Richard Gale and the Gales of Devonshire, England and Watertown, Massachusetts



The Sanders and the Gales first crossed paths when the author’s grandmother, Hattie Louisa Gale, daughter of Elbridge Gale, met a handsome young man with a guitar strapped across his back who stepped off a train in 1887 at the Union Pacific railroad station in Manhattan, Kansas. That young man was the author’s grandfather, William Henry Sanders.

Though the our branch of the Gale Family of Devonshire, England and Watertown, Massachusetts, has been well documented, the author has uncovered many interesting facts about our Gale ancestors, from conversations with members of other branches of the family, and from written documentation and publications of the Gale Family.

The information collected here by the author is drawn primarily from: Gale Family Records in England and the United States by Judge George Gale, LL.D, pub. 1866 by Leith & Gale, Galesville, Wisconsin; Richard Gale, Yoeman of Watertown in the Massachusetts Bay Colony 1614 - 1678, by Edward Chenery Gale, privately printed, Minneapolis, MN, 1932; and Soldiers, Sailors and Patriots of the Revolutionary War in Vermont, by Major Gen. Carelton Edward Fisher and Sue Gray Fisher, Picton Press, Camden, ME, 1992; conversations with Jeanne Gale of Swansea, MA and Dorothy Sanders Roush of Missouri; the written recollections of Hattie Gale Sanders; and the Sanders/Gale Family Bible.

There are indeed fascinating stories in all the Gales, whether in our direct line or not - those who served at Breed’s Hill and in Shay’s Rebellion, three who sent their signatures to the Capital in Philadelphia hoping to add their names to the Declaration of Independence “for the good of the Republic” and those who fought Indians, the French, Hessions and more Indians. Many served and gave their lives in the Revolution, marching on the alarm at Lexington and Concord and for the relief of Fort Henry. No less than thirteen Gales fought in the Revolution from the State of Vermont alone. The same can be said for the War of 1812, the Civil War, both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the conflict in Iraq.

The Gales as a whole were deeply religious, patriotic and strongly believed in education not only for the men but also the women in the family. Some were men of the cloth, some founded cities, universities, colleges, others were farmers and merchants. Some did nothing much at all, one chased follies girls and practically all fostered more Gales.

The ancestor of the Gale Family in America, Richard Gale, helped found Watertown, Massachusetts, then a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After a time, Watertown was getting overrun with Gales. They started Gale businesses, and hired Gale sons, daughters, cousins and aunts and uncles. Things were crowded. Many spread throughout the Northeast. One of Abraham Gale’s sons, John (b. 1687) is credited with being one of the founding fathers of Exeter, New Hampshire and started a school there (Exeter Academy) to educate more Gales.

As the author’s eighth cousin, Jeanne Gale of Massachusetts, likes to say: “If there is one thing the Gales ain’t, it’s boring”.

The Family Tree of Richard Gale
of Watertown, MA
and connections with the SANDERS family
of East Grinstead, Sussex, England and the United States

Abraham Gale = Margaret  ?_________ m. Devon, Eng. 1567
b. 1543- Devonport, Devonshire, Eng.
                        |           Richard Castle = Elizabeth Smith / m. Jan 18, 1559 - St. on Avon, Eng
                        |           b. 1534 Stratford On Avon, Eng./ b. 1537 Stratford on Avond. 1594
Richard Gale (Sr.) = Alice Atwood                     |
b. Aug 18, 1585, Devonshire, Eng.                        |
                        |                                   Richard Castle = ?_____ m. Jan 18, 1559 Str.On Avon
                        |                       b.Aug 18, 1577 Str.On Avon
                        |                                 |
                Richard Gale  == Mary Castle / m. Jul 16, 1640 - Watertown, MA
                        b. Feb 16, 1618 / Devonshire, Eng.            b. Apr 4, 1624 / Stratford on Avon
                        d. Apr 1, 1679 / Watertown, MA               d. Aug 2, 1681 / Watertown,

                                   Abraham Gale == Sarah Fiske m. Sep 3, 1673, Watertown, MA
                                    b. 1643                        b. Feb 1, 1653 Watertown, MA

