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French Family Association

The Official Website of the Surname French

The Wharf, Weymouth, MA (old postcard), Schooner at Rhines Lumber Yard, Weymouth Land. At Weymouth Landing, a substantial number of wharfs lined the shores of the Monatiquot River, the area now generally called the Fore River. Image provided by Jodi Purdy-Quinian, Vice Chairman of the Weymouth Historical Commission

Chart #7, Stephen French, born 1601,
Misterton, Somerset, England
Dorcester and Weymouth, MA

This chart was updated by Mara French on 7/28/18 – this date applies only to this webpage, but the entire FFA website itself is constantly being updated. Numbers in brackets [ ] show the source material number referred to in the Bibliography. Revisions: 1984, 2008, 2018. Although this is not my family, I will be updating it from time to time. I take no responsibility for incorrect data, Mara French.


FFA Home Page

Chart #7 Home Page


Explanation of a Lineage List

City Code Abbreviations used in the Lineage List and Index below.

Lineage List. Research by Harry Dana French before his death in 1960. All research is from original sources, not the internet. Research was entered into a computer program that Art Westneat wrote himself before the internet GEDCOM files were written. His work involved several years of work beginning in 1985 and entering one ancestor per line, 66 ancestors per page.

Index to the Lineage List by Art Westneat

GEDCOM Research and Worldconnect Research by Judy Bajorek, with 328 French entries beginning with Richard, Stephen’s father. GEDCOM Index.

WORD File (.docx) by Mara French


History and Research

Stephen French's Will in Abstract

Towns (Dorcester and Weymouth)

Bibliography and Records

Bible Records found at Turnpike Road Family Farmstead, Searsport, ME, from Donna M. Cator and Jane Mercier

History and Research

Stephen and Mary’s father, Richard, was b. ca. 1575 and married Judith Adams. Stephen immigrated in 1630 and was the first person with the surname French to arrive in America. His home was in Misterton, Somerset, England. His father, Richard French, b. ca. 1575, of Misterton, Somerset Co., England, m. ca. 1599 Judith Adams; she was born ca. 1581, dau. of John Adams (3), granddaughter of Henry Adams (2), great granddaughter of John. John Adams was of Barton St. David, England, and made his will three days before his burial on 22 Mar 1603/4. Three children mentioned in will of John Adams: John, Stephen, and Mary. Richard most likely had other children after 1603 when John Adams died. None of these Frenches are listed in Samuel French the Joiner book (FFA Chart #11), even though Misterton is 1 mile east of South Perrott where Samuel’s ancestry lived.

Stephen French may have arrived in Boston Bay on the "Mary and John" ship on 30 May 1630 from England, afterwhich he resided in Weymouth, MA, the first immigrant of this line in America, and the first one of the surname French to arrive in America. The Winthrop Fleet, in which Thomas French (FFA Chart #1) arrived from Assington, Suffolk Co., England, arrived two weeks after the Mary and John. The Mary and John Passenger List does not name Stephen; however, his name is listed on the Mary & John Clearing House List B of those who were probable passengers aboard the ship in 1630. He is listed there as 29 years old and from Misterton, Somerset Co., England. Also shown is his wife, Mary, age 27, along with their daughter, Sara French, age 7. Sarah would have been born in 1623, but this child is not listed in Dorchester. These three are the only ones listed from Misterton. According to Judy Bajorek, Sarah d. 14 Jan 1642/43 in Weymouth, MA.

Stephen was born on 26 Dec 1600/01 in Misterton, Somerset County, England, the son of Richard French, b. 1575 in England, m. ____ Adams. Richard had probably four children: John b. ca. 1599, Stephen, b. 1601, Mary b. 1603, Judith b. 1615.

Stephen had a lot of 16 acres granted to him in Dorchester towards “Naponsett,” 16 Jan 1632-33, and another of 8 acres granted 1 Dec 1634. (Dorchester Town Records; Register, 21: 166, 276.) He was made a freeman to Wessagusset. He had ten acres granted to him in the “East field” and fourteen acres in the “greate lotes” bounded on the east with Hingham line. (Weymouth Land Grants, 276.) Lot No. 15 or 21 acres was granted to him in 1636. He also had lots in the First Division and in the Second Division granted to him, 14 Dec 1663. He was a Deputy from Weymouth, 12 Mar. 1637-38, 6 Sep 1638, Weymouth 6 Sept. 1638, and a member of the Dorchester council in Feb. 1638-39. His wife was Mary ____, who died at Weymouth, 6 Apr. 1655. He died at Weymouth between 17 Mar and 29 Jul, 1679. They had at least two children, Stephen b. ca. 1640, and Josiah, died young.

