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Ancestors of Taylor Marie Shimono

      13616. Matthias St. John1650,1651,1652, born 1603 in St. Nicholas Cole Abbe, London, Greater London County, England; died 19 Oct 1669 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut. He married 13617. Mary Tinker 01 Nov 1627 in New Windsor, Berkshire, England.

      13617. Mary Tinker1653,1654, born 06 Aug 1606 in New Windsor, Berkshire, England; died 1669 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut. She was the daughter of 27234. Robert Tinker and 27235. Mary Merwin.

Notes for Matthias St. John:
They lived in the parish at St. Nicholas Cole Abbe, London, England, where he was a chandler. Immigrated to New England and was made a freeman of Massachusetts Bay Colony 9-3-1634. He lived in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and also Windsor, Wethersfield, Norwalk, Connecticut.


James Nohl Churchyard, 1694 Santa Margarita Dr., Fallbrook, CA 92028

Matthias Sension (as the name is originally spelled) and his wife came to New England in the early 1630's. They settled first at Dorchester, Massachusetts. He was made a freeman there on September 3, 1634. They removed to Windsor, Connecticut about 1640, and then to Wethersfield, Connecticut about 1648. In 1654 they moved to Norwalk, Connecticut where his will was made on 19 October 1669, and recorded on 10 March 1669. The will mentions his wife, but does not name her. (Reference 1)

The will uses the spelling Sention, and this spelling is used on other documents apparently signed by family members. Senchon is another spelling found in the original documents. The St. John version of the name is not found in these earliest records and apparently surfaces in the early 1700's.

Matthias St. John was survived by five children. And their children were prolific in the typical New England manner. So today there are a great many descendants from this immigrant ancestor.

5.4.1. Sir Oliver St. John

It has often been stated that Matthias Sention was a brother of Elizabeth St. John, wife of Samuel Whiting. However, no proof of this has ever been advanced. Sir Oliver's will is in the Public Record Office, PCC Wills 1626/149 folio 73. It is dated March 13, 1625 and was probated May 1, 1626. The following persons are mentioned: first wife; wife Alice; daughter Dorothie Westland; daughter Judith, unmarried; daughter Elizabeth; eldest son Oliver; brother-in-law Peter Bulkley, uncle of my children; Mary and Ann under 18, my two daughters and their mother, my wife; father-in-law Mr. Thomas Alleyne of Gouldington; brother Mr. William Hasolden; youngest son John St. John; son Edward St. John; sister Fraunces Weales; mother-in-Law Mrs. Marye Alleyn; brother Mr. Robert Hasolden; and nephew Mr. Samuel Browne.

As is apparent, there is no mention of a Matthias or James St. John.

This Oliver St. John was born ca. 1575, died at Keysoe, County Bedford, March 23, 1625/6. He married firstly in 1597 Sarah Bulkeley (1580-1611), secondly August 16, 1611 Alice Haselden. [Reference 6, page 67] ("Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists" by Frederick Lewis Weiss)

My own personal conclusion is that it does not seem likely that Matthias St. John was connected with the families of the nobility or gentry. The reasons for this conclusion are as follows:
a. These families appear to be well documented and no evidence of such a connection has been found despite repeated, thorough, searches by myself and many others.
b. Matthias was never referred to by the honorific title of "Mr." in the colonial records. If his family were of the gentry class he most likely would have been accorded this notice.
c. All the early records known to be of Matthias, both in England and in America, spell the name Sension or Sention.

1. The St. John Genealogy, Orline St. John Alexander, The Grafton Press, New York, 1907
2. Planters of the Commonwealth, C. E. Banks, Genealogical Publishing Co. (reprint) 1972, page 155
3. "St. John of Bletsoe," John Brownbill, The Genealogist' Magazine, Vol. V (April 1929 - December 1931), pp355 - 359
4. "The Families of St. John and of Port," The Genealogist, Vol. XVI (1899-1900)
5. "Two Comtemporaries named Matthias Sension," Robert Leigh Ward, The American Genealogist, Whole number 212, Vol. 33 No. 4, October 1977, pp. 241 - 243
6. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists ..., Frederick Lewis Weis, Fourth Edition, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1969
7. Visitation of London, 1633-1634, vol. 17 of the publications of the Harleian Society, page 221
8. "The English Ancestry of the Merwin and Tinker Families of New Enlgnad," Part Two ... Douglas Richardson, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. CXLIX: October 1995, whole number 596, pages 402, 410 - 412

The St. John family of ancestors has to be one of the most confusing lines to understand. This is due mainly because of records showing two separate individuals for Matthias Sension/Sention. Then, too, the spelling of the name from St. John, to Sension/Sention/Senchon, then back to St. John.

