Person:Gabriel Wheldon (3)

  • HGabriel Wheldon1600 - 1653/54
  • WJane Unknownabt 1590 - aft 1640
m. abt 1611
  1. Thomas Whelden1611/12 - abt 1614
  2. Catherine Wheldenabt 1617 - aft 1688
  3. Henry WheldonABT 1619 - 1694
  4. Mary Whelden1621 - abt 1673
  5. Martha Whelden1621 - abt 1639
  6. Ralph WheldonABT 1624 -
  7. Ruth Wheldon1626 - 1693
  8. John Wheldonabt 1630 - 1711
m. abt 1650
Facts and Events
Name Gabriel Wheldon
Alt Name Gabriel Whelden
Alt Name Gabriel Welding
Gender Male
Birth? 1600 Arnold, Nottinghamshire, England
Marriage abt 1611 record not found in Nottinghamshire
to Jane Unknown
Marriage abt 1650 possibly in Malden
to Margaret Unknown
Death[1][2] Feb 1653/54 Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States


Many Myths Persist

Please see the talk page for a discussion of myths regarding Gabriel Whelden, including:

  • his arrival in New England by 1629
  • his supposed Indian princess wife
  • Disussion of his wives as presented here


That he was from Nottinghamshire, England (or nearby) is supported by the finding of the baptisms of his children in the parish recofds of Basford, Nottinghamshire, England. (S1)

He served as church warden in Basford in 1622 (S1, citing University of Nottingham Manuscript Archives Roll I82478)

He is named in his uncle Thomas Wheldon's will in 1609/10. (S1, op cit., citing rolls I56579 and I59402)

On 4 April 1617, he was leased land in Basford, and identified as a blacksmith. (S1, citing Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham, Ne D 786)

On 16 August 1637 he and his wife Jane appear on a deed to exchange land in Basford and surrounding areas; he is identified as a husbandman. (S1, op cit., citing Ne D 787)

In Feb 1637/8, his name appears on an inventory of his property. (S1, op cit., citing Ne S 792)

On 10 Mar 1637/8, identified as "yeoman of Basford," he made two property transactions-- entered into a feoffment concerning the above property (S1, op cit., Ne D 788), and he also secured a bond of L120 related to this feoffment (S1, op cit., Ne D 789).

Emigration to New England

No passenger list names him.

The last record of him in England is 24 March 1637/8 when he assigned the Earl of Clare a lease of close of arable land. (S1, op cit., Ne D 791)

The first record of his presence in Massachusetts is a letter dated 29 June 1639 from his daughter Katherine Whelden back home to report on the drowning death of her sister, Martha. (S1, citing Edward Everett Hale, Jr.'s 1885 publication of Note-book kept by Thomas Lechford...)

Life in New England

[add and double check citations]

"consent to try Gaberial and his brothers at the Plymouth court, and he was sentenced to dwell at Mattachees", i.e., Yarmouth: Source:Records of the colony of New Plymouth, in New England, gives no sign that this is a punishment(wording just like that of Gregory Armstrong), and no mention of any brothers:

  • [p. 93]: 7 Aug 1638: Liberty is graunted to Mr. Steephen Hopkins to erect a house at Mattacheese, and cutt hey there this year to winter his cattle, p[ro]vided that it be not to w[i]thdraw him from the towne of Plymouth. [The last comment presumably related to Stephen's important role as scout for Plymouth, hence his son Giles was sent. Giles married Gabriel's daughter Katherine.]
  • [p. 95]: 3 Sept 1638: Gabreill Wheildon is lycensed to dwell at Mattacheese, w[i]th the leave of the com[m]ittees of the place & to have land there.
  • [p. 95]: 3 Sept 1638: Gregory Armstronge is graunted to goe dwell at Mattacheese, w[i]th the leave of the committees for that place, & to have a lott there.

  • 6 Oct 1639: licensed by Plymouth Colony to dwell in what was to become Yarmouth, MA
  • 17 Jun 1641: court awarded him to be paid fifteen shillings for his part in a boat that was damaged.
  • 1642: Surveyor of highways in Yarmouth; reappointed to this post 1 Jun 1647
  • About 1647 moved to Malden, MA
  • 21 Oct 1653, with youngest son John, sold their property in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, England


See the Talk page for discussion of myths concerning his marriages. What we do know is this:

Theory: Mary Davis

An LDS member contributed to the IGI a marriage of Gabriel Whelden to Mary Davis on 3 August 1617 in Arnold, Nottingham, England. [Source appears to be: "British Isle Genealogical Index v5.0", Ancestral File, Source Information: Batch Number: 8606630 Sheet: 18 Source Call No.: 1396167 Type: Film.]