There is now proof that Stephen French (1600-1679 of Weymouth, MA, was the brother of Judith French (wife of John Rogers) & Mary French (wife of Robert Randall, all of whom came to New England.

His public record shows Stephen to have been trusted by the community in which he had settled, for 12 March 1637/8, on 6 September 1638 and 15 March 1638/9 he was elected a deputy from Weymouth. In 1638 he was appointed a magistrate in Weymouth and a member of the Dorchester Town Council in February 1638/9. That he was also a successful farmer is attested by the terms of his will: To the church in Weymouth, C4; to his sister Mary Randall* E3; to his two grandsons [children of Stephen 2] Stephen and Samuel, minors, land in Hingham and Weymouth at age 21; XIO at age 18 to each of his granddaughters [children of Stephen] Mary, Hannah and Elizabeth; the residue of the estate to his son Stephen; and he confirmed a prior deed of land in Weymouth to “my brother Searle”.

*Mary may have been the first wife of Abraham Randall of Dorchester, married 1 December 1640. There were no children.       

Stephen French probably came from England in the ship Mary and John of the Winthrop Fleet which arrived in Boston Bay 30 May 1630; died in Weymouth, Mass. between 17 March and 29 July 1679, the dates of his will. He married, probably in England, Mary (- ) who died in Weymouth 6 April 1655. Mary may have been the first wife of Abraham Randall of Dorcester, married 1 December 1640. There were no children.

There is no extant list of the colonists who arrived in the Winthrop Fleet of 1630, but by deduction it seems probable that Stephen French, his brothers Searle and Jacob, his wife Mary, and possibly others of his or Mary's family traveled together from England.

Stephen is found in Dorchester, Massachusetts by 16 January 1632/3 where he received a 16 acre lot granted to him and an additional eight acres granted there I December 1634. He was made a freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony 14 May 1634, signifying he was a member of the stated church and had a right to vote in town meetings.

By 1636 Stephen had removed to Weymouth where he received various land grants through the following years which by 14 December 1663, the date of the Second Division, totaled well over 100 acres.

His public record shows Stephen to have been trusted by the community in which he had settled, for 12 March 1637/8, 6 September 1638 and 15 March 1638/9 he was elected a deputy from Weymouth. In 1638 he was appointed a magistrate in Weymouth and a member of the Dorchester Town Council in February 1638/9. That he was also a successful farmer is attested by the terms of his will: To the church in Weymouth 4 pounds; to his sister Mary Randall 3 pounds; to his two grandsons [children of Stephen] Stephen and Samuel, minors, land in Hingham and Weymouth at age 21; 10 pounds at age 18 to each of his granddaughters [children of Stephen] Mary, Hannah and Elizabeth; the residue of the estate to his son Stephen; and he confirmed a prior deed of land in Weymouth to “my brother Searle.”

Stephen French’s Will in Abstract

Stephen French of Weymouth, "being weake of body", made his will as follows: To the Church in Weymouth 4 Pounds. To his sister May Randall 3 Pounds. Unto his two grandsons Stephen and Samuel his land in Hingham, and land in Weymouth "neere Hockley," at 21 years. To his three granddaughters Mary, Hannah and Elizabeth 10 Pounds apiece at 18 years. The residue of his estate he gave to his son Stephen whom he appointed executor. The deed lately made to his Brother Searle of a part of the Spring lot in Weymouth he confirmed, 17 Mar. 1678-79. William Torrey and John Whitman witnesses; proved 29 Jul, 1679. Further explanation of his will was made by the testator, 18 Mar. 1678-79. (Suffolk Probate Records, 6:302.)


Stephen's sister, Mary, who arrived on the same ship as Stephen in 1630, married Robert Randall, born 1608, of Windover, Buckinghamshire, England. They married in Weymouth, MA. Robert was born ca. 1606, married in 1641, died 3 May 1691 in Weymouth, MA. Mary died 7 Mar 1690 in Weymouth, MA [21].

Stephen's sister, Judith, also immigrated to America. She was born about 1615 and married Deacon John Rogers ca. 1635. From “More Passengers for New England”, she is listed as bound for New England from Weymouth on 20 Mar 1635 as a servant to Joseph Hall. Her age is listed as 20, and is therefore 15 years younger than her brother. Joseph Hall was a minister of Somerset, aged 40, immigrating with his large family. No one on this ship (106 passengers) was named Rogers. Judith and John had five children; only one was a son, John. Mary, b. ca. 1636, John b. 1638, Hannah, b. 1640, Lydia, b. 1642, Sarah, b. ca. 1644 [21].