The following is what I have gleaned from the many exerts, articles, quotes, etc., that my St. John 'cousins' from around the country have sent me. Some quotes are from Orline St. John Alexander; some facts from James N. Churchyard; an article written by Robert Leigh Ward; Virkus Vol. IV and VII; and other related articles. After reading over some of these quotes and entries, I have come to an opinion about the mysterious Matthias Sension/St. John.

I would agree with Mr. Ward, there would appear to be two separate Matthias Sensions living in England at the same time, but at separate parishes. The first Matthias, found living at St. Botolph's Bishopsgate, was a shoemaker and was married to Sarah. This Matthias had a son William, who was baptized on August 23, 1629, two daughters - Elizabeth baptized on November 1, 1631, and Sarah baptized on September 1, 1633. These children were baptized at the St. Botolph's Parish. Matthias and his wife Sarah evidently moved from this location after their last child was born, as there were no other children baptized at this parish. A William Senshon, a cordwainer, was married there on January 29, 1654/5, but there is no proof that this William was the son of Matthias and Sarah, although it looks reasonable that he was. William's whereabouts from 1633 to 1654 are not known to my knowledge. Now to the second Matthias Sension, who is found at the St. Nicholas Cole Abby. This Matthias was married to a Mary, and was a chandler (a dealer, trader, candlestick maker, or a candle maker). This Matthias, while living at St. Nicholas, had two children baptized - Thomas on October 24, 1631, and Marke on June 10, 1633. Other records show that this Matthias was married to Mary Tinker on November 1, 1627. If this is indeed their true wedding date, I wondered why no children were baptized before 1631. Perhaps they lived elsewhere before 1631. It would seem that this Matthias had a brother by the name of James Sension, who remains at this parish site until at least 1652, when his last child was baptized. The lack of entries in the parish records after 1633 for Matthias would indicate however, that Matthias and his family no longer resided at this location. There was also a Dorothy St. John, whose death is recorded there in September 15, 1631, no age for her is given.

Here then are the two Matthias Sension/Sention's, found at separate parishes, both seeming to have left their dwelling places at the very same time, which was in 1633/34; or rather, both simultaneously stopped having children baptized at the very same time. They (the two Matthias'), both must have been born at about the same time as well, around 1603-09.

Now, if we suppose that one of these Matthias Sension's was indeed the son of Oliver St. John, and his wife Sarah Bulkeley, and track the Bulkeley's, we can find where the Bulkeley's and the St. John families, both came to Massachusetts in the 1630's. Rev. Peter Bulkeley, Sarah's brother, came to Concord, Massachusetts sometime between 1617 and 1640. Peter had a son, Thomas, born in England on April 13, 1617, so Peter (as least his wife), was in England up until 1617. Thomas' daughter Sarah was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1640. Sarah died in New Haven, Connecticut in 1723. Thomas died in Fairfield County, Connecticut in 1658. Did you notice that? Fairfield County is the same county where Norwalk is located, and Norwalk is the place where 'our' Matthias Sension/St. John lived, had his younger children, and died. So it would seem that the St. Johns, the Bulkeley's, and the Sension's were all found in the same place - Fairfield County, Connecticut at the same time in history. That's interesting.

Elizabeth St. John, a daughter of Sir Oliver and Sarah Bulkeley St. John, was born in England on January 12, 1605. Elizabeth married Rev. Samuel Whiting in 1629 while still in England. Their children, born before 1637, were born in England; their children born after 1637 were born in Massachusetts, so they came to Massachusetts sometime in the 1630's as well. Elizabeth died in Essex Co., Massachusetts on March 3, 1677. Orline St. John Alexander, in his 1907 book, claims that 'our' Matthias was in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1631/2, and was made a freeman there on September 3, 1634. Well he could have gone back and forth to England for baptisms, but then his wife/wives could have handled that task on her/their own, as both Matthias' had children baptized during these vital years - 1631 and 1633.

It is interesting that Matthias was in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and so were the Bulkeley family (his relatives??), at the same time. In my opinion it's not mere coincidence-incidence that the Bulkeley's moved to Connecticut, same county, as 'our' Matthias St. John/Sension. There is definately a connection between these three families.

