pd. The sum of Twenty pounds by my two above sons out of my Personal estate and no more, and the annual Rent to sese.
Item: I give and bequeath unto my son Abraham Gael & to his heirs & assigns forever the land on which his mansion house now stands with all the land adjoining that I formerly staked out & designed for him, being about sixty or seventy acres by estimation but not measured to know the certainty. Provided my said son pay ten pounds in money, of the debts I now owe either into the Public Bank of the Province, or to Paul Dudly Esq. of Boston, an in case he shall Refuse to pay ten pounds as aforesaid, then my will is that he shall injoy Ten acres short of the land before given, sd. Ten acres to be taken off conveniently together to be disposed of as I shall declare. I also give unto my said Son and his heirs aforesaid, one piece of meadow lying upon Charles River containing y estimation four acres, called Beaver hoel meadow. Further I give unto my sd. Son as aforesd., one piece of woodland, containing by estimation five acres lying on the westerly side of the piece I formerly staked out to him, upon condition he gives a Deed of Releas to my other sons of one quarter of an acre of orchard and his Right to ye land about my mansion house by virtue of is grand fathers will and in case my said son shall Refuse to do so, then my will is the aforesd. Five acres of woodland to be disposed of as I shall hereafter declare, and this to be in full of what I intend him for his portion out of my estate.
Item: - I give and bequeath to my son Richard Gael & to his heirs and assigns forever, the sum of thirty Pounds to be pd. By my two youngest sons, viz: John & Joshua equally within two years after my deces, upon condition that he gives to my two youngest sons afore named a Deed of quit-claim of some small Right he hath by virtue of his Grand-fathers will to a Quarter of an acre of orchard & his claim to the land about my mansion-house. But in case he shall Refuse so to do, then my will is that my sd. Son Richard shall have only twenty shillings to be paid in time and manner as aforesd., and that with what I have already given him to be in full of his portion out of my estate.
Item: - I give and bequeath to my son Ebenezer Gael & to his heirs and assigns forever, Two acres of Land joining to what I have formerly given to him a Deed of lying on the easterly side of the same, and this with what I have already given him to be in full of what I intend him for his portion out of my estate.
Item: - I give and bequeath to my Daughter Sarah Pratt and to her heirs and assigns forever the sum of five pounds to be paid by my two youngest sons afore named in equal manner within three years after my deces. and that with what she hath already had to be in full of her Portion of my estate.
Item: - I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Mary Gael and to her heirs & assigns for ever the sum of twelve pounds to be pd. By my two youngest sons named John & Joshua in eual halves within two years after my Deces, or at her day of marriage which may first happen, and that to be in full of her portion of what I intend out of my estate.
Item: - I give and bequeath to my Daughter Lydia Gael and to her heirs & assigns forever, the sum of twelve pounds to be paid by my two youngest sons afore named, in equal halves within two years after my Deces. or her day of marriage if that be before two years are expired, and to be in full of her portion out of my estate.
Item: - I give and bequeath unto my daughter Abigail Gael & to her heirs & assigns forever the sum of Twelve pounds to be paid by my two youngest sons afore mentioned within two years after my Deces. or the day of her marriage, if that first be, in equal halves and that to be her full portion of what I intend her out of my estate.
Item: - I give and bequeath unto my two youngest sons namely : John and Joshua Gael and to their heirs and assigns forever, all my Real and Personal estate of what kind or Denominations soever not before given away in this my last will & Testament to be equally Divi- between them, they taking care of their antious (sic) and tender mother and providing for & paying to her annually what I have assigned to her in this my last will, as also all my just Debts of all kinds, except the ten pounds I have ordered my son Abraham to pay in case he shall comply with it, and in case he doeth Refust to pay the sd. Ten pounds, then my will is tht my two sons aforesd. Pay the same and they to injoy the ten acres of land conditionally given to my son Abraham as also the five acres of woodland in case he refuses to give a quit claim as before expressed, and I do nominate appoint constitute and ordain my wife Sarah Gael and my two youngest sons John Gael and Joshua Gael my executors to see this my last will and testament performed and I do hereby utterly disallow and Revoke all and ever other former Testament and executors in any befoe this time by me named, Ratifiing and confirming this and no other to be my last will & testament.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

Abraham Gael

Signed sealed Published Pro-
nounced and Declared by the
said Abraham Gael as his last
will and Testament in the pres-
of us the Subscribers

Jonas Bond
Samuel Harrington
Munning Sawin
Old Burial Hill, Marblehead, Massachusetts
INFORMATION ON RICHARD GALE (1618 - 1678) appearing below comes from Edward Chenery Gale's publication as cited above. As stated, his brothers included JOHN, HUGH, and EDMUND GALE, who came to New England in the 1600s.

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