                                    Watertown, MA           d. May 14, 1728 Watertown, MA

                                    d. Sep 15, 1718 Watertown, MA



                                    Abraham Gale, Jr. == Rachael Parkhurst

                                    b. 1674                        b. Dec 30, 1678

                                    Watertown, MA           Watertown, MA

                                    d. ?                              d. Jan 30, 1767

                                    Waltham, MA              Watertown, MA



                                    Isaac Gale == Judith Sawyer m. 1731 Framingham, MA

                                    b. Jan 15, 1708            b. Oct. 16, 1701 ­Framingham, MA

                                    Watertown, MA

                                    d. Oct. 1793, Sutton, MA



                                    Nehemiah Gale == Ruth Marsh m. Jan 24 1760

                                    b. Feb 12, 1736           b. abt. 1739

                                    Sutton, MA                  Sutton, MA

                                    d. Dec 17, 1820           d. Sep. 1814

                                    Bennington, VT



                                    Solomon Gale == Phebe Hays m. Jul 6, 1800, Bennington, VT

                              b. Sep 12, 1763, Sutton, MA       b. Feb 13, 1779, Bennington, VT

                              d. Aug 13, 1845, Bennington, VT        d. Oct 10, 1847, Bennington, Vt.



                                    Isaac Gale == Lydia Gardner m. Jan, 1824

                                b. Jun 17, 1801            b. Nov 9, 1806

                                Bennington, VT           Bennington, VT

                                d, Sep. 6, 1861             d. Aug 26, 1861

                                Pavillion, IL                 Pavillion, IL



                                    Elbridge Gale == Elizabeth Carpenter m. Mar 14, 1853 at Johnson, VT

                                b. Dec. 25, 1824          b. Aug. 27, 1830

                                Bennington, VT           Johnson, VT

                                d. Nov. 5, 1907            d. Feb. 10, 1893

                                West Palm Beach, FL              West Palm Beach, FL



                                Hattie Louisa Gale == William H. Sanders m. Aug. 24, 1890 at Lake Worth, FL

                                b. Jan 20, 1870            b. June 3, 1868, Clay Center, KS

                                d. Aug. 1, 1955            d. Sep 18, 1967

                                Inverness, FL               St. Joseph, MO



                                    Elbridge Gale Sanders == Edwes Maycele Montgomery m. May 27, 1933 at Parkville, MO

                                    b. June 25, 1891                              b. Nov. 23, 1902, Tampa, KS

                                    Lake Worth, FL

                                    d. Jan 17, 1967, Topeka, KS         d. Feb ___, 1977, Topeka, KS



                                   John Elbridge Sanders == Linda Louise Pape m. Aug 8, 1964. Topeka, KS

                                    b. Sep 2, 1942                         b. Apr 15, 1944

                                    Topeka, KS                             Topeka, KS

The Gale Family Tree         


            RICHARD GALE, the ancestor of the family in the United States, was one of the founders of Watertown, MA. A memorial stone plaque has been erected in that city honoring its founders.  Richard’s name appears thereon.  He was born in Devonshire, England, February 16, 1618.  The exact date of his migration to the colonies is unknown.  He married Mary Castle on July 16, 1640, in Watertown.  Mary was born April 4, 1624, in Stratford on Avon, England.  An interesting fact concerning his marriage is the discovery of a time stained scrap of paper among the personal papers of Governor Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony which reads as follows:            


“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 marriadge not having els I rest.
Watertowne ye 16th of ye 7th 1640

your Worshipps to command
            Jn Wynthropp Junior Esquire”             

This paper is in the possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  A facsimile may be seen here.

             Edward Gale writes:  “The Watertown colony was not only a theocracy like most of the early New England settlements, but a close corporation as well as the following Town Records attest:

“Jan 3, 1635.  Agreed that no man being foreigner coming out of England or some other Plantation shall have liberty to sett downe amongst us, unless he first have the Consent of the Freemen of the Towne…..it being our reall intent to sitt down there close together, & therefore these Towne Lotts were granted to those Freemen of the Congregation yt inhabited most remote from ye meetinghouse & dwell most scattered….It be further ordered that all those Inhabitants yt have beene by Common Consent or vote taken in amongst us, or have had Dividents granted to them shall be accepted for Townesmen, & no others.