There are many pedigrees that include a Matthias St. John in the list of children for Sir Oliver and Sarah Bulkeley St. John. I have written to a few of these submitters for their source of his data, but haven't received anything concrete as of yet. They state that the Bulkeley Pedigrees also show a Matthias as a son of Oliver and Sarah Bulkeley St. John, too. Others state that the LDS Church has Matthias entered as son of Oliver. Now there were several Oliver St. Johns - who would be cousins, living in England during this time, but with this Oliver we have the Bulkeley influence, which follows our Matthias to Connecticut.

What do I make of all of this? I think there was only ONE Matthias Sension in England. I'm supposing he had two wives, however. He lived at two separate parishes, and had two families. Why else did the parish records stop at the same time for both of these families? And what is really interesting is - what happened to the 'other' Matthias? I believe Matthias was the son of Sir Oliver St. John and Sarah Bulkeley. I think he came to Massachusetts with the Bulkeley family, then later some of them, from both sides of the family, went to Connecticut.

Someone had written me saying that Matthias #1 was buried in a cemetery in Connecticut along with some of the Bulkeley family but I have misplaced this letter. If anyone knows about this, write and let me know. Oh, one more thing.....on my list of children for Oliver and Sarah St. John, I have a Dorothy St. John, born 1602. Could this be the Dorothy St. John listed for a September 16, 1631 burial at the St. Nicholas Parish? Also Oliver being a knight/Sir, came from a long line of knights/Sirs, I couldn't help but noticing in the St. Botolph's register, a Sir Paulett Senjhon. Perhaps a relative of Matthias?

I have included in this book a copy of a 'will' that was recorded by Oliver St. John. It does not mention a son by the name of Matthias born about 1604, but it does mention a son Oliver, and sons Edward and John. John was born to Oliver's second wife. I think for some reason Matthias changed his given name, and altered the spelling of St. John to a French spelling - that being Sension or Sention. Matthias is a Christian name, whereas Oliver and Edward are English names. Matthias for some reason wished to acquire a separate identity from his father. Either he was Oliver or Edward. There is also a Nicholas St. John that many people have added to his list of children. I have added it as well, but do not know why Nicholas is not mentioned in the will of his father, if indeed he is a son of Oliver Sr.

The following article is from the work of Churchyard/Orr Family Museum via the Internet:

Noble St. Johns
The Peerage of Great Britain has two great St. John families listed there: the Barons of Bletso (formerly spelled Bletshoe) and the Viscounts of Bolingbroke. These two families spring from a common ancestor. Over the years there has been considerable discussion of the exact lineages. But, in any case, it is agreed that the St. John lines are almost unique in being traceable in the male line back into the early days of the Norman conquest of England.

And, through the female lines, descents can be shown from many of the noble families of Europe. The arms of the Viscounts of Bolingbroke are: argent, on a chief gules tow mullets; motto: Nec querere, nec spernere honorem. The arms of the Barons of Bletso are same but the motto is Data fata secutus. The crests of the two families are slightly different. The supporters are completely different.

No connection between these families and Matthias St. John has yet been proven. A great-grandson of the immigrant couple, Captain Joseph St. John (1709-1756) had the Bletso shield and motto on his tombstone.
Notes for *Matthias Sension:
They lived at the parish at St. Nicholas Cole Abbe, London, where he was chandler. Immigrated to New England and was made a freeman of Massachusetts Bay Colony 9-3-1634. He lived in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and also Windsor, Wethersfield, Norwalk, Connecticut.
I have been trying to track Matthias St. Johns ancestry for several years. The information I have gathered is given below. At this time, I tend to agree with those who say Oliver and Sarah (Bulkeley) St. John are not his parents. Note toward the end of this e-mail, Matthias's wife and some of her ancestors are presented for scrutiny.

The St. Johns are of Norman-French origin, and took their name from a parish called St. John, near Rouen. William St. John was in the train of William the Conqueror, and was called grand quarter of artillery and supervisor of the wagon and carriages. His sons and grandsons distinguished themselves in the wars of William Rufus and Henry I. A daughter of the house of St. John married Adam de Port, the great feudal baron of Baring, Southampton. Her son inherited the possessions of both families and assumed the maternal name. The St. Johns of olden time were good fighting men, crusaders, many of them, and gallant knights in the days of chivalry. They were royalists, and many sons fell fighting for their King. Thomas St. John was a crusader. He fought under King Richard, Couer-de-Lion, at the siege of Acre, in 1191. His son Thomas was killed in the battle of Evesham, Worcestershire, in 1265. Thomas St. John, who fought at Acre, is said to have been one of a number of knights who received from King Richard a leather thong, bound about the leg, as a token of superior courage. This is believed to have suggested the Order of the Garter.

