The Grave of Sarah Hawkred

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. 

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Barry Arthur Cotton is an author living in Austin, Texas in the USA and is the 7th great-grandson of John Cotton, the Puritan Patriarch of New England. John Cotton was a Founding Father to America’s Founding Fathers and was pivotal in establishing America’s first public school and its first institution of higher learning, Harvard College. Barry served on the Board of the Winthrop Society for 9 years, was National chairperson & President for 5 years, and was elected President Emeritus in 2010. Concurrently, he served as a Trustee of the Partnership of the Historic Bostons for 14 years and has authored articles for the Winthrop Journal and the Mayflower Quarterly. Recently, Barry contributed several articles to BOSTON: The Small Town with a Big Story published in September 2019. Barry’s website is at THE COTTON CHRONICLES.

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