Richard French, b. 1575 in Misterton, Somerset, England, was Stephen’s father. Richard m. Judith Lucy Adams whose brother was the direct line for President John Adams & President John Quincy Adams. Weymouth boasts the house where Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams and mother to President John Quincy Adams, was born. Descendants of Henry Adams. Judith was b. ca. 1581 in Barton, St. David. Somerset, England [21].

Richard French’s father was John French, b. 1543 in England [21].



Settled one month before its neighbor, Boston, in May of 1630, Dorchester has a history nearly as old as that of America. For its first two hundred years, Dorchester remained apart from Boston, existing primarily as a farming community with small commercial and industrial outposts along the Neponset River at Lower Mills and Mattapan Square, and along Dorchester Bay at Commercial Point.

The patterns of Dorchester's earliest settlement are preserved today in its road system. Pleasant Street linked the original settlement area of Allen's Plain (where the Old Blake House built in 1648 still stands) to the fortifications atop Rock (now Savin) Hill. Adams Street (then called the Lower road) connected the meeting house on Meeting House Hill to Israel Stoughton's grist mill on the Neponset River at Lower Mills. The Upper road, later named Washington Street because George Washington regularly used it during the fortification of Dorchester Heights, connected the “Rocksberry” settlement to the South Shore.

Other early roads are Boston, Stoughton, Harvard, Bowdoin, Freeport (the road to the free port), Crescent (to the salt marshes on Columbia Point), Pond, East Cottage, and River Streets. The earliest of Dorchester's roads is Norfolk Street, which follows a pre-settlement Indian trail.

The development of the railroads in the 19th century tied Dorchester closer and closer to Boston. The Old Colony Railroad's stops in the Dorchester countryside brought suburban development, first to hilltops such as Pope's, Harrison, Jones', Savin, and Ashmont. The suburbanization process was formalized with Dorchester's annexation to Boston in 1870 and completed with the extension of the streetcar lines throughout Dorchester around the turn of the century, and the subway line in the 1920's.

Dorchester never developed beyond the stage of a suburban residential community, and many of its houses and monuments have been preserved from the destruction that goes with industrialization. The two oldest houses in Boston (two of the five oldest houses in New England) are the Blake House on Columbia Road and the Pierce House on Oakton Street, and more than a dozen pre-Revolutionary War dwellings are still standing.

Other historic places in Dorchester include the site of the Triumphal Arch in Lower Mills where then Ambassador John Adams was welcomed back to America in 1798: the site of the Battle of Dorchester Heights (now called South Boston); Roswell Gleason's famous pewter and silver works on Washington Street north of Codman Square; and Walter Baker's chocolate mill on River Street in Lower Mills.

Dorchester has also been home to many famous Americans. The patriarch of the Mathers in Colonial times and three Harvard University Presidents came form Dorchester. Suffragette Lucy Stone lived on Pope's Hill and statesman and orator Edward Everett was born near the square that now bears his name. More recently, notable Dorchesterites have included: Speaker of the House John McCormack; historians Theodore H. White, Francis Russell and Thaddeus Mason Harris; Rose Kennedy; Ray Bolger; Leonard Nimoy; Norm Crosby and Donna Summer. There is a French St. in Dorchester.


The Town of Weymouth is the second oldest town in the Commonwealth, dating from 1622 when it was founded as "Wessagusset". Renamed Weymouth in 1635, the Town was boosted in that year by the arrival of 100 settlers form its namesake in England. The early settlement was incorporated into the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and slowly grew as a fishing and agricultural community. By the time of the American Revolution, the colonial settlement had a population of 1,470 people. The Town was graced by the simple houses and churches that were wooden replicas of the brick and stone architecture of European origin, some of which have survived as reminders of this past. Although it maintained with an important connection to the sea, the Town was connected to nearby communities by a simple network of paths and roads that found the most convenient routes through the varied upland terrain. The skeletal remains of this early roadway network can be traced in some of the Town's streets and ways today. As an example, Commercial Street has been identified as an original Native American trail in the Town's latest cultural resource survey. This meandering pattern of main roads is directly linked to the charm of the Town. There is a French St. (off Liberty St.) in South Weymouth.