Sarah Hawkred is the only person born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England to have been interred in Boston’s King’s Chapel Burying Ground.
Sarah died in May 1676 at the age of seventy-five and had been married three times. Her tombstone reads Sarah Mather but she was interred not far from John Cotton, her second husband of 20 years. After John Cotton died in December 1652, Sarah married for a third time, to Richard Mather, father of her son-in-law, Increase Mather.
Sarah married John Cotton on April 25, 1632, Cotton remarried. She was seventeen years younger than Cotton but well known to him as he had conducted baptisms, burials, and marriages for her family for over twenty years.
Sarah’s father, Anthony Hawkred, was a successful town merchant and alderman that served as Boston’s mayor in 1621. Sarah’s first husband, William Story, had been apprenticed to her father and they married in May 1619. William died in 1628—leaving Sarah widowed with a six-year-old daughter, Elizabeth.
On the voyage to New England, Cotton’s wife, Sarah, gave birth to a son, they named Seaborn. It was Cotton’s first child as he had no children with his first wife, Elizabeth Horrocks, who may have been unable to bear children.
In all, Sarah Hawkred birthed six children for Rev. John Cotton. Two of these children died of smallpox in 1650. Two sons, Seaborn and John Jr., attended Harvard College and followed their father into the clergy. Their daughter, Maria Cotton, married Increase Mather, son of Richard Mather. Their son, Cotton Mather, achieved fame for his role in the Salem Witch Trials and eventual was named president of Harvard College.