“Richard Gale appears never to have been a member of the Watertown Church, and therefore never a “freeman” or entitled to vote in the affairs of the Town.  He was one of the residents of the Town who were classed simply as Townsmen.  They were suffered to remain as residents and even to receive grants of land thought on a less favorable basis.

“Jul 17, 1638.  Ordered yt all those Freemen yt have no Lotts at ye Towneship shall have 12 Acres Lotts beyond Bever plaine, & all other Townesmen shall have 6 Acre Lotts in ye said place.

            “They could however buy outright from some freeman as did our Richard.  It is a tribute to his persistence, perhaps obstinacy, that he was able to and did squeeze himself into this tight little Colony, be considered a founder, and acquire by purchase a “homestall” of even six acres.  Much has been said of the intolerance of the early Puritans.  They never intended and they never pretended to establish an asylum for the oppressed of mankind, either in religion or politics.  They did their best to keep out such persons as were not of their liking, and they made no secret about this purpose.

             “And so it was that into this closely knit little community still English at heart as well as in form, hard-headed, thrifty, intolerant and yet essentially kindly, Richard Gale entered and became one of them, tilled his stubborn farm, reared his family of five children, lived out his days and passed on.

             “Of his social position in England and in the New England Colony there can be no doubt.  His own description of himself in his will as “yeoman” and the same description of him in the deed to him of the “homestall” determines that.  He was a yeoman” and such description referred not merely to occupation but to a definite social status.  A “yeoman” corresponded to a middle class farmer of today.

             “When we find therefore that Richard Gale was a yeoman, we know the social class to which he belonged not only in the Massachusetts Bay Colony but also in England before emigrating.  It is therefore certain that he did not have the right to bear arms or use a crest or coat of arms in any form.  Very few of the New England Colonists did.  The descendants of Richard Gale need not study Burke’s Landed Gentry therefore for armorial bearings but will have to content themselves with having a good honest Yoeman for an ancestor.

             “But if Richard Gale was not of the gentry nor conspicuous in the affairs of the Colony, he very evidently pursued the even tenor of his way as a law-abiding citizen, representative of a cross-section of that sturdy, sound, thrifty stock which peopled the early Colonies.  While he evidently did not take any part in public affairs,he was one of those rare persons who stay at home and mind their own business.  He evidently agreed with the poet Longfellow that ‘Home keeping hearts are happiest.’  And the same may be said of his children save for poor Ephraim, who of course was not responsible.” His fourth child, Ephraim, who died young, appears to have been ‘discomposed in his head’ and seems to have caused his parents considerable annoyance and some expense as shown by several entries in the Court and Town records.”

             Judge Gale, in his book, adds the following information on Richard:  “On December 2, 1661, Richard Gale purchased of Richard Dummer, the northeast half of the “Oldham Farm”, containing 250 acres, on which a part of the village of Waltham now stands.  This was one of the most level and fine tracts of land in old Watertown, and was occupied by Richard until his death and his posterity after him until about 1854.

             “However modest Richard might have been in everything else, we observe that he was not particularly so in the size of his farm which he evidently loved, or he would not have been so careful in his Will to preserve it for his posterity.            

“Whether Richard could read and write cannot be determined, but the fact that he signed his Will with a mark might lead one to believe that he could not write.  This, however, does not necessarily follow, for even at the present day, the Author knows from professional experience, that many men who were good writers at a previous day from their weakness, prefer to sign their Wills with a mark.  As he never conveyed any land, held town office, had church membership, nor carried on any trade, the question probably can never be resolved.

             “But if we conclude that he could not either read or write, it was not at that day considered any particular discredit, for the majority of our New England ancestors were suffering under the same misfortune.

             “We have no record of the physical size or shape of Richard, but if we are allowed to judge of him by the average of his posterity, we may safely make him five feet and eleven inches in stature, strong and muscular, black eyes, black hair, rather long favored, and dark complexion, modest in his demeanor, of few words among strangers, social, domestic and temperate in his habits, fond of a good joke, liberal in his benevolence, firm in his will and as a Christian never bigoted.

