The family bearing this name in New Bedford, where it is one of nearly one hundred years’ standing one, too, of prominence and wealth, is a branch of the ancient Knowles family of the town of Eastham, Barnstable county, this Commonwealth. Reference is made to some of the descendants of the brothers Thomas and James H. Knowles of Eastham, several of whose sons – at least two of the former and one of the latter – in their earlier manhood cast their lot with the people of New Bedford. The firm of Thomas Knowles & Co. for many years was one of the greatest engaged in the whale fishery business in New Bedford; and its members in turn have been succeeded in business by younger generations who have most worthily worn the family name and sustained its reputation; and today the name continues of record in and about the city of their birth connected prominently with many of the most extensive commercial establishments and banking institutions of the locality.
The town of Taunton, which included within its original boundaries the neighboring village of Berkley, has been the home of a branch of the Sanford family for about two hundred years. This Berkley-Taunton branch of the family, in the line of Capt. Joseph Sanford, an active patriot of the Revolution, has been more or less eminent in professional life. Four of the sons of Capt. Joseph Sanford were college graduates and ministers of the gospel; and several of their posterity have followed the learned professions. One of the grandsons of Capt. Joseph was the late Hon. John Elliott Sanford, of Taunton, lawyer, legislator, railroad commissioner, etc., who at the time of his death was characterized by the local paper as Taunton’s “first citizen.”
Among the most prominent law offices in southern Massachusetts is one which by lineal succession has existed for nearly, if not quite, a hundred years, and in which three generations of the Clifford family have been represented. The members of the Clifford family who have been such important factors in this old and prominent law firm came of a distinguished ancestry. The late John H. Clifford was a direct descendant in the eighth generation from George Clifford, who came with his wife Elizabeth and son John from Arnold village and parish, Nottinghamshire, England, to Boston in 1644.
Here in this article it is the purpose to treat of but one branch or family of the Massachusetts Jacksons – the family of John Jackson, who was a descendant of the Middleboro settler of the name, one John Jackson, and who in time removed to the State of Maine, the home State for several generations of the Fall River Jacksons in question. The first John Jackson came from England to New England and settled in Middleboro, where in May, 1714, he was married to Mary Smith. They had two children (if not more), John and Cornelius, the latter of whom was born in Middleboro Sept. 11, 1716. The father died in 1731.
Mr. Newcomb was born April 12, 1797, of the sixth generation in descent from Francis Newcomb, who was born probably in Hertfordshire, England, about 1605, and came to America in the ship “Planter” in 1635, accompanied by his wife Rachel, then aged twenty, his daughter Rachel (aged two and a half years) and son John (aged nine months). After residing in Boston three years Francis Newcomb moved his little family to Braintree (now Quincy, Norfolk Co., Mass.), where he died May 27, 1692, his gravestone says “aged one hundred years.” Tradition says he came from Oxfordshire, England, and was of pure Saxon blood. He owned several tracts of land in Braintree. He had ten children.
The Pierce families of this country are and have long been very numerous. Early in the settlement of New England came representatives from England, most of them not related, so far as now known. Among them were Abraham, of Plymouth, 1623, who became one of the original purchasers of Bridgewater in 1645; Daniel, of Newbury, blacksmith, who came from Ipswich, County of Suffolk, in 1634, aged twenty-three years; John, of Dorchester, mariner from Stepney, Middlesex, before 1631; another John, of Dorchester and Boston; John, of Watertown, 1638; Capt. Michael, of Hingham and Scituate; Richard, of Portsmouth, R. I.; Robert, of Dorchester; Thomas, of Charlestown, who was admitted to the church there in 1634; and Capt. William, of Boston, who was a distinguished shipmaster of his time.