Lydiard Tregoze, one seat of the St. Johns, came into the family in the reign of Henry VI, and the little church there is full of monuments to the St. Johns. The older branch of the St. Johns is now represented by Lord St. John of Bletro, or Bletshoe, of Melchbourne. The barony of Bletro was brought into the St. John family in 1558 by Margaret Beauchamp, the grandmother of King Henry VII.

Matthias St. John came to Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1630's. In some records his first name is given as Matthew since Matthias is the Latin form of Matthew. The St. John family name was spelled Sention and Sension as well as St. John before 1700. About 1700 the spelling was uniformly changed to St. John.

Genevieve Wilson Bartlett in her book "Forefathers and Descendants of Willard and Genevieve Wilson Bartlett" gives a Baronial descent of Matthias on his maternal side. She states he was the son of Oliver and Sarah (Bulkeley) St. John of Keysoe, County Bedford. In this listing she states he was born in 1603, died in 1699, and married Elizabeth __________. The year of his death does not agree with what she later states or other sources. She also gives the following information: Matthias St. John was the earliest settler of Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1631. He removed to Windsor, Connecticut in 1649, and lived in Wethersfield for a time between 1636 and 1655. He settled permanently in Norwalk in 1654, and became prominent in the affairs of the town government. He married first Elizabeth. His second wife was Anna Whitney. He died in November, 1669.

Charles A. Virkus in his book "The First Families of America, The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy, Volume 3" (Also known as "the Standard Genealogical Encyclopedia of the First Families of America") also states Matthias is the son of Sir Oliver and Sarah Buckley of London, England (different town than that listed by Mrs. Bartlett). He provides essentially the same information Genevieve Wilson Bartlett: Matthias to Dorchester, Massachusett 1631/32, settled at Norwalk 1634, Windsor, Connecticut 1640, Hartford, 1650; freeman 1699; m. Elizabeth __________.

Robert Leigh Ward states in his article "Two Contemporaries named Matthias Sension" in The American Genealogist that there were two Matthias Sensions in London during the early 1630s. One was a shoemaker, had a wife named Sarah, and lived in the St. Botolph's Bishopsgate parish. The other was a chandler, had a wife Mary, and lived in the St. Nicholas Cole Abbe parish. He provides the parish records for each one. The St. Botolph's Bishopsgate records list three children of Matthias and Sara. None of the children's names match those known for the Matthias who came to America. The St. Nicholas Cole Abbe records list two children (Thomas baptized on Oct. 24 1631 and Marke baptized on June 10 1633). Since the Matthias who came to America had a son named Mark born in 1633/34, Mr. Ward believes that this was the one who came to America. He explains away the lack of a son Thomas coming to America by saying he may have died young. He does not address the lack of Matthias, Jr. being in the parish records but he could have been born/baptized elsewhere. In order for either of these Matthias's to have come to America in 1631/32 as stated by Mrs. Bartlett, Mr. Virkus, and Orline St. John Alexander in his extensive book "St John Genealogy," he would have either had to return to England for the baptizing of his children or not to have come to America until late 1633.

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register states Matthias came from St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, in London.

Frederick Lewis Weis in his book "Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists who came to New England between 1623 and 1650" states that Elizabeth St. John was the daughter of Sir Oliver and Sarah (Bulkeley) St. John of Keysoe, County Bedford. Elizabeth was born on January 12, 1604/5 and married Reverend Samuel Whiting. Samuel was a minister at Lynn, Massachusetts from 1646 to 1679. He gives 10 generations of Sir Oliver's ancestors on the paternal side but he does not mention any of Elizabeth's brothers or sisters.

In the mid-1970's James Churchyard commissioned J. P. Brooke-Little, then Richmond Herald of Arms, to search through the records to find any connection between Matthias and the other St. Johns. His reports and research notes run to many pages. But no evidence of the connection was found. Mr. Churchyard stated his personal conclusion is that it does not seem likely that Matthias St. John was connected with the families of the nobility or gentry. The reasons for this conclusion are as follows:
a. These families appear to be well documented and no evidence of such a connection has been found despite repeated, thorough, searches by himself and many others.
b. Matthias was never referred to by the honorific title of "Mr." in the coloniel records. If his family were of the gentry class he most likely would have been accorded this notice.
c. All the early records known to be of Matthias, both in England and in America, spell the name Sension or Sention.

If he were to undertake further researches, they would concentrate on two mutually exclusive speculations concerning Matthias's origin.
a. Perhaps he was of Huguenot origin. A great many of these French Protestants fled to England and engaged in various trades to support themselves. "St. John" is a very common parish name in France, and would probably sound like Sension.
b. Perhaps he was descended from servants of one of the above gentry families, and his ancestors took the name of their masters. This is what happened with many freed slaves in the South, and the same process in England led to servitors having noble surnames.