             “As a race, the Gales have been more distinguished for their athletic powers than for the culture of their minds, but the late generations are fast changing in this particular, and the learned professions have a fair proportion of the present generation.

             “They have ever been reasonably jealous of their rights, but strong friends to a well-ordered government; and in our Revolutionary struggle, they were a unit in taking up arms and marching to the fields of strife, from which several of them never returned alive.  They were nearly as unanimous in the support of the War of 1812.  In the war of the Great Rebellion, prosecuted to restore the Union as established by our Fathers of the Revolution, we can only point to the long list of those named in nearly every family, who have both periled and sacrificed their lives for their flag and the Constitution.

             “It is a common remark that the whole race never produced a criminal, but the Author can only say that he has never yet found one, unless Abraham and Henry, who took part as captains in Shays Rebellion are to be considered as such.

             According to Bond’s Genealogies of Watertown (page 229) Richard and his wife Mary had the following children:

                             1. Sarah, b. Sep 8, 1641; m. Joseph Garfield.
                             2. Abraham, b. 1643; m. Sarah Fiske.

                             3. Mary, m. March 30, 1670, John Flagg.

                             4. John, m. Elizabeth Spring

                             5. Ephraim, May 1673, a vagrant, “distempered in his mind,” according to the court files and probably died
before his father, unmarried since he is not mentioned in Richard’s will.”  


            Abraham Gale, the second child of Richard Gale was born in 1643 in Watertown, MA.  He married Sarah Fisk, born Feb 1, 1653, daughter of Nathan Fiske of Watertown on September 23, 1673.  He was adm. freeman Oct. 11, 1682, and a selectman of Watertown in 1706 and 1718.  According to Judge Gale he was a captain in Shays Rebellion, but we have no further information in that regard.  Abraham died September 15, 1718 in the occupancy of the family homestead.  Sarah Fisk Gale died May 14, 1728.
 Abraham and Sarah had 16 children as follows:

                            1. Abraham, Jr., b. 1674, m. Rachel Parkhurst.
                            2. Sarah, b. Feb 15, 1675, d. young.

                            3. Richard, b. Sep 25, 1677; m. Sarah Knight.

                            4. Hopestell, b. and d. Dec. 1678.

                            5. Mary, b. Mar 27, 1680, d. young.

                            6. Abigail, b. Mar 12, 1681, d. Nov. 21, 1696.

                            7. Mercy, b. Sep 16, 1683, m. Apr 13, 1708, Samuel Sanderson.

                            8. Ebenezer, b. Apr 30, 1686, m. Elizabeth Green.

                            9. John, b. Apr 23, 1688, m. Lydia _____.

                            10. Mary, b. Apr, 1689, m. Michael Pratt.

                            11. Sarah, b. Aug 29, 1694, m. ____ Pratt.

                            12. Jonas, bapt. Nov 14, 1697, d. Mar 17, 1718.

                            13. Joshua, b. Feb 22, 1696-7, d. Sep 15, 1719.

                            14. Elizabeth, }

                            15. Lydia,         } twins, b. Jul 9, 1699.

                            16. Abigail, b. ____, m. Edward Jackson, Jr.


              Abraham Gale, Jr. was born in 1674 in Watertown, MA, the first child of Abraham Gale.  On Dec 6, 1699, he married Rachael Parkhurst, the daughter of John and Abigail Garfield Parkhurst, of Watertown, and grand daughter of George Parkhurst, a native of England and early settler in Watertown.  Sarah was born Dec 30, 1678, and died Jan 30, 1767.

             Abraham Gale, Jr. was an extensive farmer on the old Gale homestead and Selectman in 1718.  On Mar 10, 1726, he sold the homestead to his son Samuel and took back a mortgage conditioned for the support of himself and his wife during their natural lives.  Judge Gale notes:

            “No record has been preserved of his death.  But few parents ever raised a more important family of sons.  Nearly all became well off in the world; part served in the French, Indian and Revolutionary wars and each became the head of a very extensive generation”.

