Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2008-06 > 1213125575

From: John Brandon <>
Subject: Did Mr. George Cleeve's wife Joan leave any descendants?
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2008 12:19:35 -0700 (PDT)

I was going to "do up a big production" on this topic, but the reason
for my doubts about this line is very simple and can be easily and
quickly summarized. It’s a matter of chronology.

Gary Boyd Roberts shows a royal line for Joan Price, the second (? or
third) wife of George Cleeves of Maine, from Henry I of England
through Welsh families, the most recent part of the descent being in
the Price of Newtown family, culminating in Joan's father John Price,
vintner of Shrewsbury (fl. 1620). For this, he cites articles by John
Plummer published in the Cleeves family newsletter (early 1990s).

Has anyone seen these articles? I was always personally a little
doubtful because the father of John Price, vintner, is stated to have
been a "capper" in his son’s apprenticeship record (? or record of his
admission as vintner of Shrewsbury)-- and this occupation did not
sound very upper-crust to me. Does anyone know exactly what a
“capper” does?

Anyway, I've finally procured a copy of an excellent article I had
been wanting to read for several years: Robert J. Dunkle, "The
Andrews-Cogswell-Page Bible", _The Genealogist_ 3 [1982]. This
article (almost 50 pages in length) states that Dorcas Mitton, wife of
James Andrews (whose family the Bible concerns), was born ca. 1627/8
and died 1696, citing her gravestone in the Granary Burying Ground at
Boston, which records her age at death as "69 years." Her husband was
baptised in 1625 in London, and she bore children between the early
1650s and early 1670s, so these dates seem likely to be correct.

Now ... it's quite clear that this Dorcas Mitton was a daughter of
Michael Mitton, gent., of Maine, whose wife is certainly known to have
been Elizabeth, the daughter of George Cleeve:

The problem is this: George Cleeve married Joan Price on 7 Sept. 1618
at St Chad's, Shrewsbury, a fact reported in both _Great Migration
Begins_ and _Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire_. The
_Great Migration Begins_ sketch shows the children of George and Joan
as Elizabeth, b. say 1619 [no actual baptismal record was found];
Cleombrotus, bapt. 13 March 1621 at St. Chad’s (d. 1621); and Anne,
bapt. 24 June 1623 at St. Chad’s (d. 1624).

[Before I become too certain about this theory, can anyone explain why
the 7 Sept. 1618 marriage of Cleeve and Price is not found in IGI
batch M015751, which is marriages at St. Chad’s, Shrewsbury, in the
appropriate period? The corresponding batch for baptisms, P015751,
certainly shows the children Cleombrotus and Anne Cleeve.]

The daughter Elizabeth Cleeve is universally said to have married
Michael Mitton, gent., ca. 1637, when he came to New England with Mr.
Cleeve, who was returning from a meeting with Sir Ferdinando Gorges:

The _Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire_ follows this
source in dating the Cleeve-Mitton marriage to ca. 1637, as does
_Great Migration Begins_.

However, as we can see, Michael and Elizabeth must have been married
much earlier, and therefore Joan (Price) Cleeve, married in 1618,
could not be the mother of Elizabeth Cleeve, who was already having
her own children only ten years later (1627/8).

I think this necessitates that we make Elizabeth Cleeve a daughter of
George by an earlier wife. _Great Migration Begins_ assigns only one
prior marriage to him:

MARRIAGE: (1) London by license 17 October 1612 Alice (___) Abrook,
widow of William Abrook, born about 1581 (aged 31 at marriage [NEHGR
140:180]); she died by 1618.


Even this is rather a stretch, assuming that any daughter of this
marriage was born mid-1613 at the earliest. She would then be married
and having children by age 14 or 15. I think we have to assume
Elizabeth was born a few years before 1612, and that George Cleeve had
an even earlier marriage (as he was apprenticed in 1600 for 7 years,
this is distinctly possible).

The one good feature of this chronological difficulty is that instead
of making Michael Mitton a person who accompanied Cleeve to Maine in
1637 _and then married his daughter_, it makes it very likely that
Mitton married Elizabeth Cleeve a decade earlier, in the vicinity of
Shrewsbury, where her father was then living.

As Mr. Thomas Lewis, early Maine settler, and close friend and
associate of Cleeve, had a mother-in-law who came from the armigerous
Mitton family of Shropshire (with a line of royal descent), it seems
quite possible that Michael Mitton was also from this family.

Mitton certainly appears in the New England records in a rather
picturesque way. Henry Jocelyn seemed to believe his account of
tangling with a merman:

“One Mr. Mittin related of a Triton or Meere-Man, which he saw in
Casco Bay. The gentleman was a great Fowler and used to go out with a
small boat or Canow, and fetching a compass about a small island for
the advantage of a shot was encountered with a Triton, who laying his
hands upon the side of the Canow, had one of them chopt off with a
hatchet by Mr. Mittin, which was in all respects like the hand of a
man. The Triton presently sunk, dying the water with his purple blood
and was no more seen.”,M1

Then, of course, John Winthrop tells the story of how “mr mitton a
married man” seduced Mary Martin, daughter of a decayed gentleman who
had left her in his care to return to England:

Michael Mitton himself seems to have been mostly an afterthought in
Winthrop’s moralizing story.

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