Mr. Churchyard pointed out to me that the NEGHS Register July 1995 & October 1995 give Matthias's wife as Mary Tinker. Her parents were Robert Tinker (b. ca. 1565 Bershire, England) and Mary Merwin (b. ca. 1575 Amersham, Bucks, England). They were married January 26, 1600/01. Mary Merwin's father was Thomas Merwin. Thomas's parents were John Merwin (b. ca 1490, married ca. 1514, d. late 1552 Amersham, Bucks, England) and Isabel Bartlett (d. January 23, 1556 Amersham, Bucks, England). I have not sight check the NEGHS articles yet. They may give additional references.

If I had the opportunity to check records in England, I would tend to look in the St. Nicholas Cole Abbe records since that Matthias had a wife named Mary and the Bershire and Amersham area records since that is where Mary Tinker's ancestors came from.

Jim StJohn

1. "Families of Old Fairfield" Jacobus
2. "Hall's Norwalk Records" Edwin Hall
3. "St John Family History"
4. "McCormick-Hamilton-Lord-Day Ancestral Lines" 1957
5. "Connecticut Ancestry" Vol 27
6. "Americana" Vol 26
7. WFT Vol 1 #4201, 1229, 2713, 2846
9. Noel Chenoweth, GREEN-L@rootsweb
11. "American Genealogist" No. 212, Vol 33 #4, Oct 1977, pp241-143
12 Betty Rhodes,
13. Much info on Matthias at

  Notes for Mary Tinker:
James Churchyard, 1694 S. Margarita Dr, Fallbrook, Ca

4.3. Mary Tinker, wife of our Matthias

Recent research has been published which indicates that Matthias St. Johns wife was Mary Tinker, a daughter of Robert Tinker and his second wife Mary Merwin. Mary Tinker was baptized August 6, 1606 at the parish of New Windsor, in the town of Windsor, Berkshire. She married Matthias Sention on November 1, 1627. And their first child, another Matthias, was baptized there on November 30, 1628. [Reference 8 "The English Ancestry of the Merwin and Tinker Families in New England" Douglas Richardson NEHGR Vol CXLIX October 1995, which in turn references only "Parish Registers of New Windsor, at Berkshire Record Office"]

Mary Tinker, baptized August 6, 1606 in New Windsor, Berkshire; married November 1, 1627; living 1669 in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Robert Tinker, born ca. 1565 in Berkshire, England; married January 26, 1600/01; buried June 2, 1624 in New Windsor, Berkshire.

Thomas Merwin, born ca. 1525 in Amersham, Bucks; buried April 4, 1586 in Amersham, Bucks.

John Merwin, born ca. 1490, married Isabel Bartlett ca. 1514.

Mary Merwin, born ca. 1575 in Amersham, Bucks; living ca. 1648 in Windsor, Connecticut.

See NEHGS Register for July 1995 and October 1995 for biographical information.

More About Mary Tinker:
Baptism: 06 Aug 1606, Windsor, Berkshire, England
Children of Matthias St. John and Mary Tinker are:
  6808 i.   Matthias St. John, born 30 Nov 1628 in New Windsor (now Windsor Castle), Berkshire, England; died Dec 1728 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut; married Elizabeth Seeley in Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  ii.   Thomas St. John, born 24 Oct 1631 in St. Nicholas Cole Abbe, London, Greater London County, England.
  iii.   Mark St. John, born 10 Jun 1633 in St. Nicholas Cole Abbe, London, Greater London County, England; died 12 Aug 1693 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut; married (1) Elizabeth Stanley 1655 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut; born 1635 in Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut; married (2) Dorothy Smith 21 Jan 1692 in Farmington, Hartford County, Connecticut.
  iv.   Samuel St. John, born 1639 in Dorchester, Norfolk County, Massachusetts; died Jan 1685 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut; married Elizabeth Hoyt Sep 1663 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut; born 1640 in Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut; died 1706 in Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut.
  More About Elizabeth Hoyt:
Burial: 1706, Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut

  v.   Mercy St. John, born 1640 in Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut; died 1694 in Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut; married Ephraim Lockwood 08 Jun 1665 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut; born 01 Dec 1641 in Watertown, Massachusetts; died Oct 1685 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut.
  vi.   James St. John, born 1649 in Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut; died 09 May 1684 in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut; married Rebecca Pickett 31 Dec 1673 in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts.

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