            Abraham Gale, Jr. and his wife Rachel, had the following children:

                            1. Abraham, b. Nov 28, 1700; m. Esther Cunningham.
                            2. Rachel, b. Dec 14, 1702; m. Gershom Bigelow.

                            3. Samuel, b. Jan 31, 1704/5; m. Rebecca _____.

                            4. Isaac, b. Jan. 15, 1708; m. Judith Sawyer.

                            5. Eunice, b. Jul 30, 1711; m. Benjamin Allen.

                            6. Abigail, b. Aug 15, 1714; m. Samuel Phillips.

                            7. David, b. April 7, 1717; died young.

                            8. Josiah, b. April 8, 1722; m. Elizabeth _____.


Captain Isaac Gale

            ISAAC GALE, the 4th child of Abraham Gale, Jr. was born in Watertown, MA on January 15, 1708. He married Judith Sawyer of Framingham, MA in 1731. The couple lived in Millbury, MA

            The muster rolls of the French and Indian Wars mention him as a Lieutenant making a campaign in August, 1757 for the relief of Fort William Henry. His brother Josiah, son Nehemiah and nephew Daniel were in the same company from Sutton, MA. On March 1, 1763 Isaac was appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts, Captain of the same company. He held that post until he resigned in September, 1769. In those days of wars with the French and constant indian raids, the Captain of the Militia was regarded as the most important office in town.

             On October 1, 1776, Captain Gale sold his farm and most of his property to his son Nehemiah. He and his wife had eight children:

                          1. Isaac, b. 1732; m. Mehetable Dwinel.
                          2. Judith, b. April 12, 1734; m. Abel Chase.

                          3. Jonas, b. April 23, 1735; m. 1st Tamar Marsh; 2nd Hannah Bancroft;

                                             3rd. Widow Rebecca Guy - had daughter Lydia who m. Josiah

                                              Styles of Millbury

                          4. Nehemiah, b. Feb. 12, 1736/7; m. Ruth Marsh.

                          5. Sarah, b. 1741; died young.

                          6. Elisha, b. Nov. 26, 1743; m. Mary Singletary.

                          7. Anna, b. Dec. 4, 1746; died an infant.

                          8. Anna, b. Nov. 11, 1748; m. James Leland of Hopewell, NY.

             Captain Gale died at Millbury/Sutton, MA in October, 1793.


           NEHEMIAH GALE, was born February 12, in either 1736 or 1737, in Sutton, MA. He maried Ruth Waters Marsh of Sutton on January 24, 1760. He had the homestead of his father, Captain Isaac Gale, and took care of his father and mother from October 1, 1776 until their deaths.

             He accompanied his father in the military expedition for the relief of Ft. William Henry in August of 1757. On April 6, 1759, he enlisted in the regiment commanded by Co. Timothy Ruggles. He also served under Gen. Amherst during the balance of the French and Indian War.

             Judge Gale, in his book, describes Nehemiah's service in the Revolutionary War as follows: "He was an ardent patriot of the fighting class, and on the Lexington Alarm in April 1775, he drew his sword, as First Lieutenant of the Company of Artillery, of Sutton, and marched with the company for the relief of Concord and Cambridge. The following year he served as a private in Col. John Holman Regiment in the expedition to Providence, Rhode Island. He was also in the battle of White Plains on October 28, 1776." He also served with Captain Bucknam's Company in 1775.

            Nehemiah and his wife, Ruth, had 12 children as recorded by Judge Gale:

                  1. Benjamin, b. April 18, 1761; died unmarried in 1785 at Sterling.

                        He was finely educated and a physician.