However, Arnold and surrounding parish records were examined, as published in "The Origins of Gabriel Whelden of Yarmouth and Malden, Massachusetts," (Register 163:253-261), and no such marriage record was found; in fact, no British marriage records were found for Gabriel Whelden at all; neither were found any burials of women who could have been his wife.

See also Website by Julie L. Marrs Rosales (link updated 31 Dec 2008).

Theory: Jane ____ as mother of all his children

The only named wife of Gabriel documented in England is "Jane" on a deed of land sale 5 Aug 1637-- seven years after the youngest baptised child. Due to the absence of any burial records for a woman who could have been an earlier wife of Gabriel, she has been suggested as mother of all his British-born children.

Theory: Four Wives of Gabriel Whelden

The five-year gap between Gabriel Whelden's first child Thomas in 1612 (who did die young in 1614) and the second child Katherine in March 1616/7 suggests the possibility of a first wife about 1611 who died shortly after 1612, and then a second wife (the supposed Mary Davis?) as mother of the children baptized between March 1616/7 and at least 1623 if not 1630. (Additional 4-year gaps exist between 1622 and 1626 baptisms and again between 1626 and 1630.)

The birth of Sarah Whelden in 1650 in Massachusetts implies an even later mother, likely the Margaret who returns to England after Gabriel's death.

A four-wife theory, then, might look like this:

Gabriel Whelden m1 abt 1611 Female Unknown, who died abt 1613, by whom he had:

1. Thomas Whelden b. 1612; d 1614

Gabriel m2 abt 1616 possibly Mary Davis, who died by 1637, by whom he had:

2. Katherine, b 1617
3. Henry, b 1619
4. Mary, b 1621
5. Martha (twin?), b 1621
6. John, b. 1623; d. bef 1630
7. Ruth, b 1626
8. John, b.1630

Gabriel m3 btw 1630-1636 Jane _____, who died by 1650.

Gabriel m4 about 1650 Margaret (possibly Matthews), by whom he had:

9. Sarah, b 1650 Citation needed


Maulden 1653, 11, 12 [11 Feb 1653/4]. In the name of God, and in obedience to his comand (according to my bounden duty), I, Gabriell Whelding, of the Towne and Church of Maulden, being weake and sicke in body, do make my last will. My body to be layd asleepe in the bed of the grave, in the Comon buriing place for the Inhabitants of this Towne. I give 10s as a Small testimony of my true Love to the Church of Maulden, to be payd into the hands of the Deacons within a mo after my decease. I give all my estate in Maulden, consisting of house, Frame [farm] Lands, cattle, and corne (together [with] what money is due vnto me from William Croffts of Linne [Lynn]) to Margaret Whelding, my wife, whom I appoynt my sole executrix.

In the pr'sence of Nathaniell Vphame, James Larnard, Michaiah Mathews, with others.

Source:Probate records 1648--1924 (Middlesex County, Massachusetts), 1649-1660, p. 146, file 24387 [lawsuit against widow and sole legatee Margaret]: 28th of the 5th mo. 55 [28 Jul 1655]: attach the body or goods of Margrett Weilden, late widdow of Gabriel Weilden ... answer ye complaynt of Henry Weilden John Weilden Rich: Taylor Taylor [i.e. Richard Taylor, occupation tailor] and Rich: Taylor husbandman for withholding their parts or portions of an estate which their late father Gabriell Weilden was possessor or owner...

Additional Reading

  1. Whilden by Jim Liptrap
  1. Early Records of Malden, Deaths, in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society), 10:240.

    Gabriel Welding Jan 1653/4.

  2. The Connecticut magazine: an illustrated monthly. (Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut Magazine Company), 3:110, 1897.

    Gabriel Whelden,Whelding, or Wheldon of Malden; wife Margaret; will Feb. 11, 1654, pro. Apr. 11, 1654.