USA 1676: Boston Burial

Sarah Hawkred died in May 1676 at the age of seventy-five and is the only person born in Boston, Lincolnshire interred in Boston’s King’s Chapel Burying Ground.

Although her tombstone reads Sarah Mather, she was interred not far from John Cotton and was his second wife. After John Cotton died in December 1652, Sarah married for a third time, to Richard Mather, father of her son-in-law, Increase Mather. Thus mother & daughter married father & son.

On April 25, 1632, Cotton remarried.  His second wife, Sarah (Hawkredd) Story was seventeen years younger than Cotton but well known as he had conducted baptisms, burials and marriages 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 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 small pox 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.