                  2. Solomon, b. Sep. 12, 1763; m. 1st Rachel Wodward, and 2d, Phebe Hays.

                  3. Elizabeth, b. Dec. 9, 1764; d. unmarried in 1806, of consumption.

                  4. Jonas, b. March 6, 1765; m. Elizabeth Grout.

                  5. Ruth, b. Oct. 12, 1767; m. Dec. 17, 1788, John Greenwood.

                  6. Anna, b. Jul 3, 1769; d. 1797, unm.

                  7. Tamer, b. Feb 27, 1771; m. 1st. Henry Dwinel, and 2d. Levi Page.

                  8. Rufus, b. Jul 5, 1773; m. 1st. Louisa Livermore, 2d. widow Knox.

                  9. Nehemiah, b. Jan 4, 1775; d. young.

                  10. Isaac, b. Sep 1, 1777; m. Persis Stiles.

                  11. Andrew, b. April 8, 1780; d. 1797.

                  12. Mehetable, b. Sep 9, 1782; m. David Chase.

            Nehemiah's wife, Ruth, died in October, 1814. Nehemiah died on Dec. 17, 1820, in Bennington, VT, while on a visit to his son Solomon.


            SOLOMON GALE was born September 12, 1763, in Sutton, MA. In 1787 he married Rachel Woodard of Sutton, b. 1767, d. Dec. 27, 1799. On Jul 6, 1800, he married Phebe Hays, b. Feb 13, 1779. After his first marriage, he moved to Stratton, VT and soon after to Hoosick, NY and then to Bennington, VT. According to Judge Gale's book, Solomon was a very devoted member of the Baptist Church and a prominent Deacon.

            Maj. Gen. Fisher's book Soldiers, Sailors, & Patriots of the Revolutionary War - Vermont records that Solomon served in the Revolution but the years of his service and unit are not identified. It is interesting to note that Solomon would have been but 13 years old in 1776, and 18 when the war ended in 1781.

            Solomon had nine children, as follows:

                   1. Nehemiah, b. Aug 24, 1788; m. Oct 10, 1810, Lucy Parker, d. June 9, 1844.

                   2. Esther, b. Jul 15, 1795; m. Jan 23, 1815 to Ira Wood.

                   3. Betsy, b. Dec. 29, 1798; d. June 20, 1820.

                   4. Isaac, b. Jun 17, 1801; m. Jan, 1824, Lydia Gardner; d. Sep 6, 1861.

                   5. Solomon, b. Jan 10, 1803; d. Oct 25, 1805.

                   6. Sabrina, b. Jan 2, 1806; m. Apr 1, 1831, Elijah Harrington.

                   7. Laura, b. Jan 28, 1808; m. May 3, 1829, Elias Johnson.

                   8. Solomon, b. Oct 10, 1810; m. Dec. 28, 1835, Emily Stone.

                   9. Harriet, b. Sep 14, 1814; m. Sep. 1848, Austin Jones.

            Solomon died on August 13, 1845, in Bennington, VT. His wife, Phebe, died Oct 10, 1847.


          ISAAC GALE, the 4th child of Nehemiah and Phebe Gale, was born June 17, 1801 in Bennington, Vt. On Jan 19, 1824, he married Lydia Gardner at Hoosick, N.Y and settled on a farm in Bennington near his birthplace. He loved to study and hoped to pursue higher education. However, the financial circumstances of his father did not allow him to pursue his interests. He was a deeply religious man and a devout member of the Baptist Church in Bennington. He succeeded his father as Deacon of the church.

            In 1856, he moved to Beaver Dam, WI where he went into trade. The financial crisis of 1857 and 1858 left him bankrupt and he moved to Morris, IL where his wife died on Aug 26, 1861. He was stricken with grief and his son Elbridge took him into his home at Pavillion, IL. Isaac took to his bed and died on Sep 6, 1861 only eleven days after his wife. Deacon Gale was greatly respected in Bennington, VT and during his short stay in Beaver Dam, WI. Isaac and Lydia had 7 children:

1. Elbridge, b. Dec. 25, 1824, in Bennington, VT., m. Eliz. Carpenter
2. Phebe,b. _____
3. Mary, b. _____
4. Isaac, b. June 2, 1832; m. Julie Dutcher, Mar 1, 1854, and became a farmer in Waukesha, WI.

5. Nelson G., b. Aug 14, 1837; m. Jan 26, 1860, to Ann Haymond, and became a farmer in Morris, IL
6. Harriet N., b. _____
7. Ansel H., b. _____

TO BE CONTINUED................